Welcome to West Street at 2am: Is this a European café culture?

Raucous drunken young revellers stagger home at 5am or 6am
Raucous drunken young revellers stagger home at 5am or 6am

Far be it for me to be a spoilsport.

Far be it for me to be a spoilsport, but I have long wondered which bunch of numpties thought it would be a good idea to try and emulate Europe with our alcohol licence laws.

Whatever possessed anyone to think for one tiny minute that extending licences to a maximum of 24 hours would mean more responsible drinking. It's almost a comedy sketch theme, because obviously these idiots expected people to be emulating our European neighbours, socialising in pavement cafés till the early hours and sipping Cognac.

The reality, of course, in our fair city of Brighton and Hove is very different and now it is an everyday event to see and hear raucous drunken young revellers staggering home at 5am or 6am.

As I say, far be it for me to be a spoilsport, particularly because as a young man I was always one of the last to go home.

I remember, however, how I used to feel the next day after arriving home a bit the worse for wear at 1am or 2am. Which wasn't great. I can't imagine that any of the youngsters I see staggering past at what to most of us is breakfast time can be much use to anyone for the whole day.

Apart from a few club-owners, I can't see who this lengthening of the licensing hours has benefited. It's certainly not the average residents of our city, who now have to sleep with ear-plugs. It can't possibly be the average employer, who must now be experiencing higher sick-day rates. One thing is certain: it is not benefiting any of our young people, who now must feel even worse than I did the morning after the night before.

And it certainly won't be the police who are happy about it either. Before these ridiculous changes, everything was quietening down by 2am. Now it's all just ramping up.

Of course, it's too late to change now as the whole culture of clubbing all night and getting completely trashed has really taken hold.

The stag and hen parties we attract would, I am sure, be sorely missed by some businesses - albeit not by most residents. Youngsters would be up in arms at the infringement of their human rights to get hammered and throw up in the streets at all hours. No doubt there would be some hand-wringing wailing poor hard-done-by club-owners making a lot of noise.

The whole experiment with licensing laws for me just reinforces my theory of just why we should get out of the so called European Union - as soon as possible.

We are not like them and never will be. Therefore, let's stop trying to emulate them and picking up on everything some twit in Brussels thinks is a good idea. Let's get back to what we are really good at as a nation. Which is being original.