BBC BLOGS - Newsnight: From the web team
« Previous | Main | Next »

Wednesday 15 February 2012

Verity Murphy | 16:14 UK time, Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Some eurozone countries no longer want Greece in the bloc, Finance Minister Evangelos Venizelos has said, accusing the states of "playing with fire" as Greece scrambles to finalise an austerity plan demanded by the EU and IMF in return for a huge bailout.

Tonight we examine Mr Venizelos' claims and ask whether it would now be better for Greece to default, if the eurozone is now strong enough to cope.

Also, Sue Lloyd-Roberts reports on how despite female genital mutilation being banned in Egypt since 2008, the procedure is still commonplace and often ignored by the authorities.

Plus, with Prime Minister David Cameron set to call for bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry in England to do more to help ensure responsible drinking we look at the detail of what he is suggesting and ask whether his calls are likely to engender real change or not.


  • Comment number 1.


    In terms of damage done to the population at large, alcohol is the most DANGEROUS DRUG we have. The usual hierarchy is in place: user, pusher and Baron. But what shall we call the tax collector?


  • Comment number 2.

  • Comment number 3.

    Climate Scam Committee got cold feet on a unilateral UK carbon tax, at last some common sense shining through the cracks but politicians still pandering to the stock market parasites on ETS !


  • Comment number 4.


    We gave religions a deserved mauling on the last thread. Now let’s ask what kind of loving god wants routine mutilation. Does it not ALL SMACK OF THE MIND OF MAN?

    While we live and die as JUVENILES this sort of aberrant behaviour will triumph.


  • Comment number 5.

    '..despite ..banned in Egypt since 2008, the procedure is still commonplace and often ignored by the authorities. for bars, supermarkets and the drinks industry in England ... and ask whether his calls are likely to engender real change or not.'

    Calls, bans, etc. Not much cop if they can easily be circumvented (I see a roaring trade in Carlisle one way or the other) by those bent on self-harm or, in the case of the BBC's heroic cultures in the ME, if the powers that are don't see enforcement as a big issue when being imposed by the powerful on the weak.

    Awesome to fill a TV showette with to get the chattering classes appalled or in high dudgeon or simply on the ban-wagon warpath to redirect the lower orders' wicked ways for a while (domestically).

    Overseas, well, less sway there. Now, about those Iranian nukes or the new Sage of the South Atlantic (BBC celeb-deference grade)...

  • Comment number 6.

    What some of the key sceptics get in funding is less than you can currently get for living on benefits in London, its chicken feed compared to what WWF, FoE and Greenpeace get in funding from the EU !

    The Warmists must be getting really desperate ?

  • Comment number 7.

    The Eurozone OWES Greece. Yes, They are in a mess partly of their own making, but not wholly. A rigged internal market which favours the manufacturing north has made matters much worse.

    Were Greece going to default, it would have been better for the Greeks to do so a year ago, if not more. Greece has been destroying its civil society to save Eurozone banks. Now, with conditions, there should be a Marshall Plan to rebuild the Greek economy. And wealthy Greeks who jumped ship with their profits should be made to pay their share!

  • Comment number 8.

    To the Newsnight team. Pleas put this to whichever suits you get to represent HMG and the drinks industry. About ten years ago, most of the local pubs started selling shorts in multiples of 35 mls rather than 25 mls. This meant in particular that those (mostly young women) who drink a short and a mixer were, more or less automatically, consuming 40% more alcohol per long drink, for a rather more modest increase in price. It also meant that it was less easy to count units.

    As I congregate with Publicans and Sinners, I asked a friend, who was a local landlord, why the change? He said that the drinks companies had made them an offer that they couldn't refuse, in order to increase turnover.

    Now I'm not a teetotaller and like a drink, but I was brought up to drink in moderation and know my limits. I can also see that the "little bit of what I fancy, which does me good" is is very far from a universal "Good Thing". And I was appalled by this change, as were some local landlords who resisted the pressure for a while.

    I wrote to the Home Office and the Welsh Assembly Government. I did get replies, but they didn't show any concern whatsoever. How about legislating to make the 25ml optic the standard again, so that people in pubs can at least CHOOSE to drink less. Also ban "house doubles". Small steps, but I bet the dissembling waffle starts tonight!

