A gathering of the Boys chewed over the situation of binge drinking and the like and we came up with some very interesting observations. This was also helped by a 24 year old telling us about his experiences with alcohol and the attitude of his friends. If we go back 35 years, we would go out on the pop basically to enjoy ourselves and get merry. Hopefully, if a night club was concerned, some pretty girls would find their way into the equation and good fun would be had by all. We would virtually always remember the events following day.

On the odd occasion where we ended up plastered it would be seen as the weakness of a man who can't hold his drink and his friends would treat him with disdain.

The difference today is that the under 30s go out to get "bladdered" and there is almost a degree of pride in not being able to remember what you have done; the more outrageously drunk you are, the greater the boast. This smacks of the knuckle dragger who takes pride in collecting Asbos. The government increasing the duty on alcohol which in turn has helped force 5 pubs a day out of business has exacerbated the problems further.

The change in attitude has to come from home and at school with ridicule and scorn being poured on the binge drinker and the idiot who takes pride in getting wasted. I can always remember telling my children when they were young and misbehaved "It's not funny, not big and certainly not clever". Perhaps if this sort of attitude were to prevail today, the culture of our young would improve. The Duchess tells me there is nothing worse than an elderly drunk, but actually there is, and that is the young idiot going out to impress through being hammered.

Maybe this is the message that we should be putting out to the young, Yes, go and enjoy, possibly to a degree of excess, but always be respectful to yourself and others. I have mentioned in previous ALEs the stupidity of the budget increases that have forced people out of pubs and on to the street without licensees being around to control things and to act as unofficial policemen. I guess those at Westminster really have no idea about what is going on in the real world.

Jerry Brown