Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Teenage drinking 'out of control'

I worry about our politicians. Consider this story; hospital admissions of drunk teenagers are rising - clearly a bad thing. Britain's teenagers drink more than any in Europe - also a bad thing.

Britain's drinking laws are also the strictest in Europe; the hours during which alcohol can be sold have been tightly controlled since the 1914-18 war. The present sad situation has therefore arisen under - perhaps even because of - conditions of tight control. The "binge" approach to drinking certainly contrasts badly with the more leisurely and sophisticated European approach to drink.

Intensively alcoholised youths spilling out onto our city streets at the same time do not contribute much to national serenity either. If their departures were staggered, perhaps they would do less staggering themselves?

The government is proposing a rare liberal measure here. If the objective of legal restrictions was to promote safe drinking, they plainly have not worked. So why not remove them?

Yet Conservative leader-in-waiting David Davies criticises the government for pressing ahead with "even longer drinking hours". Much as his party criticises the "Nanny State", he clearly believes that "Nanny knows best" on this subject.

What exactly IS the point of the Conservative Party now? Just for once, the government proposes to treat us like grown-ups, and the Tories oppose it.

Telegraph | News | Teenage drinking 'out of control'

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