Big Society Watches Your Drinking

Dave took the time to launch his vision of the ‘Big Society’ just ahead of the parliamentary recess. Beneath the Obama-lite rhetoric and calls for a legion of volunteers to run services was a message: it’s time to cut back the state and let individuals take control of their own lives.  So far, so good. But can the Tories resist the urge to centralise and regulate now that they are in power?

Behind the paywall at The Times, Deputy Mayor of London Kit Malthouse has been expounding on the ‘need’ for state intervention to combat alcohol consumption. The chief of the Met Police authority suggests twice daily alcohol testing for problem drinkers with “intensive monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance”.

He gleefully explains what happens to those who dare breach a prohibition order in a similar scheme run in the backwoods of South Dakota: “The sanction is immediate and certain – straight into the cells, no argument, no court, no lawyers.” Very ominous.

If Malthouse persists with his plan then Guido knows just the location to try out the new policy: a little upstream from City Hall, at a place where subsidised booze flows freely, disorder is common and employees are regularly drunk while at work. It’s hard to imagine that heavy-drinking MP’s would take kindly to being breathalysed.




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Emma Barnett asks Barry Gardiner:

“Which Barry Gardiner is telling the truth? The one who speaks in private or the one who’s on TV now?”

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