Campaign Against the Booze Bans

Booze ban logo 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.


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.


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 Clarke (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.


The next Manifesto Club Night will be a discussion on Booze Bans and the Hyperregulation of Public Space. The event will be a chance to consider the arguments, reflect upon the influence of our report and campaign, and work out where to go next. Details to be confirmed, but for the moment, if you can get to London on the evening of Thursday 13 November, mark your diary.


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.