Happy hour can be one of the great pleasures– perhaps one of the only pleasures– of the typical nine-to-five worker’s day. Who doesn’t love a nice cheap pint or cocktail at the local bar after a long day’s toil?
But the days appear to be numbered for this holiest of rituals– in Britain anyway. The British government is set to ban time-limited alcohol promotions in bars, what you and I call “happy hours,” in an effort to curb binge drinking. Free drinks for women may also be prohibited, and there’s even been a suggestion to print warning labels on bottles of alcohol similar to those on cigarette packs.
These measures, which many are calling just another in a long line of nanny-state, Big Brother-type regulations in Britain, are the result of “long-term concern about the costs of alcohol misuse, estimated to run up to £25 billion a year.”
But not everyone is convinced that this ban is necessary, especially with the economy currently in the toilet. Writes Matthew Lynn: “It hardly sounds like a recipe for a fun night out. You step into the local after a hard day in the office, not having done any deals, and only narrowly avoiding redundancy, and you order yourself a pint of lager. Your barman sternly warns you that it contains 2 units of alcohol. He charges you full price for it. Pretty soon he’ll probably have to tell you there is too much salt in the crisps you ordered as well.”
Lynn goes on to argue that the people coming home from work, hoping to catch a 2-for-1 deal at the local pub, are not the problem– it’s those who have 20 drinks on Friday nights and go around looking for fights.
Once again, a government tries to give the appearance of solving a problem while not actually doing anything about it. Shocking.
Actor/traveler Ewan McGregor discusses the British nanny-state here.