What the fuck?

Parents, friends or older siblings who purchase alcohol to give to under-18s should face tough punishments such being made to clean up city centres in the morning, the think tank Demos has said.

Cock off matey. How in buggery bollocks do you teach your children how to drink responsibly if, umm, you don’t teach your children to drink responsibly?

And on this one you can fuck right off:

In the report, Demos also warns of the problem of people “pre-loading” on cheap alcohol in their homes before going out into town centres.

The think tank urged the police to start turning drunk people away from town and city centres, issuing them with a warning or making them sober up in a designated area.

“Giving drunk and disorderly people entering city centres a ‘yellow card’ and denying them entry or forcing them to sober up would also moderate excessive pre-loading by denying people the fun night out they had planned,” Mr Birdwell added.

You’ve heard of the concept of “going about my lawful business”?

That is, unless I’m actually committing a crime, or wanted for one, then what I get up to is nothing to do with the police, the government or puritan prodnoses like you cunts?

Good. Excellent.

If I am indeed drunk and disorderly, an offence, then submit me to the correct sequence of events for having committed that offence. If I’m just pissed, which is not in itself a crime, then fuck off.

37 thoughts on “What the fuck?”

  1. Oh please Ian D, the Puritans left England in the 1600’s. It’s the liberal secular nannies who are passing these laws. Same in the USA.

  2. Technically, it is already illegal (s142 Licensing Act 2003) to sell alcohol to somebody who is drunk. So, thanks, no more laws required.

    And Tim’s point about slowly introducing kids to booze is entirely appropriate. My daughter had her first drink and, somewhat later, first drunk when we were around. She then went off, outside of our supervision, with a little bit more wisdom than otherwise. Our son doesn’t like booze so, as yet, has never had much more than a sip or two.

  3. The liberal secular nannies are the direct descendents of the Puritans. What we have is a secularised evangelical protestantism.

  4. Sorry, section 141. 142 makes it illegal to obtain alcohol for a drunk. I’m fairly sure I’ve committed s142 offences on numerous occasions. Albeit mostly before 2003.

  5. @Jim, indeed we are clearly entering a secular puritan period of history. Some argue it is to be followed by a period of Islamic puritanism. Maybe we won’t even notice the transition.

  6. Unless and until it is an offence to give alcohol to an under-18, and (whilst welcoming contradiction from m’learned friends I don’t believe it is), it cannot be an offence to buy it for them.

    But, notwithstanding Ian’s point re Puritans and the extent to which they should just die, hasn’t any of these cretins noticed yet the correlation between anti-drinking legislation and massive drinking problems?

  7. Yeah but the pre-loading has an economic explanation. In the countries of northern europe where alcohol is shit-expensive, this is the normal drinking culture. When the base-cost of alcohol is so high, you only pay for the premium of served drinks as the top-up. Drink at someone´s house from 7 to 11, go out already smashed, and waste your last cash on the one or two drinks you´ll be able to secure because everyone´s piled up at the same time. “Going out” like in drinking in establishments for the whole night, is for higher income people up here.

  8. No link to the article, but it sounds like the sort of ‘over the garden fence’ rant a parent might have after the family yoof’s come home pissed & spewed on the cat. S’pose trawling the occupants of launderettes might have produced a less thoughtful focus group than the Demos think tank, but not by much.
    Are they in receipt of government money, or something?

  9. SonicJohan,

    Pre-loading always existed, but it’s the smoking ban that’s really kicked it off.

    What people still use pubs for is to meet new people, or more specifically, trying to hook up. But that generally doesn’t happen early in the evening. That’s a time for hanging out with your mates, having a laugh etc.

    But you can do that in a house, with your mates. And smoke.

  10. Yeah why stop em, wait until they are covered in their own piss, shit and vomit and then bill them say a £1k for wasting police time, pays for the cops, paramedics and will offset the cuts in the NHS. Job done!

  11. Sam – I have a personal licence, and there is an inherent contradiction in the legislation although it doesn’t really cause a problem in practice.

    There is no law against giving alcohol to a minor over the age of 5. However, it is illegal to buy alcohol on behalf of a minor, and it’s illegal to sell alcohol to a child, and it’s illegal to sell it to someone knowing that they will then supply it to children.

    So if you happen to have some alcohol, you can give it to a minor quite happily. But you need to be careful if you have acquired the alcohol with that intention: to follow the legislation properly, you must ideally have purchased the alcohol with the intention of having it consumed by sober over-18s (drunks and minors are treated much the same way), and then changed your mind.

