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.
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.
Response to ‘Rebalancing the Licensing Act’
The government’s proposed reforms to the Licensing Act represent a worrying increase in Licensing Authorities’ powers to regulate and shut down licensed premises.
Far from ‘empowering communities’ – as claimed – these proposed changes would increase the power of local councils and the police, who will be removed from necessary checks and balances.
The Manifesto Club’s response to the consultation illustrates the problems with these proposals, for civic life and civil liberties.
- Read our full response here.
With the coalition government planning tougher penalties for under-age serving, our new report finds that ‘Think 25’ policies are already penalising thousands of innocent adults.
28 ¾: How Constant Age Checks Are Infantilising Adults, by Dolan Cummings, finds that adults in their late 20s and 30s are being hassled by constant ID checks – and that the new rules will make this problem worse. The report is based on our survey of people’s ID check experiences, and argues for the abolition of ‘Think 25’ policies and other over-cautious age-check rules.
- Download the full report.
ROBBED BY THE POLICE REPORT – AND PROTEST PICNIC IN BRIGHTON – The Manifesto Club has launched a report on the police abuse of alcohol confiscation powers, Robbed by the Police: Alcohol confiscation and the hyperregulation of public space. Alcohol control zones were supposedly created to tackle serious public disorder – yet police officers are confiscating alcohol from people who are doing absolutely nothing wrong. This is a gross intrusion on public freedoms – and a big spoiler of summer picnics in parks and on beaches across the country.
This report is launched at Brighton discussion and picnic against the booze bans, on 25 and 27 June. See the video of the picnic on YouTube, by the filmmakers Activist 88.
REPORT AND PROVOCATION PICNIC, AUGUST 2008
Our report, ‘Against the Booze Bans – and the Hyperregulation of Public Space’, charts the creeping growth of drinking regulation, and shows how public space is being reorganised around the whims of police and bureaucrats. The report was published on Tuesday 19 August; and launched at a Provocation Picnic in Hyde Park on Monday 25 August (Bank Holiday Monday).
More than 60 people joined us at the Provocation Picnic in Hyde Park, to share wine and sandwiches, and to take a stand against the paternalistic regulation of public space. Our Facebook group, Against the bans on booze – and the hyperregulation of public space, has nearly 1500 members.
Our campaign was covered in media including: Alcohol Policy UK, The Independent, spiked, The First Post, Londonist, BBC London television news (25 August 2008), BBC Radio London’s ‘Breakfast Show’, Jeremy Vine Show, Richard Bacon Show, Duncan Barkes Show, BBC News, Richard Evans Show, Guardian, Daily Telegraph.
TORY PARTY CONFERENCE, BIRMINGHAM, MONDAY 29 SEPTEMBER
Since it was Tory Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, who introduced the booze ban on the London Underground, we thought it only appropriate to take our campaign into the Lion’s Den. We are co-hosting an event at the Freedom Zone: You Can’t Do That! – the anti-social regulation of public space is at 4pm on Monday 29 September. Speakers include Suzy Dean (Manifesto Club) and Simon Clark (Forest). Entry is free. If you are in or around Birmingham at the end of the month, do join us.
While we’re in Birmingham, we will challenge Birmingham City Council’s proposal to make the entire city centre a No Alcohol Zone. From Sunday 28 until Tuesday 30 September we will be taking a petition to the people of Birmingham in opposition to the planned regulations, which we will then deliver to the city council. If you have any free time – an afternoon, or even an hour – and would like to help, please drop us an email.
JOIN THE CAMPAIGN
If you’d like to be kept in touch with this and other initiatives, join the Manifesto Club mailing list. If you’re on Facebook, join our Facebook group: Against the bans on booze – and the hyperregulation of public space.