February 07, 2005

Three Cheers... Well, not Yet 

Today pubs and bars in England can start applying for longer licensing times under the new Licensing Act, a major shake-up in 40 years of regulations. Finally, I say, because it was quite ridiculous to have pubs closing at 23:00 in such a lively city as London - especially for me, given that in Italy there is nothing like licensing times; selling alcohol is allowed 24/7 by default.

It is also good to know that someone in the UK government really gets it:

Welcoming the new measure, Culture Secretary Tessa Jowell dismissed fears it would mean 24-hour boozing. She said: "The vast majority of people should be treated like the adults they are. It is ridiculous that the Government should deny the entire population the right to a drink after 11pm.

"We will give adults the freedom they deserve and yobs the tough treatment they deserve."
Of course the Nannies are already on the war footing, at they are loudly asking for, at least, a prohibition in "happy hours" and other promotions, if not a generalized price increase for alcoholic drinks. Boring. But it seems that once set in motion, this law will roll forward without being stopped. I think that a source of problems is that in Central London thousands of drunk people leave the pubs all together in a short time span, and that's often a spark for fights. With more time to drink, there will be no (or less) drunk crowds in front of pubs from 23:00 to 23:30; less concentration of intoxicated people and thus less chances of fights.

Sadly, new licenses will be issued only from November this year, damn...


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