Friday, April 16, 2010

You, On The Wagon, Now

This is news to me: seems like the U.K. government has taken for itself the right to ban someone from going into any bar in the country for two years.

Bizarre punishments are nothing new, of course, but here's the part that gets my goat: the punishment appears to be handed out for specious reasons:
So what exactly did Hall do? The report doesn't specify, saying only that she has been convicted of "a series of public order offenses," and had flouted bans from individual bars and clubs in her hometown.

So basically, the British government can issue this ban essentially on the grounds of "we just kinda feel like it." The BBC article on the new legislation allowing courts to mete out this punishment is not comforting:
People in England and Wales who commit crimes or behave anti-socially while drunk could now face a Drinking Banning Order - or "booze Asbo".

Under powers coming into force on Monday, police and councils can seek an order on anyone aged 16 and over.

"Behave anti-socially?" What the fuck does that even mean? I guess it means something different in England than it does here, because here it means hiding from everyone. People who Americans consider "anti-social" wouldn't need to be banned from bars - they wouldn't be in bars in the first place, because they wouldn't ever leave home. So considering that the phrase "anti-social" has a somewhat fungible meaning, that's basically a license for government officials to control your going-out behavior for whatever reason they see fit. That's a power that'll never be abused, of course.

So yeah, I'm not moving to England anytime soon.

Update: Meanwhile, back here at home, Congress is trying to prevent an "epidemic of alcohol" from descending upon you by... limiting direct sales of wine from wineries. Because if I wanted to binge-drink, the first thing I'd think of doing is ordering specialty wine through the fucking mail.

(Of course, it's not government's business if I did want to binge drink. Just saying. Hat tip: Jacob's Twitter feed.)

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