Tuesday, 22 December 2009

UK Government: “All European Children will grow up to be evil drunks”

OK, so it’s a bit of an overstatement, added with, perhaps, a bit of malicious misinterpretation of the facts, though it’s no different to the shaky evidence that this government report is based on, so I think I can be allowed the exaggeration.


To distil it down to the nub of the Governments feeling, giving even a drop of alcohol to anyone under the age of 15 *will* turn them into the raging uncontrollable drunk yobs in later life that continue to plague the streets of Britain.

So, what has this to do with Nuremberg at Christmas? Well, dotted liberally around the Christmas Market are stall after stall selling gluhwein, hot mulled wine drunk by almost everyone at the markets. Whilst all the stalls were offering Kinderpunsch (no it’s not child abuse) a non-alcoholic version, it was pretty obvious that a very large number of the Children had been allowed by their parents to have the full-alcohol version.

Given that the Christmas markets have a tradition dating back at least to the end of the 19th century in their current form, if not significantly older, this isn’t a new thing, German children have been happily gulping down gluhwein for a long time, and on that basis one would suspect they are also allowed the occasional drink at home with a meal, much like their Italian or French counterparts.

Yet, there doesn’t appear to be crowds of drunken hooded yobs hanging around on street corners yelling obscenities at passers-by in Nuremberg (or Munich, Berlin, Rome, Florence or Paris either). Those few occasions that you do see a congregation of drunks (outside of Bremen Hauptbahnhof for some strange reason), they are almost exclusively people in their thirties or forties, not gangs of “feral youth” (as the right-wing British press like to demonise them as), and lets face it, following reunification, Germany has enough social problems of its own to deserve a “feral youth”, yet it doesn’t appear to have happened, despite all the youngsters drinking.

Is it just possible, that the real message that the Government is sending out is it thinks all Brits are bad parents and everything they do is wrong. That’s pretty much the message from every other announcement.

Perhaps the real message is that all Politicians should stop taking knee-jerk reactions to every Daily Mail and Daily Express hate-filled campaign against young people. Find things for them to do, give them a bit of respect and dignity, and perhaps they won’t feel the need to hang around getting drunk as it’s the only thing to do. Perhaps, God forbid (and the Daily Mail, which thinks it speaks for God, does forbid it), we should look towards the continent for some ideas.

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