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Friday, May 09, 2008

A blow to belief

Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 5/09/2008 08:45:00 am

A few days ago, the ever-excellent Daily Mash satirised Boris's alcohol ban.
BORIS Johnson is to ban Scotsmen from the London Underground in a bid to make the Tube more bearable for everyone else.

The London mayor said a Scots-free Tube would be less intimidating for ordinary travellers, and would not smell so badly of chips, blood, spilt lager and urine.

He said: "As we all know the Scot is incapable of sitting on anything with wheels attached unless already drunk, or carrying enough booze to knock out an Irish bank manager and his wife for a weekend."

Most amusing, I must say. What has not been amusing is the reaction to my post of yesterday, protesting against the alcohol ban.

You see, I had rather naively imagined that the majority of people actually understood the concept of liberty; I certainly thought that readers of The Kitchen might get it. It seems that, in a large number of cases, I was entirely wrong.

To say that this is disappointing is a massive understatement.

The attitude of many of the commenters does remind me of a comment that I saw on a forum some years ago, which was along these lines.
That's the British for you. They love to talk about liberty, but they become fascists when confronted with things that they personally dislike.

That has pretty much been the attitude of many of the commenters, and it is the same deeply illiberal attitude that has allowed the cunt politicians to rape our freedoms.

Boris Johnson: still a totalitarian cunt. Just like many of my commenters.

The arguments, such as they are, appear to have two prongs. The first is the most lame and essentially goes like this:
I would never have a drink on the Tube, so who cares?

I don't think that I can possibly make a more eloquent argument against this attitude than did Pastor Niemoller, frankly.

The second argument is no less facile, but let's have a look anyway, shall we? This second prong can essentially be summed up in this hastily-constructed syllogism:
If people drink too much alcohol then they will get drunk.
Some drunk people make trouble on public transport.
Therefore we should ban everyone from drinking alcohol on public transport.

It is a completely stupid fucking argument, really, and is born of the pusillanimous and totalitarian tendences inherent in the average Daily Mail reader.

First, not everyone who drinks is drunk. I gave the example of consuming one beer on the way home; it was very pleasant, since from Southfields to Earl's Court is, like 55% of the Tube, not actually underground. The sun was streaming through the windows, the carriage was about only about half full, my Private Eye was interesting, and the gentle rocking of the train was complemented by my lovely bottle of cool ale.

The ale was all the more welcome since my colleague, who gives me a lift from Ockham to Southfields, needed to drop into the supermarket (where I had bought my beer) to buy his week's supplies and I didn't even get onto the Tube until nearly seven in the evening. With an hour on the Tube ahead of me, the beer really appealed.

The general tone of the comments was, first, "well, couldn't you have had a few pints before going home" (no. Have you been to Ockham recently?) and, "well, couldn't you have waited." Yes, yes, I could have waited, but why should I? Just because you wouldn't drink on the Tube does not mean that I should not be allowed to do so.

Was I drunk? No. As I pointed out a couple of weeks ago, when this policy was announced, how many people actually get drunk on public transport? Very few.

Have I been drunk on the Tube? Certainly I have. But not all drunk people cause trouble on public transport. I have never abused anyone, never shouted at anyone, never acted in a threatening way to anyone, never vomited on anyone, never... Well, you get the picture. I did once fall asleep on the Victoria Line and go to Brixton to Seven Sisters and back again, but I wasn't leaning or dribbling on anyone and I was more tired than drunk (I hadn't slept all night).

Have I been the subject of threatening behaviour on the Tube? No, but in Edinburgh I was once beaten up by a drunk guy, for no reason whatsoever. But because I am not a totalitarian cunt, I did not call for alcohol to be banned. Do you see?

So, so far we have established that drinking on the public transport does not automatically cause a nuisance, and that being drunk on public transport does not automatically cause a nuisance. OK?

So what is the issue? The problem is loud and threatening behaviour by certain people; sometimes these people are drunk. Sometimes they are sober.

A number of commenters think that, because these people are sometimes drunk, that we should ban drinking on public transport.

