Once more on Dry January: the temperance campaign that still won’t speak its name
Dry January is with us and as usual with some official backing. Farewell (certainly by the end of the first week in January), the Christmas drinkers. Yes, drinkers have their pubs back and should find no shortage of seats to sit in for the weeks to come
Not drinking as much in January, particularly if you have had an indulgent Christmas, is no bad idea both health wise and finance wise.
However Dry January is not about cutting down on drink but signing the pledge as it were not to drink at all.
That is hardly great news for the pub and hospitality industry or for the service sector in general (which partly thanks to Mrs Thatcher’s tour of destruction in the 1980s is now key to the UK economy). I’m not known for my great love of capitalist endeavours but there are (lots) of people’s jobs at stake here as well as the future of places like the pub where people can go to socialise over a drink (alcoholic or not).
The bottom line is that the organisers of Dry January are from the same lineage as temperance campaigners of old, albeit with a modern twist on temperance.
In the US total abstinence was a strong movement (hence Prohibition). In the UK temperance mostly meant not drinking spirits. Beer was often not regarded as an issue.
The organisers of Dry January are totalists and I wish they’d say so.
The temperance movement (as I’ve previously noted) is historically important and might well have a useful point to make still. The point can and should be debated and discussed but this is quite hard when Dry January is the temperance campaign that won’t speak its name.
In the meantime I’ll be supporting Try January, in moderation