Tuesday 3 February 2015

Not fit to be out

There have been a growing number of schemes where the police have started “requesting” nightclubs to breath-test customers before allowing them entry, for example in Loughborough and more recently in Croydon, where some pubs are also included. The maximum permissible alcohol level seems to be generally set at twice the English drink-drive limit. Some have said “that’s only four pints”, but in reality two pints will keep a man below the driving limit, and two and a half or three would be needed to reach it, so realistically it’s more like six or seven pints. Even so, that’s a level many people will reach on a weekend night out.

This sets a somewhat disturbing precedent of the authorities seeking to monitor pedestrians’ alcohol levels even if they’re not obviously “drunk”. Chris Snowdon has suggested that it represents something of an unholy alliance between the puritans and the nightclub bosses, to discourage punters from pre-loading at Tesco or Wetherspoon’s, In principle, this is a good point, but the Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers (ALMR) have come out strongly against it, and I would expect the overall result would be to deter customers from visiting nightclubs. I doubt whether on balance they will benefit from it.

As it stands, it probably won’t affect you, and it certainly won’t affect me, but it’s easy to see the principle being extended, especially as the Croydon scheme includes pubs too. In five years’ time, will we see the CAMRA posse being refused admission to the final call on the pub crawl due to having imbibed too much Old Snotgobbler earlier in the evening?

It may seem far-fetched, but there have been serious proposals to introduce drink-walk limits for pedestrians in both Australia and Spain. You can sort of see the argument behind this, as apparently 40% of all pedestrian fatalities are above the drink-drive limit, rising to 80% between 10 pm and 4 am. But it would represent a drastic curtailment of individual freedom to protect a few people from themselves, and would really put a dampener on any kind of celebration or festivities outside the house. The effect of alcohol on individuals varies widely, and some may be falling over at 160mg, while others will still be entirely compos mentis.

As with many such ideas, it may at present seem outlandish and laughable. But, by raising the subject, it has opened an Overton Window through which it becomes included within the scope of serious debate. And, twenty years ago, many would have dismissed the idea of a blanket ban on smoking in enclosed public places as equally unrealistic...

Mind you, every cloud has a silver lining, and at least it would mean that at long last cyclists were brought within the scope of breath testing.


  1. The quicker it is universally rolled out the better. All responsible pubs should have this. We should also have checks at the bar aswell as the door in addition to booze ration cards.

    That'll keep people under 3 units a day.

  2. Damn right cookie. Then we can move on to the other vices too.

    You get your BMI measured at the chip shop and it had better be under 25 or no chips for you tubby.

    Smoking will be banned within 15 miles of any child, motorbikes can be phased out, while all cars can be physically limited to a maximum speed of 30mph.

    Refined sugar will be banned (it is POISON after all) as will any high sugar fruit juices.

    We won't be forcing anyone to exercise, but if you fail your annual fitness test (don't worry, it's adjusted for age) you will be "invited to partake in" a special motivational programme involving a group of couch potatoes like yourself doing callisthenics, or whatever other exercise is in vogue with your local health and welfare officer.

    It's all in the interest of public health!

  3. Professor Pie-Tin3 February 2015 at 18:23

    UKIP remains the only political party in the UK committed to a compromise over the current smoking legislation.
    As always it is driven by the eminent good sense of Nige.
    As a reformed cigarette smoker I do think it outrageously hypocritical that successive governments shaft smokers with increasing taxes but deny them any comfort to indulge in their habit.
    And I would like somewhere to puff on my Cuban stogies while enjoying a pint - currently I have to go to the Caribbean several times a year to do this in peace.

  4. Cookie has a BMI under 25?

    ...dies laughing...

  5. Choking on your moroccan cous cous salad again Mudge?

  6. Croydon, I would shut all the pubs and clubs in Croydon. Ghastly place full of the worst white ukip voting scum the south east has to offer.

  7. And there was me thinking Croydon was full of ethnic minority scum who were happy to burn long-established stores to the ground. UKIP voters are law-abiding patriots

  8. Breath testing cyclists? Don't make me laugh. When was the last time you heard of one even being lightly ticked off for blasting along a pavement, running a red or just being generally suicidal?

    And before anyone accuses me of being anti-cyclist, I cycle.

  9. If the door-staff find it useful for keeping awkward drunks out, then where's the harm?

  10. @Stringers - this is a police initiative, not one coming from the venues themselves.

    And where have we heard "the innocent have nothing to fear" and "it won't affect me" before?

    Are you really confident that there is no prospect of the principle being extended?

  11. Bollocks to some cheap voddies before hitting the clubs,then. Better off with a spliff. If it's good enough for Harold and Kumar.

  12. But then you decide you can't be arsed to go out at all and end up getting a pizza delivered.

  13. "If the door-staff find it useful for keeping awkward drunks out, then where's the harm?"

    Because 95% of doorstaff are skinhead fascist twats on a power trip?

    Giving them any further excuses to exclude people on spurious pretences is a terrible idea and will only lead to more aggro and more fights, which is exactly what the bouncers want, after all.


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