But sometimes people are cunts when they are sober; thus, the logical extension of this is that we should ban sobriety on public transport.

Because we pride ourselves on being a liberal society, we have framed our laws to deal with this problem. What we have done is only to legislate against the threatening behaviour, whether it is committed by someone drunk or sober.

This is only right; we recognise that neither being drunk nor drinking is actually a crime; it harms no one but the person consuming the alcohol.

In short, the problem is that the laws against threatening behaviour are not being upheld (nor, indeed, are the drunk and disorderly laws). That is a failure of policing, not a reason for more bans. The simple fact is that it doesn't matter how many laws you pass: if they aren't being enforced, then they are utterly pointless.

But those who commented on my last post would ban drinking on the Tube because it might lead to a crime. Do I have to spell out the logical conclusion of this position?

Oh, OK then.

Ultimately, being alive might lead to someone committing a crime so we should actually ensure that no one is born. We should sterilise everyone and then, eventually, we will have a crime-free society. When everyone is dead.

The commenters who are in favour of this ban are entitled to their opinions, of course; but don't you ever dare call yourself libertarian, or even liberal. You are nasty, totalitarian, little cunts and you personify everything that is wrong with this country.

I despise you.

UPDATE: some people still don't get it. Showing a quite astonishing level of delusion and wishful thnking is commenter Zorro.
Why do you think it would be acceptable for him NOT to do this when he pledged to do so?

He should never have pledged to do so in the first place. Boris has, himself, styled himself as a libertarian; we can now see that this is absolute horseshit.

But the really weird bit is this next paragraph. [Emphasis mine.]
Obviously not everything Boris or the coming Tory govt of 2009/2010 will do some things we don't like. Obviously, evert bastard govt does. But they will be less corrupt, less authoritarian (a little), less stupid, less spendy, in the end, less government. Which is good and the best outcome we can reasonably hope for.

So, the Tories are going to be "less authoritarian" and deliver "less government"? How can you possibly think this?

Boris, as The Nameless One points out, is now the most powerful Tory in the country and his policies are going to give some indication of what a Tory government might be like.

And Boris's very first act is to implement a policy that is more authoritarian than that of NuLabour's representative. It is a policy that involves more government interference in our daily lives (and if you think that this is the end of such policies then you are even more stupid than I thought).

Seriously, Zorro, what kind of weird, parallel universe are you living in?

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Posted by Devil's Kitchen at 5/09/2008 08:45:00 am


50 Blogger Comments:

OpenID lettersfromatory said...

Obviously I see your point from a libertarian perspective, but like the smoking ban I don't think many people will miss alcohol being consumed on public transport.

5/09/2008 10:04:00 am  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

*screams in frustration*

THAT IS NOT THE FUCKING POINT!

If we banned rock-climbing, very few people would miss that either. But that does not mean that we should do it.

GRRRRRR...

DK

5/09/2008 10:09:00 am  
Anonymous witchibus said...

I meant to comment on this yesterday, but didn't get round to it. Must admit, I'm surprised most of your readers seemed to be in favour of the ban.

I'll occasionally have a bottle of ale when I'm on a long train journey (especially if I've had to work at the weekend, during the summer). Why my quiet enjoyment of a perfectly legal beverage should prompt people to throw their hands up in horror I really can't imagine. Curiously enough, myself and many other adults are perfectly capable of imbibing alcohol in a sensible fashion. I am neither disorderly nor abusive, I do not pose a threat to myself or to others. If I did, there are laws in place to deal with that behaviour.

I've been tipsy on public transport (especially back in my late teens/early twenties), yet I still managed not to be dangerous, frightening or a complete twat. If someone is genuinely upset by the sight of a woman looking a bit tipsy and giggly, then I'm surprised they have the balls to leave the house in the morning.

Why don't we get back to a situation that assumes adults can behave like adults and where intervention only occurs when they do not. Instead of presuming that we need the government to act as pater familias to a nation of idiots.

5/09/2008 10:13:00 am  
Anonymous Umbongo said...

