Oh, To Be a Lush in England!

Mark Steyn gave all of us a heads up a few days ago to a new public safety scheme in Great Britain. The police will distribute gaily colored flip flops to drunk women as they exit pubs and attempt to wend their boozy way home. Without high heels to trip them up, the poor girls will avoid twisting their ankles. Or, horror of horrors, have to walk home barefoot with the fashionable footware dangling from one nail varnished paw!

Now Milo has sent me news of yet another police program to keep the streets safe. This time they are passing out free pens to drunk people in Manchester. Pens that double as bubble blowers.

The idea is that violence, assaults, property damage, and excessive late night noise will be abated if the drunk people are distracted by these little toys on the stagger back to the ol’ homestead. They used to pass out free lollipops, but that wasn’t doing the trick. It was decided that the big guns in the form of bubble blowing pens was necessary.

My admittedly limited background in law enforcement leads me to think that arresting drunk hell raisers and tossing them in a cell for 12 hours or so is the best way to reduce all that violence, noise, and torn up private property. There must be something about the conditions in England that makes this a losing strategy, like maybe their drunks are so dangerous that they have to be placated by toys and free giveaways so they don’t tear up the town like Godzilla. Lollipops, bubbles, and flip-flops are the way to go over there when dealing with these pub-crawling menaces!

I had no idea that the police in Britain were overwhelmed by hordes of drunk people, swarming the streets every night at closing time. It must resemble some sort of zombie movie every evening.

It would also seem that their medical facilities are swamped by miniskirt-clad doxies, demanding treatment for twisted ankles and stubbed toes. I would discuss how this was predictable considering how England has socialized medicine, but then I realized that would steal some thunder from our readers.

8 thoughts on “Oh, To Be a Lush in England!”

  1. From what I read on UK police blogs (e.g. Inspector Gadget I’m sure that the majority of officers of the rank of inspector (lieutenant) or below would love to round up all the drunkards and throw them in a cell. Unfortunately they usually complain of having far to few officers, e.g. less than half a dozen to cover a city centre on a Friday night. They are simply outnumbered when large numbers of truculent piss-artists spill out onto the streets.

    Presumably the government thinks that giving toys away is cheaper than recruiting more officers.

  2. The big surprise in Britain, the last few times I visited, was the extent of the public drunkeness on weekend evenings.This I think comes from a political class that has no understanding of its responsibilities. This isn’t the Britain I first saw 40 years ago-the breakdown in public manners is scarcely to be believed. From what I read it seems they have moral vocabulary. The best commentator is Theodore Dalrymple.

  3. “Presumably the government thinks that giving toys away is cheaper than recruiting more officers.”

    I figure that they will give away little red wagons next. That way the conscious drunks can use them to haul their besotted and oblivious buddies home.

    I’m going to wait until the Big Wagon Giveaway is initiated before I visit England. Although I don’t drink myself, I will pop into a pub 15 minutes before closing time to try one of those sparkly lemonades they drink over there, and just act drunk on my way out.

    New flip flops, bubble blowing pens, lollipops, a little red wagon. Think of the haul! It will be like Christmas, with the cops playing Santa Clause!


  4. Then again, if you read Shakespeare or Dickens, you will find that drinking too much and eating too little to soak the booze up has been an English problem or centuries. One must not assume that the atypical historical period that lasted, roughly speaking from the 1830s to the early 1950s is what England has always been about. There is a long history there.

  5. The Dalrymple link from Knirirr is definitely worth reading, particularly the, uh…eye-catching method of stopping a taxi for the ride home. I drove a taxi in college days and I have to admit I never saw that method back then.

  6. Helen…”drinking too much and eating too little to soak the booze up has been an English problem or centuries”…doubtless true. But that’s only part of the issue here. The other part is the assumption that any unwise or even outright stupid behavior on the part of individuals must result in the creation of a government program to avoid any harm to said individuals from their own actions.

    I’m sure I’ve quoted the following passage here before, but it once again seems appropriate:

    “To minimize suffering and to maximize security were natural and proper ends of society and Caesar. But then they became the only ends, somehow, and the only basis of law — a perversion. Inevitably, then, in seeking only them, we found only their opposites: maximum suffering and minimum security.”

    –Walter Miller, in his great novel A Canticle for Leibowitz.

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