This year, the Hogmanay celebrations in Stornoway will be held in the town centre, with a massive street party. About 5,000 people are expected to flock to this big shindig - which will end at 11 pm on December 31st, 2011. The thing is that New Year’s Day 2012 is on a Sunday, and any partying extending beyond midnight would infringe the Sabbath. So, it was ordained that Hogmanay in Stornoway will end an hour before “the bells”.
I have the deepest respects for people’s religious convictions. I do not extend that to imposing said convictions on other people’s lives. If anyone feels that they should observe the Sabbath in a certain fashion, then they are at perfect liberty to do so. However, that should not mean that others should be forced to do the same.
There is another aspect to this question, which annuls the argument, put forward by the relevant authorities against extended the permit for the Stornoway Hogmanay do. Are the pubs closing at 11pm on December 31st? The answer to that is an emphatic no. You can get sozzled as much as you like well beyond midnight on Hogmanay. Again, a personal choice, with which I am fine as long as it does not impinge on other people. Unfortunately, we are all familiar with the results of over-indulgence in alcohol, whether it be anti-social behaviour or road traffic accidents, resulting in damage, injury or even death.
I find this discrepancy a case of breathtaking hypocrisy and double standards, and would call for an extension of the street party beyond midnight - or else have the pubs shut at 11pm.
No, I’m not holding my breath in expectation of that all to happen.