1. This piece of populist nonsense is only Boris going down the road of "legislation as PR" pioneered by Blair and, I suspect, encouraged by the "Heir to Blair" now leading the Conservatives

2. Given the draconian regulations already in place concerning use of London's public transport, I imagine a cursory riffle through those regulations would turn up some rule which covers the carriage of inebriated passengers. However such rules - and the new rule - have to be enforced: that's the test: if rules aren't enforced then it's all political posturing.

3. If you're going to ban anything it should be the consumption of burgers, chips etc, the stench of which in a closed carriage is unavoidable. Such behaviour contravenes one of the tenets of libertarianism to the effect that your freedom is limited when it affects mine. Somebody - even DK - quietly sucking on a beer bottle might not be an edifying spectacle but all you have to do is avert your gaze.

5/09/2008 10:20:00 am  
Blogger Roger Thornhill said...

One wonders what would happen if someone DOES drink. Of course, it will be the polite, safe-looking types who will get reported or challenged. The rough looking sorts or those actually being a nuisance will not get challenged and everyone will slink off the train at the first possible moment. Each soul that does will have died a little.

We should be fixing the problem - that of people who think they can do what they like to others and get away with it.

5/09/2008 10:26:00 am  
OpenID Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

Pastor Martin Niemöller??

Are they planning to take the drunks away to death camps?

"First they came for the drunks, but as I was not a drunk etc."

Where will it end? Now they attack drinking on the Tube, next it will be grafitti "artists", then the nudists, and maybe foul-mouthed louts swearing in front of children.

You might almost think that civilized societies have rules about behaviour in public places.

5/09/2008 10:29:00 am  
Blogger Katy Newton said...

I agree with you. It is drunk and disorderly behaviour that is the problem, not drinking in itself, and the reason it happens on public transport is that there are no longer conductors on trains or even ticket inspectors to police bad behaviour.

Yes, it is true that most of the passengers who have made my life a misery through their behaviour on trains (I'll never forget the man who unzipped his trousers, got his nob out and peed straight down the middle of the carriage, for a start) have had a can in their hand, but as Mr Kitchen rightly observes that is not the point. The point is that it should be behaviour we criminalise. Alcohol is just alcohol. It is morally neutral. It's what people do with it that's the problem - or not the problem, depending on how they behave.

Day to day, I for one will not miss the absence of alcohol on trains (assuming of course that anyone bothers to enforce this law), but that doesn't mean that it's a good law to pass. I wouldn't miss Paris Hilton either but I'm forced to concede that shooting her probably isn't the answer.

5/09/2008 10:39:00 am  
Anonymous James said...

Where will it end? Now they attack drinking on the Tube, next it will be grafitti "artists", then the nudists, and maybe foul-mouthed louts swearing in front of children.

Does nobody ever actually look at history or understand the salami effect?

Nudity in public places and graffitti on other people's property is already illegal by the way...

Doesn't anyone see the pattern? Make something that has minority support away and the majority do not care. But eventually everyone is effected because everyone has something they are the minority in liking.

They ban smoking in public places on spurious grounds, but a lot agree because they can have a drink or meal without others smoke. They ban alchohol in public places and a lot of people agree because they see someone with a can of beer and think 'pikey' forgetting that a bottle of wine or some cold beers in the park or on the beach in summer with a picnic is a wonderful thing.

Whats next?

Motorcycles?
Rock Climbing?
Spelunking?
Boxing?
Martial Arts?
Fatty foods?

Just because you personally will not be affected is a pretty pathetic excuse to agree with a ban. The next minority persuit they come for might be yours, and if everyone is the same as you, it will be lost.

5/09/2008 10:46:00 am  
Anonymous dog soldier said...

Well said DK. Every encroachment on liberty diminishes us all. As you say it is the non-enforcement of existing laws that allow criminal behaviour to flourish. The answer is never to create a new law. I miss my Pit Bull - a more gentle animal you could not meet, I would replace her tomorrow if the government sponsored bigotry towards the breed were removed, and my pistol that I used to shoot at a licensed club. Both are now proscribed as too dangerous because of the actions of criminals that operated outside the laws that already existed or were not subject to the scrutiny of those set to conduct that scrutiny. NOw, of course, it is only the criminals who posess Pits and guns - fucking wonderful. I probably cannot be described as full libertarian - I too have personal petty prejudices that I will not concede - but I do believe in freedom under the law. Moreover, that law should be worth the loss of freedom to myself and others.

