A mate of mine from Germany loves to drink. This is not unusual. She has introduced me to loads of German lagers to the point I wish I could attend the annual Oktoberfest.
And she ain't a yob. She does not vomit all over the place or hit people for no apparent reason. She loves her lagers, I promise you that, but she also drinks in moderation. A habit, she admits, inherited from her country.
I do not think that flexible hours would encourage binge drinking more than the current limit already has. Hell what I am arguing is it may actually decrease binge drinking and public disorder. Flexible hours mean I can choose to go to the local pub at any time I want with my mates, have a nice pint and bugger off at a time of our choosing, while staying sober enough.
The problem isn't with the drink itself - it is people. And right now with pubs being forced to close at 11pm, punters are urged to drink up before being chucked out. Drinking five pints of beer in eight hours is a hell lot better than drinking five pints in three hour.
This legislation, if successful, would reintroduce the pub as a public sphere where people can have decent conversation over a pint without fear of being forced to finish up, is hell a lot of better hordes of drunk kids pouring into the streets at the stroke of 11. Much better than reading about silly fake blog wars, that were created by attention seekers to increase traffic, at 2am.
There will always be binge drinkers and yobs who love to get drunk silly regardless of the outcome and nothing can change that. People like George Best are ain't worth it and unfortunately some people love to emulate other people's desire to destroy their lives.
A tougher punishment against landlords who continue serving the drunks with more than they need to, is also a good idea - but do not punish the majority of us who just want to enjoy a drink. I wouldn't mind any increase in booze duty so long as it returns into helping people.
Longer hours or not, the brewery industry should at least start being responsible by at least owning up to the fact that their products does affect some people. I would love to see a portion of their profit going into local NHS coffers and local policing or even the opening of more help centres for the troubled.
Now if you will excuse me I would just hop down to my local pub for a pint before they close at 11.