Friday, 22 July 2011

Government Inquiry: Your Chance To Be Ignored On Alcohol Guidelines

Via The Reg, perhaps someone has finally realised that recommended alcohol unitary intake limits set by the Labour government are, indeed, "plucked out of the air".

And that telling people that they are 'hazardous drinkers' if they consume more than eight cans of Stella per week is quite absurd.

They're holding an inquiry on the subject, so they are.

Committee announce new inquiry into the evidence base for alcohol guidelines

The Committee seeks submissions on the following matters:

1. What evidence are Government’s guidelines on alcohol intake based on, and how regularly is the evidence base reviewed?
2. Could the evidence base and sources of scientific advice to Government on alcohol be improved?
3. How well does the Government communicate its guidelines and the risks of alcohol intake to the public?
4. How do the UK Government’s guidelines compare to those provided in other countries?
Easy peasy.

1) Fantasy, and regularly in the drive to further denormalise perfectly acceptable behaviour at the behest of publicy-funded puritans.
2) Yes, they could exhibit some semblance of being based in the real world.
3) Very well, it's just that what is communicated is so absurd as to be ignored. Try not being so bloody hyperbolic and perhaps people might listen.
4) What has this to do with other countries? Compare apples with apples, you clowns.

Apparently, any submissions are to be less than 3,000 words so the above should just about qualify.

On a serious note, I took advice as to who is entitled to respond to this consultation (because sometimes the public are excluded) and it wasn't too discouraging.

I think anyone can submit written evidence to the committee but the Committee are not obligated to take it into account. From the written evidence, the Committee will invite certain groups/companies/individuals to give oral evidence.

Basically, it’s worth a shot - but I’m not sure how much influence it would have.
A shot is good enough for me. Shall we?

We have until 14th September.

H/T SadButMadLad


wayne said...

I've got some answers.....
1) Who's arsed?
2) Who's arsed?
3) Who's arsed?
4) Who's arsed?

Right I'm off for a good old fashioned binge drink!

Jack Savage said...

Whilst fundamentally I agree with Wayne....I would urge you to go ahead anyway.

Anonymous said...

It is worth a go. Why not keep a reminder on your blog page?

Ian B said...

Presumably only stakeholders[1] will actually be consulted/listened to. Needless to say, I suppose, but these things aren't information gathering excersises. The purpose is to apparently prove the overwhelming support for what they intend to do.

[1] Corporate groups on the official "people we listen to" list.

Paul said...

So slightly over one pint a day of a beer at regular real ale strength (4.1%) is enough to make you a hazardous drinker? Madness. Hazardous to whom? Most drinkers would have to have a lot more than that before they became a hazard, and that would be themselves.

Teetotal control freaks must be drawing up this limit because I don't know anyone who takes these limits seriously, even though they say they do. Generally regular drinkers have at least double this amount I'd have thought?

After that, it'll all be down to what they'll do to 'hazardous' drinkers to stop them being a 'hazard', won't it?

Anonymous said...

Never mind all that.

0) What business is it of the government's to be issuing guidelines on such things? End of inquiry.

Anonymous said...


This Teetotal Uncontrollable Freak has been keeping watch.

"Hazardous to whom?"

Well apart from the "Passive Drinking" aspect from the RCP and Liam Donaldson.


Single pint of beer a day ‘poses liver and bowel cancer risk’- 2008

"Drinking only one pint of beer a day increases the risk of liver and bowel cancer by a fifth, a health expert warned yesterday. A large glass of wine or a couple of spirits can have the same damaging effect, she said."

Rachel Thompson, science programme manager for the World Cancer Research Fund, warned that just two units of alcohol a day increased the risk of bowel cancer by 18 per cent and that of liver cancer by a fifth. More than 36,500 people have bowel cancer diagnosed every year and about 16,000 die from it. Liver cancer claims the lives of more than 3,000 people annually."

And why?

Drinking just one glass of wine a day can INCREASE risk of cancer by 168%, finds shock new study - 2009

"Drinking even a single glass of wine a day can increase the risk of cancer by 168 per cent, a shocking new French study has found.
Researchers in Paris have destroyed the myth that drinking moderate amounts of red wine can be good for the health.
Instead, experts at the country's National Cancer Institute have warned that even repeated small doses of alcohol can massively increase the risk of getting cancer"

The INCA study warned: 'The consumption of alcohol is associated with an increase in the risk of cancers - mouth, larynx, oesophagus, colon-rectum, and breast cancer.

