It’s as much as fact that York is home to an abundance of fantastic, world-class bars. Whether or not these bastions of the city’s economy are being used and abused to an excess is a matter of opinion.
‘Dry trains’ on certain routes and ‘controlled zones’ within the city walls are among measures currently under consideration in moves to halt alcohol-fuelled trouble in the city. Such measures would inevitably prove controversial in terms of whether it is just to preserve the civil liberties held by non-drinkers by banning drunks from trains, or whether it infringes our civil liberty to drink alcohol in a grossly Orwellian manner.
What cannot be ignored is that according to Operation Erase, “sometimes more than 2,000 revellers arrive in the city from the north-east on Saturdays or bank holiday mornings, many of whom drink on the journey and are drunk on arrival.”
Without being prudish I cannot see what is morally corrupt about this in itself. It cannot be seen so casually on account that “Concerns have been raised that visitors and locals are avoiding the city centre on Saturdays”.
Concerns have been raised that visitors and locals are avoiding the city centre on Saturdays and of a “a cultural shift as York has always been perceived as a safe place to visit”. Consequentially there are fears that a negative cultural shift has appeared in York on Saturday nights and drinkers are scapegoated for this entire problem.
The Safer York partnership has earmarked certain problematic drinking routes such as the ‘Micklegate Run’, which follows a pathway of pubs, clubs and bars leading to Coney Street. Arguably the principle issue with this particular stretch is that it frequently collides with families and tourists in York during the daytime. It can then feasibly be seen that these binges of drinking are highly antisocial.
Equally flawed however, would be the claim that sociable drinking is not a large part of British culture as it would to state that it did not create large problems. Aside from prevention of drinking caused by holding certain religious beliefs or other matters of personal choice, it should be as ludicrous to claim that drinking never does people any good as to say that it always ends in safety.
Drinking is an issue upon which it is all too easy to place blame-culture upon to adhere to whichever lifestyle choices that you choose. Crucially though, people need to be able to sup their intoxicating liquor of choice without feeling their privacy encroached by having to justify their leisure choices.
Rightly or wrongly breweries are some of the biggest powerhouses in our country and it is something that I find all too frustrating when authoritarian measures are implemented as opposed to education in order to adopt a healthier approach to drinking.
The way forward in preventing drinkers coming and causing any havoc within York must be to drink at a more leisurely pace and end this apparent obsession with trying to consume as many units in as little a time as possible.
Once more the answer is greater education and toleration towards alcohol.