IF someone asked me if I’d fancy a drink at 4 o'clock in the morning, there could only be two answers.

The first would be to ask what the heck they were doing waking me up to ask such a daft question at that time of the night?

The last time I was drinking that late I was in nappies. And I don’t mean at a fancy dress party.

But since the introduction of 24-hour drinking in 2005, premises have had the right to serve alcohol round the clock. Now Gordon Brown’s giving councils the power to stop that.

So should such licences be banned in Bournemouth? The problem, of course, isn’t simply about alcohol or hours. It’s the drinking of bucketloads, the aggressiveness and vulnerability of drunks, the mess they leave behind and the damage to their livers.

The first people to ask about whether 24-hour drinking should stay or go are the front liners – the bouncers, bar staff, taxi drivers, street cleaners, plus, importantly, the police whose numbers are stretched by long opening hours.

And, of course, the A&E staff at our hospitals.

The truth, I suspect, is that the availability of cheap drink in supermarkets plays a far bigger role in the problems of late-night drunkenness today. Don’t many young people get tanked up at home, then go out late, spending but a pittance in the bars?

Drink in moderation is not a problem and we should remember, too, that young people having fun is a good thing not bad.

Oh and what would be my second answer if someone asked me if I fancied a drink at 4am?

Of course I would! Ovaltine would be lovely.