Quick, pour me a stiff drink

Middle class are biggest abusers of alcohol

Read this report carefully. There is not an epidemic of alcohol related illness amongst middle class drinkers there is an ‘epidemic of dangerous drinking’. And what is ‘dangerous drinking’? It is whatever people like Professor Gilmour says it is and, at the moment, that is three bottles of wine a week.

But surely we would be seeing the harmful results of this dangerous middle-class drinking? Well, conveniently that is something that the good professor can only PREDICT for the future. A bit like all those other predictions. Remember? Britain decimated by a plague worse than the Black Death (AIDS). Thousand due for a grissly end because of vCJD. The population dropping like flies from heart disease caused by eating too many eggs (that one lasted for 34 years until it was quietly dropped as scientific nonsense) and so on…

Recently the advice to expectant mothers about alcohol consumption was revised. It seems that an odd glass of wine during pregnancy doesn’t lead to foetal alcohol syndrome after all. Something many of us new all along. (FAS occurs overwhelmingly in cases where the mother is an alcoholic and is fairly easy to spot. The delivery room usually smells like a brewery.)

Where is the evidence that drinking more than 26 fluid ounces of Carlsberg a day is harmful?

These people don’t need evidence. They simply come up with an arbitrary limit for something (like 2 eggs a week) based on poor science, or no science, then decide that anything over that limit is dangerous and spend all their efforts trying to get people to change their behaviour. Eggs, alcohol, marijuana, passive smoking… the list goes on. It’s the new puritanism.

And the solution to this ‘problem’? Yes, you’ve guessed it:
Prof Mark Bellis, the director of the NWPHO, suggested “substantial” increases in the price of alcohol could help to tackle the problem.
I can think of another solution. I suggest a “substantial” cut in the salaries of professors could help to tackle the problem.

Can’t wait for the day some government funded research discovers that working more than five hours a day is seriously harmful or that paying tax leads to health damaging stress. Yeah, right.

UPDATE: This is a real killer! -
The safe limits were introduced in 1987 after the Royal College of Physicians produced its first health report on alcohol misuse. In A Great and Growing Evil: The Medical Consequences of Alcohol Abuse, the college warned that a host of medical problems – including liver disease, strokes, heart disease, brain disease and infertility – were associated with excessive drinking. The report was the most significant study into alcohol-related disorders to date. But Richard Smith, the former editor of the British Medical Journaland a member of the college’s working party on alcohol, told The Times yesterday that the figures were not based on any clear evidence. He 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. It was a sort of intelligent guess by a committee.” On that basis, a nation’s drinking destiny was determined. The Government accepted the recommendation and 20 years later Professor Mark Bellis, director of the North West Public Health Observatory, which produced this week’s study, felt able to say that anyone exceeding the limits was “drinking enough to put their health at significant risk”. That a host of epidemiological studies had filled the intervening years with evidence to the contrary seemed not to matter one jot.