    If you buy a bottle of wine for yourself and your spouse to drink over dinner, that’s fine. If you then spontaneously decide to allow your 15-year-old child to have a small glass, having not thought about it until dinner time, that’s fine. But if you buy a bottle intending that all three of you will be drinking it, and tell the seller so, then technically it is illegal for them to sell it to you.

    In practice I would be amazed if such a case ever made it to court, but that is how the (rather badly-drafted) legslation works out. It’s aimed at pubs and bars, and at minors hanging around outside off-licences; the draughtsman doesn’t seem to have considered domestic situations properly.

  12. Well, the French introduce their kids to wine very young, which explains why it’s always the French, rather than Brits, who are always fighting and puking in city centres.

  13. The Stigler
    ‘But you can do that in a house, with your mates. And smoke.’
    Indeed, hence the rise of the Smoky Drinky and long may it prosper.

  14. Pellinor,

    > There is no law against giving alcohol to a minor over the age of 5. However, it is illegal to buy alcohol on behalf of a minor, and it’s illegal to sell alcohol to a child, and it’s illegal to sell it to someone knowing that they will then supply it to children.

    That is completely insane. Even less sane than sixteen-year-olds being allowed to get married and have kids but not see pictures of nudity.

  15. @ Pellinor

    Thanks for elucidating. That is mental.

    I mean I can sort of see why they wanted to do it – essentially to allow parents to give their seventeen year old wine legally but not enable fourteen year olds to hang around off licences pestering people to go in and buy for the, (which they do anyway).

    Inter alia, can 16 year olds still order a pint with a meal? Or has that changed now too?

    And yes, I echo what others have said about the disastrous example set by France and Spain, where the city centres are violent vomit lakes after 8pm, completely unlike peaceful provincial British towns, where the yoof head home at 7 every saturday so they can be up and dress for church in the morning.

  16. A 16 year old cannot order a pint with a meal.

    Albeit technically. However, an adult can order beer, cider or wine for a 16 or 17 year old for consumption with a table meal.

    A person who acts as an agent for a child under 18 by buying, or attempting to buy alcohol on behalf of the child also commits an offence under section 149(3), as does a person who acts as agent for a child under 18 and buys or attempts to buy alcohol for him for consumption on relevant premises (section 149(4)).

    However, this last offence does not apply if:

    * the person purchasing or attempting to purchase the alcohol is over 18
    * the child is 16 or 17
    * the alcohol is beer, wine or cider
    * the purchase is for consumption at a table meal
    * the child is accompanied by an adult.

    Interestingly, note the difference between the first and last bullets …

  17. Yes, you can have wine, beer or cider with a meal if you’re 16. It has to be a proper sit-down meal, though, and you can’t have anything stronger.

    Most of the rules talk about “on the premises”, which means that domestic situations shouldn’t be caught, but as it seems to be hard to distinguish between people taking wine home and those giving it to teenagers round the corner there’s a bit of confusion.

    I suspect that the big problem with alcohol is not so much the way people are introduced to it as the effect people are told it has on them. Kate Fox sets this out in “Watching the English” (excellent book, everyone should read it and there should be companion volumes for all nations): research has apparently shown not only that people get drunk on placebo, but that the effect of drunkenness is culturally determined. In Britain, everyone knows that drinking makes you violent and uninhibited, and this is what happens; in France, everyone knows that it makes you mellow and convivial, and this is indeed what happens there. The effect isn’t physical or chemical: it appears to be social.

    So there’s a correlation between drunk people being violent and alcohol making you violent, but the causation seems to be the opposite of what people expect. Ultimately, alcohol is a pretext for bad behaviour rather than a reason.

  18. people get drunk on placebo

    I have seen this happen in an interesting way. I was in France and one of our party had bought a case of beer, which a few people were drinking. Others, self included, not fancying unchilled beer were drinking wine. We all got pleasantly pissed at roughly the same rate.

    it was only towards the end of the evening that the french speakers amongst the party noticed that the beer had ‘sans alcool’ written, albeit not that prominently, on case and bottle.

    Likewise, anyone who has ‘accidentally’ sunk a bottle of wine at home on their own (easy to do) will know that the effects are completely different to drinking a bottle apeice with a large party of people.

  19. It’s reading pettiflogging statutes like the one quoted above by SE that convinces me more than ever that I live in a nation ruled by demented people. The idea that somebody actually sat down and, in all seriousness, wrote that, and then 650 MPs seriously debated it and solemnly voted on it boggles the mind.

    This is why I’m so interested in where this demented class arose from. It’s a kind of sense of pure bemusement at the absurdity of it all.

  20. Kate Fox sets this out in “Watching the English” (excellent book, everyone should read it and there should be companion volumes for all nations):

    Seconded.

