Sunday, 1 June 2008

Neither Funny nor Clever

Various bloggers have been writing kindly about the last hurrah of drinking on tube trains and other London Transport before the ban came into being at midnight last night. They have been supportive of showing Boris that he is wrong and a spoilsport and of those holding "farewell" drinking parties on the tube last night. Predictably these so called parties ended in assault, vandalism, vomit and civil disorder, with several tube stations closed and many arrested.

Now I regard this ban as wise and sensible. Who really wants to see people drinking on public transport, unless that public transport is properly equipped for the purpose? Not many I suspect. Most that "require" further drink on the tube will probably have already had too much, as in a kind of circular way, that's the only time it would occur to most people that it was a good idea in the first place. The tube can be difficult enough without the unpredictability being enhanced by a bit of in carriage boozing.

This protest was ill advised, self indulgent and ended badly. It further advances the silly, but oft repeated caricature of a Britain where drinking is out of control and gives ammo to the anti drink lobbyists who are gaining ground. Ironically, it is likely to give a severe boost to Boris' efforts where he might otherwise have struggled.

The law of unintended consequences clearly illustrated!


Tyson said...

Absolutely. Just shows how bonkers Londoners truly are. I was shocked that such irresponsible action was being promoted on various blogs. I presume they thought it would be a bit of fun, but the outcome was all too predictable. It just bolsters Boris's image, and anything that does that has to be a Bad Thing.

Boak said...

Hmmm. My perspective was a little different!

I didn't go (knowing it would probably end in tears) but I thought it was funny that Boris's pathetic "clampdown" on something that just isn't a problem had backfired by causing a problem.

I do see what you're saying too, though.

Are you going to be calling for a ban on drinking on national rail services as well? That's where the real problem lies, in my humble opinion.

Anonymous said...

I don't travel on the tube reguarly enough to know whether people drinking on the network is a problem, but my hunch would be that most 'drink related problems' on the tube are caused by alcohol that has been consumed elsewhere rather than during the relatively short journey that most trips on the tube constitute.

There is already provision in law for dealing with people who are intoxicated and disorderly in a public place - and I would suggest that strengthening and the enforcing of this part of the law should be the way forward.

YCC - Dubbel said...

Asinine behaviour. Who really wants to eat or drink on a tube train anyway? They're filthy. Can't think of many worse ways to spend a Saturday night than going round and round the circle line in a vomit-filled tin can, unable to escape the Stella louts.

I'm backing Boris.

Tandleman said...

Boak - I am not sure why you think national rail services are a problem, but maybe you'll tell us?. I regularly travel on them and haven't found it so. Unlike tube trains and buses, there are toilets on most trains, though personally I would have no objection to a ban on drinking on commuter and suburban services, though there is less of a case in Inter City services which don't tend to attract those drunk in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Tandleman: haven't you ever travelled on a national rail service on a Saturday during the football season?


Tandleman said...

You think I'm crazy? In any event most services that football fans use have specific bans on alcohol. I've seen the prohibition notices often enough!

Anonymous said...

> You think I'm crazy?

Fair enough ;).

Not all of us are able to avoid it though. Although alcohol is banned on 'specials' and some routes on matchdays, this isn't always the case for fans of lower-league teams...and trust me, half a dozen of these fans can and do make every bit as much of a nuisance of themselves as a train load of supporters of the bigger teams.

As it happens, I'm not in favour of a ban on alcohol on public transport...but I think the alcohol-induced trouble on national services is more likely to be down to alcohol consumed during the journey than is the case on local services, where it is alcohol consumed PRIOR to travelling that is the real problem.


The SD said...

What the feck are you talking about? It's a liberty issue. The miners strike had a lot of "assault, vandalism, vomit and civil disorder" as well. People have a right to protest.

Tandleman said...

So you equate last night's nonsense with the miner's strike eh? To use your own words, "What the feck are YOU talking about SD?"

I was a trade unionist and Trade Union Branch Chairman in Liverpool during the strike (Bold was our adopted colliery) and often met miners when we handed over support money we had collected for them or when we had them as speakers at our meetings. Their dignity cannot be equated with this drunken "pseudo" protest.

The sort of protest you are defending here is too often used as an excuse for mindless behaviour (which is what I was complaining about) and which the miner's strike most certainly was not!

The SD said...

Quote: "I was a trade unionist and Trade Union Branch Chairman in Liverpool during the strike"

I know, that's whty I said it, to needle you.

You're being spun. This was a fun, legitimate protest which is being spun into a night of sickening violence by the people who want further restrictions on booze e.g Plod and the right-wingers.

How many people would be arrested on any given Saturday night on the tube network? Probably about the same.

People drinking on the tube are nothing to worry about. They're occupied. It's people who are drunk being denied a drink, or people who are out to cause trouble drink or no drink that the traveller must worry about.

I'd expect a conservative politician to condemn "mindless behaviour" like this, not a top dog like yourself.

I've posted a video of the event on the SD - it looks like a great night

Tandleman said...

Well you got me then! (-:

As for condemning mindlessness, in that respect if nothing else, I'm becoming more conservative.I'd birch them.

Now I need a drink but I'll wait 'til I get to the pub

YCC - Dubbel said...

Why was there not such mass organised protest when beer duty was raised to a level that threatened the future of Britain's pubs and breweries? That's a worthy cause. Having the freedom to piss it up on the tube is not.

It's telling that all the pictures of the 'revellers' show everyone drinking cans of Kronenbourg, Stella, cheap bubbly... and even Guiness Original apparently.

Boak said...

Anonymous / MWP's experiences are not unique. I've seen plenty of rowdy drunkeness on trains, often connected with football, but nor always.

Don't get me wrong, it's not as if there's an epidemic of it, but I've had much worse experiences on national rail than on London public transport, despite spending rather a lot more time on the latter.

And as I said in my piece, at least with the tube you can get off and get the next train if someone's bothering you. Usually when I travel by train this isn't an option, unless you want to wait a couple of hours and pay a couple of hundred quid to shift from your advanced saver seat!

Tandleman said...

Fair point. Don't get me started on rail fares though. It currently costs me and my better half well over £500 a month to that inane beardy bastard Branson just to get her home from London and back first thing(ish) on a Monday morning.

Monopoly supplier - monopoly fares.

Ted said...

I'm a lower-league fan (Darlo) though I restrict my drinking to off-the-train given the lack of cask ale on-board.

I suggest that the loutish behaviour by football fans - whatever the level - is more an extension of what happens every Fri/Sat in towns throughout the UK then a football specific problem.

Alcohol bans are quite rare these days on matchdays - generally on routes where the likes of Millwall and Cardiff are playing.

I find that as soon as there's a small hint of boisterous behaviour the conductors go AWOL and leave the passengers to their own devices. The BT police only seem to get involved on bank holiday weekends - strange that...

The Beer Nut said...

Tandleman, you should pay in monopoly money, then.

Thank you. I'm here all week.

Paul Garrard said...

I strongly disapprove of all drinking in public. Never thought I'd agree with Boris!