The Government are under fire from Judges and Police over the new licensing laws that come into effect this Autumn as they feel it will lead to a greater level of public dis-order in our town centres. Effectively, the Government are loosening the restrictions imposed on public drinking, in place since the First World War. Then, a patronising Conservative Government decided that the Working Class could not control themselves, and would end up drinking all hours and turning up for work the next day very much the worse for wear. (What they didn't put into their argument was that class that voted Conservative were generally the bosses of the Working Classes who didn't pay them enough to go binging). However, for most of the 20th Century, there have been restrictions on when people could drink. Now, that is to be swept aside and I'm not sure whether I'm for it or against it.
Drinking is a social activity, and I've been know to enjoy the odd (and some of them have been very odd) pint of beer. I like the idea that I can have a pint at a time when it suits me, such as at the end of a bike ride or walk in the country. It strikes me as being very civilised to be able to choose when I want to drink, and not when the Law tells me it is OK. I believe, but can't prove it, that the majority of those who drink in moderation feel the same.
Unfortunately, there is a large minority of, generally young people with money, who do not see drink in quite the same way. These people want to have "fun", generally at the expense of others, and do not feel that they are having "fun" unless they are drunk, falling all over the place, being sick in the street and generally out of control. I would not venture into Wigan on a Friday or Saturday night, and I certainly would take my children. The problem is that it is exactly those young people who make the large profits for the multi-national drinks manufactures, and it is they who have pressed this Government to extend opening hours so that they can extract even more dosh from them. Of course, this Government likes to cosy up to big business, and so agreed.
Unfortunately, many young people have not learnt how to control both themselves and their drinking, and as alcohol clouds judgement, they do not see the effect their behaviour has on others. The drinking places that young people frequent today are a far cry from the local pub and are generally noisy, smelly, loud music so conversation is curtailed and designed to extract money from them as quickly as possible. The drinks themselves are a chemical concoction created from manufactured alcohol pepped up with CO2 with added flavourings. No wonder most of them are sick! An alcoholic drink for me, is one that has been developed from natural ingredients, blended together by a Master craftsman, nature allowed to take it's course before being barreled/bottled for consumption at just the right time.
Beer, like wine, takes time and needs to be savoured, not devoured, and like all drink, in moderation. Getting drunk is not the objective.