Don't Fear The Reaper

Why are councils so determined to demonstrate their lack of knowledge and grasp of reality? In a worrying move, Bury Council have backed proposals to amend the Licensing Act 2003. At the moment, health issues are not part of the four objectives of the Act. However, there are plans afoot to change that.

The Sustainable Communities Act (SCA), a rather good piece of legislation, allows local authorities to propose amendments etc after community consultation. A good idea in theory. But here, we have a classic case of backdoor lawmaking, or doing the dirty as I like to call it. The idea is to add “protecting and improving public health” to the four existing objectives.

Now firstly, there’s the question of whether, if it really is that important, why wasn’t it included in the original legislation. Secondly, is the issue of consultation. Or rather lack of it. Who exactly have they consulted? Not me, obviously. If they had, I would have told them, in the immortal words of Edmund Trebus, to stick it up their chuffer.

But perhaps I’m being too hard on our local political representatives. Obviously they must have good reasons for supporting such a draconian measure. Only it seems not. They seem to have fallen for the propaganda continually spewed out by the anti-alcohol brigade. Apparently 25% of UK adults drink above the low risk level and locally some 20% are “hazardous drinkers.” Yes, they’re even using the meaningless jargon of the anti-booze Nazis.

Deputy council leader and fun-police spokesperson Yvonne Creswell actually had the nerve to say: "It has been proved that cheap alcohol has a key role in excessive drinking and damage to health and, at this time, local authorities have no legal power to consider the protection of improvement of public health.” Of course not, luv. That’s because it’s not your job. Your job is to ensure my bins get emptied. Repeat after me, bins, not booze.

Of course this is the same council who have used alcohol licensing as an excuse to print money. If they were really interested in public health, they’d take more of an interest in the type and number of licensed premises. There’s been quite a lot of local publicity about a glassing in the town centre that could leave the victim blind in one eye. He was glassed in Coolers, a filthy dive on Silver Street and atypical of the late night rat-holes that have been granted licenses in recent years. Evert time there’s a serious disturbance, it’s in one of these places and yet we have councillors waxing lyrical about alcohol and health. Physician, heal thyself.


Darren T said…
Hear, hear. I love an evening out in Bury - a visit to the Met to see a folk band, then nipping down the Trackside for a couple of pints of something interesting. It's getting from the tram to the Met to the Trackside and back that's the worrying part.

A few years back I worked for a quango that was supposed to attract new investment to Greater Manchester. We did a tour of Bury's "econcomic hotspots" and all the local representatives on the tour were bemoaning the fact that most of the "decent" (their word) residents of Bury lived in the Borough but socialised in Manchester, not Bury town centre. "What we need is some classier places in the middle of town." they mused.

Sounds like they needed to be talking to the licensing department, as you say.
TIW said…
And these same councillors will be moaning why British holidaymakers don't visit their towns. Why the hell would I go to say, Newquay, which is full of drunks after 8PM and awash with vomit and piss, when i could nip over to France, Italy, Belgium, Spain or Germany and have a weekend without sharing the streets with morons out of their heads on Bacardi breezer.
martin said…
They really should be focusing on the amount of establishments in the centre.They'd be quite within their rights to refuse a licence on the grounds that the area already has too many.Which Bury centre does.If they actually bothered about protecting the public,they would realise it's the 3am kids dens where trouble arises and do something about it.

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