And now for the binge drinking!

Jacqui “Wimp-ass” Smith recently revealed a further segment of her not-so-secret agenda to turn the entire nation into wet-eyed clones of herself by clamping down on underage drinkers in the streets. Presumably her ultimate aim is to secure a society where she feels safe to go out at night because there are no other people in the world anywhere doing anything she doesn’t much like the look of.

As ever, with NuLabour, this is about aesthetics and prejudice, not about an assessment of the actual harm being done, and as ever, clamping down means giving the police extra powers to, er, do pretty much what they’re already empowered to do, that is arrest people engaging in anti-social behaviour and trace shops selling alcohol to underage drinkers but with more moral disapproval than before. They also get the power to take underage drinkers’ alcohol away from them. I’m sure they’ll just love that. Nothing the police like better than being asked to take on the role of parent-stroke-social worker.

This tendency to see public youth drunkenness as a problem in and of itself is dangerous. It has even hooked in the chair of London LDYS. It causes us to lose sight of the most basic liberal principle of all – who is harmed? I have nothing but scorn for the idea that young people drinking in public is innately any more dangerous, repellant or worthy of punishment than old people drinking in private – and that goes for underage drinkers as well (does anyone want to put their hand up to not having been an underage drinker?) If you stop underage drinkers from drinking, it has to be because you are convinced they are harming themselves and do not believe they are competent to decide to do so. I don’t care if you don’t like the appearance of it. I don’t care if you feel slightly threatened by it. Sorry, but I really don’t give a toss. Have the grace to admit that you’re afraid of Young People, Jacqui, Young People probably from the lower end of the social scale, and that’s all there is to it.

I have a jolly good mind to go and hang around outside the library swigging from a bottle of Merlot and shouting environmentally-aware abuse at 4×4 drivers (hell, it wouldn’t be the first time) and see what NuLabour does about it. For a start, do I still count as a young person? This will be the acid test.


  1. Yes, at exactly what age _is_ it acceptable to hand around on street corners yelling abuse at people? I haven’t yet worked that out. I do not normally engage in faddish internet speak, but this post is, in fact, made of win.

  2. I wrote about this a couple of weeks ago and have been tracking pretty much every announcement this abhorrent woman has made on the issue. It’s clear to me that this is all about the words and not about the need, it is certainly the Labour plan to woo the middle classes back into their arms before the next election, whatever it takes.

  3. There was a picture yesterday on the front of our local paper of all the booze that had been confiscated from youngsters on the streets locally. It was mostly frosty jacks and stella. ANYONE who drinks frosty jacks and/or stella should have it confiscated, and replaced with a decent scrumpy or Proper Beer.

  4. Ooh “made of win”. I am unwillingly attracted to faddish internet speak, and shall try to use it in conversation over the weekend.

    Jennie, you are an evil genius, you have the answer! I have only ever drunk proper scrumpy once, in a pub in Kettering (nice place; well done, people of Kettering). The pump sign was in felt-tip, the pint had leaves and bits of apples floating in it and I was pissed as a bottle-nosed dolphin within four minutes. Doubtless your scheme is to make all the youth of Britain pass out before they can do anyone any harm.

  5. Yes NuLabour are determined to take the fun out of everything!

    It’s the same with pregnancy; there’s all these rules and regulations as if it was some great big illness.

    I’m determined if I am ever pregnant to go around drinking, smoking, eating shellfish, unpasteurised cheese and looooaaaads of chocolate.

    Well, OK, maybe not the smoking, because I’ll just end up smelling a lot and I know they haven’t said no chocolate whilst you’re pregnant yet but it’s only a matter of time…..

  6. I’ve given up smoking. This inevitably leads to me pleading with the late night girl at Tescos when I’m drunk and refusing to pay pub fag machine prices.

    The pub I work in sells an innocuous locally brewed cider that claims to be 7.5% but is more like 10% by volume. It’s really funny watching people who are used to Strongbow drinking it.

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