Final Bell for Last Orders…?

All-Day drink licenses available: As of today, pubs and bars in England and Wales can apply for licenses to stay open and sell alcohol for up to 24 hours per day (Scotland’s licensing laws have been less restrictive for some time). It’s about time, I say.

Finally, the ridiculous anachronistic hangover of English pubs sounding the bell for “time” at 11pm will be consigned to the dustbin of history where it belongs.

This is a very controversial move by the Labour government, with various hysterical law enforcement and health experts warning that Britain’s binge drinking culture, already the worst in Europe (and possibly the World?) will spiral even further out of control. Exactly the same scare stories we heard when “all-day drinking” was introduced — almost entirely without incident — in 1988.

Personally I think that this hugely welcome and long overdue deregulation will have the opposite effect; by removing the pointless drinking deadline, people will drink more slowly, and the intensity of the current 11pm flashpoint — where the pubs are emptied and the streets are suddenly full of people that have all drunk 6-10 pints in the space of a couple of hours — will be significantly minimized.

In fact, fears that people will go on 24 hour binges seem to be almost entirely unfounded, since pretty much all the pub landlords surveyed so far have said that they will probably only open up for a an extra hour or two at weekends, since 24 hour opening isn’t economically viable anyway.

And this is basically democracy working properly for a change; most people want licensing laws to be relaxed. According to CAMRA (the Campaign for Real Ale) survey, 7 out of 10 Britons want a relaxation of licensing laws that were originally introduced in 1872 to clamp down on “gin palaces,” were extended during the First World War to help maintain wartime productivity, and have been tinkered with on a piecemeal basis ever since.

Finally, it’s “time, gentlemen, please!” for stupidly restrictive licensing laws.

One thought on “Final Bell for Last Orders…?

  1. caradoc

    Actually, the Labour Government are following a tried – and – tested pre British General Election vote grabbing formula.

    Prior to the 1987 Election, the Tories introduced all day opening (remember when British pubs were compelled by law to close each afternoon?)

    Prior to 1992, they passed legislation to enable pubs to open all say on SUNDAYS.

    And now this. In fact, they were going to rush this through 4 years ago, but there wasn’t enough time to get it through. Of course they could have found time a year or two later, but of course they waited until now, to give the voters a quick feel good prior to the polls.

    Cheeky, yes, but not quite as cheeky as ‘abolishing’ foot and mouth disease to enable the elctorate to go for a feel good walk in the countryside the weekend prior to the 2001 Election.


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