Monday, 16 April 2012

Drunk in charge of a pair of shoes

As reported by Kent Online:

Clubbers and pub goers could be breathalysed as they venture out in Maidstone in an attempt to measure levels of drunkenness.

Urban Blue Bus volunteers will carry hand-held intoximeters to determine the volume of so-called 'pre-fuelled' drinkers who load up with alcohol BEFORE a night out in town.

A recent study by Maidstone Town Centre Management indicated many revellers are well above the drink-drive limit before they even set foot in a pub.
I wasn’t aware there was any law (yet) against being above the drink-drive limit when out around the town on foot. Indeed, isn’t that sort of the point of leaving the car at home? Hopefully any revellers asked for a sample will give a robust two-word response, although possibly they may take a sense of pride from how high their reading is.

It is also misleading to use the drink-drive limit as a measure of drunkenness, when in reality it is set at a relatively low level where there is some statistical evidence of impairment of drivers’ judgment. People at that level, or indeed a long way above it, are not in any meaningful sense “drunk”.

The comment by “Invicta” is spot on.
If you really want to stop pre-fuelling (rather than simply enjoy telling people what they should and shouldn't do which I suspect is more accurate), remove the smoking ban and stop over-taxing one of the few pleasures people have in this rapidly developing Orwellian nightmare.
There is, however, an outbreak of common sense from one councillor:
One of the group, Cllr Dave Naghi, was shocked to see drinkers relieving themselves at the side of the road. “It was disgusting,” he said. “We're going to get some toilets back in the High Street.”
One of the original purposes of public toilets was to “prevent nuisance”. And, as sure as night follows day, once you shut them all down the “nuisance” returns. In the old days many towns, especially in the North, had a large number of basic public urinals that presumably were to some extent intended for the convenience of blokes walking home from the pub. However, dog-in-the-manger demands for gender equality and disabled provision have now put paid to all of those.

(h/t to Chris Snowdon)


  1. "One of the group, Cllr Dave Naghi, was shocked to see drinkers relieving themselves at the side of the road. “It was disgusting,” he said...."

    Clearly Cllr Naghi has never been to Finland which during the few summer months is a right public open pisoir toilet...and then some.

  2. Public drunkeness is a crime

    After reading many of these beer blogs I decided to test the assertion often made that traditional pubs were somehow responsible and controlled environments. I visited some of the award winning pubs of the month of yourself and Tand.

    What I saw shocked me to the core. We all know 3-4 units is responsible and any more is a binge. I saw numerous people drink more than 2 pints. Beers were on sale at quite high abv's. By close of trade many people were quite intoxicated.

    I drank 1 half of mild and a diet Sarsaparilla. I found the choice of temperance cordials quite small. My report was sent to the government reminding him not to exclude real ale pubs from the crack down on binge drinking.

  3. Breathalysing pedestrians has been seriously proposed in (where else?) Australia.

  4. @Snowdon

    They already sic the dogs on you at random in case you are a hophead.

    It is pointless despairing about it - it's coming here soon, along with their pissweak drink-driving limit, 40 kph school zones (on fenced highways, ffs) and all the rest.

  5. Martin, Cambridge16 April 2012 at 22:43

    I've had a couple of evening sessions in Maidstone recently (the Travelodge was cheap), and wasstruck by how civilised the high street was approaching 11pm.

    Can I find out exactly how many public order offences prompt this hyteria about no-go towns ?. The much-quoted St Albans was also puzzlingly well-ordered on a Saturday night last month.

  6. Disability provision has nothing to do with it I'm afraid, Curmudgeon. Yes, councils claimed many public toilets had to be closed because they could not be modified to comply with the Disability Discrimination Act. However, if modification was genuinely impossible, closure was not required as exemptions were allowed for, but councils still used the Act as an excuse to relieve themselves of the cost of maintaining them. There you are: a conspiracy you hadn't thought of. Have that one on me!

  7. No, I'm well aware that disability discrimination (and sex discrimination) were used as an excuse for the closure of facilities where there was no absolute legal requirement.

    Still, the maintenance costs for a basic urinal must be minimal, and I'm not aware any are still operational. The last one I remember seeing open was in Glossop.


    Widdy has it spot on. Use taxes to provide urinals? If people piss in the street : name and shame !

  9. Pissing in the street is hardly the most anti social behaviour in the world.
    Typical modern life in Britain. The councils are allowed to close all the public toilets, attempt to blackmail local businesses into allowing the general public to use their facilities at any time, and then announce a crackdown on public urination. These councillors need to get out of their suburban comfort zone.


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