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Showing posts from September, 2010

Infantilising drinkers

A government consultation document issued by Theresa May, the Home Secretary on Licensing law reform entitled “Rebalancing the Licensing Act” starts out well enough:

“The Government is committed to challenging the assumption that the only way to change people’s behavior is through adding to rules and regulations. In future, solutions to address alcohol-related problems will be found locally, and by encouraging individuals to take responsibility for their own actions”.

The Licensing Act 2003 was the last time government looked at licensing law. It overturned regulation that had been in place since World War One that had introduced fixed opening hours designed to stop munitions workers getting drunk and the war effort slipping as a consequence. Widely heralded as the start of 24 hour drinking on one hand, and the birth of European cafe culture in Britain on the other, it turned out to be neither.

Prior to 2005 when the 2003 Act was applied, the police and licensing magistrates were sol…