back to article Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief UK.gov quack

The government’s chief advisor on health ignored more than 80 studies to produce her new Puritanical guidelines on booze – which asks Britons to forego their Friday drink. Civil servant Dame Sally Davies has drawn up the lowest recommendations in the West: there is no “safe drinking level”, her team declared. The question is …

  1. Chika
    Pint

    Please. Won't someone think of the children?

    They can buy their own...

  2. ZSn

    Outrage

    It's funny that whenever alcohol guidelines of whatever stripe come out that indicate that *you* dear reader are drinking too much there is much outrage.

    I drink one or two pints per year. It doesn't make me more virtuous that you, far from it, all it allows me to do is get very bored at the antics in pubs, and the streets after 11pm, and any Friday/Saturday night in town. The problem is that a lot of people have a very destructive attitude to alcohol whatever the drinking recommendations.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Outrage

    I drink one or two pints per year. It doesn't make me more virtuous that you, far from it, all it allows me to do is get very bored at the antics in pubs, and the streets after 11pm, and any Friday/Saturday night in town. The problem is that a lot of people have a very destructive attitude to alcohol whatever the drinking recommendations.

    I had the opposite problem back in University - used to drink a pint or two of vodka every Friday/Saturday night, and turns out it had a very destructive attitude to my liver. All mended now, though.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Outrage

    The background documents talk about alcohol related risk beyond what it does to your liver.

    Eg buggering over when bladdered, (or getting in an unlicensed taxi).

  5. ZSn

    Re: Outrage

    Same here - at university I once or twice had a go at a pint of the optics (essentially a pint of neat spirits). A one hour walk home from the bar took all of 30 seconds from what I could remember of it. One student I was at a conference with fell out of the window above mine while drunk and spent a few weeks in intensive care. I remember the craving to have a pint at lunch time - hence I don't drink.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    FAIL

    Re: Outrage

    You raise an interesting point.

    I mean, I also drink maybe a couple of times in a year.

    But I'm actually with my slightly-tipsy brethren in that I'm aggrieved a department for health is actually ignoring science in an attempt to push a puritanical agenda. Alcohol is clearly a problem for much of the UK, but problems aren't solved by lying about the science behind them.

  7. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Re: Outrage

    "It's funny that whenever alcohol guidelines of whatever stripe come out that indicate that *you* dear reader are drinking too much there is much outrage.

    I drink one or two pints per year. It doesn't make me more virtuous that you, far from it, all it allows me to do is get very bored at the antics in pubs, and the streets after 11pm, and any Friday/Saturday night in town. The problem is that a lot of people have a very destructive attitude to alcohol whatever the drinking recommendations."

    You are conflating what even the 1960's report said was moderate and safe with very heavy binge drinkers who are almost certainly well above any safe level.

  8. TeeCee Gold badge
    Unhappy

    AHF.

    Thank you. I shall add that one to my ever-lengthening list.

    That's the list that means; "When you see this as a source, it means what you're reading is the rantings of small-minded, killjoy Nazis.".

  9. chivo243 Silver badge
    Pint

    Gov't and Non-Science

    In my best Church Lady voice:

    "How Convenient!"

    You can pry my mug out of my hand when either: It's empty(and you mean to refill it), or I'm on the nod.

    I wonder if this Dame believes in Little Green Men, Bigfoot, Lochness Monster etc... sound like she'll believe anything, maybe Santa didn't bring her any booze this year?

    Speaking of which, there is cold one calling me now ;-}

  10. knarf

    It all about Tax you fools

    Watch the Tax on booze rise and rise,

    "we're doing this for you know, more Tax and you'll spend less on booze"

    Which has not worked for very well for Norway or other countries.

  11. Oldfogey

    Re: It all about Tax you fools

    That will have no effect on me - I make my own.

    And no, they can't stop or tax it when the ingedients are available from most hedgerows and supermarkets in the country.

    In Norway, home distillation is all the rage, and they are well equiped for simple freeze distillation.

  12. This post has been deleted by its author

  13. Oldfogey

    Re: It all about Tax you fools

    Fractional freezing is certainly a more accurate term, unfortunately it is not as good at conveying the meaning to the non technical.

