It’s a shame just how much we take technology for granted. It should never cease to amaze us that a tiny metal box that fits in a trouser pocket can communicate with just about anyone in the world with the flick of a few fingers. Computers can do dazzling things and we still moan when they don’t work, disregarding the wonderment of being able to type 140 characters in a single tiny box and witness the entire human race not giving a shit.
And a remote control can now, incredibly, pause ‘live’ TV, and even let me rewind it to check whether I really did just hear that news story more or less predicting that the end of civilisation is upon us.
It’s a little hazy now, because it was over 20 minutes ago and I’ve decapitated a bottle since then. But from what I can gather, the Mayor of London was on the TV saying something like this:
“We can attach this device to you, which records whether there’s alcohol entering your bloodstream, and if you drink even so much as a beer or a glass of wine you’ll have broken the terms of your agreement. We’ll have you back in front of the court before you can trip over a bar stool.”
I have a particular dislike of the idiot who nominally runs my city but I’m hardly alone in that. This, however, is new. London, as the principal city of the country with the ‘worst’ drinking ‘problem’ in the world, is the official capital of the drunkard and I am proud to be in the vanguard of its army of elbow lifters. And our intolerable Mayor just said he’s started tagging people to make sure they don’t drink.
Again: tagging people to stop them drinking.
I’m sure the people in question have committed some terrible crime to be tagged in this way. No doubt their crime was drink-related, as statistics will tell you is the case for a majority of crimes in Britain. Of course, as anyone who has worked for Opta will know statistics are made of little more than hangovers and regrets and have no serious place in an enlightened society.
More of us drink than don’t. The number of people in Wetherspoons pubs at any given moment is likely larger than the population of a medium-sized country – Israel, say, or the Central African Republic. Those nations’ current concerns matter less to me than the idea that many of my countrymen face an attack on their civil liberties akin to the commissioning of yet another series of Downton fucking Abbey.
You could argue that it’s no different from banning someone from driving for mowing down a squadron of Hare Krishnas on the pavement outside Sainsbury’s. You’d be wrong. Alcohol is the lifeblood of this nation. The equivalent would be banning the same driver but then not letting him drink himself to death with guilt.
We noble carousers are under constant attack from those who boldly claim they have our best interests at heart while at the same time refusing to open their fucking cobweb-riddled wallets at the bar.
Enough is enough. I drink a fucking hell of a lot and I’m not ashamed to say so. Everyone knows it’ll kill me, and not suddenly when I fall and bump my dome against a paving slab but slowly, cirrhotically and surrounded by an appalling bloody mess. But I’m an Englishman and that’s what we’ve been doing for centuries and yet there are still millions of us here.
And my alternative proposal is therefore this: tag the fuckers who don’t drink enough. Not the people who don’t drink at all – they don’t tend to be the people who squeal and fucking moan at the rest of us – but those people who can drink in moderation. The ones who can have ‘a nice glass of wine’ or one single beer when they get home from work, then a cup of tea an hour later. I know, it’s astounding that these people can even get out of bed in the morning but there they are, pointing and judging and dying about five years later than the rest of us of something just as painful and grim, but sober, and confused as to why their healthy masterplan has failed.
Tag these fucking people so we can all use our amazing pocket metal to track and avoid them. Technology will allow us to ban them from pubs, so any time one of them enters there’s a sudden high-pitched screech and they have 10 seconds to turn around and leg it before their head explodes like that bloke at the start of The Running Man.
With this magnificent technology in place the rest of us will be freed from these smug bastards who want nothing more than to drag us into their world of work and boring, intoxicant-free play. We’ll be left to drink and fight and be sick and do awful and brilliant things to each other just like the British have been doing for centuries. We can once again be great, restoring us to our proper place in the world.
We might even discover some previously unknown point to the fucking Commonwealth Games and there’s not a man or woman among us who wouldn’t drink to that.