  21. The idea that somebody actually sat down and, in all seriousness, wrote that,

    I’ve seen some remarkably stupid stuff come out of the Parliamentary Draughtsman’s Office. Several times when I was involved in reviewing legislation I went back and said “this is what this clause will mean. Is that what you intended to ban / control / interfere with?” The answer was never “Yes, that’s just what we meant.”

    then 650 MPs seriously debated it

    I very much doubt, even if we had competent MPs, that it was debated even in jest. There are 201 clauses in the main act and 8 schedules. How much attention would one get?

    And, the quality of the debate would be “theenk of der wittle kiddies”, from pretty much all sides of the house. Our concepts of personal responsibility and reasonable liberty to live your life as you see fit are wholly alien to our governing class (well, with the possible exception of BoJo – but he banned booze on the tube within seconds of getting in?)

    And, thirded.

  22. Re the Kate Fox thing:

    Hmm. I’ve known people who get aggressive when drunk, and people who get convivial when drunk, and it seems to me to be down to the individual rather than the race or the culture. It seems unlikely to me that chemistry can be a social construct.

    A possibly more plausible (to me) explanation of this data (if the data is good) might be to note that alchohol reduces inhibitions, and it might therefore be that on average Britons are suppressing more aggression than French people for some third variable reason.

    So, to extend my ongoing (and admittedly increasingly tiresome) puritanism schtick, if we take the position that the Latins are less puritanical culturally than the Protestant cultures, and my suggestion that cultural puritanism leads to more aggression in society (current Islamopuritanism being the obvious example here), then that’s my third variable. So basically it would be that the nature of Anglo society causes disgruntlement and stress, which people have to inhibitory, so when they take a drug that reduces their inhibitory capacity, they get aggressive.

    So rather than the implication that drunks are acting out to cultural expectations, they’re just releasing negative emotional states which are always there but inhibited in the sober condition.

  23. Ian B,

    It’s not so much of an anglo- thing.

    The biggest thing I’ve noticed about the UK compared to other countries is that there is a certain level of social acceptance of getting plastered that there isn’t in France or America. Even if you did it, you don’t talk about it.

    I’ve been in cafe/bars in France and there’s a dozen students in there and nearly all of them are drinking cafe or coke.

    And I’m not advocating any sort of government intervention, just noting the difference.

    My own suspicion is that our attitude to alcohol stems from the insane old licensing laws and how restricting people can often cause a certain hoarding effect psychologically. You’d neck half a pint so that you could get another one in last orders, even if realistically, you didn’t want it.

    And my own observation is that town centres are actually more pleasant than they were in my youth, because people go out for as long as they like, rather than having to make it to 11pm. Some people you’ll see quitting at midnight, but others, you’ll see going at 10 or 10:30.

  24. continuing the theme, I read a study a while back that suggested that people with blue eyes tended to drink more in social situations. So far, so much ballocks,

    but then I was talking to a friend who said something like: just for fun, let’s assume this is true. It is quite likely that people with blue eyes will have a more northern european / nordic heritage than people with brown eyes, who are more likely to be mediterranean / levantine. We know that the first cities grew up in mediterranean / levantine areas, where people would have lived in connurbations with people that they interacted with socially for practical reasons (trade, etc) whereas in the more northerly and less temperate climes people would have lived more in extended family settlements. It is therefore likely that M/L types would be culturally conditioned to get along with and trust strangers, whereas nordic types would only encounter and have to trust family members. It would therefore not be unthinkable that the nordic lot, when forced to interact with people they didn;t know well and to whom they were not related, would seek to dampen their inhibitions by drinking.

    All the most frightful nonsense, of course, but I liked the internal logic of it.

    I just reckon it’s cause it’s cold and rainy. Hence why the scots are more pronounced than the english.

  25. Stig-

    I’m inclined to think it’s more deep rooted than that; various folks have called the Northern European cultures (us, Scandinavia, Germany) “feast drinking” cultures, the whole basic model is the specifically targetted getting bladdered rather than the Latin thing of being moderately pissed all day.

    It may well be one of the distinctions in the kind of discussions about these culture differences that crop up with So Much For Subtlety sometimes that gives us a bit of a productive edge. We will tend to be sober during the day, or maybe even all week, get the work done, then go out and get shitfaced as a reward on Friday night. Whereas south of the Rhine, they’re a bit sozzled all the time and tend to doze off in the afternoon and can’t remember where they put their pen down, and so on.

    I’m really a big fan of the feast drinking model. I don’t drink any more (triggers my migraines) but I used to enormously enjoy sinking that first quick pint of the evening to get started, knowing that in due course I’d be gloriously pissed and in the mood for a kebab. Never could get on with the idea of having a drink now, maybe one a bit later. Always seems a bit ghey, you know. If you’re going to get pissed, I really think you should make a proper job of it.

