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Comment 4th July 2010

We should repeal restrictive laws on alcohol, for example the hours when alcohol may be sold, minimum prices.

We should retain laws on sales of alcohol to minors, and we should enforce rigidly laws where people commit actual harms or nuisances, say drunk and disorderly, or violence.

Binge drinking is a real problem.

But repression does not deal with problems

We need to find out why people in Britain drink to get drunk while people in other countries drink to be sociable. Go to Spain, Germany, France and the drinking culture is different.

That is not because  of repressive laws.

It is something in the society.

We need to find out what we can do better. I don't know the answer, but I guess it is a package made up of several changes, perhaps including:

#   a better public space

#   more satisfaction from work

#   more sports and  similar activities so that people look after themselves and their bodies more

#   a culture where older people go out more

#   more neighbourhood policing by foot patrols

Why does this matter?

The present laws will not tackle binge drinking because they address a symptom and allow us to skip addressing the underlying problem – something about a lack of self-respect amongst binge drinkers.

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