24 November 2005

I wish it really was 24 hour drinking.

The only problem I can see with the new licensing laws are that they don't go far enough.

While the Tories/Lib Dems and even the Greens!!!, are all moaning about potential armaggeddon and how pubs in residential areas shouldn't be allowed to open after granny's bedtime, they are completely missing the point. It's the quiet residential pubs that are going to make 24 hour opening a success. A quiet residential pub doesn't really make any noise anyway (think of lock-ins), and people making noise in residential areas are generally coming back home from city centre bars. You won't stop this by not opening local pubs. Strict penalties for pubs that have troublesome noisy customers is the way to stop noise and trouble.

So it's a big disappointment to find that a lot of pubs have only extended drinking to midnight. This certainly WILL cause problems. To stop binge drinking, we have to stop closing time. I hope these pubs see the error of their ways and quickly apply for later licences. What we need are pubs that say- we'll open to at least midnight, and then keep going while there are still enough people left to make it viable. That is what happens abroad. There should never be a time where you have loads of customers having to rush their drinks because they are being told to drink up and leave. We certainly know how to cause problems for ourselves in this country.


  1. Neil, can you provide evidence (or retract the statement) that the Greens are opposed to pubs opening later in residential areas? I know the Green Party in Brighton has complained that the application process and complaints procedure are not easy to use and not transparent. The council didn't keep the website and list of applications up to date properly, so we had to embark on a campaign of informing residents of applications in their area and guiding them on how to object to (or support) the application.

    From the B&HGP website:
    We support the principle of liberalisation of licensing hours. However we believe this must not be at the expense of causing nuisance and disturbance to residents who live near venues applying for extended hours licences.

    As with most of the Green Party policies, we believe that decisions should be made at the lowest possible level - hence we don't have a blanket objection to late licenses and believe that local residents should have the greatest say.

    As for your tautological statement that quiet residential pubs don't make noise - surely the problem is the noisy pubs in dense residential areas, of which there are many in Brighton, particularly in Hanover, Kemptown, St. Peters, North Laine and, I dare say, Regency.

    I personally agree that the way to prevent crime and disturbance is not to stop pubs serving alcohol later, but to target the perpetrators, whether it be the pub itself playing music too loudly or the customers who cause a disturbance when they leave, although I don't know where the police and councils will find the extra resource to do this if needed.

    Lastly, "the new licensing laws... don't go far enough". Are you proposing that they should force pubs to open later, rather than just give them the chance to apply for a license if they choose to?

  2. This is a quote from Regency Green campaigner Sven Rufus from Green Party Community News for Regency Autumn 2005;

    "Late licences are fine in commercial areas but not in quiet residential streets where people live."

    I think it is pretty clear that he objects to residential pubs being given late licences.

    Labour are the only party being honest on this, all the other parties seem to be trying to hedge their bets, are being opportunist.

    The police are being given extra funding, an extra £2.5m up until christmas, to help while the new laws bed in. After that the new law will be reviewed.

    "Are you proposing that they should force pubs to open later?"

    I think the present system is too bureaucratic, pubs should be given much more flexibility. At the moment we are still going to get a lot of people thrown out at closing time, except it will be 12am rather than 11pm. This is where problems might occur, because people will still have to rush to finish their last drink.

  3. "While the... Greens are... moaning about potential armaggeddon..."

    Do you think this is a fair comment based on one GP member with a differing view to the party policy, albeit in a "sanctioned", though not official document?

    Can I rightly say, in that case, that Labour are opposed to ID cards (based on quotes from Regency Labour campaigner Neil Harding), Labour think all drugs should be legalised (based on quotes from Regency Labour campaigner Neil Harding), Labour are opposed to the war in Iraq (based on quotes from any number of MPs' campaign leaflets from the General Election), etc. etc.

    I hope I made it clear in the previous comment that the Green Party does not oppose late or even 24 hour licenses for pubs in residential areas, but that the decision should take into account the maintenance of a decent standard of living for the individuals housed nearby.

  4. This was an official Green publication.

    Whereas this blog is totally unofficial.

    It states in the title of my blog in capitals;


    Nowhere on this Green publication does it contradict what this guy says. This is a leaflet I am assuming they have distributed to most houses in the regency area. The whole front page article seems to suggest support for what Sven Rufus says. Nowhere does it contradict his views.

  5. As I said above - I really didn't think I'd have to repeat myself:

    1) It isn't official for the national or Brighton and Hove Green Party.
    2) How official were the Labour anti-war MP's GE leaflets explicitly saying they were against the war?

    Are you honestly saying that you consider this to be the policy of the Green Party, despite all the evidence to the contrary? If so I've lost a lot of respect for you.

  6. "How official were the Labour anti-war MP's GE leaflets explicitly saying they were against the war?"

    It was fairly clear that they were disagreeing with Party leadership policy.

    It's good to hear that the Greens are all for this legislation. It's a pity they can't mention this on their leaflets, rather than trying to hedge their bets and make out they oppose Labour policy they agree with.

    It's a shame the Greens are starting to pander to nimbys in this way rather than proudly stick to their outlined policies.

    I have a huge amount of time for Green policies and I used to think they were one of the most honest parties, so it is really disappointing when they play this party opposition game of opposing everything Labour does whether they agree with it or not.

  7. Neil, you're driving me mad! It's a comment from one GP member clearly in disagreement with the Green Party policy! He is being honest about his opinion, and the party is honest about its policy. Unlike the Labour Party we encourage open discussion amongst members and don't mind disagreement with policy.

    With regard to the Labour PPC leaflets in the election; the point I was making was that they were official party leaflets carrying an opinion which differed from the part leadership. This did not mean that those MPs were opportunists (in most cases). It did not mean that the Labour Party had changed its policy.

    Those leaflets were expressing the opinion of a member, or small group, of the party. In exactly the same way, the Regency newsletter expresses the opinion of one member or maybe a small group within the Green Party. To accuse the GP of pandering to nimbys, would be the same as me saying that Celia Barlow and David Lepper were opportunists, pandering to anti-war feeling in Brighton & Hove. I don't think that's true, at least I hope it's not.

    End of my contribution to the discussion you'll be pleased to hear!

  8. I understand what you are saying Paul. I like the Greens, but you have to admit, in the run up to their relative success in Brighton Pavilion at the election and beyond, the Greens have become similar to the Lib Dems and Tories in their party politicking tactics. They just criticise Labour policy for the sake of it. The reason they do this I suppose is obvious, it is because Labour have similar policies on the social justice front and its easier to win over disaffected Labour voters than Tories. This tactic has been a huge disappointment to me. Target the Tory areas as well please or we might end up with a Tory MP.

    Maybe this politicking is just what happens as a party gets closer to electoral success, but its a shame because the Greens' honesty used to be their biggest asset, even when their ideology had led them to have a ludicrous policy.

    Without that honesty, what makes them any different to the other parties?