UK Politics

Power Drunk

I can’t understand why the extended drinking hours are being judged on whether or not they reduced violent crime.

Obviously, if they did, then whoopee!

But why should laws, that affect everybody, be made to control an anti-social minority at the expense of the liberty and convenience of the majority?

When governments start thinking along these lines, we have truly arrived in the nanny state.

The same applies to the (stupid and futile) attempt to use the pricing of alcohol as a means of social control. Why should I have to pay more to enjoy a glass of wine with supper because some yobs elsewhere can’t be controlled? If the price increase could be effective (instead of simply leading to an increase in petty crime as said yobs resort to burglary, mugging and shoplifting to make up the shortfall) then one might argue that it had an overall cost saving to society justified the stealth tax on booze.

But it so obviously won’t work. Crack cocaine, I am led to believe, is quite pricey. But the price is made manageable by that string of pearls being snatched from Janet’s neck, and John’s VCR exiting through the upstairs window.

This is the bottom line: Laws should be made to regulate the behaviour or restrict the freedoms of criminals. They should not be made in a way that curbs the freedoms of everyone in the hope that controlling criminal elements will be a happy byproduct.

It is a worrying inversion of the principles that ought to govern a liberal democratic society.

In fact, it’s the type of mindset that comes up with ludicrous ideas like issuing licenses to smoke, or seeks to harass fretting relatives as the pop out to the A&E car park for an anxious cigarette.

Ultimately it is an abrogation of responsibility. Do our rulers really believe that if they can control the times we can drink and/or the price of ale, ciggies, and whatever else, the peace they are charged with keeping will naturally follow, and thus they will have to take no positive steps to do so?

It is the same mindset that imposes curfews. ‘Steady on’, one might say, ‘it’s not that bad’, but of course even this has been tried in the UK recently. Mercifully successfully challenged in law.

The idea of social engineering to coax anti-social behaviour and crime out of society by addressing so-called (some would say “imagined”) “root causes” was all very noble in theory. But in practice it seems that if we can’t be tough on real crime, then we end up treating everyone as criminal suspects.