Sunday, 1 June 2008

No more beers on the tube

As someone who has done slightly odd things on the tube in the past - I launched an album, played a gig and shot a video on it - I'm sad to see Boris' alcohol ban on the Underground come into force.

It's a typically hypocritical conservative idea. The Tories go on ad nauseum about 'creating a smaller state' and encouraging 'freedom', yet whenever they get their hands on power they have no hesitation in using the state to interfere - in the worst possible way - in people's lives. Rather than use the state to provide useful things that increase people's freedom (like the freedom not to be sick that a a decent public health system provides) they use it to take personal freedoms away - in this case, the freedom to have a beer on the tube.

This ban is not just hypocritical, it's downright daft, because it's probably going to cause more problems than it solves. It's meant to curb anti-social behaviour, but, assuming there's no loutish behaviour involved, there is nothing particularly anti-social about having a drink on a train; that's why train companies routinely sell alcohol on their trains.

From now on, if somebody has a can of beer on the tube, somebody else is now going to have to take it away from that person. And I personally think that taking a can of beer off some one who is intent on drinking it is going to generate a lot more anti-social behaviour than would have occurred had you just let that person get on with it. Particularly if that person is drunk. Or has violent tendancies. Or has violent tendancies when drunk.

The other issue is that people who might have started their night with a beer on the tube may well drink before they get on it - on the way to the station or in a pub. So from now on drinkers may actually be more pissed before they get on a tube - which is actually more dangerous: think of all those drunk people using those big escalators.

All in all the ban smacks of puritanism. It's ill-thought through and is already causing anti-social behaviour...the 'swansong' party for drinking on the tube last night led to four assaults on staff and 17 arrests.

Typical Tory thinking. Or lack of it. And the way things are going, we're going to get a lot more of that kind of rubbish in two years time...

1 comment:

  1. Though I hate to agree with Boris.. I actually like this idea! As someone who was brought up living at the end of the central line, I've often travelled alone in carriages with p*ssheads with cans of Special Brew leering at me. On one recent occasion the culprit drank so much on his ten stop trip into town that he sprewed up the contents of his can all over the poor woman next to him.
    I like a drink as much as the next person, but surely with extended opening hours theres not really much excuse to use our tubes as a pub.
    Smokers have long since come to terms with the smoking ban on the underground and Ive never heard anyone calling for a return to smoking carriages. I think on this occasion the comfort and peace of mind of the many outweigh the needs of the few.


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