5/09/2008 10:56:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

For my two-penneth, I also hold with the quote from DK regarding the British public's propensity to become totalitarian. Personally, I despise smoking and always have done/will do, but I do not support the smoking ban. True, a visit to the pub is more enjoyable to me, but the issue isn't about 'preferences', it is about freedom. Who am I to demand my own freedom within the law, if I contravene that of another merely on the grounds of preference.
Way too much 'preventative legislation' has been introduced by NuLab in the last 11 years; I am very disappointed to see Boris continue this policy. The basic tenet of common law is 'you do what you want, within the law, and are penalized on transgression of said law'.
I'm sick to death of hearing that if we ban this or that, it will prevent A or B from happening. Aside from the fact that it doesn't work (refer to ASBO failure), it also brings perfectly normal, law abiding members of the public into direct confrontation with the police/servants of the state, under the guise of prevention masquerading as totalitarianism.

I despair sometimes..

Andy.

5/09/2008 10:59:00 am  
Blogger Blue Eyes said...

I think some things are acceptable in some arenas that wouldn't be acceptable in others. In a confined space, it's likely that certain behaviour would be less acceptable than in an open field or in your own front room.

For example: I wouldn't try to ban nudists from having a holiday but I would not want them to wander round in the nude in central London, even if they weren't *harming* anyone by doing so.

In a crowded Tube train it is less acceptable to drink alcohol or smoke a cigarette than it is in a pub or park.

DK I think your problem is that you assume that everyone is as civilised as you. You might know what acceptable norms are and behave accordingly, but some need to be reminded via a poster.

5/09/2008 11:13:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

DK can I just point out something I'm not sure if you noticed or not.

This was actually in Boris' mayoral manifesto. So it would be rather 'Labourish' of him NOT to do it don't you think?

Personally I believe we have a right to expect politicians to do what he fuck they said they would do when they were trying to buy our vote. Don't you? Isn't that the way democracy is supposed to work???

Why do you think it would be acceptable for him NOT to do this when he pledged to do so?

Obviously not everything Boris or the coming Tory govt of 2009/2010 will do some things we don't like. Obviously, evert bastard govt does. But they will be less corrupt, less authoritarian (a little), less stupid, less spendy, in the end, less government. Which is good and the best outcome we can reasonably hope for. Pie in the sky liberterian party aside for a moment!

Zorro.

5/09/2008 11:16:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

James makes fair points, unfortunately everything I enjoy is banned already!

5/09/2008 11:18:00 am  
Blogger Bill said...

OK, despise me if you like, but when I first heard of Boris's plans I thought 'what a good idea'; now having thought about it some more, and having read your post yesterday on the subject, I must say I have changed my view completely. Not all people who drink on trains (or buses) become abusive or unpleasant to fellow-passengers and laws already exist to sanction those who do. Perhaps my initial [wrong] reaction was influenced by having had a drunk vomit over me when I was a schoolboy in Aberdeen on my way to school on the bus and having to miss three hours of morning classes so I could go home and change - I lived a fair distance from the school and the first three miles of my normal journey involved walking to the nearest bus. Since then I am happy to acknowledge that I have enjoyed the odd G&T in the bar cars of various trains and in the days when motorail still existed would usually take a cool-box into the sleeper compartment with a bottle of chilled wine and smoked salmon and other cold foods, etc to enjoy a much better meal in my cabin than could be had in the dining-car.

I am happy to acknowledge the logic of your analysis.

5/09/2008 11:22:00 am  
Blogger Katy Newton said...

This was actually in Boris' mayoral manifesto. So it would be rather 'Labourish' of him NOT to do it don't you think?

I think DK's point is that it shouldn't have been in his manifesto in the first place.

5/09/2008 11:36:00 am  
Anonymous John Meredith said...

"If we banned rock-climbing, very few people would miss that either. But that does not mean that we should do it."

