In 1993 fifty-three people died as a result of the same cause – and no regulation came of it. But when four people died in one part of the country from a particular incident, it resulted in massive regulation. The first were accidents in the bathtub and the second was the Lyme Regis boating accident (schoolchildren on an adventure holiday) – which followed a massive campaign by the Daily Mail. No one doubts the tragedy of the Lyme Regis accident but the restrictions resulting from the legislation following from it has curtailed schools and youth groups from even attempting to offer the sort of life transforming experiences that children need as part of a healthy, balanced upbringing.
Legislation in response to knee-jerk campaigns is always dangerous. Typically it is formed in the crucible of national revulsion, whipped up by salacious stories and media campaigns. I fear the same is about to happen with the price restrictions the government are said to be planning on alcohol. Whatever one thinks about the pictures of young people passed out on snow covered city centre park benches on New Year's Eve I think it is unlikely that increasing the price of the drinks they can buy will make much difference. To me it is obvious that the problem is far more ingrained in the psyche of our young people, in a culture that prizes "getting smashed" on a Friday night and where drink is the solution to low self esteem, boredom and lack of purpose.