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


Tandleman said…
I name and shame Tyson.
Tyson said…
Thank you. I'd just like to thank my parents and all those who made it possible.
Cooking Lager said…
Pissed up idiots getting drunk, puking in the street and pissing on the war memorial are a social blight you could rightly consider criminal considering the damage done. There was a CAMRA pub of the month in my town recently and you should have seen the aftermath. It was like several fresher’s weeks plus an influx of Scottish soccer fans, except they were all middle aged, fat & bearded. The devastation was appalling.

The choice is accept a left wing view of crime and excuse the perpetrator, viewing the criminal as a victim of society. This leads to protecting the criminal from their own actions by preventing them from getting pissed. Minimum prices for alcohol fall into this leftist mindset.

The other choice is a right wing view of crime and view the criminal as being responsible for their own actions and if their actions are unacceptable the law need to devise a suitable deterrent, usually a form of punishment. Widdecomes view that public shame should have a role is far from an outlandish extreme right wing view and would have been considered a middle of the road view a generation ago.

Tony Blair once advocated a third way. A bridging of left and right. It had electoral appeal at the time and is most famous for rhetoric like “tough on crime, tough on the causes of crime”, seen as a sound bite. The sound bite does encapsulate both the left and the right of opinion. In practice this came to be viewed as an empty rhetoric.

Your choice, I think, is to either say there isn’t an issue to solve or if there is decide whether you have more in common with the right or left. By no means entirely right wing, crime alongside economics is an area I have decided I am right wing on. On social issues, like gay marriage, I decided to be left wing.
Glyn Roberts said…
someone wake me up when Cookie has finished. zzzzzzz.......
Séan Billings said…
I agree with Cookie, even if he has effectively called me right wing for doing so.

I believe in personal freedom. If people want to get pissed, that's their own decision. When they puke on the pavement, piss in a shop doorway, shout and intimidate people, start a fight, or whatever other antisocial behaviour they deem necessary after a skinfull, they cross the line.

If this kind of behaviour is a constant problem then measures need to be taken to tackle it. Social pressure is a very effective way of curbing problem behaviour and it is the main reason Mediterranean countries have far fewer problems with such carry on than we do up here in the North. Drunken behaviour is considered socially unacceptable in Mediterranean cultures so people tend to know their limits.

If someone is done for drunken and disorderly behaviour they should be named and shamed. I would like to see a website with details of the offence, a transcript of what the drunk said to police and one of those amusing arest photos. There should be Facebook "Like" and Twitter "Share" buttons and a place for people to comment, like on a blog.
RedNev said…
CL defines "a left wing view of crime [as] excuse the perpetrator, viewing the criminal as a victim of society". No, CL, that is the Daily Mail view of the left wing approach to crime.

As that shoots your 'either/or' scenario in the foot, I'd say a large part of your comment is invalidated.
Cooking Lager said…
Not really Red. The Mail is too 20th century for me. I get all my opinion forming news from the blogoshere.

But I do sometimes listen to labour politicians on the telly, many of whom seem to think government cuts will increase crime. Like that fat bird who though we ought to pay for her fellas porn films.

If poverty causes crime then its not really the criminals fault, it's poverty. Which is societies fault.
Cooking Lager said…
Oh and don't I automatically win now or something? Isn't it the law that the 1st one to accuse another of being a Daily Mail reader loses?
RedNev said…
I see now where you're going wrong - you equate the Labour Party with left wing politics. And that is a Daily Mail view you espoused, whether you actually got it from the Mail or not.

We are all responsible for our own actions, and poverty does not automatically cause crime; neither should it be an excuse. There are many criminals among the rich and powerful in this country. It's just that wealthy criminals are much less likely to appear in the magistrates court.
Cooking Lager said…
Red, do you want to change wiki answers or shall I?

Actually can you do it?
Séan Billings said…
Who cares if a particular view on crime is usually associated with a particular ideology or not?

The issue is whether drunken antisocial behaviour is a problem and if so, is it effective and/or desirable to use naming and shaming of offenders as a means of discouraging that behaviour?

By all means tackle poverty too, btw. I don't think this would actually preclude you doing that.
Tyson said…

Oh come now-quoting dodgy wiki answers when we know that, what is it, 70% of all quoted internet facts are actually false. I can direct you to proof that Jamie Lee Curtis is a hermaphrodite, if you like.

If you’re really interested in the “left wing” view of crime, then I can fax you a copy of my highly commended paper on A Marxist Structuralist critique of crime within western industrialised society. It makes for good bedtime reading.

However, even if your simplistic opinion of the socialist view of crime was correct; that would only be in the context of understanding the causes of crime to prevent further crime.

What we’re talking about here is punishing behaviour seen as anti-social. In which case, I ask you to direct me to any state deemed left wing where the individual is absolved of blame and they go easy on crime. China? I think not. And I don’t think my old mate Fidel would stand for it either.


You are correct. I only give the above information to try and educate our badly ideologically challenged friend, Cookie:)

My view is that it’s not the problem the media make it out to be and naming and shaming won’t be the way to tackle it anyway.
Curmudgeon said…
It used to be the case that people took pride in being able to "hold their drink". Sadly, that now no longer seems to be the case - they take pride in how out of control they become.
Penny said…
This is beyond patronising on so many levels. Not to mention sexist. I can’t but help think that if a male politician had come out with those very same comments on women drinkers, they would be roundly slapped down.

There are sufficient laws already in place to deal with the anti-social effects of excess drinking. No one likes to see the some of the sights that the Daily Mail loves to highlight, but singling out professional women smacks more of old-fashioned values than common sense.
Anonymous said…
Half of Camra would be up before the beak if this comes in
Chris M said…
I can't see this working. Surely they will just see any publicity as a badge of honour?

Popular posts from this blog

The Kimberley Club

Wyldes Refurbishment

A Night In Rawtenstall