Anorak News | Youth Hostelries

Youth Hostelries

by | 2nd, February 2006

‘GIVEN that the pub’s chilled cabinet is stocked with sickly day-glo drinks designed to be drunk ice cold straight from the bottle, the Mail’s news that under-18s can buy alcohol in a third of pubs is less than sensational.

The story would be more salacious were it stood on its head and readers were invited to wonder what the other two thirds of pubs were doing with those lurid blue, sweet, fizzy alcopops if not flogging them to the nippers? Using them for emergency lighting?

This apparent fact about under-age drinking is rooted in a study commissioned by Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell and Home Secretary Charles Clarke. The study also found that 20 per cent of corner shops and 17 per cent of supermarkets sell hooch to under-18s.

This all sounds just too awful. But surely this story does not go far enough. We are amazed that the Mail has not chosen to illustrate this snapshot of binging Britain in its usual fashion by publishing pictures of scantily clad teenage girls out on the razzle.

How much more poignant would the following line read were it supported by a picture of a gang of drunken lads wearing traffic cones as hats and picking fights with shops: “Critics say 24-hour licensing has simply increased the availability of alcohol to youngsters, causing more misery for communities.”

Interesting, then, that towards the end of the piece, we learn that a similar study conducted last year – before the changes in the licensing laws corrupted the yoof and coated the precinct in a film of vomit – found that 50 per cent of pubs were serving drink to under-18s.

Might it be that the situation has improved, and is improving? Mark Hastings, a spokesman for the British Beer & Pub Association, says that the industry has got better at checking the age of its punters.

Now all that remains is for the Government, and the Mail, to treat the rest of us like adults…’

Posted: 2nd, February 2006 | In: Tabloids Comment | TrackBack | Permalink