Matt Barrie’s article was on the restricted trading of clubs and bars in Sydney’s city centre. He claims a conspiracy of skewing statistics, casino bankrolling, and an axis of anti-fun among governments.
His analysis on the change the laws have had is insightful, well-researched, and shocking, showing how it’s irreparably hurt the evening economy and all those who rely on it.
But his political analysis is left wanting. Re-printed in news.com.au, the irony couldn’t be better.
Because, contrary to his villains of incompetent governments and conspiring bureaucrats, the Daily Telegraph and their tabloid TV partners were the real culprits. They drove the moral panic that led to community alarm about an out-of-control drinking culture.
It wasn’t hard. ‘Youths out of control’ is fertile ground for clickthroughs and sales. I doubt there was any malice, just business.
The Government just chose a clearly popular option.
Where was the interest in campaigns for late night public transport, for 24-hour cafes for people to cool their heads, or more social drinking rather than drinking to get drunk? The City of Sydney, pro-public transport political parties, and a NGO--DrinkWise.org.au, have been working on all these things and could do with help.
But the Barries of the world don’t have time for all that politics. It’s far too boring when there’s parties to go to.