Sunday, October 30, 2005

I sense a revival of the paper sack

Goodness gracious. No more drinks on the train.

When I first arrived in this country I was shocked by the amount of public drinking that went on. It seemed you could drink just about anything, anywhere without fear of recrimination. Perhaps these days are numbered.

All over the news, but described here in the The Times, the British Labour Government has decided that maybe it's time to call time on drinking on public transportation.

THE prime minister’s controversial “respect czar”, Louise Casey, is urging him to ban drinking on commuter trains and other public transport.

She is “strongly supported” by the police, according to a confidential government paper on tackling anti-social behaviour.

OK, I have to admit that it is news to me that we have a "respect czar". RESPECT.

I'm all for getting the drunken yobs to behave. But I hadn't noticed that this was a serious problem in my travels. But what's described in the next paragraph is a serious problem.

But commuters who enjoy a quiet drink on the train home would also be banned from relaxing with a glass of wine or gin and tonic.

I don't tend to drink during my daily journeys to and from work, but I have been known to have a drink on the Tube. The only serious problem this has ever caused was mass jealousy when I carried a lovely Pimms onto a very hot and packed Victoria Line.

More seriously, after a harrowing business trip perhaps to some dismal town in the North, a little drink on the train, often a seriously delayed train, can be a soothing balm. I'd hate not to have the chance to buy an overpriced can of lager because some people are causing trouble.

The Vol-in-Law thinks that the Government should wait until ID cards are introduced. Then our cards could be endorsed with our class and drinking priviliges as well as our name, address and biometric data. According to the Vol-in-Law they might go something like this:

  • Hooray Henry: Upper class toff, up to three glasses of good quality red OR two gin and tonics (likely to bore, loudly)

  • Wayne: lower class hooligan - no drinking permitted (likely to smash train windows)

  • Tristan: Upper class - but Rugby player, limited to a single glass of white wine spritzer (likely to shout, attempt cack-handed seduction and thump rival team members)

  • Vol-in-Law: Middle-middle class any drink to any quantity

  • Vol Abroad: Middle-middle class any quantity, but no White Lightening Cider or tequila (priors)

Truly, if this does come into effect, I'll have to resort to the old boot flask.

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