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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

You will fear The Council. And you will Obey.


26 comments to You will fear The Council. And you will Obey.

  • I will when they learn to spell…

  • Richard Thomas

    And to grammar.

  • Actually, that’s untrue – I’ll still tell them to go Farouk themselves, but the combination of bad spelling, syntax, grammar and above all style makes it hard to stop laughing long enough to take this seriously.

    Whoever Mauna is his rules probably don’t mean a lot to the general inhabitants of old-blighty and as for SouthQwark Council, who can say? Heisenberg perhaps although I’m a bit indeterminate on that.

    As usual this could be one of two things, some poor immigrant shopkeeper who may or may not flog the stuff, but doesn’t want the local youths to hang around drinking outside his Off License in case Southwalk Council decide to put his license in jeopardy. All fair enough, I think.

    I vaguely recall something about people not being allowed to drink within a certain distance of an off-license, but suspect this may have been under the older, more stringent regime.

    Certainly I could understand if the shopkeeper put up said sign because he thinks its the law. I had a quick look at the regulations for Off Licenses and couldn’t make head nor tail of them.

    That said, petty rules and petty laws come from small minded men (and commonly women nowadays)

  • It’s clearly a situation in which an immigrant’s command of English is not as great as he thinks it is. It isn’t an off licence but a bar. It’s in Peckham, just off Rye Lane. I popped my head in the door and the customers were African immigrants drinking beer and watching football. I suspect that the proprietor’s licence states that customers may not take drinks outside, and that he has probably been threatened by the council with loss of licence if this is not complied with. They have possibly told him to put up a sign, so he has.

    If the poor bloke is being harassed by the petty bureaucrats of local government, he has my sympathy. (In general, I think that the transfer of control of alcohol licensing from magistrates’ courts to local councils was a terrible move). I hope he makes lots of money and his customers enjoy his establishment, too, but I still can’t really help laughing at the sign – Southqwark council in particular.

  • Ah, thanks Michael. That clarifies it.

    Yes, in truth the poor guy has my sympathies. Nothing worse that some tinpot fascist at the local council getting a bee in his bonnet about some petulant nonsense and then writing to some poor, semi-literate immigrant who is just trying to earn of living and frightening the life out of him.

    Ugh. This is exactly why I am a libertarian.

  • llamas

    Ah, a subject about wot I know summink.

    It has always been against the law for drinkers to take alcoholic beverages served by the measure on licensed premises off the premises. I well-recall more than one pub in the very suburbs being discussed which has a brass strip inlet into the pavement (sidewalk) outside, which you may not cross with a pint in your hand.

    You can walk down the street drinkling a pint that you brought with you from home, or poured into a glass from a bottle you bought at the off-licence. But if you bought it open, by the measure, on licensed premises, you must consume it on those premises. This was the law long before the responsibility for licensing was passed from the magistrates to the local council. And it has always been up to the publican (in the first instance) to enforce the rule. Go to somewhere like Appleby for the Horse Fair and you’ll see bars over the pub windows, to prevent people inside from buying and then passing open drinks to those in the street outside.

    The rule makes tremendous sense – it allows the publican, the licensee, to keep control of who is consuming what he sells, by requiring the consumers to remain somewhat in his sight, and by requiring the consumer to buy what he wants in person.

    So it has nothing to do with the fact that the council now controls licensing (although that is a crappy idea), and everything to do with the fact that this licensee is trying to take his legal duty seriously. Not sure what point is being made by those sniping at the guy for only doing, what the law has always said he must do.



  • I don’t think we’re snipping Llamas, merely commenting on that most obnoxious of modern day evils, the lesser spotted Council Jobsworth.

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    The last thing I was doing was sniping. I may have been making a little fun out of the wording of the sign, but that’s different.

    The law hasn’t changed, but the details of who enforces it and how has changed. A very similar law exists in my native New South Wales and the law there is enforced very strictly and literally. When I first came to England I was struck by the fact that enforcement of such laws was much more governed by common sense. If someone took a beer outside a country pub to drink it on the grass next to a nearby river, nobody seemed to mind. Similarly, you would find people drinking in streets just outside pubs on busy evenings. As long as there was no trouble, people were allowed to. The enforcement of licensing laws is much more in the hands of officious jobsworths. It is certainly THE COUNCIL (in Orwellian capital letters) that this landlord is afraid of, and their rules he thinks he is following. I’d much prefer it was just between magistrates and (when occasionally necessary) police.

  • CaptDMO

    Against the council to hold drink outside?
    OK boys, whizz away.

