The Wall Street Journal’s Friday edition has a very long article about the drinking and violence that occurs every weekend in Cardiff. The article claims that somewhere between 40,000 and 140,000 young people descend on the City center for ‘binge’ drinking. The reporters describe scenes of young women lying drunk on the ground, young men brawling with the police, garbage-strewn streets and degrading behavior everywhere. According to the reporters and the Authorities, the main blame for this orgy of binge drinking by teens and young adults, belongs to supermarkets that sell alcohol at below-cost prices in order to attract customers. They also blame bars and clubs for selling cheap drink.
The reporters were describing Cardiff, but in truth the weekend mayhem and violent and degrading behavior is commonplace all across the UK. Even small country towns and seaside resorts have their own mini-version of Cardiff’s problem. It is not a recent problem either. However the causes have little to do with supermarket’s selling cheap drink and everything to do with a social revolution that has taken place over the last 40 or more years. When I tell my American friends that San Jose is a haven of peace on Friday and Saturday nights compared with many small English towns they do not believe me. When I tell them that casual and extreme violence are commonplace on the streets and in the bars of town centers all across the UK, little of it receiving police attention and almost none of it reaching the Courts, they are more than skeptical. There is no cheap alcohol in the UK anymore than there is cheap gasoline, for UK Governments of all political persuasions have long been taxing everything that might bring pleasure to the indigenous working people. The Labour Governments in particular have been bent on putting the traditional pubs out of business with taxation, smoking bans and other petty restrictions. My personal opinion is that the Academics and elitists who exert so much influence over Government policy, have long viewed the traditional pub as, well, ‘traditional’ and therefore an institution to be destroyed as an obstacle to the new multi-culturalism. Village and ‘local’ Pubs were once the places where the native people gathered and expressed ‘bigoted’ and sexist views and maintained some solidarity. Pub landlords were invariably ‘rightwing’ and law and order types. The country pubs, particularly those that relied on the visitors from nearby towns were the first to be hit, both by the breathiliser and the increasing cost of over-taxed gasoline. The old town center pubs have been hit by alcohol taxes and the encroachment of immigrants. To a large extent the native elderly and family people have been priced out of the pub’s social life and only the young single people and the feckless are in a position to drink heavily in bars. Side by side with these developments has been the decline of marriage and traditional family life, the growth of the single (women) parent family on public housing estates (mostly living on welfare), the rise of the rootless young men with no adult role in life and the growth of after-hours disco ‘clubs’ with ear-shattering and anti-culture ‘dance music’.
My experience of the typical town center Friday/Saturday night in a small town in the 1980’s and 1990’s was this. By about 8pm the town center bars were filling with teen-age girls and young women, many of them already half drunk and half naked. Many of the young women had kids at home (the kids often caring for themselves) and had arrived by cab, despite being on welfare. Later the males arrived and joined in the drinking, rarely having the money to pay for the womens’ drinks. By closing time they all moved on to the clubs. Fighting amongst the men and occasionally the women was not uncommon though the real violence usually began in the clubs and later on the streets and was practiced by those who had failed to find a casual sexual partner. Most of the older people gave the town center a wide birth on weekend evenings. The police kept out of the way even when shop windows were smashed and cars vandalized for they had little incentive to get into brawls and take injuries. Courts in the UK have long stopped punishing young violent offenders unless a racist or homophobic epithet has been used. Mostly offenders laugh at a Court appearance and are certainly not inhibited by the presence of police men and women.
In contrast, when I came to San Jose, a city that had a violent reputation, I was amazed at the high profile of the police on the Downtown streets on weekend nights and especially outside the bars and clubs. The police were mostly amiable towards the young revelers but no-one messed with the police. The reason was simple – the police had guns and never hesitated to use them. It was perfectly safe to walk the streets even after midnight. US cities (I omit Black areas from this for there conditions are quite different), despite the occasional shooting homicides, are amazingly law-abiding compared to UK towns and the ‘glassings’ and other injuries so commonplace in the UK, are relatively rare in the US. If the UK’s police were armed and given permission to shoot lawbreakers, the Cardiff-type lawlessness would quickly cease. The deeper cultural problems of the White working class people would emerge in some other format of course. The decline into brutality, ignorance, aimlessness and total civic irresponsibility owes everything to the rise of the Media Class and its degrading and Leftist standards but that is another issue.