Name and Shame A Drunk Day
The latest bright idea on how to tackle the country’s “out of control” drinking problem is to name and shame so-called binge drinkers. Yes, the solution to the menace of modern drinking is to have offenders pictured in the Monday papers as atonement for their weekend of excess.
Who has come up with this light bulb moment? Step forward national treasure Ann Widdecombe. Being a national treasure possibly explains the media’s interest in the story and why some other numpties have jumped on the bandwagon.
Taking part in a Radio 5 Live documentary about Britain’s attitude to drink; she accompanied a group of 20-something women on a typical Friday night out. Whoever thought of sending out the 64-year-old teetotaller and professional virgin on such a mission was either an idiot or a genius. Depending on your appreciation of comedic value.
Either way, the result was never going to be in doubt. Miss Widdecombe was shocked. She was shocked by the number of young professionals, particularly women, who think it acceptable to drink themselves into oblivion on Friday and Saturday nights.
And some of the sights were indeed shocking. She describes seeing scantily clad women staggering along in 6in heels, falling over and some were actually sick. It’s no wonder that: “Town centres are off limits for families and moderate drinkers, who feel intimidated by drunken revellers and worried about potential violence.”
But hold on. Isn’t she supposed to politically believe in self-determinism? And isn’t the fact that these professionals-which include teachers and scientists-are able to hold down responsible jobs and be useful members of society proof that they aren’t “out of control”? And what exactly is “binge drinking”?
It appears that Miss Widdecombe holds no truck with such arguments. She wants public drunkenness to become as socially unacceptable as drink-driving or smoking. And arresting these drunks and printing their details in the newspapers would “bring back the concept of shame” for public drunkenness, she argued.
What next? Crimewatch’s rogue gallery to feature Mr/Ms X for consuming more than the recommended daily alcohol unit allowance? Anyway, I’m packing my high heels away, lest I’m featured on the front page of the Daily Mail. Again.
Drunk Again: Ann Widdecombe Investigates is on BBC Radio 5 Live on Monday 23rd April at 10pm