  • Comment number 9.


    With recent research, alcohol has joined tobacco as an insidious general destroyer; it means that newfound longevity will, typically, be accompanied by inexorable debility.

    If only we knew how to raise mature adults from foetuses of potential.

    If Dave read the above, how would he react?

    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 10.

    Damn Newsnight Scotland!

    When are they going to end this debacle? Mid report - diddle dum, dum dum, dum diddle......


    Whilst I agree that there has been unchecked cynicism and profiteering in the drinks industry as in many others, there is still the question of personal responsibility.

    If I discover that
    a) 10 drinks put me in hospital
    b) 8 drinks put me in the gutter
    c) 6 drinks put my head down the toilet
    d) 4 drinks put me at risk of various illnesses, accidents and incidents
    Surely it doesn’t matter what the science of the ‘measure’ is. After the first or second incident shouldn’t something in the brain should say ‘don’t drink more than three!’

    I am sure Barrie would agree that Westminster should perhaps sort themselves out first - Free Bars at conference, 7 subsidised bars in the HoP.

    Interesting that almost all of the footage I have seen today focus’s on young people. Perhaps it might be worth dealing with the issues of their parents first!

    Oh hell – they’ve pulled in Helen Lederer again. Didn’t the BBC learn its lesson on Weekend Breakfast 10 days ago. How many ‘jokes’ will she try and pull off?

  • Comment number 11.

    I've just watched the debate about Greece, and I'm very angry. The Greek people have been sacrificed to the false God of austerity and are now to be cut loose. The German people are being lied to. THEY HAVE BENEFITTED from the artificially low exchange rate which is crucifying the Greeks and the south. You can't have a successful single currency without an internal transfer mechanism. The ECB has not been prepared to, or been allowed to, act as a proper central bank. It has behaved as if there were a gold standard, even though there isn't. This has been a terrible experiment with human lives and livelihoods, and it has failed. Only the lies continue.

    I think of William Jennings Bryan:

    "You shall not press down upon the brow of labor this crown of thorns; you shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of (false) gold."

    If one good thing can come out of the the Greek debacle it may be that technocratic "Gouvernment Sachs" is finally discredited. It promised much, but delivered nothing except more agony.

  • Comment number 12.

    Alcohol? Amongst all the heated, polarised debates I've seen/read/heard on the issue of alcohol pricing, bars, criminality etc etc etc., I have NEVER heard any discussion on what I believe to be a far more urgent and disturbing question, and one which perhaps we do not want to face. And that is WHY people feel the need to go out (or, indeed, stay in) and drink themselves into a stupor. The media focusses constantly on "binge-drinking teens" with cans of cheap lager - which undoubtedly exist. However, we seem less willing to highlight "nice middle-class people" who think it's normal and healthy to swallow a bottle of wine every night of the week. Just because some of us can afford Chardonnay from Waitrose (or wherever), does NOT mean it does not cause medical harm, aggression and violence and addiction. Let's stop demonising certain groups, and let's have a debate about what is wrong with us all psychologically/emotionally.

  • Comment number 13.


    Dave has considerable form in the devious manipulation arena. So what bad news is he burying today? Anyone? Isn't it ALL bad?

    #10 Dead right BYT. To quote Decisive Dave: "We're going to take action right across the board." That'll include The Palace of Westminster will it Dave?

    Yeah right.

  • Comment number 14.


    Your guest -the writer actress said its "normal to drink"
    No it's not!

    It might be normal to her, knocking back bottles of wine and shoving donuts down her throat but clearly she doesn't know what a pancreas or what a liver does and how they eventually fail if heavy and long term abuse of alcohol isn't curbed. She may not know this but her face gives away her bad health due to regular boozing. She be lucky if she sees forty.

    Who are we gonna have next as a guest on Newsnight? Sean Penn telling us how great Chairman Mao was.

    Newsnight..where do you get these people from? goodness sake!

  • Comment number 15.

    @10 Personal responsibility?