  • But isn’t this also by extension a problem caused by policies of “Zero Tolerance”

    Southwark Council – Examples of Zero Tolerance

    The council is determined to maintain a zero
    approach towards behaviour that impacts negatively on people or the environment.

    (my emphasis)

    Now admittedly, the point highlighted related to Southwalk’s Council Tenants – I couldn’t find their opinion on licensed resellers, but doubt it is any more liberal.

    This is the problem with giving power to council jobsworth’s, they can’t target the real problems (like the Roma in Northern towns) as they can’t deal with ethnic minorities who are quite happy to punch first and ask questions later, so inevitably the rules end up being applied to existing (and generally accepted) social norms of the majority of the population who are doing nobody any harm, but just fancy a pint in the sunshine of a summer evening.

    As per usual with Zero Tolerance policies or absolute offences, there is no capacity for common sense or independent thought on behalf of the policing officers (be they coppers or council officials), thus they exhibit none.

    It is at times like these that one of my favourite quotes must be deployed, I fear it is the only way…

    Of all tyrannies, a tyranny sincerely exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It would be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies.

    The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

    They may be more likely to go to Heaven yet at the same time likelier to make a Hell of earth. This very kindness stings with intolerable insult. To be “cured” against one’s will and cured of states which we may not regard as disease is to be put on a level of those who have not yet reached the age of reason or those who never will; to be classed with infants, imbeciles, and domestic animals.

    ― C.S. Lewis, God in the Dock: Essays on Theology (Making of Modern Theology)

  • John K

    Once you know the Russian for “council” is “soviet” it all begins to make sense.

  • Vulgar Madman

    Please obey? Sounds odd.

  • The Russian word for “council” is “Soviet”, but it derives from the verb “sovyet” – to advise. Or, to counsel. Both English and Russian words have the same roots, which is the verb meaning advise.

  • Sorry, noun, not verb.

  • Endivio Roquefort I

    A sad reflection on the present state of the country that invented Dwile Flonking.

  • Roue le Jour

    And are people taking their drinks outside to enjoy a quiet fag, pint in hand?

  • Michael Jennings (London)

    A pub in Greenwich used to have a sign at the door that said

    “Notice to drinkers: it is AGAINST THE LAW to take your drinks outside
    Notice to smokers: it is AGAINST THE LAW to smoke inside”.

  • I know a pub in Southwark where people frequently stand about drinking on the street outside. It’s all hipsters and media luvvies at that pub, though.

  • The council is determined to maintain a zero tolerance approach towards behaviour that impacts negatively on people

    Then they need to disband because local bureaucrats clearly impact negatively on people.

  • Richard Thomas

    I seem to remember mixed levels of enforcement. If I recall correctly, the major concern from the pub was the loss of the beer glasses.

  • llamas

    No law against drinking outside per se – it depends where the boundary of the ‘licensed premises’ falls. As I said, more than one pub in that part of the world has the boundary monumented in the pavement, for this exact reason.

    I know that enforcement varies. I have also walked a cool pint and young lady similar along the river-walks that surround the Chequers in Loose, and nobody cared as long as (as said) the glasses made it back before closing time. By the same token, I can recall an officious pr*ck of a police constable behaving like complete jackass outside the Olde Trip to Jerusalem in Nottingham, harassing people enjoying a quiet pint on the pavement outside. This should tell you that enforcement could be just as officious, and just as capricious, long before licensing became the responsibility of the council. I’ll wager that if I went back to the Chequers today, that nobody would chase me down for wandering down the river-walks with a pint. Who knows where the young lady went.



  • Schrödinger's Hippo

    During the brief spell that the England team was in the Southern Hemisphere it transpires that for some reason you were not permitted to purchase any alcohol in bottles in the Westminster Council area between 6pm and 10pm on England match days. I was told this during one of last week’s matches by a rather bemused member of Harrods’ wine department at about 6:30pm. I enquired as to whether they had many soccer hooligans coming into the wine department and was answered, “I am not sure Sir, I believe some of the players buy their wine here but I would be more concerned about their wives than the occasional England fan wielding a bottle of Petrus”.

    I, for one, have never heard of the term ‘pre-loading’ of alcohol before a match; I always thought it was known as ‘getting legless’.

  • The Two Brewers in Moorgate used to have a sign outside in the summar that said:

    All Americans must be accompanied by an adult

    Quite appropriate given the American banks all around the place, especially Broadgate.

  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    Summar thicker than others, but weren’t you the one, John, complaining about bad spelling?

  • Irony – A substance similar to Goldy and Leady.


  • Nick (Blame FrenchMEN) Gray

    And here I thought it was the missing Vitamin, Iron-E. Live and learn!