It's not really analogous, though, is it? Boris isn't banning drinking, just drinking on trains and buses owned by TfL. There are plenty of things that you can do in your living room that are not allowed on Tube trains. The thing seems silly to me every way you look at it.

5/09/2008 11:49:00 am  
Blogger Travis Bickle said...

Well I'm not for banning anything myself but at least he didn't put other, much more important, business on the back burner for months like NuLab did over foxhunting (which was of course the Pandora's Box towards banning all sorts of other activity)

5/09/2008 12:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm with DK on this one. There are a shedload of laws to deal with offensive, abusive behaviour.

If someone wants to have a tipple on his way home from work, let him do so, if he becomes trouble the tube/train/bus guard/conductor should bang him up. What guard/conductor?

As most accidents involve sober drivers why not mot make drink driving compulsory?

5/09/2008 12:06:00 pm  
Anonymous Chris Snowdon said...

When I heard about this bullshit on Wednesday my reaction was just the same as DK's but my fury was met with bewilderment by everyone I spoke to because, they said, it wouldn't effect them. As DK has now pointed out several times, you don't ban things just because you don't like them and you don't turn a blind eye to bad laws just because you won't be affected by them. Is it a great hardship not to be able to have a drink on the tube? Maybe not, but the same could be said of not being able to go hunting, smoke in a pub, make fun of religion and - yes - go rock climbing. More importantly, it can also be said of not being able to drink on a train, in a plane, in the park or any other "public" place. That, friends, is the slippery slope and it is not a paranoid fantasy of libertarians - alcohol bans in all those places have been put forward in the last few years.

5/09/2008 12:22:00 pm  
Blogger Sacerdote said...

Sadly, I think Boris and Tfl are entirely within their rights to ban anything they want on the tube. However, it doesn't mean that I like it. It's a disgustingly totalitarian move born of Boris' desire to get populist support from the great mass of illiberal Londoners. Which worked, of course.

I think the trouble here is that people who are scared are more than happy to give up a little liberty to gain a little perceived security, pace Ben Franklin.

@zorro The liberterian party may be pie-in-the-sky, but so were all political parties to start with. We should be resisting easy populism and getting some of our liberties back!

5/09/2008 12:24:00 pm  
Anonymous the a&e charge nurse said...

Devil, you don't want booze banned - fair enough, but why is it the fault of the police (or ticket inspectors)if a piss-head bottles an innocent commuter on a late night train ?

I would have thought it was the fault of the boozer, perhaps egged on by a posse of feral yoofs, for failing to exhibit even the most rudimentary level of self control ?

5/09/2008 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Quite so, Chris.

And thanks for the endorsement, which I have shamelessly nicked. I shall also read Velvet Glove Iron Fist when I get the chance (although I suspect that it's going to make me blow a gasket, isn't it?)...

DK

5/09/2008 12:26:00 pm  
Blogger Henry Crun said...

DK, personally I don't care whether people drink alcohol in public or not.

However, I do care when people, whilst drinking in public become abusive and obnoxious. So, rather than banning people from drinking on Tube trains and buses, why not pass a low that allows me to kick the fucker's head in when he starts throwing chips at my girlfriend?

5/09/2008 12:29:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

"Devil, you don't want booze banned - fair enough, but why is it the fault of the police (or ticket inspectors)if a piss-head bottles an innocent commuter on a late night train ?"

Where did I say that it was the fault of the police? I didn't.

That laws are not upheld is a failure of policing but the fact that the law is broken is the fault of those who break them.

"I would have thought it was the fault of the boozer, perhaps egged on by a posse of feral yoofs, for failing to exhibit even the most rudimentary level of self control ?"

Absolutely. And you know that I believe this: it's a fundamental of libertarianism.

What was your point?

DK

5/09/2008 12:30:00 pm  
Anonymous xoggoth said...

Is it just me or does anyone else think there is a bit of a contradiction between being a libertarian and being the sort who calls everyone who disagrees him on any issue whatever, no matter how slightly or how politely,
"nasty, totalitarian, little cunts"

Libertarianism does not mean that everyone does whatever they like but rather that everyone does whatever they like provided there is not some very sound and well established reason, either for the protection of others or for the general good, not to allow it.