    I agree! But vast sums spent marketing, peer pressure - what should be a badge of shame being a badge of honour, nightclub promotions, etc etc make personal responsibility a difficult path for impressionable and vulnerable youth. Some drink, smoke, snort and pop on the same evening. In a small community like mine, it's easy to know who and where.

  • Comment number 16.


    Our anti-Nature culture, manifests in the convincing of young girls, by government, that they must eschew Mothering for Mammon. Johnnie Foreigner, by contrast, keeps mothers for mothering, but part of mothering is to convince their girls they must eschew genital parts for gentility.

    On entering 'adult' life, which of the two women will be the most deranged? The one who has been denied breast-feeding, and gentle, unstressed mothering, or the one whose close, nurturing mother had an episode of madness - inflicting pain? Call Professor Winston!

    Is the similarity not apparent? The madness of unnatural culture, is espoused by The Ape Confused by Language, WORLDWIDE. But OUR speciality is to tell Johnnie Foreigner, with great authority, that OUR MADNESS IS THE RIGHT MADNESS.

    What luck shame and embarrassment have been purged from these islands by Westminster.

  • Comment number 17.


    If only our do-gooders (and most of the population) could see that a JF mother IS LOCKED IN to the cultural imperative of mutilating her daughter, BY EXACTLY THE SAME LEARNT PATTERNS AS CAUSE OUR LOT TO SWALLOW INDUSTRIAL SOLVENT.

    If we must institutionalise kids in school: TEACH THEM PHILOSOPHICAL ANALYSIS. Remember the Larkin poem that Oliver James used as a book title? Above are two examples of what parents do; we must immunise kids against wacky culture, practised by dumb parents.

  • Comment number 18.

    Barrie wrote:
    "we must immunise kids against wacky culture, practised by dumb parents"

    A simple message but well put..and very true, good line that baz.

    I wonder if Egypt TV has something comparable to know, Egyptnight. They send reporters around the Infidel western world, shocked at our wayward drunken culture and hedonistic lifestyle . Their reports would shock their own viewers to the point they'd walk out of the room or reach for the remote to switch off.

    Newsnight was a difficult watch tonight. I'm not sure what good the Egypt report would achieve. They have about as much chance of changing that barbaric practice as we have of getting rid of our own entrenced booze culture. Maybe in a couple of generations and when mankind finally gets over that 1st nuclear war...

  • Comment number 19.

    RESPECT KEV (#18)

    I put a self-funding package (needing start-up cash) to Rowntree, in 1995, on precisely that credo; they did not see the need. The project was 'staffed' by an enthusiastic group of free-lancers (gathered through an entrepreneurial friend, and a pile of serendipity) who had some meetings to bug-out the scheme. 'Positive Message TV' (commercial) is not a dream, it has been done before, by a European consortium. But the Age of Perversity is marching (galloping) forward, and the coloured beads of Nihilism beckon. Anyone who reads this, and thinks I am a fantasist, search my name and "visionary stuff".

    The idea, now called: "THREE'S A CROWD" is not dead. Indeed, as I keep asserting, we have knowledge and facility to change the current world madness, but the most deranged and juvenile are in charge, and the rest have been 'educated' to an effete standstill. It will be uphill.

    Perhaps NewsyNighty could spare a reporter with Gravitas, to investigate this untapped good?

  • Comment number 20.

    14. At 23:34 15th Feb 2012, kevseywevsey - where do you get these people from?

    I don't think they are 'got'. They are on permanent standby in the Newsynightie Green Room... to tell 'us' what 'we' are thinking as 'our' representatives.

    Like the concept of Egyptnighty. I wonder if they'd 'do' domestics beyond a carefully-constrained boundary..?

    I guess we'll never know how the coverage is handled, on the day the Balen Report is again secured behind its FoI exempt firewall.

    Oddly, this coincides with this:

    "Public suspicion and anger could have been avoided had Locog been open and transparent from the start'

    On flogging some tickets.

    How a £4Bpa media monopoly skews reporting on the most volatile region in the world... not so much.

    And then, there is... watertight oversight.
    (noting the 'Highest Rated')

    No... sorry... here it is...

    'until we can ensure that watertight oversight is in place.'

    Evidently a 'fluid' concept.. depending.

