Sunday, 15 April 2007

Should the legal drinking age be raised to 21?

The UK has one of the worst problems in Europe with a fifth of children aged 11 to 15 drinking at least once a week.
The Public Policy Research (PPR), the journal of the IPPR think-tank, says it is time to practice "tough love", such as reviewing the minimum drinking age. Others say Britain should consider making the legal drinking age 21.

The government said there were already tough measures in place.

I think raising the legal drinking age to 21 is a step too far and smacks of the Nanny State.
However I do believe that the current drinking law is open to abuse by teenagers.
The problem we have with underage drinking is largely due to the 18-20 age group buying drink for their underage friends. I feel a good compromise would be to raise the age at which alcohol can be purchased in shops and off licences to 21. There’s a good chance that if you are 21 or older you will be less likely to buy alcohol for those underage. The age limit would remain at 18 in pubs, clubs and restaurants where regulation is already in place.


IanP said...

I think its probably the wrong question, as this 'story' is part of the wider government action of locking down the 12-21 age group.

I believe that to most right minded people the real question should be: Should the government enforce Parental responsibility?.

IanP said...

Dont be surprised if the government use this, and other anti youth behaviour patterns as their first 'social engineering' project using ID cards.

i.e. you will not be able to buy alcohol and cigarettes without an ID card, not just for youth but for everyone. So if your a drinker and smoker you will need an ID card.

Hence the way the story has been written in the press.

PETER SHAW said...

Exactly! My "drinking" training was done in pubs where peer groups kept you in line. When your drinking in parks, streets etc, there are no controls measures. 21 for shops etc, 18 for pubs etc. The problem is the drinks lobby is equally as powerful as the tobacco lobby. Anyway, the sun is shining in a very warm north east so it's off to the local wine shop for a bottle or two of Shiraz or Rioja. At 41, I would love somebody to challenge my age!

Daily Referendum said...

Ian P,

I think you are right about the future of ID cards under a Labour Government. This is one more reason why, as per my earlier post I think I'm turning Tory.

As for enforcing Parental responsibility, that is impossible under current legislation. Recent events have made me fully aware that I have absolutely no legal powers to protect or discipline my children.

My 14 year old daughter and all her friends smoke grass. There is not a damn thing I can do about it, because the Police can't do a damn thing about it (or won't). She left home on two weeks ago and went to stay at a friends house. I went to bring her home and she refused to get in the car. I realised that the only way I could get her in the car was to knock her unconscious. Obviously I would not want to do this to my daughter but also I would have been arrested. I called the Police hoping they would bring her home. Two hours later the Police rang back to tell me there was nothing they could do. I rang social services to see if they could help, they told me that they couldn't help but would (after 28 days) send someone around to the house that my daughter is staying at to see if was suitable.

The reason my daughter left home?

I tried to stop her taking drugs.

Luckily she returned home after 13 days with her tail between her legs. The question is what can I do if she decides to walk out again. Sadly the answer is nothing.

Daily Referendum said...


I'm glad you agree.

Enjoy the wine, it's a beautiful day for sitting outside with glass.

IanP said...

I have to admit I had lost touch to a certain extent with the legalities of bringing up children. Mine are all grown up now, although I do recall similar problems with my son when he was 14 with me trying to evict him from a pub. I have no rights to do so, only the landlord or police.

I do appreciate what a difficult and frustrating situation you are in.

I have just taken a look at the Talk to Frank website, and am totally stunned.

Nothing on the site about responsibilities of the child, the system or the parent. Only suggestions offered are talk with child, talk with councillor, or perhaps leave some leaflets lying around the house. Nothing really helpful or substantive at all.

Is it part of Nanny's plan to hive kids off from parents, so that Nanny can take care of them?

It seems to be a recurring theme on other subjects, and is frighteningly sinister if it is.

Daily Referendum said...

Ian P,

I was also stunned when the Police said they could do nothing.

I'm sure when I was a child the Police would have taken me home, legal or not.

Now the Police are worried about being sued by 14 year old girls.

IanP said...

There is a post and thread on Samizdata at present suggest could be worth reading.

Its getting frightening now.

In particular the words this morning of Tony Blair when he said:
his legacy as prime minister will "stand the test of time" and the "final building blocks" of reform are being put in place.
Mr Blair said decisions which will be taken over the next few weeks will "secure the long-term changes for the future".

Praguetory said...

Sorry to hear the story about your daughter. Unfortunately, smoking cannabis appears to be tolerated (I'd say condoned) at schools. The law is the law is the law. I doubt I'll be bringing my kids up in the UK (not that Prague is any better on this score).

Daily Referendum said...

Thanks Praguetory,

You've got the right idea bringing your children up abroad. Unless the Police, parents and teachers are given the backing they need to deal with unruly kids, then The Sex Pistols may well get their way.

Praguetory said...

Policing cannabis is easy. It goes like this. The police should press charges unless the person caught in possession name their source. If that was the way we did it, less youngsters would be drawn in through peer pressure.

I feel very strongly about this as I have friends who lost a year of their lives to cannabis at uni (and are now highly opposed to it being legalised). The mental illness precipitated by cannabis use is also very worrying if I were a parent.

My cousins who were brought up in Dubai weren't exposed to these kind of temptations.

Daily Referendum said...


Here's a tip: If you are thinking of going into politics, stop coming up with good ideas that could actually work - the other Politicians won't take you seriously. I think your idea would reduce the cannabis problem drastically.

Eternal_Comrade said...

You are all so blind! Can you not see that if the age of responsibility is raised, there will be mass rioting NATIONWIDE!!! Youth everywhere will cause this fragile economy such damage that we will never again be able to function as a capitalist state! I know because I will be leading them every step of the way!!!

Anonymous said...

I don't believe the drinking age should be raised at all. Many youngsters wait til the age of 18 not so they can buy drink or cigarettes, its the fact they can go out and have a social life in clubs. Plus the longer you allow youngsters not to drink legally, the more they will rebel, I have seen this too many times, they more young people are clamped down on, the more likely they are to start doing something.

Now I am 18 myself and just newly turned 18, I don't drink as all due to personal choices, but I find more people my age want to be 18 so they can go out and dance in clubs and go to socialable places.

Whereas giving no where fun and socialable for youngsters to go at night then causes them to get into trouble to entertain themselves. Also some will just stay indoors and end up not being able to hold a conversation with someone. Not being able to socialise and have fun in places like these, causes emotional problems as well.