It is ridiculous to argue that just because some can get drunk or take drugs without abusing others that these should therefore be allowed for all and under every circumstance even if it shown that very many others are not capable of the same discipline and that others suffere as a consequence.

Your version of libertarianism is ridiculous simplistic crap. Have fun in your little party because I cannot see too many joining it.

5/09/2008 01:44:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

And you, Xoggoth, obviously haven't got the first clue about libertarianism. Who, for instance, decides what is for "the general good"? You? Brown? That nice Mr Hitler?

Get knotted.

DK

5/09/2008 01:48:00 pm  
Blogger John B said...

"why not pass a low that allows me to kick the fucker's head in when he starts throwing chips at my girlfriend?"

This is more or less the way the current law works, although you have to ask him to stop first:

Drunken chav: *throws chips*
Henry: "stop throwing chips"
Drunken chav: "fuck you"
Henry: *kicks fucker's head in*
Henry to any passing policemen: "I was in fear of my and my girlfriend's safety from this feral nutjob"
Court to Henry: "you've broken no laws, you're free to go".

The main problem is that these cnuts tend to travel in posses, which might make the kicking ill-advised for survival rather than arrest-avoidance reasons.

5/09/2008 02:08:00 pm  
Anonymous Chris Snowdon said...

DK wrote "I shall also read Velvet Glove Iron Fist when I get the chance (although I suspect that it's going to make me blow a gasket, isn't it?)..."


Only if you are easily angered by illiberal laws, single-issue pressure groups, puritanism, health fascism, the nanny state, neo-prohibitionism and the... Hmm. Yes, it probably will.

Do at least check out the Twisted Liberty article: http://www.velvetgloveironfist.com/index.php?page_id=32

5/09/2008 02:41:00 pm  
Blogger Mild Colonial Boy, Esq. said...

If I might venture an opinion from the colonies - in Queensland it's illegal to eat or drink ANYTHING on public transport and if caught the malefactor will incur a $150 fine (I think.). This law was more about maintaining clean facilities.

5/09/2008 02:55:00 pm  
Blogger Mr Potarto said...

There's something I think you're failing to see, DK.

We don't live in a libertarian country. We're born and as children our parents look after us. They set rules and do not allow us to break them. A lot of the rules are there to make family life easier for the parents. A lot of the rules make no sense, especially when we are young, but we learn that life is abiding by the rules.

Eventually, we question our guardians and break away. But we got used to living under the rules, and when the Government offers to take over the parental role most of us are happy to accept.

The reason you couldn't talk with your mouth full when you were eight is the same reason people don't want you to drink on a train. We don't do it, therefore it irritates us when you do it.

You can despise and disown your readers if you wish, but at least consider. We are all children, conditioned to expect everyone to toe society's line. We need to get used to the idea that when you do what you want, it doesn't actually affect us at all.

Consider getting on a train and seeing a man topless sitting there. Completely harmless, yet most people would be disturbed. Why?

It is a concept that will take time to grasp. If you are serious about Libertarianism as a future for UK society, you're going to have to learn how to make people understand without calling them cunts, you cunt.

5/09/2008 03:02:00 pm  
Blogger John B said...

"If you are serious about Libertarianism as a future for UK society, you're going to have to learn how to make people understand without calling them cunts, you cunt."

I like this quote. I like it a lot. In some ways it's a shame that it's a problem, but it is precisely the problem you guys are facing...

5/09/2008 03:08:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

True (and that quote made me laugh).

But let's be clear here: The Devil's Kitchen is a personal blog that is written as a cathartic outlet for my rage.

I shall continue to write it in the way that I please. I shall not start spouting PR crud.

If you have a problem with the way that I write, then tough. Do at least go away and try to think about the points that I make: if you can do so without swearing, then that's all well and good.

DK

5/09/2008 03:13:00 pm  
Blogger the doctor said...

My dear DK , the only reason that I do not drink on the Tube is because I
spill too much and I hate waste .
Keep up the good work and do not stop fucking swearing .

