The United Kingdom has a culture of heavy drinking, one that goes back hundreds of years at the very least. This has been an object of concern for social engineers of every stripe for some time now, from the Methodists to the current Labour government. While the Methodists preached teetotalism, Labour decided that the binge-drinking culture and its associated violence would be best dealt with by turning Britain into a continental-style cafe society, which they decided to engineer by allowing 24-hour drinking. Top popsters The Kaiser Chiefs satirized this in their hit song, We Are The Angry Mob:
So here we go with the letter
Oh can you fix it for me
24 hour drinking
To keep us all off the streets
So tonight you’ll sleep softly in your bed
Meanwhile, the Conservative Party predicted doom, suggesting that 24-hour drinking would lead to a Baghdad-like surge in violence and vomiting, massively reducing the nation’s quality of life.
Now it appears that nothing has changed:
A review of round-the-clock licensing has concluded that although Britain has not adopted a continental-style cafe culture as a result of the new law, ministers should not repeal it.
“This first review of the Licensing Act reveals a mixed picture,” the report says.
“Its introduction has not led to the widespread problems some feared.
“Overall, crime and alcohol consumption are down.
“But alcohol-related violence has increased in the early hours of the morning and some communities have seen a rise in disorder.”
A centuries-old culture has proved resilient to legislative attempts to change it. Funny, that.