This week, by happy coincidence, I have been pretty successful with a short story on ReadWave, concerning a drinking competition, http://www.readwave.com/treeza-and-charlie-have-a-drinking-contest_s91940  and this fell into a week where the powers that be have been ranting again about the perils of the demon drink.

There’s been a revelation that binge drinkers don’t understand what a unit of alcohol is, and even when they do understand they don’t give a stuff and drink beyond the recommendations in the nannyish guidelines. Well whoever would have thought that? I’m staggered. Not staggering, it’s only just gone nine in the morning. Far too early even for me. But it surprises me anybody bothered to do this research. A trip to my local would have told them that.

Then we had the ‘shock horror scandal’ of middle aged drinkers. Apparently the affluent boomers are sticking the sauce away more than ever, and as such are putting their health at risk. Personally I doubt that a G&T before dinner and a couple of glasses of splosh is that dangerous, but what do I know? Then we get to the somewhat confusing, and indeed self contradictory, ‘reasoning,’ if you can call it that. The middle agers are the healthiest they’ve ever been so may not notice their health is being damaged. I’ll give you a second to let that sink in.

In general, people ignore the guidelines for the very simple reason that the recommendations were pulled out of the air, something even the medical establishment acknowledges. The definition of a unit is entirely arbitrary, and the number per week is similarly fictitious. Nobody knows. They also fail to take into account that there’s an enormous variation in the way that individuals handle the grog. Some get woozy at a mere sniff of the barmaid’s apron, but I know somebody who used to drink 35 pints a day. That would be in the region of 45 units a day, compared with the paltry 21 units per week the beer police think is safe. He packed on quite a lot of weight, not surprisingly, but he’s still breathing. My ex wife was a tiny slip of a thing and could drink hulking great navvies under the table, though she did tend to suffer hangovers of Biblical proportions.

This is yet another example of the people up top beating up the people at the bottom. When restrictions on opening hours were first introduced in the 1800s there was rioting in the streets, not least because they didn’t apply to Parliament, and levels of drunkenness actually increased. During WW1, things got even more draconian, and restrictions of hours 12 till 2:30, and 6:30m till 9 were imposed. Everywhere except in Parliament of course. Still to this day our great and good in both Houses can get a taxpayer-subsidised drink at any time they’re sitting.

Then there was the fiasco of the Volstead Act and the 14 years of prohibition that it brought about. Nobody paid any attention to that either.

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