Friday, 5 February 2010

The 24 hours that never was.

Has anyone ever seen or heard of a pub that actually is open for 24 hours? All the pubs here close at 11 throughout the week, some are open to 1 am on a Friday and Saturday and there's a nightclub I never visit that's open to around 3 at weekends - but shuts much earlier during the week. It's impossible to find a pub open after 10:30 on Sunday. All these late licences were already in place before the 24-hour idea came up, so there's been absolutely no effect here.

Now it seems the Gorgon has decided to restrict the 24 hour licencing to 21 hours. Pubs can be closed by Council decree between 3 am and 6 am - but only if they are causing problems.

The only place open between 3 am and 6 am here is Tesco and they can't sell booze at those times.

It's never felt restrictive to me. It's just business sense. Why be open at 3 am to serve drinks to one or two absolutely plastered clients? You have to pay for staff and utilities for a very small return. Then you'll have no time to clean the place, do the books, restock, because it's never closed.

24 hour drinking was just showmanship by the government. 21 hour drinking is the same. A real business can't afford to do it. Yes, staggered opening times are a possibility but which pub gets the graveyard shift? Which one opens at 11 pm to take in the already-sozzled and spent-out punters from the other pubs? If I were a publican I wouldn't volunteer for that.

Still, for some, any drinking at all is evil.

Alcohol Concern immediately slammed the new rules as 'too weak'.

They would have done that if pubs were allowed to open for 20 minutes a day and called last orders one minute after opening. Nothing short of prohibition will satisfy them. They are the drinker's version of ASH.

Chief executive Don Shenker said: 'This announcement is a belated acknowledgement that the Government has not been able to tackle alcohol-related crime and disorder effectively on behalf of local residents.

But, Don, it's not the drink that causes trouble. It's the people. As long as the government focuses on the drink and does nothing to deal with the yobs, nothing will change. If they want to drink for the three hours the pubs are closed they'll take some cans home, then come back at 6 am.

The police arrest the troublemakers and the courts set them free in time for the next binge. There are no consequences that deter the yobs and the yobs know it. They'll get an ASBO and a ticking off and next time they're in court, they'll get the same. Eventually the police stop arresting them because it's a waste of time.

The opening hours are not a problem. The availability of drink is not a problem. People getting plastered is not a problem.

People causing trouble is a problem but the bigger problem is that the courts will take drink as an excuse for such behaviour. They see it as the cause. It is not.

Whether drunk or not, the individual should be held responsible for what they do. It was their choice to get gassed up and go out and smash things. Plenty of drunks manage to get home without anyone even noticing. Many, many more go home after just a couple of drinks.

And yet the Shenker wants to penalise everyone for the actions of a few, while doing nothing at all to prevent further action by those few. None of Alcohol Concern's measures will have the slightest effect on those yobs because they are not aimed at the wild drunks.

The only thing that will work is for the courts to stop accepting alcohol - and other ridiculous defences - as an excuse. If someone smashes a shop window, how many units they drank is irrelevant. They smashed a shop window and that is the only thing the courts should be concerned with.

If there are consequences to violent behaviour, if no self-inflicted impairment is accepted as an excuse, then things will change.

But then, like ASH, Alcohol Concern don't want things to change. Their existence depends on things staying exactly as they are.


Anonymous said...

(I've drunk in a genuine 24 hour, 7 day boozer, in Ireland.

In fact just over the NI border in Dundalk.

It was, maybe still is, owned by several brothers, one of who was a haunter of the night so he was made in charge of the night shift.

I think it may have also been an hotel as well, say a couple of bedrooms but my memory is honestly is not that complete concerning y sejours in that town and my day time job in the distillery.

Unknown said...

I know of, and have been in a few pubs till 5 or 6am, but they still close at some point. They were pretty nice family run places in small towns and villages that used to serve till that time before 24 hour licences came into play, but holding lock-ins and the like if the landlord felt like it. A lot of fun was had!

The only other time was at an after party for a tour that my friends band were on in Birmingham where we were in a bar till 6am on a Tuesday, again though exceptional circumstances, and nobody was acting like a drunken lout, nor were any fights started!

Giolla said...

I'd disagree with you about the amount you've drunk being irrelevant, I'd say it should be seen as an aggravating factor - especially for repeat offences.

