Monday, 25 May 2015

24 hour drinking hysteria

It was interesting to see a report by the Right-inclined Institute of Economic Affairs called Drinking Fast and Slow: Ten Years of the Licensing Act. I'm sure most people here won't be shocked that it found that binge drinking, public order offences and violent crime have declined in the last decade. Far from leading to a culture of drunkenness, since the Licensing Act was passed alcohol consumption has declined by 17% during the period, with the biggest drop in the 18-24 age group. Among all the findings, it was interesting - encouraging, even - to see that incidents of domestic violence have dropped by 28%. violence.

The reasons for changes in drinking habits are many, but excessive rises in duty and declining living standards must be significant factors. It's possible that the reduction in violence can, at least in part, be attributed to an easier licensing regime: restricting access to alcohol encourages among some drinkers a tendency to neck as much as possible in the limited time available: it's blindingly obvious that the quicker you drink, the stronger the effect. Having said that, in my experience most drunks are not violent, and there's nothing in the chemical make-up of alcohol that encourages violence. But, regrettably, some violent people do drink.

I've little doubt that the anti-alcohol brigade will take little notice of this report, as it does not fit the booze-sodden apocalypse they prefer to predict. The nonsense peddled by groups such as Alcohol Concern wouldn't bother me too much, except that nearly all of their funding comes from public funds.

As for 24 hour drinking, I don't know anywhere that stays open round the clock.

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