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Sobering up

We are not a nation of binge drinkers—and new plans to make us drink less will not work

By Jamie Bartlett   182

Some young adults are stupendous drinkers, but over the last decade Britons in general have toned it down

Ever since we discovered the joys of drinking alcohol, our leaders have worried we enjoy it too much. In the mid-tenth century, King Edgar introduced the first recorded law to curb drunkenness, limiting how much people could drink by putting pegs inside the horns from which they drank. There since followed 1,000 years of usually failed attempts to regulate when, where, and how much we drink—up to the “24-hour café-culture” Licensing Act of 2003.

The latest targets are binge drinkers. Since the…

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