Middle-class drinkers in their homes are as bad as riotous youths, says bishop

By Rightnow289 · Jun 14, 2009 · ·
  1. Rightnow289
    Middle-class drinkers who consume alcohol in their homes are just as irresponsible as drunk youths on the streets, a senior bishop has claimed.

    The Rt Rev John Gladwin, the Bishop of Chelmsford, criticised the double-standards he claims exist in the attitudes of more affluent sections of society towards Britain's "binge-drinking" culture.

    He argued that they could not condemn teenagers' behaviour if they are getting drunk themselves, and claimed that they are ultimately responsible for the rise in alcoholism.

    His comments follow the release of official figures that show one in four adults are putting their health at risk by drinking too much and that 360,000 11 to 15 year-olds get drunk every week.

    Bishop Gladwin, a former social responsibility secretary for the Church, called for a new approach to the problem, which he said was caused by "growing prosperity".

    "While do we have a significant problem among young people, not least the binge drinking that breaks out onto our streets, that is not the issue," he said.

    "Growing prosperity is behind the rise in alcoholism. We now go out and buy our wine for the weekend."

    The bishop said that it was unfair to draw attention to young and poorer people getting drunk in public when they are also having too much alcohol, but in the privacy of their own homes.

    "Often poorer people in society haven't got the protection – the safety of jobs and homes – so when young people do go out clubbing it's all very public, whereas for older people you can collapse at home at the weekend and have levels of alcohol consumption that are just as bad."

    He added: "People in the middle-classes have got into habits of high levels of alcohol consumption without thinking through the implications for the whole community.

    "They can't turn around and complain about another generation who, with cheap alcohol and easy access to it, are doing the same but more publicly."

    One in three men and one in six women are classified as hazardous drinkers, according to the NHS Information Centre, while six per cent of men and two per cent of women drink so much that they are likely to suffer physical or mental harm such as liver disease or depression.

    The charity Alcohol Concern warned last month that "While the attention paid to binge-drinking and town centre disorder is important, there is a crucial need to tackle the hidden harm caused by alcohol to older people, women and children."

    A Government report last year, commissioned by Ed Balls, the Children, Schools and Families Secretary, criticised middle-class parents who introduce their children to wine-drinking using the excuse that the approach works on the Continent.

    Bishop Gladwin admitted that clergy were also affected by the problems with alcohol.

    "Clergy have gone beyond the limit and got themselves into higher levels of alcohol dependency," he said.

    Discussing the Rt Rev Tom Butler, the Bishop of Southwark, who was alleged to have been drunk after a Christmas drinks reception at the Irish embassy, he said: "I like Tom [Butler] because he's a straightforward human-being like the rest of us. There can be no doubt about his shared humanity.

    "I think that's why people warm to him. I guess people know that this (alcohol) is an issue for a lot of people. This is what lots of people's lives can be like.

    "Whatever went on, right or wrong, a bishop caught up in it and seeking to deal with it is a sign of a shared humanity."

    After the party, in December 2006, witnesses reported seeing a man who looked like Bishop Butler climb into the back of an unlocked Mercedes and start throwing toys out the car.

    When asked what he was doing, the man replied: "I'm the Bishop of Southwark, it's what I do."

    By Jonathan Wynne-Jones, Religious Affairs Correspondent
    Published: 9:00PM BST 13 Jun 2009
    Source - http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/new...are-as-bad-as-riotous-youths-says-bishop.html