    '22. minuend
    15TH FEBRUARY 2012 - 21:55
    The New York Times is to issue an apology and a retraction of their story, The rush to comment without confirmation of authentication has the potential to ruin a few journalists careers.'

    Nah, they are golden. It's a 'unique' thing.

    Nick Robinson is a devotee, anyway.
    (noting 'Highest Rated' there too)

    Guess.. punt.. backtrack... cover. Just how trustworthy journalism should be.

  • Comment number 21.

    Also, Sue Lloyd-Roberts reports on how despite female genital mutilation being banned in Egypt since 2008, the procedure is still commonplace and often ignored by the authorities.
    As now is or is soon to be commonplace in, or is soon to become commonplace in the UK.
    If our border agency staff are prevented by e.g. the EU regulations & HRA from adequately securing the UK from e.g. people & children traffickers - How do the authorities expect to prevent this obscenity from STILL being practised in the UK?

  • Comment number 22.

    #21 Yup nautonier you're right. One of the reasons our midwives and obstectric doctors are under so much pressure these days, is the the amount of mutilated women, via our mass immigration programme, that now present themselves to hospitals in labour. Probably haven't been to any antenatel appointments, so they are always emergency cases.

  • Comment number 23.

    What I can't understand is how women can mutilate their own female children, it's nearly always carried out by older women, us in the west say it's because they think the female childrren will never marry or will be treated as dirt, if they don't have everything hacked away, often without anasthesia.

    But is it because the older women don't want the girls do enjoy sex because they couldn't?!

    Peer pressure amongst women is enormous, just look at all the silly fool girls here who follow celebrities, I don't understand why I didn't, if I could I might be able to come up with some answers.

  • Comment number 24.


    The unremarked, routine obscenity of the Westminster Ethos, is THE LIE that we all live within in these islands.

    Take Dave's latest high-profile deluso-illusion (in association with a photo-opportunity, wasting hospital time). From the Westminster Citadel of Covert Tyranny, Despot Dave pops out the Sally Port to show concern regarding irresponsible drunkenness. Meanwhile, his regime continues to indoctrinate girls into 'career before care' - for her child, bombing Johnnie Foreigner (it's what Despots do) and elevating, to senior positions, those whose main characteristic is deceit. So much more I could add.

    WE are a festering disgrace; all the more so that we trumpet integrity to the world and admonish their improprieties. Oh wad some powr give Dave the giftie of seeing himself, and his Westminster Citadel, for what it REALLY IS: beyond any words the Blogdog would allow.

  • Comment number 25.

    HELEN LEDERER was rubbish last night. Binge drinking exists Helen and it costs a fortune in police hospitals and social workers clearing up the mess and then street cleaners clearing up the mess. She needs to open her eyes and go into a city centre or a hospital late night. it is more like a war zone. and her answer its no worse than when she was a student, yeah I bet.

  • Comment number 26.

  • Comment number 27.


    Hi Lizzy! Your post chimes with mine @24. How could I forget the overarching subversion of all our lives by Westminster's espousal of EU perversity?

    Our absorption into the EU adventure, was proof of D MOCK CRASS Y writ large. The lies, deceit, trickery and manipulation that pave that road to Hell, could only have been achieved by an institution such as Westminster, where those 'attributes' are lauded.

    "Those whom the gods wish to destroy they first make mad."

  • Comment number 28.

    Binge drinking is undoubtedly worse than when I was a student, although there were always subcultures of it, eg college rugby clubs.

    What didn't we have then that exists now? Well, for a start, the "Ibiza" type phenomenon, glorified by TV programmes, of people going away to behave in a way that would shame them at home. (Mind you, this is only the masses imitating the Bullingdonians.) We also didn't have the intense marketing of alcopops, "shots", Jägerbombs etc.

    The difference between social drinking and binge drinking is the difference between alcohol as a relaxant and social enabler often with food, and alcohol as a deliberate means to maximum intoxication as an end in itself: in effect a culture of glorifying oblivion. There was always a bit of the latter, but most people grew out of it. Now there's more of it and people don't want to grow up.

    The not wanting to grow makes me think of what we saw last week: the fashion victims who wanted boob-jobs after a couple of kids so they could look like teenagers again.

