I found this comment on NRO by Mark Steyn initially hilarious.  The idea of British police dispensing flip flops to drunken females does seem like an old Monty Python skit come to life.

However, then I recalled this observation made by Hillaire Belloc after he gazed upon the ruins of the Roman city of Timgad in North Africa destroyed by the Vandals:  “We sit by and watch the Barbarian, we tolerate him; in the long stretches of peace we are not afraid. We are tickled by his irreverence, his comic inversion of our old certitudes and our fixed creeds refreshes us; we laugh. But as we laugh we are watched by large and awful faces from beyond: and on these faces there is no smile.”


Update:  Theodore Dalrymple has an excellent article in the City Journal detailing how British character has gone to Hades since WW2.  This quote pertains to public drunkeness:

“Consider in this light public drunkenness. For 100 years or more in Britain, the popular view was that such drunkenness was reprehensible and the rightful object of repression. (My heart leaps with joy when I see in France a public notice underscoring the provisions of the law “for the suppression of public drunkenness.”) Several changes then came: officials halved the tax on alcohol; intellectuals attacked the idea of self-restraint, making it culturally unacceptable; universities unapologetically began to advertise themselves as places where students could get drunk often and regularly; and finally, the government, noting that drunkenness was dramatically increasing, claimed that increasing the hours of availability of alcohol would encourage a more responsible, “Mediterranean” drinking culture, in which people would sip slowly, rather than gulp fast. It is difficult not to suspect also the role of financial inducements to politicians in all this, for even they could hardly be so stupid.”

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