Anybody who's read about the social history of these islands will know that the British have always drank a lot of alcohol. We still do. And at this time of year, the office party is a great venue for foolish boozy behaviour.
What's wrong with that? it's bloody dark when you leave the house and get home. The pressure to spend spend spend is enormous. There's the prospect of several days stuck in the house with relatives, with only days and nights of bloody television to relieve the horror...
So getting shit-faced with the people from work is a fair way of spending the time, maybe really getting to know them, and having a laugh, singing, dancing.
But oh no - not in poker-up-the-arse Blair's Britain.