Sunday, October 12, 2008

Crack down

The Labour parties dream of creating a "cafe culture" with their introduction of 24 hour drinking in Britain has failed. Hospital admissions linked to excess alcohol have more than doubled in the past 10 years.

The cafe culture works in countries like Spain because a) they are used to having longer drinking hours and b) it is regarded as socially unacceptable to be drunk in public. Visit any bar and you will find many of the people are drinking non-alcoholic drinks. Thase that are drinking beer are having it in small glasses. It is not to say that people don't get drunk - they do but you don't find them lying in the gutters at 2am.

The government tried to introduce a voluntary code but that has done little to solve the problem. So now, in a bid to curb public drunkenness, the Home Office and the Department of Health have drafted up proposals which they hope will transform social attitudes to drinking.

The mandatory code of practice rules include:

— Cigarette-style health warnings to be displayed wherever alcoholic drinks are sold. This would include shops, bars and, according to the industry, could force restaurants to place an official “sensible drinking message” on every table.

— A curb on promotional free wine, whisky and beer tastings. No samples may exceed 125ml and “care must be taken to ensure that customers do not return for further tastings and run the risk of becoming intoxicated”.

— Offerings of free alcohol to women to be banned.

— A ban on drinking games, such as downing a glass in one, and “drink all you like” offers for those paying an entry fee will be abolished.

— Wine in restaurants will have to be served in glasses with measures marked on the side.

The practice of selling cocktails called Sex on the Beach, or more sexually graphic names, will also be scrapped. The plan is to break the association between drink and sexual, financial and social success.

Let's hope that this plan works to prevent scenes like this which are commonplace in many towns and cities throughout Britain.


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