Fresh from the campaign of denormalisation against tobacco, the World Health Organisation is turning up the heat on those who enjoy a drink or several, as is made clear as crystal in this press release from earlier in the week.
“The harmful use of alcohol is a priority public health concern. The evidence supporting this action plan is large, diverse and persuasive,” said Zsuzsanna Jakab, WHO Regional Director for Europe. “Countries are well aware of the expensive and devastating damage it causes and our action plan is intended to provide them with technical guidance and support on what can and should be done to reduce this harm.”CAMRA and their ilk will no doubt continue to be unconcerned at the invasive nature of such creeping health hysteria. They're moderate drinkers, after all, and burying one's head in the sand is a brilliant tactic when other vices are being attacked. Why ruffle feathers, eh? It's the 'others' the WHO are coming after, so best just to nod health fanaticism through by way of appeasement. Appeasement works every time.
Well, not really, no.
Alcohol harms people other than the drinker, whether through violence on the street or in the family, or simply by using up government resources.Is this a way of describing passive drinking? Yes, I believe it very well may be.
Most alcohol is drunk at binges, or other heavy-drinking occasions, which worsen all risks as they are a cause of all types of intentional and unintentional injuries, and of ischaemic heart disease and sudden death.Sounds quite reasonable, I suppose, unless you are aware of what these people class as a 'binge'.
The UK Government definition of binge drinking was calculated for the sample, i.e. 6 or more units in a single drinking occasion for women and 8 or more units for men.That equates to a woman drinking more than two-thirds of a bottle of wine on one night of the week or - and this should set a few alarms ringing - a CAMRA beardy drinking three pints of Young's Winter Warmer on one night of the week. OK, I suppose beer afficionados could stay beneath that level, but that isn't hair shirt enough for the WHO. Oh no.
The amount of alcohol consumed over a lifetime increases the risk of dying from an alcohol-related disorder. There is no safe level of drinking, and in many societies no difference in the risk for men and women.Effectively, every real ale festival is an event that the WHO would like to see stamped out.
And why not? It's not like there is any measurable benefit to alcohol consumption. Not in the eyes of the WHO, anyway.
The total tangible cost of alcohol (costs of health care, production losses, welfare provision, injuries and violence, research and education) to the European Union, as it existed in 2003, has been estimated at €125 billion, 1.3% of gross domestic product. Actual spending on alcohol-related problems accounts for €66 billion of this, while potential production lost due to absenteeism, unemployment and premature mortality accounts for a further €59 billion. Aside from these tangible costs (actual spending on alcohol-related problems of €66 billion and unrealized potential production of €59 billion), alcohol use results in an intangible cost of between €152 and €764 billion.I should think that a larger percentage than 1.3% of the European population find alcohol to be a pleasurable item on their shopping list, but there is a noticeable lack of recognition of such a fact. Costs without benefits is how they nailed tobacco; it is the method of choice when turning their guns on alcohol; and will be the same routine when the voter-immune health lobby switch to anything else people enjoy which isn't entirely pure.
So, what joys have we to look forward to from our friendly, local, democratically-unaccountable dictatorship in the next eight - yes, eight - years?
The five main objectives of the [European action plan to reduce the harmful use of alcohol 2012–2020] build on previous European plans, and align with the WHO global strategy on alcohol, to:Marvellous! And all funded by your taxes without any consent whatsoever.•raise awareness of the magnitude and nature of the health, social and economic burdens due to alcohol;
•strengthen and disseminate the knowledge base;
•enhance capacity to manage and treat alcohol-related disorders;
•increase mobilization of resources for concerted action; and
•improve surveillance and advocacy.
I've said it before, and they'll doubtless one day carry me off in a pine box with it scratched on the side. Without adopting a united front in objecting to assaults on all lifestyle choices - whether you approve of them yourself or not - there is no chance of ever stopping these arseholes in their tracks.
Sadly, a pervasive I'm-all-right-Jack mentality ensures this will never happen, so we're stuck with them until the intolerant and selfish in our midst begin to wake up to the threat their indolence carries for their own self-determination.
Not mentioning anyone in particular, of course. Or did I?