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  1. Kratom23
    Ed Balls - what an unfortunate name.
    Binge drinking in UK has been new for some time now. Thing is its nothing new, Brits always have and always will be into drinking to the extream. SWIM used to run a Student Union bar, utter carnage!
  2. Nature Boy
    Holyman seems to be missing the point. It's any adult's right to get shit-faced in the comfort of their own home, harming themselves and only themselves. Underage drinking and public disorder is an entirely different matter. One would have to be incredibly ignorant not to see this contrast. But then again, this clown believes in burning bushes and a talking dead guy. Hardly an authority on the matter IMO. When the Church of England comes out with ridiculous statements like "gays cause flooding", I don't think many people pay attention to what they think of alcohol.
  3. cannabis-sam
    Don't the church of england support the legalization of cannabins though?
  4. drix
    The consequences of heavy drinking on an individuals health seem, to swim anyway, a seperate issue from the problems caused by groups of young people intoxicated on the streets. It's worth pointing out that antisocial drunkenness isn't just the preserve of the underage drinker, people over the age of eighteen can behave just as badly.
    There is a distinct difference between getting wasted in the privacy of your own home and getting wasted in public and making a nuisance of yourself, which is bound to happen when you take a group of youngsters and add liberal amounts of piss. To say 'Middle-class drinkers who consume alcohol in their homes are just as irresponsible as drunk youths on the streets' Is complete bollocks. Sure, the impact on an individuals health may be relatively similar, but the social consequences are not.
    Of course, next time swim is a bit pissed and some drunken teenager is pissing in his garden or yelling at his wife or daughter he will take a deep breath and think 'well, it wouldn't be right to say something to prevent this antisocial behaviour because one is drunk oneself. Better just say nothing and let them carry on, the wee scamps.'
    Will he fuck!

    Fucking classic! Well funny.
  5. SullyGuy
    Regardless of it being irresponsible, SWIM likes that someone is calling attention to the fact that drinking is drinking. People who drink alcohol in their own homes are consuming the same drug as those who are rowdy.
  6. Coconut
    Middle-class adults binge drinking in their own homes often has dire consequences too, such as domestic abuse, whether physical or mental. I've seen it.
  7. bubbly nubs
    Middle-class drinkers who consume alcohol in their homes are just as irresponsible as drunk youths on the streets, but not in the same way.
  8. Nature Boy
    I think the words "on the streets" is the key difference though. Fact is, if you're not dragging anyone else into it, the level of irresponsibility declines massively.
  9. Routemaster Flash
    Define "responsible" (and "irresponsible") - does an adult have a 'responsibility' not to drink to excess? Some people may say they do, others will take the line that it's their liver and their heart they're damaging, so in a free society they should be free to get on with it. I tend to side with this argument, I have to say.

    But we all have a responsibility not to be antisocial or criminal. This is what living in a civil society is all about. And if you're out making a nuisance for other people, that's an infringement of other people's rights, whether you're drunk, stoned or sober.

    Sounds to me like this guy is just trying to tap into a fashionable inverted snobbery by having a go at "the middle classes", whoever they are these days.

    Edit: and it just goes to show how out of touch this joker is when he blames it on "growing prosperity" - like, hellooo, have you not watched the news or read a paper in the last 18 months? Fuck's sake.
  10. drix
    An adult does, I believe, have to be responsible for their actions. If these actions are a consequence of excessive drinking and cause harm to, or have a negative impact on others, then it could be argued that they do have a responsibilty not to drink excessively. In that sense excessively varies from individual to individual.
    It could also be argued that, dying and other consequences of alcohol abuse on an individuals health might have an extremely negative impact on an individuals family or loved ones. So perhaps if an adult has dependants, or people that love and care about them, you could say that they have a responsibilty towards those people. Few people are islands and individuals actions have an effect on others in all sorts of ways.

    drix added 2 Minutes and 24 Seconds later...

    Very true. Wonder where he got that idea from?
  11. Venusia
    I think that an adult has the right to do whatever they please in the confines of their home, which they pay for and pay the utilities for. Society is not in one's living room. Civilization does not dwell in one's lounge. One is entitled to drink themselves stupid every weekend in their own house. Once they cross their threshold into the outside world, then the rules of civilized behavior and being an positively exemplary citizen apply.