5/09/2008 05:12:00 pm  
Anonymous Tom Paine said...

Drinking on the Tube is not the problem. The actions of some belligerent drunks on the Tube are the problem. They will still be around as they usually get drunk before they board. I doubt many drunks put themselves over the top with drink they take on board. It really is very odd thinking on Boris's part.

5/09/2008 05:47:00 pm  
Blogger John said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

5/09/2008 06:13:00 pm  
Anonymous Dr John Crippen said...

John said...

Yes, the more I read, the more I agree, particularly when you consider that this is really Boris after a free cheap headline.

On the other hand, if he were to do something more acceptable, like ban the use of mobile phones on the trains.........



John

5/09/2008 06:14:00 pm  
Anonymous Rory Meakin said...

I'm uncomfortable whenever a politician starts talking about banning things, but this is slightly different for a couple of reasons.

1. It is not a legal 'ban', it's a corporate one. It will be a TFL policy, if my understanding is correct, not a law. Alcohol is similarly disallowed (or 'banned')on many other government properties, such as libraries and local council offices. I'm not sure why on trains it is any more 'authoritarian' than in libraries or council offices.

2. TFL do not sell alcohol, and have little interest in appealing to customers who wish to travel with an alcoholic beverage. It is quite understandable, therefore, why TFL might want to take a managerial decision to refuse to allow open alcoholic drinks to be carried on its property.

As I said, however, I am distinctly uncomfortable with this decision being taken by a politician. Whether a train/bus/tram company should permit alcohol on its property is in no sense a legitimate matter for public policy. This is the main problem.

The solution would be for TFL (and libraries) to be privatised and for the owners of those businesses to take such decisions (subject to any licensing as may be required). I believe a private tube operater might well also ban alcohol as it's perhaps not viable to sell it like on long distance journeys.

In the absense of that system, we have to put up with second best: politicians trying to second guess what would be the spontaneous order. In this case, I think Boris has probably got it right.

5/09/2008 08:50:00 pm  
Blogger It Will Come to Me said...

Mr Portato 3:02

I'll drink to that.

DK, through his blog, has introduced me to Libertarianism and I'm very inclined to follow, but only if I feel I'll still be protected from the sight of male onanism on the top deck of any Routemaster replacements.

BTW had I been in Boris's shoes I'd have started with banning the eating fast food further than 20m from the point of service.

5/09/2008 11:00:00 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If I used the tube at all, I would make sure that I carried a beer bottle full of water to drink conspicuously. Hundreds of people doing that all the time would hopefully annoy the fuckers no end

5/10/2008 12:05:00 am  
Anonymous wonderfulforhisage said...

When I was in my twenties there was a bar on the platform of the East bound Circle Line at Kings Cross, a buffet on the West Bound platform of the Circle Line at Sloan Square and a buffet at the top of the stairs of the Circle Line at Baker St.

We knew how to make our own fun.

That young whipper snapper Johnson doesn't know he's born.

Those were the days.

5/10/2008 08:33:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ridding yourself of rage is fine – and your readers generally find the process entertaining – but to pretend that that type of catharsis can form the basis for a coherent political philosophy is stark nonsense. Your frothing reply to Xoggoth's perfectly valid comment does you few favours I'm afraid.

5/10/2008 01:03:00 pm  
Anonymous Frederick Davies said...

Personally this does not surprise me: I always thought Cameron and his ilk were just a return to High Tory paternalism rather than something new; and Boris going all "ban, ban, ban" is just to be expected.

As for the "should you be able to drink in the tube or not" discussion, the question should really be: is the Tube a private space or a public one. If it is private, then TfL is within its rights to ban whatever they want within their property; it will just remind me why I do not vote Tory anymore. But if it is not, then TfL (and Boris) should go and get lost.

5/10/2008 04:32:00 pm  
Blogger EmmaK said...

Seems to be a bit silly to ban drinking on the tube...I mean aren't these people being responsible by not drinking and driving?