'The cause is above all the transformation of ethanol in alcohol to acetaldehyde, which damages DNA in healthy cells.'

This is particularly likely to happen if alcohol is introduced into the body daily - even in small measures, it added."

Not that I believe a word of it, you having an immune system and all.


Anonymous said...

They've already had a go at me.

Deborah Arnott called it "splitting the opposition".

Teetotallers are the 'new pariahs' - Health Secretary warns on Britain's drink habit - 2009

"Teetotallers should be celebrated instead of shunned as pariahs, the Health Secretary will say today.
"Instead, Mr Johnson will demand a wider, fundamental shift in attitudes to alcohol. In a speech to the Royal Society of Arts, he will liken the 'disdain' with which nondrinkers are treated to that of non- smokers in previous decades" ??

"Mr Johnson believes teetotallers should be ' celebrated' rather than scorned, in the same way that people who have given up smoking are."
Daily Mail

Government 'fixing health consultations' with taxpayer-funded groups

"The Government also published responses to a consultation on alcohol consumption earlier this month, in advance of a Policing and Crime Bill currently passing through Parliament, which proposes giving the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, sweeping powers to control licensing in pubs and clubs.

The consultation attracted 2,336 responses. Almost 2,000 of these came either from a survey by Alcohol Concern, a charity which last year was given almost £400,000 by the Department for Health and raised nothing through fundraising, or postcards distributed by the Department itself, which posed the question: "Fed up with alcohol problems where you live?"

Andrew Lansley, the shadow health secretary, said the disclosures summed up Labour's "cavalier" approach to consulting the public.

Mr Lansley said: "It will come as no surprise to us if the Department of Health has funded organisations that provide the responses to consultations that the Government is looking for"


Paul said...

Rose: The teetotal part isn't an issue, it's more the control-freak part of it. In the same way that one can be non-smoking but pro-choice.

Anonymous said...


Glad to hear it.

I really don't want to flame the Christmas pudding using a bottle of brandy with a picture of a rotting liver plastered over it, or buy a bag of real rum truffles complete with a warning message from Alcohol Concern.


Paul said...

Again, it's like the constant anti-smoking warnings: people know that it's harmful and have done for decades. There's no need to continue browbeating everyone.

I was someone who initially supported the ban. Then I rapidly realised what it meant.

Anonymous said...

The more I read about these studies, the more convinced I am that those who suffer harm from 'moderate' anything do so because their bodies are, in some way, differently constructed. Thus, there may well be a small minority of people who are particularly susceptible to harm from small amounts of alcohol.I suppose that you could say that all these studies are merely showing that there is no such thing as a 'standard' human being.

SteveW said...

Be interesting to see how Lansley handle it now the boot's on the other foot - I don't expect too much but will respond anyway.

You never know, I've managed to get an admission from the BBC before that they simply don'y have people who understand statistics.
Still waiting on my FOI request for dealings between the beeb and ASH, again, we'll see.

Anonymous said...

They make it seem as though people don't like cancer.

I like it a hell of a lot more than Alzheimer's, or soiling my bed, immobile in a hospice.

I'd like to see double-blind research done, featuring some of our favourite people. In the interests of science, of course.

Mark said...

I am really am not the type of stakeholder they would admit.

Ny answers may not fit in with the finding of the report

thelincolnimp said...

On a slightly related point.

I was once handed a survey about attitudes to alcohol consumption, on a commuter train leaving Lincoln at 7.05am iirc most people on that train look like they come from a group of people that are very sensible and quite sober people.

I didn't keep the questionnaire unfortunately, nor did I fill it in. But I remember that it was impossible to express the view that alcohol consumption is anything other than a terrible problem, nor that it really wasn't governments job to control what people consumed.

You could only express the degree of your concern (very to horrified) and the amount of intervention required (lots to total).

If this is how consultations and gathering public opinion work, we really should not pay it any heed.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead,
agree with Junican some people just cant handle anything.
But I can personally state that
100+ units a week for 30+ years has had no discernible effect on me.
Got children and grandchildren and a thriving business.
These fucking idiots just focus on one thing to the exclusion of everything else.

Curmudgeon said...

The problem with all these guidelines is the growing assumption that exceeding them even to a small degree is positively dangerous. 22 units a week will kill you, as will only having four a day.

Roger Thornhill said...

"evidence" being that which conforms to the prejudices of those seeking it. If it does not, it is not "evidence" but opinion, undocumented, not peer-reviewed etc.