  • Comment number 29.


    Ritual male circumcision, and ritual female excision, fall into line with baptism (let's not forget wetting the baby's head - booze again) the lad's first beer with proud dad, 'initiations' in public school and the forces, and so on. Even religious observance and anorexic/bulimic rituals relate. Fundamentally we are all OCD.
    Some rituals must be enacted - even endured - if we are not to feel a pre-verbal threat of annihilation. (What greater proof of threat than that even MOTHER is prepared to torture you to make you ‘OK’. The gods must be propitiated. As I posted earlier: we are a rotten branch on the tree of life. People tend to think cleverness indicates superiority; not if you 'clever' yourself into a gibbering failure!

    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 30.

    22. At 10:11 16th Feb 2012, ecolizzy wrote:

    #21 Yup nautonier you're right.
    Hi ecolizzy
    I know as I've read about & have been personally told about this before by medical professionals - but how is it the BBC does not tackle the issue & instead manages to find a similar story in Egypt & as a another place where 'Christians' are also being 'oppressed' ('murdered') for their faith?

    Another example of the BBC manipulating the 'news' rather than reporting it as it is -presumably to follow its Guardian newspaper, 'PC twisted' agenda?

  • Comment number 31.

    ecolizzy wrote @26:
    "A view never heard on the BBC"

    Your link with Nigel Farage giving-it-large at the Euro parliment, yes, your right, you'll never hear that from Auntie beeb for sure but remember this and feel a warm glow as you read this: we have the tinternet, we are empowered with sourcing information elsewhere, there is a massive global awakening - as Brezinski said in a worried tone to the elites last year: how it would slow down their agenda. The BBC, however authoritive most think this corpoation is, it's still steered by the elites, be in no illusion about that, the international socialists use it as a conduit of their propaganda (init) news speak.

    Smile and feel that fuzzy glowy feeling Eccolizzy as you clink to a link to Russia today (oh the irony) and listen to Farage give his take on Greece and its woes. Feel that power and rejoice in knowing that the BBCs relevence is slipping into its own hole of nothingness, its past glories one day soon only to become a distant memory.
    I'm cursed with vision..on other days its a blessing:o)!

  • Comment number 32.


    Good grief!! Has he realised at last? Has he finally cottoned-on that WE ARE SHARING WITH TOO MANY MANGLES?

    Oh - no. He is just being warm and caring about hanging on to Scotland for some political advantage.

    So the OVER-SHARING of England, and its finite jobs (with or without Scotland) will continue until MANGLISH IS THE LINGUA FRANCA.

    What is the Rab C Nesbitt view on that? No - I can't understand HIM either!

  • Comment number 33.

    #31 Thanks very much for the link Kev! Fancy that, Nige spoke for almost four and half minutes, never seen that on the beeb! I do often watch the other news channels, but I find the accents a bit difficult to hear at times, worst of too many rock bands, disco's and computer card sorting machines in the sixties! ; )

    And yes thank goodness for the internet, it allows other views from different political parties.

    The beeb is like censoreship TV these days.

  • Comment number 34.

    Barrie and nautonier, another thought that the beeb doesn't air either, (why do they think everything is perfect here?!) there are many more people here nowadays that would mutilate their daughters. But the beeb never mentions that teachers are trained to watch for signs of this abuse, and must report if a girl is suspected of being mutilated. Trouble is nothing happens to the perpetrators, no one cares about these poor girls.

    PC is damning for so many people nowadays.

  • Comment number 35.

    Still 'rife' in the UK - its the BBC 'news' - 'its rife'

  • Comment number 36.

    Nigel Farage - Isn't he just 'UKIP City Baby' just waiting for his 'bonus'?
    Can't ever see him sorting anything out in the 'City' other than another 'bonus' for himself & his hedge fund chums?

    Who've we got left - as the 'cupboards looking bare'?

  • Comment number 37.

    #36 "Who've we got left - as the 'cupboards looking bare'?"

    Yes nautonier totally and utterly bare! Has been for years and years and years, perhaps we ought to desolve all political parties and start again.