  26. Sam-

    Heh. Actually, I’d argue it’s the other way around. Levantines have a culture derived from pastoralism, which to cut a long story short makes them tribalists and more wary of non blood relatives. Their extended families have internal “favour based” economies and intense blood responsibilities, leading to intense collectivism.

    The Nordic end of things are small family agrarians (farmer, wife, kids in farmhouse) forcing external trade with strangers and non-relatives, and thus a relatively open interactive model. This requires society-wide standards of interaction so that people can interact and trade. Women as well as men are required to leave the home, and thus protection of women becomes a social agreement among all males rather than an internal tribal/clan policing model. Thus, our end of the continent we expect universal rights, free markets and no you can’t rape her just because she hasn’t got her brother as a chaperone. So we’re the ones who are better with strangers.

  27. Taxonomy of drunks – based on many years’ observation:

    – Happy drunk. The best ones.

    – Melancholy drunk. Everything is terrible. If female, will be crying in the lavatory

    – singing drunk. Self explanatory

    – amorous drunk (can become sleazy, gropey drunk. By no means gender-limited)

    – fighting drunk. not always malicious or nasty, just like a scrap. the best thing is when two fighting drunks find each other, and will happily have a scrap and be better friends afterwards. not to be confused with

    – angry drunk. Angry drunks often start fights but they are not the same as fighting drunks. They are much nastier.

    – reckless drunk. will show off, usually to the opposite sex.

    – philosophical drunk, will debate the nature of the universe

    – quiet drunk. hard to read. Quite often will disappear and no one will notice for quite a while

    ridicululously drunk – will have moments of strange, delphic clarity which are terrifying.

    – ‘posessed’ or ‘automaton’ drunk; has usually drunk something they are not used to (tequila is a good one) and has become ‘reverse drunk’ whereby they have all their motor functions but no mental attachment.

    Anyone can do any of them, but I think most people have a default one that they will go to far more often than the others. I go philosophical, for the record.

  28. Ian B,

    It’s an interesting idea, and has some merits. You even see how people drink differently in summer here to winter. People will spend hours having a barbeque, drinking lots of Pimms, but taking many hours doing so, keeping their BAC ticking over.

  29. A possibly more plausible (to me) explanation of this data (if the data is good) might be to note that alchohol reduces inhibitions, and it might therefore be that on average Britons are suppressing more aggression than French people for some third variable reason.

    That’s pretty much Fox’s point: some cultures are reserved (e.g. British and N. European), and the expression of emotions and natural behaviours is restricted. When these people get drunk, the inhibitions are dropped and the behaviour spills forth without any real restraints (e.g. physical contact, raised voices, displayed emotions, etc.) She makes the point that not only do they come out, but there is an over-reaction due to the restraints being suddenly removed, as opposed to just not being there in the first place.

    Whereas the less-reserved countries (e.g. Italy, Spain) such behaviour is normal, hence alcohol doesn’t have such an effect of removing inhibitions. I used to joke with my Norwegian friend that you can tell when a Norwegian or Brit is drunk, but you really can’t tell if an Italian is drunk: he’s waving his arms around and shouting even when sober!

  30. I’ve been in cafe/bars in France and there’s a dozen students in there and nearly all of them are drinking cafe or coke.

    Civilised, isn’t it? My French colleagues go to the UK and come back in a similar state to somebody who’s been to the zoo and discovered the animals have taken over. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked to explain it.

  31. Never could get on with the idea of having a drink now, maybe one a bit later. Always seems a bit ghey, you know. If you’re going to get pissed, I really think you should make a proper job of it.

    Heh! I’m the same, never been one for a quick pint, or let’s have one or two drinks. I can only enjoy a drink when there is no feasible reason to stop, e.g. if I have work tomorrow, which is why I don’t drink during the week. My idea of drinking (as practiced in Russia, Thailand, and Nigeria) is to finish a bottle of bourbon by myself and be utterly, utterly shitfaced and go to bed as the sun is coming up.

    Although as a compromise, I could see myself downing a bottle of French wine each night instead.

  32. Anyone can do any of them, but I think most people have a default one that they will go to far more often than the others. I go philosophical, for the record.

    Me, I’m a happy drunk. Talk the hind legs off a donkey, until I forget how to speak. But I recognise every one of those on your list. Most of my Russian friends were fighting drunks, just liked a scrap at some point, get themselves thrown into the snow where they’d share a cigarette with the guy they’d been fighting, and then go back in to enjoy the rest of the night. Highly amusing and yes, a lot different to the nasty drunks you’d find in the UK.

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