THE 1934 DRUNKENNESS FIGURES
[To the Editor of THE SPECTATOR.] Sin,—May I be permitted to differ with your statement that the upward tendency of convictions for drunkenness is continued ? On the face of it such a statement is correct, but in all cases of social problems it is necessary to analyse figures very carefully.
That there will always be a certain amount of drunkenness is a deplorable, but undeniable, fact. Our task is to reduce this drunkenness to its lowest level, and, although the figures would at first show that this reduction in drunkenness had been arrested, in actual fact such is not the case.
It must be remembered that- the years 1931-1933 were the years of the crisis, when money was tight and beer, like many other foods and luxuries, was beyond the pocket of many. Now that money is freer it is to be expected that the consumption of beer should increase : with it, of course, comes a slight increase in drunkenness ; for there are always a few people who will abuse anything which is good. But when we compare the convictions for 1934 with those of 1930, the last pre-crisis year, and hence the last " normal " year, we find that there was a reduction of 13,332. This itself is evidence that drunkenness is getting less rather than more, and we may confidently expect that this real reduction will be continued. The average man and woman has no desire to drink more than is good for one and abhors drunkenness as much as the most fanatical teetotaler.—! am, Sir, yours faithfully,
Cambridge House, Poplar Grove, OWEN WILLIAMS. New Malden, Surrey.