Saturday 29 January 2011

What's The Point In Having An ONS When Politicians And The Media Ignore Their Studies?

Here's more on that 'alcohol crisis' reported by the London Evening Standard on Thursday.

On examining the latest ONS lifestyle statistics [pdf], as Big Brother Watch have been doing with regard to smoking prevalence, it's interesting to compare officially up to date conclusions on alcohol consumption with those produced last year.

2008 (published 2010):

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.
2009 (published 2011):

This trend seems to be continuing under the new methodology; between 2006 and 2009 the proportion of men drinking more than 21 units a week fell from 31 per cent to 26 per cent and the proportion of women drinking more than 14 units a week fell from 20 per cent to 18 per cent.
You will have noticed the reference to 'new methodology' and '2006'. The reason for this is articulately explained by The Filthy Smoker in number one of his five myths about alcohol.

Since 2007, the Office of National Statistics has assumed larger glasses are being used and stronger alcohol is being consumed. They now assume that a glass of wine contains 2 units, rather than 1, as it did before. With beer, what used be counted as 1 unit is now counted as 1.5, what used to be 1.5 units is now assumed to be 2 units and what used to be 2.3 units (a large can) is now counted as 3 units.

As you might expect, this has made a dramatic difference to the statistics.
Indeed. So, to portray the situation accurately and with honesty - something anti-alcohol campaigners refuse to do - two graphs are required. This was the state of play up to 2006.

And now, thanks to the latest survey, we can see what has happened since.

Yep, still going down. In fact, the same result is seen with every single criterion measured.

Total consumption is still declining ...

... as is the number of people who drank at all, or on more than 5 days prior to the study, as well as the amount drunk on any one day in the previous week, along with the largest intake consumed on those days and, consequentially, alcohol-related deaths.

Considering this consistently downward trend in all areas, the mind boggles as to what parallel world dreary Don must be living in.

Don Shenker, of Alcohol Concern said that the economic situation was part of the explanation.

"The slight fall in 2009 in alcohol related deaths mirrors a slight drop in alcohol consumption, and while this is positive, is wholly due to a drop in consumer spending as a result of the recession.

"It is very likely that alcohol consumption will rise again once the economy picks up."
One must wonder what part of 'decline since 2002' Don doesn't understand.

There is, however, one significant increase detailed in the ONS report.

Perhaps it's about time our lazy dull-witted media, and furrow-browed Westminster fucktards, began describing what is really happening in 'booze Britain'.

It's not so much a binge-drinking epidemic as an escalating non-drinking epidemic.


Curmudgeon said...

I'm getting seriously worried about the growing proportion of non-drinkers in society. Really.

Beware of Geeks bearing GIFs said...

It would be interesting from the sample set to see if the increase of non-drinkers follows the relative increase of our population with certains cultures that abstain from consuming alcohol.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Curmudgeon: I agree. From a public health angle, they should be attacked since they're endangering their health.

westcoast2 said...

Leave it out DP, I have enough to deal with being a smoker and e-smoker without being lectured on non-drinking :)

nbc said...

Not drinking?

I think their behaviour is shocking and just shouldn't be allowed. There should be a law against it. How could they?

Can't we tax them with a minimum price for Evian or whatever water-based pish it is that they drink?

It's child abuse it is, not exposing children to alcohol at all. How will the kiddies know that booze is evil if their parents don't drink and then beat them?

... and breathe. Right I'm off back to the Comments section in the Mail...

Richard Allan said...

I was getting really annoyed with a similar issue on Question Time. People kept asking "How does the gov't expect us to believe that the recession was caused by cold weather?!" :smug: despite being told eleventy billion times that it was the ONS that produced the report and that Call-Me-Dave had expressly repudiated it on PMQs. How many times do these people have to be told something before it gets through their pig-ignorant skulls aaaaaaaaaaaaaaa

Xopher said...

There's a specific problem of increased(?) binge drinking so Government is happy to impose general
legislation and ignore the cause.
Could it be that incompetent Governments are the cause?

Curmudgeon said...

Dick, did you see the utter shite in the Daily Wail today about girls binge drinking?

It parades every cliché on the subject known to man.

"Supermarkets selling alcohol at pocket-money prices".

FFS, you can't get served in a supermarket unless you look over 50 or have ID.

I was tempted to do a post about it but on second thoughts decided my head would explode :-(

Unknown said...

Since I'm being lazy tonight and enjoying a beer or three I haven't read the ONS report yet. Unless the total consumption is based on fairly hard sales figures then, well, it's pretty hard to claim anything either way.

While I know more teetotallers now than I did 10 years ago, the rate of people stopping drinking doesn't seem to be anything like the rate shown. (Ayup, anecdotal)

It seems more likely that they're measuring two different rates here - the rate of people stopping drinking, and the rate of people getting irritated with being told what to do and politely lying to the lovely people with the clipboard.

I know that the last time I was 'asked' to state how much I drank per week I took a SWAG, some weeks I drink nothing, other weeks I'll quite happily have a couple of large glasses of whiskey - or a few pints here and there.

I certainly can't be bothered to count my daily unit consumption and provide a nice yearly average to fill in on forms (along with previous criminal convictions (half a page), previous or current illnesses (half a page), current disabilities (and yet another half a page), regular sports (only a third of a page this time) and all the other junk)

Curmudgeon: Yup, I'm still getting ID'd in supermarkets and off-licenses for both smokes and booze, oddly enough, I almost never got ID'd for either until I hit 20 or so. Especially not in the local pub (where I behaved). The teen girls binge drinking is hardly new - typical daily wail

Dick Puddlecote said...

Richard Allan: Exactly. While making cuts, the ONS may as well be scrapped judging from the lack of interest show in their work.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Xopher: Governments are responsible for every irksome aspect of all our lives. They would destroy the proverbial piss up in a brewery (in fact, that's probably unlawful already).

Curmudgeon: Yes, I saw that. The anti-alcohol police have been working overtime to hide the good news from the ONS, haven't they?

Mark Wadsworth said...

What C says. most troubling.

DP, as ever, you are getting bogged down in nonsense like 'facts' and 'logic' which is getting us nowhere.

Meanwhile, the powers that be are stepping up the propaganda campaign, they invent concepts like 'binge drinking epidemic' and make sure that they MSM repeats them as often as possible, and they show programmes like Ready Steady Drink.

I bet if you ask a cross section of the idiots out there whether British people drink more or less than (say) ten years ago, 99% will say 'more'.

JonathanBagley said...

On a R5L feature about drunk tanks, the Chief Constable of Northamptonshire claimed drinking had doubled since the 1980s. The presenter (Rachel Burden or Nicky Campbell) failed to correct him. That alcohol consumption is falling steadily is almost common knowledge. For example, it has been featured on the BBC webpages. Most journalists have the memories of goldfish and show little enthusiasm for getting at the truth.