    Hhhhmmm and yes I have a feeling Nige wouldn't turn out as well as expected, although at least he speaks up and says what he thinks, instead of nimbying around.

  • Comment number 38.

    Sue Lloyd-Roberts claims: "a wave of xenophobobia and traditionalism has engulfed Egypt since the fall of Mubarak regime". Given that Mubarak was ousted just an year ago, it is rather too early to pass such harsh judgements on the Egyptian society's evolving dynamics. Also remember, it was during the Mubarak era that spread of female genital mutilation incidents reached the 90% figure. Is Lloyd-Roberts too impatient over things that are not changing to her liking soon enough?

  • Comment number 39.


    If we are caught up in a plot by Lizards, Skull and Bone Darksiders or NWO (with fries), it has to be said THEY ARE WINNING. Our last action hero is defending the South Atlantic Front.

    We are coming to love Big Brother.

    Weeping prohibited.

  • Comment number 40.


    It is what tabloid NewsyNighty looks for in a reporter, factsearcher. It goes SO well with the floating geometry and diaphanous buses.

  • Comment number 41.

    At 14:21 16th Feb 2012, factsearcher wrote:
    Sue Lloyd-Roberts claims: "a wave of xenophobobia and traditionalism has engulfed Egypt since the fall of Mubarak regime".

    Egyptians probably even think that Egypt is their country - although much concern there for 'Christians'
    BBC seems to think that no one as a right to 'their country' as is more globalist socialist propaganda?

  • Comment number 42.

    At 14:16 16th Feb 2012, ecolizzy wrote:
    #36 "Who've we got left - as the 'cupboards looking bare'?"

    Hhhhmmm and yes I have a feeling Nige wouldn't turn out as well as expected, although at least he speaks up and says what he thinks, instead of nimbying around.

    They all 'say what they think' until they get elected?

  • Comment number 43.

    Greek Bailout

    I would say the Greeks should hold a referendum and seek a mandate for such a deal from the people. But I recall the last Greek Prime Minister who suggested such a thing was quickly removed and a technocrat was implanted into the job.

    As for firewalls , I was reading the other days there was trouble brewing in the German workforce over cost saving measures being brought in by their companies. Early days for sure, but I would say this is just one sign of contagion in the German economy.


    Sounds and looks horrendous , but I do not think its the BBC's job to name and shame foreign countries , that's the UN's job.
    The BBC wading in will only polarize opinion.

    State Sponsored Immortality

    Sorry but I can not buy into this statist evangelicalism which seems all the rage today.
    I accepted being a mere mortal decades ago.
    So in the mean time please excuse my heresy.

  • Comment number 44.

    Latest stats from the ONS : Ageing, life expectancy and retirement.


  • Comment number 45.

    28. At 11:20 16th Feb 2012, Sasha Clarkson wrote:
    (Mind you, this is only the masses imitating the Bullingdonians.)

    I'd agree with near all you write, though might hazard the masses are more likely aping those the identify with more.

    Not just sporty, celeb types, but true role models...

    'Stella socialists' may be more alliterative, but the more common term seems nowadays to be about on the money.

  • Comment number 46.

    '43. At 14:47 16th Feb 2012, Steve-London - I do not think its the BBC's job to name and shame foreign countries , that's the UN's job.
    The BBC wading in will only polarize opinion.'

    Not to mention getting folk elsewhere conflating the British part of the BBC with the government and people, which would never do.. much as the claim is we are spoken for as much as at. Albeit, by the BBC.

    Luckily wading, and polarisation, is often on a 'selective basis', so opinions tend be uniquely shaped, if rather in set ways.

    That's how you enjoy so much trust. Apparently.

  • Comment number 47.


    Nuff sed.

  • Comment number 48.

    Now that majority of people in UK do not want/wish or desire to be part of a UK/Britain (?) - We can all look forward to the day that our politicians will not be able to start a war in e.g. Iraq as part of a 'British allied task force'.

    Eventually our polticians will have to decide to bomb in the name of England/ Scotland etc - that is a different matter to e.g. bombing for 'Britain'?

    IMWO, The sooner that the union is broken up - So much the better! - This will restrain 'our' power mad MP's and mean that the Scottish rogue Westminster PMs will not be able to start more wars on behalf of 'Britain'.

