Latest Issue

Sobering up

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

By Jamie Bartlett   May 2011

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…

Register today to continue reading

You’ve hit your limit of three articles in the last 30 days. To get seven more, simply enter your email address below.

You’ll also receive our free e-book Prospect’s Top Thinkers 2020 and our newsletter with the best new writing on politics, economics, literature and the arts.

Prospect may process your personal information for our legitimate business purposes, to provide you with newsletters, subscription offers and other relevant information.

Click here to learn more about these purposes and how we use your data. You will be able to opt-out of further contact on the next page and in all our communications.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to

More From Prospect