Anorak News | Driven To Drink

Driven To Drink

by | 31st, October 2005

‘LOOKING at the Government’s plan to ban drinking on public transport, we wonder what the driving force behind the initiative is? Perhaps it’s just a way of burying that messy ban on smoking story?

Passengers celebrate the arrival of the 9:15 from Hull

Whatever the reason for it, the Times says ministers will look again at the plan to stop us having a gin and tonic on the way home from work.

Of course, as the paper says, the real target of the Government’s purge on drinking is the yob. Apart from another yob, no-one wants to sit near this drunken low-life on the 8:15 to Paddington. But the Government was talking about a blanket ban on all drinking. And can that be fair?

Health Secretary John Reid is heard by the paper telling the BBC that drinking is not bad per se. “It is right that people should be able to have a civilised drink at whatever time they want,” says he. “But it is right also that people should be responsible about not being abusive through drink on buses and other places. That is the balance of rights and responsibilities.”

A civilised drink? What’s that, then? Raising your pinky finger as you tip a can of larger into your face? Drinking hooch from a bone china cup? Mixing your vodka with tea?

And the least said about rights, the better. Surely rights are a matter of what you think are wrongs. And what if the drunk on the train became inebriated at a pub, one of those places soon to be opened 24-hours a day? Who is right in such an instance? Who is wrong?

Not for nothing is “Blair in retreat over ban on drinking”, as the Telegraph’s front-page headline says.

It tells its readers that the total ban was mooted by Tony Blair’s Whitehall “Respect Unit”. Respect! Rights! Responsibilities! Forget education, education, education, this is the Government’s new mantra. It’s the new three Rs.

And if you put them all together, Teresa May, the Tory culture spokesperson, says they spell “nanny state”. And before you think how nice it would be to have a nanny looking after you – someone like Julie Andrews with a bigger cleavage – know that May means it as a bad thing.

In any case, banning all booze would be unworkable. Virgin trains, which knows more than most about things not working properly, says the plan is deeply flawed. How can 450 people on a train be policed by one manager, it asks?

And a spokesman for Eurostar tells the Telegraph how its customers like to drink champagne on its service. “Does this mean that you would only be able to open a bottle half way through the Channel Tunnel?” he asks.

That it might. But he’s given us an idea. We think all rail passengers should be given a bottle of champagne and encouraged to open it at the end of each journey. Arriving at your destination safely and on time is surely a cause for celebration…’

Posted: 31st, October 2005 | In: Uncategorized Comment | TrackBack | Permalink