Monday 17 May 2004

Nanny speaks

I wonder why some people just love to tell others how to run their lives. A perennial favourite for Scottish politicians is the desire to regulate drinking:
CATHY Jamieson, the justice minister, has pledged new laws to tackle Scotland’s "uneasy relationship with drink" as she prepares to unveil the Executive’s proposed new liquor-licensing regime.

At a conference in Edinburgh today she will publish plans to scrap statutory permitted hours for alcohol sales and to introduce new measures to tackle under-age and binge drinking.

Of course it is proper for the authorities to take action against drunken yobbery in the streets although hardly any of our police officers are actually working those streets at any given time.

It's worth asking though why the UK doesn't have a "continental-style approach to alcohol consumption". I remain convinced that the reason is connected with our politicians' hatred of their own country, its traditions and its history. However much we may (rightly) criticise the greater degree of statism on the continent, I do not get the impression that French, German, Italian and Spanish politicians hate their own countries. I believe that all too many Labour activists and MPs do hate Britain. For more details read this excellent article by Sean Gabb. It must be terribly demoralising to grow up in a Britain that is loathed by its leaders. I have little doubt that the violence and drunkenness that can be seen on the streets of any British town or city have their origins in the cultural destruction described by Mr Gabb. So Ms Jamieson, if you want to live in a society that has "continental-style" modes of behaviour, look to the beliefs of your own party, not to the minutiae of the licensing regime.


David Farrer said...

Comments made on previous template:

Neil (
Beer requires you to knock back in volume to get drunk which makes it a serious business. 
With spirits you can get paralytic easily. 
Wine allows you to spend all day in a non-threatening haze which, I think, explains Mediterranean attitudes.

31 May 2004, 01:04:00 GMT+01:00
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Young Fogey (
????????????? Continental attitude to drink? ?????????????????? 
Sorry, but, seriously, ?????????????? 
I had the privillege of my first ever visit to Spain this month, to Valencia on the night Valencia FC clinched the Spanish football championship. The night finished with we honoured Irish visitors being given at least six (I can't really remember) shots from the local pub where my mate lives at about 6 am and we all, customers and staff alike, left the pub absolutely langered. 
Similarly in Turkey, where I have spent considerable time. Yes, the weather point is right, Mediterraneans don't binge drink as much as we Northerners. That doesn't mean they don't, on occasions, binge drink. I've spent many a happy night staggering home through the streets of a dusty Eastern Turkish town after a smashing night in the local. It seems I'll soon have to move to a Muslim country to indulge my drinking habits...

24 May 2004, 01:46:28 GMT+01:00
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Harry Powell (
Anyone who has seen the spectacle of office workers vomiting into the gutter or young men picking fights with all and sundry knows that there is often a nihilistic streak in the British that is only evident when they drink. These people get drunk to annihilate themselves, or at least that part of them that feels constraint.  
That this trait isn't more commonly show in the form of, say, mob violence is, I think, due to the way it is kept in check by those other British qualities of individualism, respect for the law, and duty toward the family. In short the personal responsibility that goes with freedom. And precisely the qualities that the left has declared war on. 
Jon is right to say that drunkenness is not a political issue, but it has been politicised by the Gramscian agenda.

18 May 2004, 13:06:20 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer said...

Jon (
An uneasy relationship with drink... 
From where I stand our relationship with drink is very easy indeed.  
I think the idea that the drinking is connected to the government is a little far fetched (Although TB does seem to hate Britain ? England?). We drink because the weather is crap. So do the Russians. The Scandinavians have accepted a nanny state beyond all other and can no longer partake of the malt as they might wish, but are otherwise piss heads. 
So my cure for heavy drinking is this. Go home and use as much energy as possible. Global warming will make the weather in the UK better and we will not need to drink so much.

18 May 2004, 11:19:24 GMT+01:00
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Gawain (
But people who would fight for their country are deluded, war never solves anything. Violence is by its nature corrupting, therefore it should never be resorted to.  
But hold on, isn't Blair fighting a war at present? A war which is vital for the good of his/our country.

18 May 2004, 10:55:01 GMT+01:00
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David Farrer (
I came across this article in the Spectator last night: 
Historians will seek to explain this paradox for many years to come. I think there is a personal explanation for this. The Prime Minister has never known, not properly, who he is. All students of his life have noted his way of attaching himself to more cogent individuals ? Gordon Brown, Peter Mandelson, Alastair Campbell, etc. ? as a method of personal self-affirmation. Blair cannot survive without such a crutch, as the government?s listless, drifting ineptitude since the departure of Campbell nine months ago demonstrates.  
Just as the Prime Minister lacks a real personality, he has no sense of Britain as an independent state with its own magnificent values and history. 
I agree about Prescott - he's about the only one of them with whom I could imagine having a friendly drink in my local. I also think that he would be willing to fight for his country if necessary. Of course, he's already been practising on the electorate ....

18 May 2004, 06:44:19 GMT+01:00
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Verity (
Since Blair slithered into office, the feeling that his "government" (moment for quiet snickering) hates our country has been tingling on the back of my neck. He wanted to be prime minister of a country he hates. How bonkers is that? How bonkers is Tony Blair? Very. 
He has a great hatred, stemming from what who knows? - of his own country. He has hacked at social traditions which have stood us in good stead for hundreds of years and for generations because he hates us. He has pulled down the pillars of our constitution and our ancient freedoms. He has wrecked our upper chamber, the House of Lords, with no idea, other than destruction, of what to put in its place. (And then the thought occured to him: placemen! Like the Chinese put into Hong Kong! Sounds good to Tony!) But for sure, no elected people in the Lords. Just Tony's preferment-seeking "friends". 
Is this the first time in human history the prime minister of a country has actually worked to destroy his country? His entire cabinet (if such describes the box of clowns and toys masquerading as a "cabinet")hates Britain - with the possible exception of John Prescott, who is also dreadful, but on his own terms. The rest of them are traitors.

17 May 2004, 19:23:33 GMT+01:00