Alex Deane is a Common Councilman in the City of London.
The latest target selected by the joyless “nanny knows best” brigade is the post-work pint. I’m not kidding – read this.
These people are tireless in their efforts to stop your fun. One might not mind so much, except their nannying and nosiness is – of course – paid at our expense. They are apparently concerned about addiction – perhaps they might look first of all to their own addiction to taxpayers’ money.
The anti-pint crusaders are entitled to their point of view. Indeed, expressing their hectoring views about how others should spend their leisure time is helpful on one view, as it assists mightily in the process of identifying people with whom spending that time would be a ghastly bore. But taking from the state to promulgate their Puritanism (and it really is always on the public dime, isn’t it?) just isn’t on. At least the Temperance Society activists of old put their hands in their own pockets instead of in yours.
There’s a basic point here about the nature of adulthood and free choice. The adults concerned managed to dress themselves and make their way to work. They’re entitled and able to make their own decisions about how they relax afterwards.
High pressure jobs involve stress and naturally, as a corollary, desire to relax afterwards. How people choose to do so is up to them. Alcohol is enjoyable. It is sociable. It is relaxing. And it is none of your pious, po-faced business.
I’m elected in the Square Mile and – if and when the grab for public money is made for this nonsense, no doubt with much sad headshaking about alcohol levels and the need for the state to “do something” – I shall oppose it with all my might. So Hackney already gave them £38,000 of taxpayers’ money – more fool Hackney, I’m afraid. (Do you live in Hackney? Do you like your money being spent lecturing you like this without even asking you?)
That’s my view per se – but it’s especially my view when it comes to the City. Because the City has a unique culture which is cherished by many, myself included. The post-work pint is a lovely part of that. To my mind, enjoyed in the alleyways and quiet pubs by customers standing up and shouting the odds about the day’s work, in its small way it is emblematic of all that these people don’t like – of eccentricity, of character, of differentness. They prefer uniformity. Blandness. Their way, not yours – and you can pay for the new rules being administered, too.
Now: perhaps you don’t like the City. Perhaps you don’t like beer. But you should still be concerned. Make no mistake – these people will not stop. What they lack in persuasiveness they make up for jn sheer, grinding, earnest persistence. This is what they do – it is a full-time hectoring lifestyle choice that knows no end. They will move on to another target and then another – from tobacco to alcohol to sugar to something else – and eventually they’ll hit something you like.
So when you find yourself one day with a “mocktail” in your hand (yes, seriously), when you find your own pursuit of choice ground out by the same controlling forces, don’t blame me. I’ll have warned you very clearly. They will progress from smoking indoors to smoking outdoors to smoking at all. From alcohol in certain places to certain amounts to certain times to no alcohol at all. One day, when they’ve exhausted the targets about which you may not be too fussed, the fun police will come for you.