After two and a half years of the ‘new’ drinking laws, there are still people claiming that it has been a dismal failure, pointing to slight increases in certain crimes, that in all likelihood would have risen anyway, as proof of the chaos that they forecast.
These prophets of doom just can’t see that they had it wrong; they should be feeling pretty silly by now and be admitting that they perhaps were a little bit sensational. After all they did make some pretty wild claims.
Theresa May for instance said:
“A few government posters will not prevent the chaos that 24-hour drinking will surely bring on November 24.”
Chaos? A little melodramatic surely, the Oxford English gives the definition of chaos as:
• noun 1 complete disorder and confusion.
I am fairly sure that didn’t happen. In fact if I remember it was something of an anticlimax when the new laws came in, quite a lot like the Millennium Bug. Lots of worrying descriptions of chaos, a break down of soceity…etc – when in reality nothing changed.
Predications of increases of rapes and violence, the police and the NHS being unable to cope with the huge rise in drunken yobs and a last days of Rome scenario, all came to nothing.
The Government’s own report has said that nothing much has changed. Admittedly it hasn’t solved the problem of binge drinking, but then it was never meant to. The culture of binge drinking is going to take a generation to change. It was always likely to get worse before it got better too, so even the slight rise in drink related violence is actually better than expected.
Still there are some that just won’t admit that they were wrong, and accept that their portents of doom haven’t come to fruition. David Davies quoted some figures stating:
“The police, hospitals all say this has failed. Over a million drink-inspired violent crimes against people last year – the highest ever. Roughly a 50% increase in anti-social behaviour based on alcohol… So this is not a successful policy.”
This is more likely to be problems that are there regardless of opening hours and more to do with successive Governments being unable to combat youth problems, than the licensing laws. 24 hour drinking just makes a convenient scapegoat. The funny thing is, we had these problems before 24 hour drinking so although it may not be the cure, it certainly isn’t the cause. Gun crime and knife crime are also up, but 24 hour drinking has no real effect on this.
As for the Police and NHS, they are suffering due to under funding and mismanagement.
At the end of the day we now have a modern and sensible approach to drinking. The days of having just four hours to drink enough to get drunk have gone. Now, at last, the people of Britain can drink alcohol whenever they want, just like the rest of Europe.