Eat Drink And Be Merry!

Dick Puddlecote

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!


  1. I wonder whether part of our enemies’ problem is that alcohol makes people more creative?

    Anyway, I wish a very merry Christmas to all the LA staff, also to Dick Puddlecote, Richard B. Lake, Ian B, Uncle Tom Kn@ppster, Paul Marks, and all other denizens of this particular region of cyberspace.

    And here’s my Christmas limerick for y’all, after the model of Aristophanes:

    For we are the liberty Frogs,
    We inhabit political blogs.
    We want to be free,
    Yes, that means you and me!
    The statists, we’ll feed to the dogs.

  2. And a merry Christmas to you too Neil!

    There was a young man from East Anglia
    Whose philosophy got ever tanglier
    Til he cried, “Let me be,
    “I just want to be free!
    “This is all too much strain on my ganglia!”

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