Just guidelines?

When the Governments chief puritan revised the drinking “guidelines” downwards ignoring the J-shaped mortality curve, and declared there was “no safe level of drinking” – I and many others said this would be used to justify more action being taken against drinkers. In response many people replied that they were just guidelines, and besides they didn’t drink that much so where was the problem?

Well hardly had the ink dried on those new guidelines than already the “experts” are retroactively applying them and calling for more action.
“Around 2.5 million people in Great Britain – 9% of drinkers – consume more than the new weekly recommended limit for alcohol in a single day, latest figures from the Office for National Statistics show.

The 2014 data predates the new limit of 14 units of alcohol per week for men which began in January.”
(Emphasis mine)

So what is to be done about the fact that people didn’t abide by “guidelines” that didn’t exist at the time? As yet we’ve not been told but we can take some guesses as:
“Public Health England said it was looking at the best ways to help tackle problem drinking.”
That would be the problem which didn’t exist at the time the figures were collected, but were rather magicked out of thin air in January. I’ll predict the solution will be to give the puritans more funding and to increase taxes/prices and maybe we need more graphic labels and plain packaging as well? Maybe it’s about time our leaders followed their own advice?

First they came for…

I like many other wiser people have been banging on about the Puritans slippery slope for ages now. Many people think we’re wearing our tinfoil hats too tightly and that we’re all a bit paranoid, after all it’s all about health and nothing wrong with encouraging people to try to be more healthy, right? Well smoking went from only smoke in one carriage, to bans on smoking in your own car, bans on smoking on the beach and cigarettes being put in plan wrappers behind closed doors. The smokers warned the drinkers that we’d be next, and so it came to pass that alcohol got increasing health warnings, the amount we were “allowed” to drink decreased till now there’s no “safe” limit on drinking, whilst taxes go up, drinking is banned on public transport and in parks and plan packaging and minimum pricing is considered. Some of the actions can maybe seem reasonable at first glance after all who “really” needs to drink whilst on a bus, but they are slices off freedom and restrictions imposed on what we can do that grease the slippery slope. These days the goal isn’t really prohibition but to maintain the smallest possible “problem” population that keeps the funding flowing to the charities and pressure groups dedicated to tackling the problem, after all what would Alcohol concern do if we all just stopped drinking?
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A modest proposal

Safe to Drink I have suggested that the Government should follow its own guidelines when it comes to booze. People have objected to this on various grounds that, we should live and let live, that they’re only guidelines or that the guidelines are reasonable so why should we object? Whilst I disagree with all of these points for various reasons none of them are arguments against the petition.

If the guidelines are just guidelines then that’s fine but if the Government would like us to pay attention to them they should lead by example. They’re spending our money to tell us to drink less and that there is no safe level of drinking, so that being the case what could speak more clearly than their taking the lead to practice what they preach?

I absolutely agree that we should live and let live, so if the Government wants to stop telling me how much to drink and funding “charities” to tell me to drink less, then I’ll happily ignore how much they drink. But all the time they make it their business how much I drink, then it’s my business how much they drink.

IF as some people hold the guidelines are perfectly reasonable and “14 units a week… its plenty for [you]” then what’s the problem with asking the Government to keep to those same guidelines after all it’s plenty.

If our leaders want to drink more off Government property then we’re not going to stop them, but on Government time and property let them take the lead and set an example. Given the health risks we’re told we suffer by drinking and how perfectly reasonable these guidelines are what possible objection could they have to leading by example?

So if you think the guidelines are unfair and the government should leave us alone, or if you think it’s all perfectly reasonable then in either case please sign and share the petition. After all if the guidelines are oh so reasonable why would anyone object to following them?

petition that the Government follow its own advice on drinking

Shakespeare on guidelines

A few people have suggested that my little petiton requesting that the Government follow its own advice and stop drinking is an over reaction. It has been suggested that despite the Governments Chief Medical office saying there is no safe level of drinking that they haven’t actually said we shouldn’t drink. It’s also been said that we should just “live and let live”, which I’m all in favour of and as soon as they let me get on with my life without nagging I’ll happily leave them alone. However more insidious is the suggestion that it’s not a big deal as these are “just guidelines” not legislation, well smokers and many businesses can tell you just how well it goes if you don’t follow “voluntary” guidelines they soon become law. Also the nature of these guidelines is used to drive other policy such as health, policing and has an impact on people’s employment and insurance, not to mention the impact it will have on the brewing and pub trades. If you think these are just guidelines then please read some of the many excellent articles linked to previously. Also though consider this if the new “guidelines” are an average of a pint a day and no more than s pints a day then any pub selling you more than that is encouraging harmful drinking which may impact their licensing. The drop in the “guidelines” means suddenly we have more problem drinkers, which obviously needs more action to be taken and if people aren’t “voluntarily” following the guidelines then as we’ve seen in the past more action will be called for.

As ever when considering any matter the bard has already dealt with this and summed it up in a nutshell, this time in Hamlet and Rosencrantz responding to King Caludius’s request:
“Both your majesties
Might, by the sovereign power you have of us,
Put your dread pleasures more into command
Than to entreaty.

However unlike the unfortunate Rosencrantz we are not so beholden to our Government, so if these “guidelines” of theirs are based on solid research and are such an excellent idea why would they have any problem in leading by example after all surely none of them are “problem drinkers”. If however they feel that maybe the guidelines aren’t sensible enough to apply to them then maybe they shouldn’t apply to the rest of us either and they should perhaps come up with something more sensible.

So do please do sign and share the petition so that we can find out what they really think, when asked to follow their own recommendations.

Follow your own guidelines

Safe to Drink As the Government have decided that there is no safe level of drinking, and that we shouldn’t drink more than a pint a day, it seems to me that they really should lead by example and follow their own guidelines. If there’s no safe level of drinking then how can they possibly justify having bars in the houses of Parliament, or indeed serving alcohol at any governmental event, such a thing would surely be a dereliction of their duty of care. At the very least they should enforce the new drink limits and make sure that within the parliamentary bars the MPs and other staff never drink more than the guidelines. So just to encourage them in following the advice they’d give to the rest of us, there is a petition that they follow their own advice.
“Given the new advice on alcohol, that there is no safe limit, all Government buildings and events should be alcohol free, alternatively any alcohol subsidy should be removed & the new limits, including recommendations on days of abstention and a daily limit of 3 drinks be strictly enforced”

Please do sign and share.