    Salmond is not now doing anything here - Scotland really became 'Independent' with 'devolution' as was 'the road to no return'.

    Devomax would/will mean an end to 'UK' and 'Britain'


    English would have more influence in the world as 'England' rather than as Britain with all those 'war monger Scots'?

  • Comment number 49.


    What sick-o-phantic load of pretentious tosh.

  • Comment number 50.

    Back in the day, my maternal grandparents were publicans and they were very good at it too, at one time working directly for Whitbreads as pub trouble-shooters.

    As a child, I would go at spend holidays with them and learnt a bit about the pub trade as it was then in the early 1960's. As some will recall, the hours were very restricted, something like 12:00 to 14:00 and 18:00 to 22:00 or maybe even 23:00 on Saturday.

    The social mores of the time meant that it was utterly unacceptable to be seen drunk in public unless you were a real down-and-out person.

    My grandparents would simply refuse to serve anybody who they judged had had enough and that was that. It all seemed to work very well.

    Today, getting 'bladdered' is deemed perfectly Ok, even for women, something that would totally shock my grandparents if they were still around.

    An unintended consequence of the drink-driving laws is not only that it is one of the factors causing pubs to close but it has also meant that people are getting quietly sozzled at home, as there is no social pressure to scale it back.

    What are the root causes of excessive alcohol consumption?

    I would guess that one factor might be a lack of self-esteem/confidence, which could be rooted in the very poor quality schooling that many children in our England suffer.

    Of course, there would be other factors, parental guidance or lack of, ease of access to alcohol, peer pressure and so on.

    I like an alcoholic drink , maybe once or twice a week, and my wife does not drink at all so rather than glug a whole standard 750 ml bottle of wine by myself (hic), I have found that the 'minicellar' 187 ml bottle, equal to one full wine glass, is perfectly acceptable, always sipped with food.

    The alternative, as some of my Methodist relatives would say to me is 'When are you going to take the pledge'.

    To which I would answer - "When I've polished off this one".

    Pledge, polish, geddit - no, ok, I'll stick to the day job.

  • Comment number 51.


    Personally I would send him for retraining until he has learned to say: "Aberrant beyond my experience." Then he should send himself on another course in extreme human behaviour. Or is talking high flown nonsense a perk of the job?


  • Comment number 52.

    The piece on responsible drinking did not really highlight that Camerons call and actual remit applies to England only.

    But we all know why that is - we English are expected by the Westminster 'Brits' to pretend that we live in a United Kingdom, and Dave has even started to call it 'our United Kingdom'.

    The rest of them can call themselves Scots or Welsh and enjoy their own Government, for some reason we English are forbidden to do likewise - Cameron, as a fully paid-up Brit, in the political sense, says he isn't interested in England being England.

    Whatever Cameron thinks, the UK as a political entity, is heading for the dustbin of history.

    That is that and England will be England again.

  • Comment number 53.


    Nuff sed

  • Comment number 54.

    Still pondering the topic for tonight?

    I wonder if this might make the cut?

    "..there are plenty of mandarins fretting about their accounting today. And BBC news presenters…"

    Possibly not. Professional courtesies 'n all.

    I'd go with Sean Penn, or something well away from UK stuff tonight.

  • Comment number 55.

    @52 JC "That is that and England will be England again." Ah - but was it ever? I come from a part of England that was always prone to rebellion. You might get Northumbria, Mercia, Wessex, and Greater Londinium!

    Don't think a Balkanised Britain will be at peace!

  • Comment number 56.

    Sasha Clarkson @ 55

    Some parts of England are prone to rebellion now, if we include the riots last summer.

    Which to my mind, was a clear signal that England needs its own Government, to focus exclusively on our own English problems.

    Once an English Parliament has been established, we would expect it to work hard to correct the massive economic imbalances that currently exist between the regions of England, which, if not fixed, might well lead to some form of Balkanisation.

    Longer term, I would expect an independent England to experience political pressure from Cornwall to be more independent of England - but not really from any other English region.

    PS. I usually enjoy reading your posts, which genuinely add value.


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.