Saturday 30 January 2010

The real age drinking starts

Another excellent opinion piece from Tim Martin of Wetherspoons, pointing out the hypocrisy of those in authority acknowledging that going to pubs before the age of 18 had actually helped their socialisation and transition to adulthood, but now doing their level best to ensure that today’s youngsters can’t do the same. This really is a classic example of a policy intended to solve a problem actually making matters worse.

Government ministers, like policemen, judges and everyone else used pubs before 18; they know and permit their children to use pubs before 18 like the rest of us, because they generally prefer the supervised environment, yet their entire policy is based on persecuting pubs for what they themselves did, and for what they condone today on a personal level.
It’s a great pity more industry leaders aren’t prepared to speak out in the way that Tim Martin often does.


  1. No one wants to see pissed up children. Any legal age will be bended as you cannot implement it perfectly even with the best of intent. The legal age should be set at an age knowing kids a couple of years younger may drink.

    Drinking in a pub may be better than a street corner, but there is still the spilling out into the street at the end of the evening.

    Tim is right in much of what he says. Pragmatism is required. I am surprised no one asks the question why British kids want to get pissed up. French kids are by and large not piss heads and that goes for a number of european countries.

  2. There are numerous areas of law where the acceptance of a grey area may be preferable to taking a rigid, black-and-white stance, and in some circumstances it makes sense for the authorities to turn a blind eye.

    The law on underage sex is a good example - I doubt whether many people would seriously advocate lowering the official age of consent, but it is not necessarily in the public interest to prosecute in every case where it is known to be taking place.

    In the past, the police often turned a blind eye to regular pub lock-ins so long as no trouble was caused.

  3. Having a drink in a pub before the age of 18 is not the same as getting drunk in a pub before the age of 18. The former suggests some restraint, and also a touch of common sense - if you get drunk they won't let you back in!


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