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Cheers - AE

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Last orders.

Oh for fuck's sake, is this serious?
Having noticed that rural pubs are closing in droves, the Government has rallied round, offering to match funds raised by local people to support efforts to run such places themselves as community enterprises. Picture Gordon Brown, pint mug in hand, swapping wit and wisdom with the village elders, while the horse brasses twinkle in the firelight.
Fucking hell, it's enough to drive a man away from drink, which is possibly the whole idea. But how come the writer, Clive Aslet, isn't pointing out the obvious flaw in this lame idea: that as with any form of apparent munificence on the part of the government any money it provides must first be taken away from someone else. Pub going volunteers trying to save their locals will certainly be among those who contribute towards this and every other daft scheme these power hungry authoritarian twats come up with.

Still, Aslet gets at least one hugely important point in, though he's missing something there as well.
There is a tiny irony in this.
Tiny? I hope the use of that word was, uh, ironic.
Not only might it be argued that the Government itself has precipitated the closure of many pubs by making it illegal to smoke in them — a blow to the traditional boozer, where sons of toil would spend all evening, perhaps several nights a week. Without this trade, licensees have only been able to survive by reinventing their establishments as gastro pubs, serving meals at prices that few locals could afford.
True, Clive, go on.
I shouldn’t worry; I don’t smoke. I like the fact you can get a decent meal on your travels.
Then I should worry even less as I don't smoke or drink, right, Clive? No, wrong. Very, very wrong. Actually, Clive, we should both be very fucking worried indeed because, like you, I like a good meal. But unlike you I'm painfully aware that it hasn't stopped with the smokers. Unless you're living in a fucking cave it's beyond belief that you could have failed to notice that what was being done to tobacco smoking twenty or thirty years ago is being done to alcohol now, so if you like a drink it might not be too many years before you find yourself being treated like the kind pariah a smoker is now. And it's not just drink, Clive. Those good meals you like may contain things the government decide is bad for you. Niemöller, Clive, Niemöller.

First they came for the smokers,
And some drinkers like those twats from CAMRA didn't stand up because they didn't smoke and got à la carte menus instead of table d'hôte

The sauce béarnaise that you might be thinking of asking for could one day cause raised eyebrows on the waiter and hysterics in the kitchen where, thanks to the decrees of the fucking fat police, nobody's had the bad taste to ask them to make it for a few years. Eggs and butter? Doesn't the sick bastard know that we get children in this place? Oh, you might think of making your own at home and taking a little pot of it out with you, but make sure you do it somewhere safe where you won't be seen and later denounced.
But now the Government is considering making it impossible to get into a car if you’ve had so much as a single pint of bitter. That means they’ll lose my custom too.
Clive, have you been paying attention? Yes, that's stupid and annoying and won't significantly, perhaps even noticeably, improve road safety. Doubly so because it's being touted that it's all to bring the UK into line with Europe, but the reality is not only that there's a lot of variation there but in places you only get a fine and points for levels as low as the proposed new limit (they do ban and jail people too, but at levels of blood alcohol around that of the present UK limit*). But you can always get a cab or share a car. Not a biggie. Far more relevant is that there are people, or things that look just like people do, that would cheerfully welcome a return to prohibition. Only this time they're not going to make the mistake of banning what people want without first trying their damnedest to make people not want it any more. The good news is that they won't actually win since, as with tobacco, the government's (any kind, any party, just about anywhere) addiction to the revenue surpasses that of smokers and drinkers by many orders of magnitude.

The bad news is that they can and will fucking ruin what was once a pleasant evening at the pub for everybody, including non-smokers and non-drinkers.

* Though as I've said more than once before hard limits are often full of problems. As a non drinker I expect a pretty small amount of alcohol to impair my driving, so I could be below the limit and drive as badly as someone who's half a pint's worth over. Someone with a high alcohol tolerance could have drunk twice as much as either of us and be in better shape to drive. Inflexible alcohol limits are a very coarse tool when you're dealing with individuals. The solution is not to look for a certain level of alcohol but a certain level of impairment, no matter whether it's caused by five pints of Wife Beater, two big cones of Moroccan Black, an inadvertent extra dose of prescribed dihydrocodeine, a medical condition, age, tiredness or just being a shithouse driver. Seen those Police, Death, Crash, Ccamera shows? Seen the American cops making people walk up and down lines, stand on one leg and touch their noses while their eyes are shut? Not remotely as silly and primitive as they look.


Furor Teutonicus said...

Seen the American cops making people walk up and down lines, stand on one leg and touch their noses while their eyes are shut? Not remotely as silly and primitive as they look.

We have the full gambit in Germany.

You get bagged at the road side, if that is over, you get taken to the station and a doctor takes a second breath test, and a blood test. THEN you are made to do all kinds of aerobics.

You may be over the limit on breath, and even blood, but if it is marginal, and you perform the full floor routine to olympic gold standards, then you may get off with a bollocking and a couple of points on your licence in court.

It depends on which jurstiction/Land you are in, Bayern is more strict on everything, as is Berlin, but Hamburg, Saarland, and others are less strict. On average 0,1 to 0,3 per mil you will be told you can still drive, BUT if you have an accident, you will be hammered for those 0,x mils as if you had drunk a full bottle of scotch. OVER that and it is off to the station for aerobics.

Angry Exile said...

FT, sounds better than the way things are done either here or in the UK, but it still seems odd that they don't take the next logical step and either relegate the importance of the limit or drop it altogether. The one thing I can think of that justifies a limit at all is that if all else fails, if you know someone is too wasted to drive but for whatever reason you can't quite convince a jury, then you've always got the charge of exceeding the limit in your back pocket. The trouble is that if they can't convince a jury then why the hell should they have the get-someone-into-jail-free card to play at all? Even if you tell them it's the last resort before too long enforcement will be back to where it is now and a driver who is safe but over the limit will take priority over one who is wankered but under.

Furor Teutonicus said...

No law can be perfect, agreed.

And we do not have juries here.
It is the judge, and maybe two... what would they be in Britain?

junior judges, but really nothing more than clerks of the court.

That bloody Napoleon chappy has a LOT to answer for.

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