Against the Booze Bans – and the Hyperregulation of Public Space

Picnic Mayor of London Boris Johnson has claimed the banning of alcohol on the London Tube as one of the great successes of his first 100 days in office. But it isn’t just Boris – and it isn’t just London. There has been a creeping introduction of alcohol bans in public spaces all around the UK – and throughout many other countries, from town centres in the Czech Republic, to beaches in New Zealand, Australia and the USA.

The Manifesto Club is launching a campaign Against the Booze Bans and the Hyperregulation of Public Space.

These bans are not the result of public demand, but the petty and anti-social concerns of police, politicians and local government, who are disconnected from the public. They see grown-ups regulating their own public life and imagine a threat to social cohesion and law and order. This runs hand in hand with an infantilising culture around alcohol – with the (UK) National Union of Students campaigning against student drinking, and the UK government considering raising the age at which young people can buy alcohol from 18 (when they can already vote!) to 21.

We believe public space should be exactly that – a place where we can come together as a public – to argue and campaign, to pursue our common goals, to chat with friends and socialise. It is a space in which we, the public, should set the rules.

On 25 August (Bank Holiday Monday in England and Wales) the Manifesto Club will launch a new report, ‘Against the Booze Bans – and the Hyperregulation of Public Space’. Please join us for the launch – a Provocation Picnic Against the Booze Bans – in Hyde Park, London.

In the meantime we will be hitting the parks and the streets to campaign against this ongoing erosion of civil liberties and public life. If you would like to support our campaign:

  • Join our Facebook group Against the Booze bans and encourage your friends to join (wherever you are in the world).

  • Join us for our Provocation Picnic Against the Booze Bans on Monday 25 August. Or if you can’t make it to London and have ideas for your own events, let us know and we will publicise for you.

  • In the run up to the picnic, join us for flyering sessions in London, Brighton, and other UK cities. These include : Tuesday 19 August, 7pm, London, Soho; Thursday 21 August, 7pm, London, Green Park; Friday 22 August, Brighton. Do come along; the more the merrier! If you’re free, email or call 0779 1032740.

  • We are collating instances of petty bans on public space, so send in your stories. And if you have any pictures to illustrate – ridiculous booze ban signs cluttering public space, or examples of defiance – send them to us or post them up to the Facebook page.

  • Download our flyers, and pass them out to everyone you know.

For more information, or to get involved, email