One of new London Mayor Boris Johnson’s first pieces of legislation in office was to ban the drinking of alcohol on public transport. Something that most normal people would never consider doing anyway but apparently there are some in London who need that spelling out for them. The ban came into effect yesterday, Sunday June 1st, and so on Saturday night there was a large party of revellers who wanted to celebrate their “last night of freedom” by getting totally paralytic on the London Underground and vandalising trains, throwing up and assaulting staff. Six stations had to be closed and there were seventeen arrests. I find it hard to believe I belong to the same species as these mindless idiots who can’t see further than their next Friday Night piss-up.
You may remember a while ago I had a go at writing an article for The London Paper, a free daily that is given out to homebound commuters every weekday afternoon. Copy for their The Columnist section is sent in by ordinary Londoners like me. Last time the piece I sent didn’t get published. I looked at those that did make the grade and, while they weren’t better written than mine, they were topical and had something to say about London, whereas mine was a bit more general. Clearly the Editor wants us Columnists to speak only on current London issues.
Well, what better current London issue to let off some steam about than this foolish swarm of prats who think their right to have a good time is more important than my right to use public transport in safety and peace? Here is the piece I sent in to The London Paper this morning. It went in at 0925 local time. No idea whether that has made it too late or not. Guess we’ll never know, unless it gets published of course.
CONFESSIONS OF A WELL-MANNERED DRINKER
Tube Boozers: help me out. I’ve clearly gone wrong somewhere down the road and I’m hoping you can set me straight. Oh, I like a drink, don’t get me wrong; I’m not a complete misfit. No no, I drink my fair share – sometimes more than. I like a pint, a G&T while cooking at the weekend and a glass or two of wine with dinner. But my problem is, I seem to know when I’ve had enough, and I stop, go home and sleep it off. When I crawl out of bed the next morning I might have gained a few pounds in weight and a splitting headache, but there is no torn tube map in my pocket, no puddle of vomit with my name on it in a tube train foot-well, and no transport worker nursing the black eye I gave him. But the weirdest thing is: I had a good time anyway.
I’m starting to feel like a stranger in my own country. I don’t know this place where it is a citizen’s right to be drunk and abusive in public, to deface public property and to assault any uniform that gets in the way exercising these civil liberties. I happen to think that Boris Johnson is quite a nice (if sometimes blundering) bloke who just wants to make London a nicer place for us all to live in. I appear to have missed some important memos on what it means to be an adult in Britain. Perhaps my friends forgot to invite me to that particular Facebook group.
So: Tube Boozers – please explain why your way is right and mine is wrong. I really want to understand. Ah, you’ve found me out. Yes OK I admit it, I’m Over 40. I’m Over The Hill and therefore have no clue what the younger generation of today have to face. That may be true, but then how come I have two teenage children who are impeccably behaved, liked by everyone they meet, and doing well at school? They have access to alcohol, knives, and drugs, yet they choose none of them. They’re living happy and wholesome lives and not hurting anyone else in the process. It must be the way they were brought up. It is you binge-drinking idiots — not Boris — who owe London an apology.