Monday, November 28, 2005

Britain's New Licensing Laws


Some of Britain's vital munitions workers, last Wednesday.



As British toffeewomblers will be well aware, last week the government introduced liberal new licensing laws, finally abandoning the restrictive drinking hours which have held sway in the UK for ninety years.

All well and good, you might think. Yet in the midst of the debate and celebration, one thing has gone missing. Those restrictive alcohol laws were originally introduced in the Great War, when it was felt that too many vital munitions workers were getting drunk at all hours, thus endangering the war effort.

So, what would effect would the new laws have on those very workers? This seems a crucial point to me. Last week, as a consequence, I paid a visit to an armaments factory in Deptford, to see the workers before the law. There's a photo I took above. An orderly and sober scene, I think - encouraging to all who care for the nation's security. Then, two days later, after the new laws came in, I returned to Deptford, to find out how the workers were responding to the government's new 24/7 licensing hours. Here's what I encountered:

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