After the New Year celebrations have finished, and the clear-up has ended, comes, for many in the more judgmental part of the Fourth Estate, the tutting and frowning at all those young people who have gone out for a few scoops and a good night out and ended up rather worse for wear. I mean, how could they do such a thing? What’s the world coming to? Why won’t they think about, er, the Daily Mail’s sales figures?
Sarah Vine - happy soul, isn't she?
And it is at the Mail where the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre has sent Sarah Vine, aka Mrs Michael “Oiky” Gove, over the top in no style at all to pass judgment on all those people who are younger and less inhibited than her, a number which increases every year, and which clearly causes her considerable distress, especially as they are clearly having rather more fun than she is, which would not be difficult.
“Pictures that make me weep for today's young women: SARAH VINE on how British society is in the grip of an out of control binge-drinking culture” reads the headline, pulling the Mail trick of taking New Year’s Eve and - falsely - extrapolating from it to pretend that young people go out on the lash every night of the year, which they do not.
Ms Vine begins by painting the grim scene. “These images of paralytic revellers causing mess and mayhem in our city centres on New Year’s Eve show precisely that: a society in the grip of a binge-drinking culture … A bunch of alcohol-sodden, helpless and hapless wrecks … these are not the usual suspects … we see brawling and barfing their way to destruction; but young women”. And she knows exactly who is to blame.
“I’m lucky. I didn’t grow up in Tony Blair’s brave new world of 24-hour drinking”. Yeah, right. Tone left 10 Downing Street almost a decade ago and still the righteous curtain-twitchers at the Mail are blaming him for people celebrating New Year and overdoing it. The only surprise is that she isn’t blaming the BBC as well.
Then she engages judgmental overdrive: “These women … have intentionally got themselves into this state … Which begs the question: what sorrows could they possibly have that need such comprehensive drowning?” And at this point, the bullshit detector and hypocrisy alarm began to scream long and loud.
This is the same Sarah Vine who answered her own question about the drowning of sorrows only last month, telling Mail readers “In a culture so devoid of fun … there has to be some release … And besides, wine is the opium of the middle classes … And it’s not as if we’re drinking ourselves into a stupor night after night. Just enough to take the edge off the day. Two glasses. Maybe three if it’s been a stinker”.
Some young people go out and get ratarsed on New Year’s Eve, and for that they get the full why-oh-why whinging from the Mail. But for Sarah Vine, who is doing her liver rather more damage by hammering it every night, we should feel sympathy. Even if she is, by saying “there has to be some release”, and “enough to take the edge off the day”, using the language of alcoholics justifying their habits.
Sarah Vine needs to look to herself before getting judgmental about others. And realise that we were all young once - whining about getting older won’t make it go away.