Some news headlines from the last seven days:
- Boris Johnson’s first policy announcement as London mayor: drinking to be illegal on public transport from June 1st
- Westminster council to prohibit all outdoor drinking (including in Soho)
- Tesco to ban alcohol sales to parents shopping with their children to discourage under-age drinking
- Glasgow Celtic and Rangers to remove Carling logo from replica kits sold to children to discourage under-age drinking
- Binge drinking blamed for 10% rise in crime among girls as young as ten
Ever wished you could just slap a hysterical country around the face? There is no objectivity here whatsoever. Absolutely no research or reasoning that any of these measures will discourage the minority of people who drink dysfunctionally. We’re demonising drink. Independent anthropological research by Brown University in the US shows that it is this demonisation – this removal of drink from the context of ordinary life – that plays a major contribution in developing a dysfunctional relationship with alcohol. If you don’t believe me, spend an afternoon on the ferry between Elsinore (Denmark, where drinking laws a relatively liberal) and Helsingor (a couple of miles across the water in Sweden, where dirnking laws are extremely tight). Which nationality do you think are sitting outside cafes in the sun, sipping a beer slowly, watching the world go by? And which do you think is loading up trolleys with beer, tearng open cartons in the street and necking cans as fast as they’re able?