Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Cheers, Mr. Chips!

I never even knew before this week of the existence of sixth form bars, which are now under threat.

What a fantastic idea they are, though-- and should be opening in state schools over Britain, rather than being shut down where they currently exist. The idea of a safe, secure environment in which seventeen and eighteen-year-olds can get used to social drinking without going mad, is brilliant. With teachers present, booze rationed and a friendly social environment, familiarity with the effects of alcohol can be explored in a safe, controlled and pragmatic environment. It certainly beats a bottle of vodka in the bus station.

The government was recently beating its chest over binge-drinking, arguing that keeping open pubs for longer hours would provide longer time to consume the same amount of alcohol. A ludicrous suggestion, for sure-- but all the more ironic when they are (apparently from ignorance rather than intent) going to shut down a real possible solution to alcohol abuse.

Let's see Ruth Kelly opening a sixth-form bar in every British school. It'll be an excellent initiative and the first good thing she'd have done as Education Secretary.