Wednesday 13 January 2010

(Knee) Jerks on Both Sides?!

After a morning of trying to figure out just why the hell the Conservatives hav announced this ridiculous new plan to put centilitres of alcohol on the label of every booze bottle* I've now been left flabbergasted by a story on the Morning Advertiser website about new regulations being bought in around Personal Licences and who can hold them, but not by the Government's proposals for a change but by the comments made about them!

In case you didn't look at the link, the story, in short, is that the police can object to a licence application by anyone who has been convicted of committing, or conspiring to commit, necrophilia or bestiality amongst other things.

Now, call me old-fashioned, but GOOD!

I believe a licensee should be part of the community, they should be a responsible person, they should know the difference between right & wrong (or at the very least alive & dead) and shouldn't have this sort of serious criminal conviction on their record.

It's also worth bearing in mind the wording of legislation is such that 'serious sexual offences' will cover such acts as necrophilia and bestiality - but far more importantly the reason why the phrase 'serious sexual offences' is included is because it covers rape, serious sexual assault and other such offences, which I'm guessing you're no keener on a licensee having a conviction for than I am.

And please bear in mind here that a licensee is one of a select group of people who can validate a passport photograph...I'll let you do that unpleasant mental math.

Now let's turn the tables here - if the law didn't apply scrutiny to those who had such convictions and put them in charge of a pub, a place that's supposed to be a safe environment, in which to consume alcohol, how would you feel? How worried would you be about yourself, your wife, your girlfriend or even boyfriend, having a cheeky after hours drink with landlord...?

And I think it's important to look carefully at the wording of the proposed changes here too: "An unspent conviction does not necessarily preclude a person from being granted or renewing a personal licence, but their application will be scrutinised by the chief of police."

But apparently at least one trade body doesn't agree with me if their spokesperson Kate Nicholls is anything to go by: “This seems a bizarre and unnecessary addition to red tape at this point in time. Worse, it suggests that those working in the industry are putative criminals and acts as a real disincentive for those wanting to make a career in the sector.

"In addition, where a court convicts a personal licence holder for a relevant offence, it has power under the Act to declare the licence suspended for a period of up to three months or to declare it forfeit."

“It’s a retrograde and regressive approach, which is entirely at odds with a modern, dynamic industry. The Government ought to be ashamed of itself.”

Seriously, I can't figure out whether I'm more angry or depressed that these comments have been made, it just goes to show that ridiculou knee jerk reactions aren't the sole domain of the vote-seeking politician, the very bodies supposed to champion the industry's professionalism are capable of making statements of equal stupidity.

*What I find most baffling about this proposal is that a high proportion of booze, particularly beer, show their measurements in millilitres and therefore the centilitre number will just look very low and encourage the confused public to drink more!


rabidbarfly said...

Lucky I got mine when I did though, that necrophilia problem got out of hand for a while.Actually we cant validate passport photographs anymore, that was stopped a few years ago, I guess there were too many necrophiles and animal 'lovers' out there running pubs.
On a more serious note, GREAT piece, I'm busy having a Knee Jerk reaction to the news today so shouldn't comment too much at the moment or it'll be an open mouth, insert foot type of moment. It is right though, this is a regressive and retrograde approach to the subject and proves just how far behind the times the british govt's are(no matter who's in charge).
The conservative announcement has really riled me(almost to Pete Brown levels) and I'll probably spend my day off today banging on about prohibition and how all governments are Nazi's.

Melissa Cole said...

Thanks mate, I didn't realise that licensees couldn't sign passport photos any more.

Melissa Cole said...

@Rabid - I've just looked it up on the DirectGov website and indeed you are considered a signatory still, but what's even more terrifying that I never knew is that so can I be - apparently journalists are considered 'a professional person or a person of good standing in the community' - feel free to take all the shots you like people!

rabidbarfly said...

Hmm, had heard differently, suppose I should do me research, not that anyone's ever asked me!

Cooking Lager said...

Sometimes necrophilia is the best way to relax, all you need to do to is lay back and open up a cold one.

Laurent Mousson said...

"What I find most baffling about this proposal is that a high proportion of booze, particularly beer, show their measurements in millilitres and therefore the centilitre number will just look very low and encourage the confused public to drink more!"

Hmmm, are the Tories possibly still struggling with metric ?

Melissa Cole said...

@Cooking - the old ones are not always the best ones!!

@Laurent - yeah, well, me too in fairness!

Reason said...

Aren't centilitres of alcohol and "units" the same?

Rob Sterowski said...

Yes, 1 unit = 1cl = 10ml. It's a complete non-change.