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-   -   Extended Licensing Hours, or, Let's get Para! (http://palimpsest.org.uk/forum/showthread.php?t=935)

John Self 7th Feb 2005 12:46

Extended Licensing Hours, or, Let's get Para!
 
From today, pubs and bars in England and Wales can apply for extended licensing hours to open round the clock (or any more moderate extension), which will come into effect from November. The argument in favour of this is that people will 'pace themselves' better if they know they aren't going to get kicked out at 11pm. This is Blair's solution to binge drinking.

I find this odd. In Northern Ireland most bars are open until 1am - the standard licensing hours are to 11pm but late licences are available more or less on request (technically you need to serve food and/or have live entertainment, but this is a rule more honoured in the breach than in the observance) and most bars and pubs take advantage of this. It's always funny to see visitors over from England wondering why everyone isn't lining them up at 10:30pm. The extended licences in Northern Ireland were originally, I believe, a response to prevent people being drawn to paramilitary-run drinking dens.

Anyway. With the majority of licensed premises kicking people out at 1am, you get exactly the same problem in Belfast at that time of a weekend as you do in English cities at 11pm - a cavalcade of drunken numpties vomiting, pissing and fighting in the street. Why does Blair think the kind of people who go out not to have a good time with their mates and have a few drinks but who go out to get drunk, will somehow slow the pace of their drinking because the bar is open for longer? They will just drink more. The notion that bars having different closing hours will stagger the street-filling factor is also mistaken - already there are clubs which stay open until 3am or 5am or even later (or earlier), but even under the new licensing laws these will always be in a minority. I expect that the majority of landlords will extend their hours to between 1am and 3am - which, in Belfast is the time when it's already bedlam on the streets.

Certainly I think 11pm is unreasonably early, but does anyone really think the extension of licensing hours will bring any of the supposed benefits, other than the right to indulge ourselves more? On the other hand, if it increases even by 1% your prospect of getting a goddamn taxi at chucking out time, then it has my vote already.

amarie 7th Feb 2005 13:08

I can't really see the logic behind this extension malarky. As John says, those who go out to get hammered will just end up drinking even more and probably taking up more A&E resources into the bargain. The majority of people who 'binge drink' aren't suddenly going to stop throwing cheap alcopops down their necks and start pacing themselves just because they've got more time in which to drink.

amner 7th Feb 2005 15:36

Quote:

Originally Posted by amarie
I can't really see the logic behind this extension malarky. As John says, those who go out to get hammered will just end up drinking even more and probably taking up more A&E resources into the bargain. The majority of people who 'binge drink' aren't suddenly going to stop throwing cheap alcopops down their necks and start pacing themselves just because they've got more time in which to drink.

Blair probably thinks we'll be miraculously transformed into a Med-u-like cafe society at the ring of a last orders bell. :roll:

Check out any town centre come midnight-to-2 and you'll see that the falling over zombification of your average discerning late night clientele is far from being altered. People will Just. Go. Out. Later. Presumably after downing an extra bottle of Lambrini or WKD at home anyway. A figure thrown about this morning suggested that 40% of A&E admissions are booze-related. It'll be 60% by this time next year, I gaurantee.

NottyImp 8th Feb 2005 9:34

Quote:

A figure thrown about this morning suggested that 40% of A&E admissions are booze-related. It'll be 60% by this time next year, I gaurantee.
Hmmm... I'd be tempted to leave them in the gutter. Not that I didn't get a drunk as a youth myself on occasion, but never so bad I ended up in A&E. What is the attraction?

gil 8th Feb 2005 11:38

I think we may have to wait a while for the full results of this. Leaving aside, for a moment, the lunatic fringe who are prepared to self-destruct, I am sure that a relaxation of licencing laws will eventually result in a marked improvement in drinking behaviour among the vast majority. I am no wild drinker these days, but I remember that the 10pm closing time and the "bona fide traveller" rules in Scotland in the sixties often found me gulping rather more, rather quicker than I would voluntarily have done, on the basis that the opportunity was going to be snatched away. It takes about 20 minutes for what you've just drunk to hit the brain, by which time it's too late to realise that you have had a couple too many.

Returning to the lunatic fringe... lock 'em up in the cells overnight, try 'em in court the next day, fine 'em heavily, attach their wages, cut their social security, zero tolerance. The snatches on tv I've seen recently show the police patiently shepherding the poor dears to taxis, and arranging a shuttle service to A & E. As long as there's no consequence for bad behaviour, it'll increase. It's not the pubs' fault. They are selling a legal commodity for which there's a demand. Let the drinkers, not the publicans, show some responsibility.

HP 8th Feb 2005 12:27

I don't think extending licensing hours will wreck the health of those who linger at the bar. A drinker will no doubt have a cupboard full of the stuff at home, anyway. Nah - let those who want to pickle their livers do so to their heart's content and yah boo sucks to the nanny state. However, I do think those of us who don't want to carouse all night should be allowed our peace. The advantage of turfing boozers out on the streets at 11 pm is that most of the noise and kerfuffles are over and done with before sleepyheads have really bedded down for the night. Having inebriated revellers staggering home and disturbing the peace all through the wee small hours is just cruel. Another case of the majority being penalised for the benefit of the minority.

NottyImp 9th Feb 2005 10:44

Quote:

Having inebriated revellers staggering home and disturbing the peace all through the wee small hours is just cruel. Another case of the majority being penalised for the benefit of the minority.
I live in a (quiet-ish) residential area, but this could be a real problem for those living on the fringes of city centres.

bakunin_the_cat 10th Feb 2005 20:58

I don't think it will lead to a responsible cafe culture, people who really want to get rat-arsed will continue to do so. That said for those of us 'limpers who likt to partake of an ale or three in some of the more homely hostelries of Palim City, it can only be a good thing. No longer will the untimely bell of the eleventh watch disturb our discourse. If the players wish to continue of an evening then let it be so. If not then we are still free to return to our particular abodes.

John Self 10th Aug 2005 10:02

Judges warn that the new extended drinking hours will inevitably lead to an increase in violent assault and rape.

crimecat 12th Aug 2005 11:57

There was a quote on the news the other day saying roughly that the hope these extended opening hours would bring about a continental-style drinking culture was vain as it would require continental-style drinkers - which this country doesn't have ... Can anyone explain to me why, in this country, having a good night out means (almost proverbially) "getting drunk, getting a curry, getting laid, not necessarily in this particular order"? More used to said continental-style drinking, I find the drunken spectacles you see on tv and, sadly, on the streets quite disturbing, as well as disgusting. And, no, I am not against getting drunk, not even against getting totally plastered (once in a while) but I pride myself that at least I always retained some sense of self-preservation, if nothing else - when I was too drunk to get home I made sure I fell asleep indoors, on some friend's couch, rather than in the middle of the street. With some of my aquaintances - who go out four or five times a week to get hammered - I have noticed that they seem to have absolutely nothing to say to each other. Coversation is moving with less speed than the pub crawl itself - but once they've got into a nice alcoholic stupor they don't mind anymore and their description the next day is something in the way of "a bit slow at the beginning, but it was alright once everyone got going". Is that the reason for British binge drinking? Get legless so you don't realise you are brainless?

Please, does anyone here have a less depressing explanation?


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