5/10/2008 04:36:00 pm  
Blogger Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

"Ridding yourself of rage is fine – and your readers generally find the process entertaining – but to pretend that that type of catharsis can form the basis for a coherent political philosophy is stark nonsense."

I'm sorry? Look, you don't know me from Adam, OK? You have absolutely no idea on what I base my political philosophy; a lot of what I believe in is actually behind the swearing, etc.

One of these days, we'll meet in person and I will explain to you calmly but passionately (and with (almost) no swearing) why I believe what I do.

In the meantime, please do not assume that you know me because you read this blog. And if you want reasoned policies, then I suggest that you visit the official LPUK site.

"Your frothing reply to Xoggoth's perfectly valid comment does you few favours I'm afraid."

Xoggoth patently does not understand the non-aggression principle (or, indeed, anything else about libertarianism): he has been reading this blog for long enough that one might have hoped that he understood.

Given that I was already immensely frustrated with the general lack of ability of commenters here to understand the concept of liberty, I was hardly going to react politely to Xoggoth accusing me of peddling "ridiculous simplistic crap", especially when he has agreed with me in the past.

Second, please don't patronise me with this "does you no favours" rubbish. I appreciate people reading this blog and I aim to entertain, but please don't think that you are doing me some kind of immense favour.

If I want paternalistic advice then I can talk to my actual father, OK?

Fucking hellski...

DK

5/10/2008 10:19:00 pm  
Anonymous wonderfulforhisage said...

DK, you write:

"Given that I was already immensely frustrated with the general lack of ability of commenters here to understand the concept of liberty, I was hardly going to react politely to Xoggoth accusing me of peddling "ridiculous simplistic crap", especially when he has agreed with me in the past."

It seems to me that this entertaining and thought provoking debate hinges on the difference between 'the' concept of liberty and 'your' concept of liberty. In my opinion, there is no such thing as 'the' concept of liberty, only our individual concepts of liberty.

Reminds me of the 'There is no such thing as society' row which still rumbles on nearly 21 years later.

One man's liberty is another man's license perhaps?

Here is my my five penny worth of water muddying:

http://www.geocities.com/Heartland/7547/liberty.html

(last five or so paragraphs in particular).

5/11/2008 08:55:00 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The link to the Daily Mash at the top of the post isn't working for me. Has it been censored? On the other hand it's probably finger trouble on my part.

5/11/2008 09:21:00 am  
Blogger pagar said...

"Whilst I'm generally against the banning of things I don't have a huge problem with this"

Poor Devil.

It must have come as a shock to you that it would seem that most of your readers do not have the first idea of what it means to take a principled libertarian stance.

They are happy to protest at having their lives controlled by authoritarian forces unless it is something that doesn't affect them personally.

THEN THEY SUPPORT THE FASCIST BASTARDS.

Good God.

5/12/2008 02:30:00 pm  
Blogger Nathaniel Tapley said...

Thank you for this, I was waiting for someone to say it (and just hearing deafening silence from other 'libertarians' *cough*mizdata).

However, I suspect the reason some others haven't picked this up is (apart from the fact that Johnson was meant to be their candidate), as Frederick highlights above, is that, as TfL is a company, they would argue that it has the right to ban whatever it likes on its trains. It's certainly a defence one doesn't have to wait too long to hear on 'libertarian' websites with regard to, say, companies that don't want any unspecified minority (or, I suppose, majority).

5/19/2008 07:00:00 am  
Anonymous stephen said...

My argument against the ban isn't a libertarian argument, as I'm not a libertarian. I oppose it because it will be completely ineffective, not because I think people have an inalienable right to drink alcohol on the tube. If the ban had any chance of *reducing* rowdy anti-social behaviour then I would probably support it; but it has no chance, so I don't. The authorities already have laws to deal with rowdy drunken louts. So why aren't they using them? The only people likely to fined for flouting this ban are those who are not making a mischief of themselves and who aren't causing a problem. Brain dead politcs at its most sublime.

5/21/2008 05:44:00 pm  
Anonymous Mousquetaire said...

I agree, DK. Sooo many people conflate personal predilections with public policy.

5/11/2009 01:32:00 am  

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