Why set aside laws
that have served us well in the past? Are we superior to our
I am sufficiently cynical to feel sure that vested interests are at work in all this, and to feel that Jack Straw's statement to the effect that we are more mature is either born of his ignorance (no doubt due to having been misinformed by a government 'expert'), or is most ignobly disingenuous. Neither explanation would surprise me, I'm sad to say, although I'm inclined to suspect it is more like that both are true.
On the other hand, I believe one might be forgiven for wondering if the whole thing has been devised as a means of buying cheap popularity, immediately before the local elections, among that section of the community from which Tiny Blurr's government imagines it gets most votes.
Whichever of these (if any) may be true, I confess to doubting that 24 hour-a-day opening of pubs is likely to make much difference, even if it happens. After all, alcohol is already freely available in supermarkets and off licences.
As I understand it, the proposal is not to enforce long opening hours; rather it is to allow publicans the freedom to stay open for as long as they want. Now, I can understand that this might have the effect of increasing overall takings in a city pub, but then the landlord will have to pay overtime to staff for working unsocial hours and, inevitably, this will be recouped in price increases.
I should emphasise that none of this means that I am in favour of extending opening hours; I am not.
It will surprise greatly me if it ever becomes law, and I live in hope that boozing will soon become as Politically Incorrect as smoking. Were the drinker to suffer the same social ostracism as the smoker, I'd hazard a guess that many lives and serious injuries would be saved on our roads and the cost of treating alcohol-related illness would decrease markedly, as would that of policing.
"Sometimes too much to drink isn't enough."