At the very least, do them for whatever they've done be it assault or smashing a window or whatever and then tag a drunk and disorderly charge on top.

But then I think that any wrong committed during the commission of another offence should automatically be considered deliberate. Conversely any injury sustained during the commission of a criminal act should fall under the category of "tough sucks to be you"

Furor Teutonicus said...

Giolla said...

At the very least, do them for whatever they've done be it assault or smashing a window or whatever and then tag a drunk and disorderly charge on top.

As my old Sargeant always used to say when I tried such things; "You can not have two bites of the cherry. It is either or, and the lesser offence will be the one the court takes into consideration".

And NO Government would DARE to interfere with Britains ancient legal privelidges now, would they?....WOULD they????

microdave said...

What happened to your post about cheap laptops & cameras?

Umbongo said...

Now there's a surprise. Alcohol Concern is a fake charity.

Leg-iron said...

Microdave - it's a comment, not a post, on the 'eye' one a few posts back.

Enslaver said...

I seem to remember going to a pub in Blandford, Dorset that was open 24hrs. Was a couple of years ago though.

microdave said...

OOOOP's -- Sorry!

Brain Failure, or becoming paranoid....

W/V "alignism" - maybe that's what I'm suffering from.

Leg-iron said...

I met an alignist once. She really straightened me out.

Leg-iron said...

So there really are 24 hour pubs? Dammit, none of them are anywhere near me.

Although I'm too old for such marathon sessions these days. I've developed a tendency to nod off...

Anonymous said...

On reduced licensing hours:
An Australian friend of mine once told me that until the 1960s(?) pubs were only allowed to open for one hour a day, from 5pm to 6pm. Factory and office workers would literally run to the pub after work and attempt to sink as many pints of cold fizzy beer as possible before closing time. It became known as the ’6 o’clock chunder’ for obvious reasons and is why Australians gained a reputation as binging beer swillers.

JohnRS said...

You said "But, Don, it's not the drink that causes trouble. It's the people. As long as the government focuses on the drink and does nothing to deal with the yobs, nothing will change."


This is always the LieBore lefty approach to any problem, people are never, ever responsible for their actions. They're poorly, likkle victims, to be pitied and helped and counselled. It's "stuff" that's the problem.

Guns are to blame - ban them
Knives are to blame - ban them.
Cigarettes are to blame - ban them.
Booze is to blame - ban it.
Fat is to blame - ban it.
Cars are to blame - ban them.

Never, ever will they actually admit that people are always the problem. They won't do as they're told by your army of boxtickers, they wont stick to rules you try to enforce with army of little hitlers, they dont agree with you and won't shut up.

But it's OK they probably all came from broken homes. So just carry on banning. It's never been known to work before but I'm sure it'll begin to work sooner or later.

john miller said...

I think ASH and Alcohol Concern actually do want things to change, becuase then they can indulge in mission creep.

Now that ASH has achieved its objective, does it quietly roll over and utter "Our mission here is complete", before going up in a puff of smoke? No, it just fine tunes the laser a bit and keeps on firing. Same target, different battleground.

microdave said...

Give up smoking Leg Iron, you know you really want to.....

Anonymous said...

no 24 hour pubs round here either :( the reason it's a :( face is that i have in the past done night work, and the simple, honest working man's pleasure of a cool glass of beer in a quiet pub after work is denied to those who finish work at 3, 4, or 5 am.

Wv: astag. party?

Leg-iron said...

Aberdeen's dockside pubs were open around 7 am to cater for the returning fishing boats.

That was a long, long time before the days of Blair. Back when we had a decent fishing fleet, before the EU took them over.

Furor Teutonicus said...

Market towns always had special hours for market day.

All the pubs that bordered on the market place could open at 3 A.M. for the traders and delivery men. (Obviously when the law was made, no one asked about the advisability of allowing some one to rampage through town on a horse and cart, pissed up to the eyeballs).

The actual opening hours depended on the local licencing magistrate.

Here in Berlin, I can not remember seeing any pubs open 24 hours either. Although I know a few open at 5 A.M. until 2 or 3 A.M. But a full 24 hours is virtualy unknown.

But then you can buy alcohol at any 24 hour garage, 24 hours per day, 365,25 days per year.

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