Tuesday, 23 December 2014

Eat Drink And Be Merry!

It's that ♪ most won-der-ful time ... of the year ♫ when the BBC likes to wheel out miserablists to tell us all we are in mortal danger if we simply enjoy ourselves in time-honoured fashion.

For example, on Friday morning I managed to catch Alcohol Concern's Jackie Ballard take to the airwaves (around 1:42:30 here) to warn of the perils of demob happiness on what was, apparently, another "Black Friday" - or the day we choose to celebrate with a drink or two more than any other in the calendar to the rest of us.

You see, there are those {gasp} 'limits' to watch out for.

Jackie got most of the usual cleverly-constructed tick box sound bites in. For example, the inference that we'd all drink sensibly if only the alcohol industry didn't advertise, and the cost to the NHS (which is dwarfed by the massively larger benefits to societal well-being of alcohol consumption).

But yet again she pushed the prohibitionist canard of arbitrary alcohol 'limits' as if they are set in stone and backed by acres of science.
We know that if you drink above those limits on a regular basis that you will be damaging your health
Well, for a start the overwhelming majority of people who drank over those 'limits' on Friday will not be doing so on a regular basis, now will they? Just like the overwhelming majority of people who splurge on big ticket items on Black Friday won't be doing that every day either. So this is rather a laboured point.

But we don't "know" this at all anyway.
[Richard Smith] remembers “rather vividly” what happened when the discussion came round to whether the group should recommend safe limits for men and women. 
“David Barker was the epidemiologist on the committee and his line was that ‘We don’t really have any decent data whatsoever. It’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t’. 
“And other people said, ‘Well, that’s not much use. If somebody comes to see you and says ‘What can I safely drink?’, you can’t say ‘Well, we've no evidence. Come back in 20 years and we’ll let you know’. So the feeling was that we ought to come up with something. So those limits were really plucked out of the air. They weren't really based on any firm evidence at all.
This committee did actually have some decent evidence to hand, but didn't seem comfortable with setting a 'limit' of a bottle of wine a day.
A study of 12,000 middle-aged, male doctors led by Sir Richard Doll and a team at the Radcliffe Infirmary, Oxford, found that the lowest mortality rates – lower even than teetotallers – were among those drinking between 20 and 30 units of alcohol each week.The level of drinking that produced the same risk of death as that faced by a teetotaller was 63 units a week, or roughly a bottle of wine a day.
On that basis, Ballard's preaching could have the damaging effect of deterring many people from reaching that optimum 20 to 30 units sweet spot, rather than doing any good. Health advice is all very well, but wouldn't it be nice if it came from unsullied scientists rather than public health careerists and fake charity temperance campaigners with an agenda?

So, this Christmas, eat, drink, be merry and pretend they don't exist. Enjoy the holidays everyone!


Miles Dolphin said...

I only drink once a week, does that mean that I should drink about 7 bottles of wine in one day to hit the "sweet spot"?
Have good break!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ha! No, but you should take on between 20 and 30 units in that sesh according to Doll. ;)

Happy Christmas to you too, hope you have undemanding guests.

Norbert Zillatron said...

Well, it might help to endure such rubbish from the prohibitionistic preachers.

John Gibson said...

I caught some of this shit, but I had just come home after working a night shift, so I had my feet up with a strong drink in hand.
Have a good Christmas.
John Gibson

Geoff Cliff said...

I hereby raise a very large ( but not oversized) glass in your direction, taking a large sip (but not too large a draught) and wish you a very merry (but not over-indulgent) Christmas. Enjoy ( but do not overdo) the festivities, and the fight will be waiting after the Christmas truce to start over. See you then! Oh, and Happy (if not hilarious) New Year to all at Puddlecote Towers!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Now that takes me back! An early morning pint and supper at Smithfield while others scurry to work is a true delight that most will never savour. ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Moderation, moderation, moderation. ;)

Same to you and yours GC. Cheers.

Ivan D said...

Much as this is the season of goodwill, there is no excuse for Ballard or those in politics who create the environment in which such individuals thrive. They are revolting.

Sam Duncan said...

“For example, the inference that we'd all drink sensibly if only the alcohol industry didn't advertise”

Yep. Nobody ever got drunk during prohibition, right?

“So, this Christmas, eat, drink, be merry and pretend they don't exist.”

Amen to that. With the proviso that if you pour some brandy on your Christmas pud, you'll probably still be over Holyrood's new driving limit next Tuesday. But apart from that... Merry Christmas!

Ivan D said...

Today we had obesity at 7:15 am. Introduced of course by an utterly irrelevant statistic about the number of Briton's overweight according to the unaccountable QUANGO known as the WHO. The fact that the BBC continues to conflate overweight and obese despite being repeatedly picked up for it suggests intent.

In case anyone hasn't noticed, The BBC is also engaged in a WHO propaganda campaign. Those who still take the BBC News seriously might be excused for believing that the WHO had single handedly fought off the Ebola crisis and halved deaths from malaria. I think that the latter has a lot to do with a big cash injection from wealthy private donors but it is Christmas so lets give the WHO credit for taking the credit.

truckerlyn said...

And the endless repeats on tv!

truckerlyn said...

Great year of info Dick. Many thanks for all your hard work keeping us up to date on what is going on.

Wishing you and your family a Very Merry Christmas and a Wonderful and Successful NewYear. Enjoy all the food and drink you desire!

nisakiman said...

An early morning pint and supper at Smithfield while others scurry to work is a true delight...

I used to do that back in the 80s, although in my case it tended to be after a night of clubbing in the West End...

nisakiman said...

Christmas Greetings to all at Puddlecote Palace and all those who contribute to this blog in the comments.

I'm writing this from a hotel balcony (26C - quite cool for here) overlooking the Gulf of Thailand, and rather enjoying the fact that Christmas is not an indigenous celebration, and as such is very low-key. When the kids were young it was different, but since they fled the nest I've become positively curmudgeonly about it! :)

Thailand, although a fantastic place in many ways, is hard on the heels of Australia in terms of paternalism and demonisation where tobacco and alcohol are concerned (with 'obesity' fast becoming the next meme). TPTB here think that the WHO speak nothing but the truth, and they are enthusiastic in their implementation of the FCTC. Such a shame. When I was first here in 1970, it was the most laid-back place you could imagine. Now they are draconian in their fanatical restrictions. The joyless ones in the WHO have a lot to answer for.

Mark.S said...

Merry Christmas with all the trimmings, cigarettes, alcohol, salt, sugar and whatever else some quango has a bee in their bonnet about.!

truckerlyn said...

Bloody right! Lets all stick 2 fingers up at them (or one if you are so inclined). In the meantime, we can of course wish them a very boring, unhappy Christmas and a VERY UNSUCCESSFUL New Year!