By Nick Pringle / @nickpringle
Drinking to excess. Throwing up on that new top. Passing out in the taxi home. This is teenage drinking, this is teenage Britain.
For some. Not most.
A question so many ask is why here in Britain do we see the need to drink copious amounts of alcohol whenever possible rather than respect the drink as a mild drug we should embrace moderately as they do on the continent. Many believe that we need tighter restrictions, more police and tougher punishments. They are wrong. Drinking is not a crime in itself, we are just told it is. Drinking is a pleasure, a sociable activity that should be encouraged responsibly.
We need to see a government who is bold enough to do what is best for young people in years to come, rather than what the public want today to get a vote tomorrow.
Unfortunately the age limit of 18 for drinking in public, buying alcohol or being on a licenced premises is simply unjustified and the cause of much more problems than it is able to solve.
Most young people start going out at 15 or 16. They, including myself, are overcome by their ability to get drunk without parental supervision and take advantage of this situation; throwing up, passing out etc.
When I was 14 I was on holiday with my parents in Austria where, although there was a generally accepted standard of age, the legal age limit was left up to bars to decide and administer themselves. Bars could decide if somebody was mature enough to handle another pint, bars have the autonomy to set their own limits – ID who they want and serve who they please.
It is time in Britain that we realise that we are entrenching a bad drinking culture by hiding the good and the bad aspects of alcohol from young people rather than allowing people to discover alcohol in their own time and at their own pace. Bars need more freedom, parents need more flexibility and people need to have more respect for alcohol.
This will be gained when people can drink from an age below 18.