Thursday 22 November 2012

Agent provocateur?

Shadow pubs minister Toby Perkins (good Labour name, that) has accused a local council of deliberately trying to trick licensees through test purchase operations. “The British pub trade is being targeted by over-zealous people,” he says.

He has a good point, as in many cases these stings will end up creating an offence out of thin air. Surely test purchasing, if justifiable at all, should only be done where there is strong evidence that underage sales are already being made. However, given Labour MPs’ usual frothing hysteria about underage drinking, you can’t help thinking he’s being a tad hypocritical.

Another aspect is that constantly being asked for ID even if you’re well over 18 must be a significant deterrent to young people drinking in pubs and bars.

Incidentally, the other day I was behind a lad in the queue for the till at a petrol station, and he was asked for ID for a packet of fags, which he couldn’t produce, so the sale was refused. He said he was 22, and to be honest looked it too, but took it with good grace.


  1. When I was 16 and at school a lad we called "Skowey" advised us all that ordering cider at the bar was a sure bet for getting carded as it was an underaged drink. He advised us all to drink bitter or lager as the barman would assume we were 18 and not ask us for ID.

    Skowey had good enough facial hair to be an authority on matters of buying alcohol, porn & fags so we all took his statement as gospel.

    Skowey died before he was 30, looking like a man of 50+. I gather all 3 vices did for him.

    Had you known that anecdote you could have relayed it to the silly boy buying fags.

  2. Cookie, I am the last person to start lecturing others about their lifestyle choices.

    Apart from vegetarians and teetotallers, of course ;-)

  3. Professor Pie-Tin23 November 2012 at 11:53

    I think it's terribly sweet of you to use the logo from flirty dirty knicker company Agent Provocateur to illustrate your point.
    I always knew deep down you were in touch with your inner metrosexuality.

  4. I did consider using a pic of a lingerie-clad young lady, but thought that might cause apoplexy amongst my older male readers.

  5. The whole point behind the whole ID thing for booze and fags was never to stamp out underage drinking and smoking (the kids will always be able to get them somehow). It was to get the kids used to presenting ID when asked, so when the Government ID cards came in the new generations would be used to it and not regard it as an infringement of their civil liberties. I for one got IDd far more at 30 than I ever did at 21.

    Though the Gov't ID scheme is dead (due to cost, of course) we're now stuck with harsh age IDs for restricted products because (1) the fines are very high and (2) nobody wants to be seen to be "soft" on underage drinking/smoking etc.

  6. Eric Pickles - another good Labour name too! Oh, hang on ...

  7. In the USA a couple of weeks back, we went into a bar in Long Beach, California.

    The beer menu informed us that the bar had a policy of ID-ing anybody who looked under 35. The wife and I are 41 & 42 respectively, but we were still asked for ID.

    When we both produced our passports, we were stunned to be told that as they weren't american, she would have to get the pub manager to come and check them!

    Although it was only the second time we were IDed in two weeks in the USA, watching bar staff regularly IDing people who were clearly in their 30s was clearly rediculous to us, but such stupidity is exacly what the nanny's on both side of the Atlantic can see nothing wrong with.


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