    Idiot teens who drink in the streets, who are out in society, are wrong. They are doing stupid things that stupid kids do. They're the ones who are supposed to be reprimanded, NOT the tax-paying, responsible adults who have their own houses to do what they will away from the judgmental prying eyes of the teetotalers and other members of society.

    I completely fail to see the connection between street thugs and punks getting trashed in the streets and in clubs and the middle-class who drink in their own homes, where they can dance naked with a tutu on while chugging a bottle of tequilla if they feel so inclined as they are in their place, their homes, and shut peacefully away from society. No one has any business telling anyone what they can or cannot do in their own homes, so long as it's legal, IMO.
  12. drix
    Not quite. Nobody, adult or otherwise, has the right to cause harm to others, whether in or out of their own home and regardless of who pays the utility bill. The legality of behaviours has little to do with it either. Legality only gives authority a perceived right as opposed to a moral right. A large percentage of domestic abuse etc although both wrong and illegal, is the product of excessive drinking and goes unreported for a whole myriad of reasons. Nobody has a right to behave as such.
    I firmly believe that an adult has a right to smoke pot, for example, in their own home. Which is illegal, but not wrong in my opinion. Others will disagree, but no one could argue that smoking some weed is comparable to spousal or child abuse. A lot of legislation is complete shite and no adult should need it to tell them whether a behaviour is morally right or wrong.
  13. nibble
    Indeed but the article mentions nothing about violence or domestic abuse catalysed by alcohol consumption. Rather it seems to be simply condemning the act of alcohol consumption itself.

    Whatever about violence "caused" by alcohol, alcohol consumption itself should certainly not be condemned, regardless of how personally harmful it may be. That's aside from the fact that it is a fallacy to think that alcohol somehow causes an otherwise completely docile individual to become violent. It is the anxiolytic and "loosening" effect of alcohol that often allows a persons true emotions and violent tendencies to show through.
  14. Routemaster Flash
    OK, so let's look at the argument that anyone who has any friends, relatives or other loved ones has a responsibility not to cause undue harm to themselves because this is emotionally harmful to the people who are close to them. I'm not sure this is a morally watertight argument - what if you drink heavily because your whole family is a bunch of fuck-ups and it's the only way you know how to cope? Ultimately I think we all still have the right to use whatever substances we like, so long as we accept responsibility for that use - of course, it would be nice if most people were also responsible in the sense of using drugs in a way that doesn't cause them undue physical or mental harm.

    That aside, excessive drinking is going to damage your heart, liver and probably mental health too whether you're doing it in a pub, your own living room or on a street corner. But if you're out in the street being an obnoxious shit and raising merry hell, then in addition to whatever trauma you're causing your family you are also violating the rights of other people not to be exposed to your antisocial or criminal behaviour. So if binge-drinking at home is bad, public binge-drinking (and attendant selfish behaviour) is undeniably worse.

    Also, nibble is on the money about how alcohol doesn't "make" people act selfishly or violently, but merely lowers the inhibitions of those who have latent tendencies towards this kind of behaviour.
  15. Venusia
    Excellent point. Many drugs (especially speed and alcohol) don't make people good or bad, they just amplify the person's personality and natural tendencies. In fact "in vino veritas" ("in wine [therein lies the] truth") is a great example of this. People's true natures come out when drinking, as their inhibitions are dropped and they are free to show their true natures. If one is really an a-hole prick, but hides it while sober, inebriation will tend to allow him to drop that false persona, and he will almost certainly be the nasty prick he really is. Just because some people get to be nasty after drinking, it isn't the alcohol that makes them that way, they just are less likely to mask their true selves.

    If a single adult with no children wants to drink themself into a stupor in their own home, who is going to suffer but him? No one. How is this a problem? It seems like going to a bar, club or pub and getting trashed would be the greater evil of the two, as people who get drunk with lots of other drunk people around are more likely to hurt someone than someone who drinks at home.

    Swiv still fails to see the connection between binge drinking at home and the kids drinking in the streets or public places.
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