Anorak News | Gordon’s Tonic

Gordon’s Tonic

by | 24th, August 2005

‘GIVEN that the Chancellor reaps so much revenue from the sale of booze, the new licensing laws should bring round-the-clock benefits for all areas of our society.

Tony does his Duty

But rather than seeing the arrival of 24-hour drinking as a boon for the NHS, the Armed Forces and a way of halting the inexorable rise in council tax, the papers talk of increased violence and the end of the world as we know it.

The Times says that police are “powerless” to block thousands of drinking venues from extending their hours because they cannot link them to violent disorder.

This sounds like good news. It might mean that there is no indelible link between pub opening hours and criminal behaviour.

But the Times wants to stress another angle. Just listen to Commander Chris Allison, of the Association of Chief Police Officers, who says: “We are seeing hundreds of licensed premises applying for an extra hour during the week and two at weekends. People are going to drink more because of longer hours and there will be lots more crime and disorder.”

More crime sounds awful. Already there is lots of it. The Times says there were 1,035,000 incidents of violent crime recorded by police in England and Wales in 2004-05, and police say much of it was alcohol-related.

Good of the Times to tell us that. But it fails to say how many of these crimes occurred in or around licensed premises and not, say, in the home, where you can drink morning, noon and night.

But if more drinking does equate to more crime, perhaps the monies earned by the Government from the sale of more booze could be spent on in increased policing.

But even without longer licensing hours, we’re drinking more. The Telegraph and says that sales of alcohol have risen by five per cent in the past five years.

And this means lots more money for the sellers of drink and for they who tax the stuff. A report by Mintel, Drinking Habits in Europe, says that Britain’s alcohol market has risen by 15 per cent since 1999.

Might it just be that the new licensing laws are not a Government diktat for the masses to drink more, but a response to what we want?

And if the Government can earn more money in keeping us merry, the value of the move is not hard to see…’

Posted: 24th, August 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink