Small voices in a hurricane of alarmism we may have been, but myself and VGIF have been pointing out the undeniable fact that Britain's drinking levels have been declining for quite a while now.
For a long time, Britain's falling alcohol consumption has been a well-kept secret. It doesn't fit the narrative of boozy Britain and doesn't support the neo-prohibitionist's scare-mongering.Indeed. This was also the first of the Devil's now legendary 'Five myths about alcohol'.
Such inconvenient truth is solidly backed up by official sources too, as confirmed by the last published statistics from the ONS.
Following an increase between 1998 and 2000, there has been a decline since 2002 in the proportion of men drinking more than 21 units a week, on average, and in the proportion of women drinking more than 14 units.Yet still we see emotive pictures from the more, ahem, excitable of our mainstream press.
So, although consumption is most definitely decreasing, the behaviour of those out on the razzle must be appalling. After all, there wouldn't be the great call for minimum alcohol pricing to stop all those youths 'pre-loading' otherwise, right?
To find out, it's best to ask the experts. And this is where the Freedom of Information Act can be so very useful. For example, if you asked a large police force - the Metropolitan Police is a good one - how many people have been arrested for 'drunk and disorderly' since 2001, what do you think the response would be?
Well, as it happens, someone has done exactly that. As expected, it looks bad ...
... for those who believe our government, their state-funded quangoes, and the quite absurdly gullible mainstream media, that is (yes, even Ed West).
For the record, here are the exact totals.
2001 - 12138It must be noted (since lies don't appear here) that the last figure only encompasses 11 months, but extrapolation would still suggest that 2010 is on course for producing the lowest London D&D arrest rate of the decade.
2002 - 11915
2003 - 11069
2004 - 9688
2005 - 6541
2006 - 5718
2007 - 5142
2008 - 5149
2009 - 5232
2010 - 4516
I'm guessing that the trend is probably a nationwide thing. Why not try asking your nearest police force the same question?
Now then. Ever felt utterly and comprehensively lied to?
UPDATE: More detail on page three (click the zoom icon).
Reduction in drunk arrests