In the news today (12 April 1997) was Labour MP and ex-actress Glenda Jackson, spearheading the UK Labour Party's drive against alcohol-related violence. Ms Jackson's son has lost an eye in a bar-brawl involving Britain's favourite offensive weapon, the beer glass.
The Labour Party plans to counter the threat of dangerous "assault beer glasses" by making them illegal - drinkers will have to use toughened glass containers instead. This may sound counter-intuitive but toughened glass shatters into granules about the size of a large hail-stone if smashed thus rendering the glass rather less useful as a weapon.
Unfortunately for this scheme to make drunken violence safer toughened glass works only when new. Once the glasses have been handled and hot-washed a few times the glass develops invisible stress fractures. When it is smashed it shatters into knife-like shards thanks to the stress fractures, not the granules of a new glass. I've tested this out myself on a variety of glasses being used in a bar/disco (this venue uses plastic containers on dance nights in any case). Taken off the shelf even the ones that appeared pristine fractured, only brand new ones fresh out of the box would shatter into granules (don't try this at home kids). This makes the effect of smashing a beer glass a bit of a lottery - a brand new one will (sometimes) disintegrate as designed - but do you have a new or used example in your hand… then again, the National Lottery has proved very popular.
What will they ban next?