Do German Politicians Read the CoR?

It seems unlikely, but then you never know: I recently wondered why no country I had heard of limited the legal amount of alcohol in beverages to a certain percentage - say, 15. (Commenter pj suggested this may be the case in some US counties.) Now the German land* of Baden-Württemberg has done - well, not exactly that, but something the stated objective of which is to reduce the negative externalities of alcohol consumption. On Monday parliament passed a law banning the sale of alcohol after 10 p.m. outside of pubs and restaurants. It is not quite clear to me when this law will be in effect, but some cities, such as Heidelberg, are thinking about putting it into effect early - within the next few weeks. The main objective is to curb "excessive drinking by children and youths", according to an article in Süddeutsche Zeitung.** Or is that excessive public drinking? Says Heidelberg's green mayor about the public drinkers (quoted in the same article and translated in a nonexeggerating way by me):
They drink themselves legless and then they soak people's doorsteps in piss and vomit.
Interesting. I'd really like to study the effects of this ban (always being remindful of our old enemies reversion to the mean and self-selection), but I think the Comprehensive German Piss and Vomit Database has yet to appear. Longitudinal numbers about alcohol poisoning by land may be available, though. If there's no follow-up post within the next two years or so, drop me a reminder.

As a sidenote, I wouldn't be too surprised if we see a few delegations of English politicians travelling to Baden-Württemberg in the near future. (Update: Or maybe not. See comments.)

*Often translated as "state", presumably as a sort-of-analogy to the US states. It should be noted, however, that the German "states" have much less power than their American counterparts. Not that that's really relevant in the context of this post. Put it in you general knowledge folder.

**Not online, but for my skeptical readers, here's a proper citation: Bernd Dörries: "Sperrstunde an der Tankstelle: Baden-Württemberg verbietet Alkoholverkauf in der Nacht", Süddeutsche Zeitung, 16 June 2009, p. 1. Can you feel your confidence increasing?


pj said...

You know we ban sales of alcohol after 11pm outside of pubs, clubs, and restaurants in the UK (well, England and Wales, not 100% sure about Scotland or NornIrln)? 10:30pm on Sundays.

And, of course, although licensing laws have been liberalised, most pubs shut at 11pm (10:30pm Sundays). And we're still internationally renowned for binge drinking so I wouldn't hold my breath.

LemmusLemmus said...

No, I must admit I was completely unaware of that. In fact, I am positive that I bought beer in English cornershops after what back then was still closing time. Of course, I also drank beer in pubs long after closing time, so that - as we see now - is not such a strong bit of evidence. My mistake. Short update added.