Wouldn’t that be a lovely sight? Sixteen-year-olds pouring drunkenly out of Wetherspoon’s down on North Street to join all the over-18s who already stagger around after an evening’s binge-drinking.

Well, that would be ideal for Tim Martin, the multi-millionaire owner of the Wetherspoon’s chain of around 1,000 pubs, who said in an interview with The Guardian last week that he worries that young people are binge-drinking cheap supermarket spirits at home instead of learning “social drinking” in pubs.

He describes pubs as “more or less ghettos now for adults” and advocates “some sort of system that allowed 16-year-olds to have a beer or two in a pub”.

Well, he would, wouldn’t he? These 16-year-olds are his future business, a potential market with an extra two years of supping his pints and adding to his massive profits: his chain turns over £1.5 billion a year and he’s worth £250 million.

But he says he’s looking to the future of pubs, which he says are an “important part of the social and cultural life of the country”.

Yes, I agree with that – but to encourage 16-year-olds to drink in pubs? No, that’s so not right. Let’s face it – his reasoning that it would stop them binge-drinking at home is just spurious. He is a businessman with both eyes always on his profit margins.

He makes a disturbing assumption that 16-year-olds are drinking alcohol, and that he’d prefer them to learn to do it in pubs because “social drinking”is OK.

But should we, as parents, really be taking any notice at all of his views on when and how our teenagers should be drinking alcohol, if at all? He is biased because he profits from it, and it’s the same as accepting the advice given by the charity Drinkaware, which is “funded largely by voluntary and unrestricted donations from UK alcohol producers, retailers and supermarkets”, according to its website.

In both cases, then, both Martin and Drinkaware have what’s known as a vested interest in the drinks industry, and neither has the best interests of teenagers at heart. But we parents certainly have, especially when it comes to their children’s health.

And one option that is rarely considered or discussed is: no alcohol for teenagers.

That’s the path advised by the chief medical officer, who has said that “an alcohol-free childhood is the healthiest option” and that “parents and carers should ensure that their children maintain an alcohol-free childhood for as long as possible”.

Sadly, in the current climate of liberal parenting, particularly prevalent in Brighton, it’s actually seen as cool for some parents to encourage their children to experiment with drink and drugs with their tacit approval when they’re only just into their teens.

However, instead of drinking in the tainted advice of people like Martin, who is trained in law but not in child health, perhaps they should instead digest the NHS’s advice: “When parents are tolerant, children are likely to drink more … Make it clear that you disapprove. Research suggests that children are less likely to drink alcohol when their parents show that they don’t agree with it.”

Or the World Health Organisation, which says: “The adolescent brain is particularly susceptible to alcohol, and the longer the onset of consumption is delayed, the less likely it is that alcohol-related problems and alcohol dependence will emerge in adult life.”… It is neurotoxic to brain development”.

Just like smoking, it is now public knowledge that drinking can lead to all sorts of serious health problems later in life, not to mention a loss of inhibition that could lead 16-year-olds into all sorts of trouble. Encouraging teenagers into pubs is not the answer and it’s certainly not in the best interests of vulnerable teenagers.

Cheers, Tim, for your views, but no thanks.

The Argus: Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump

Today’s the day. It’s the day of the US election, one of the most controversial and explosive elections in living memory. Tomorrow we may well know whether the world’s most powerful country will be admitting President Clinton or President Trump into the White House.

If it’s a close call or the result is contested, the result may not emerge until later this week but whatever happens, the arguments, the backstabbing, the insults will continue to fly.

Perhaps the US will learn something valuable from the vicious nature of this presidential campaign – perhaps that its system is deeply flawed when it means that only candidates with millions of dollars behind them can run.

This not only leaves the candidates vulnerable to vested interests but also severely restricts who can run, reducing the pool of potential candidates considerably. The result? This election’s two front runners are so unpopular voters cannot bring themselves to vote for either, effectively disenfranchising them. Time for a change? That gets my vote.