Wednesday, February 15, 2017

"Lloyds of London launch 'Orwellian' booze ban"

The "Orwellian" bit is not felicitous phrasing, more after the jump.

From The Week:
"The days of the three-hour, five-bottle City lunch appear to be well and truly over," says the BBC, following the news that Lloyds of London has banned staff from drinking during working hours.
From 9am and 5pm, the 800 staff directly employed by the insurance market will be barred from drinking alcohol.

"An internal memo to employees… reveals the ban was introduced after an analysis of grievance and disciplinary cases over the last two years found 'roughly half' were related to alcohol misuse," says the London Evening Standard.

It adds that the diktat "could see employees sacked for gross misconduct if caught breaking the new rule".

The Financial Times says the memo suggests that if staff are caught drinking, the "issue would first be taken up with their manager", but it "could eventually, after a disciplinary procedure, lead to dismissal".

Staff have reacted angrily, posting messages on the company's internal intranet site branding the move "Orwellian".

“Did I just wake up from my drunken drug induced slumber to find we are now living in Orwell’s 1984?" wrote one.

“Lloyd's used to be a fun place to work. Now it is the PC capital of the world where you can’t even go out for a lunchtime pint anymore?”

Another employee asked: “Will we be asked to go to bed earlier soon?”...MORE
From Drinking Diaries:

Mis-Reading Orwell and Hemingway at Fifteen (Ah, the Drinking!)
by Deirdre Sinnott
David Bowie’s deep ironic voice slipped about my bedroom and murmured in my ear, “We want you,

Big Brother.” And I wanted him. What better way to slide next to my beloved Bowie than to read the book that inspired him?

So at about 15 years old, I read 1984 by George Orwell and mostly missed the point.

Putting aside the totalitarianism and the love story (yeah, yeah, totalitarianism bad, love good), the thing that stuck with me was the gin—Victory Gin.  Here is how Orwell introduces it: “It gave off a sickly, oily smell, as of Chinese rice-spirit. Winston poured out nearly a teacupful, nerved himself for a shock, and gulped it down like a dose of medicine. Instantly his face turned scarlet and the water ran out of this eyes. The stuff was like nitric acid, and moreover, in swallowing it one had the sensation of being hit on the back of the head with a rubber club. The next moment, however, the burning in his belly died down and the world began to look more cheerful.”

Rubber club to the back of the head? Give me some of that. Anything that could morph my world into something more cheerful sounded worth the pain of swallowing. I remember the book being much more gin-soaked than it is. Winston Smith does not start out as an alcoholic. Eventually, after a resurrecting and heartbreaking illicit interlude, gin, which grew more horrible with every sip, became “…the element he swam in. It was his life, his death, and his resurrection.”...MORE
See also:
“No doubt alcohol, tobacco, and so forth, are things that a saint must avoid; but sainthood is also a thing that human beings must avoid.”
—George Orwell, Reflections on Gandhi