  14. Paul Crawford Silver badge
    Linux

    Re: "fractional freezing"

    How they create Tactical Nuclear Penguin "beer"

  15. Stork Bronze badge

    Re: It all about Tax you fools

    Yep - I remember reading that Norway has relatively low sales of booze, but the World's highest consumption of yeast ;-)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    Isn't the supposed protective effect of alcohol similarly cherry-picked in the first place? Given the exceptional difficulty in isolating alcohol from a host of other factors that might come along with being someone who drinks a unit of alcohol every couple of days - off the top of my head without extending a lot of thought this could suggest a person who has discipline and restraint whilst enjoying themselves which might extend to similar practice with their diet and exercise.

  17. This post has been deleted by its author

  18. fishman

    Re: Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    "Ironically, the substance in red wine that is supposed to be beneficial to your health, is also abundant in soy sauce. But most people don't chose to consume soy sauce instead of wine just for the health benefits..."

    People don't consume glasses of soy sauce, either.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    Ironically, the substance in red wine that is supposed to be beneficial to your health, is also abundant in soy sauce. But most people don't chose to consume soy sauce instead of wine just for the health benefits...

    Then why do people drink glasses of soy sauce? Surely all that salt can't be good for them?

  20. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge
    Pint

    Re: Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    Isn't the supposed protective effect of alcohol similarly cherry-picked in the first place?

    Something I read over Christmas suggested that the real reason moderate drinking is healthy is that we do it with friends, and it's socializing with friends that is healthy. It's the sad teetotallers & lone boozers who have health problems.

    Sounds believeable (enough) to me. Sláinte!

  21. fajensen Silver badge
    Angel

    Re: Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    Ironically, the substance in red wine that is supposed to be beneficial to your health, is also abundant in soy sauce.

    Alas - We can perhaps make a drink soy of sauce with Vodka and (blended) Kale then. Healthy, Fun and Nutritious!!

  22. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Windows

    Re: Cherry Picking Works All Ways

    But most people don't chose to consume soy sauce instead of wine just for the health benefits...

    So where does the expression "being totally sauced" come from then?

  23. BanburyBill

    Calling Ben Goldacre

    Some grist here for the Goldacre mill, methinks.

    I had some green beer once in Chicago on St Paddys's day. If anything, green food colouring made the (non-craft) beer slightly more interesting.

  24. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Joke

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Just don't get it mixed up with the washing up water if someone's been generous with the Fairy Liquid...

    And I'm not even going to ask what colour it comes out if it goes in bright green in sufficient quantities...

  25. Ken 16 Silver badge
    Pint

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Well done getting served, I was refused entry to an Irish pub in Chicago, by an (Irish accented) doorman because my non-US (Irish) passport wasn't sufficient proof of age. I was 40 at the time.

  26. chivo243 Silver badge

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    @ Ken 16

    Did he say "You're not on the list?" I went to university in Chicago, and was a doorman/bouncer at a club for a while. Some pubs/clubs have a quota female to male.... it's unspoken of course :-/ Were you anywhere near Rush Street?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Get used to it. Most 'bouncers' in the US seemd to think that anything but an in-state Driving license is forged.

    I was 'carded' at a WallMart last June. "ID Please".

    I showed my UK Passport. No sale of booze. I'm 62 with grey hair. Got threatened with 'Leave the store immediately SIR or I'll call the Police'.

    A JOBSWORTH situation probably but just don't ever, ever try to fight these sort of rules in the USA. That is a one was ticket (do not pass go) to Jail.

  28. linicks

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Same here buying fags (DON'T call them that out there) in Canada 10 years ago - 46 odd, greying hair - the girl at the counter wouldn't sell me them without an 'official' ID card - my passport was no good.

  29. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Just don't get it mixed up with the washing up water if someone's been generous with the Fairy Liquid...

    And I'm not even going to ask what colour it comes out if it goes in bright green in sufficient quantities...

    So the "fairy" in [Green] Fairy Liquid is, of course, Absinthe.

    That's a reason you SHOULD drink it.

  30. JEDIDIAH
    Linux

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    I would be tempted to stay and wait for the cop, or call the cops myself or call the concierge number on my fancy overpriced charge card and ask them to call the home office.

  31. el_oscuro
    Pint

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    I got carded on my 40th birthday, local state license and all. Dude was real serious too. Even funnier was a few years later was when the guy at the firework store carded me too. You only have to be 18 to buy those and I damn sure didn't look like an 18 year old. The other lady who worked at the store was laughing her ass off.

    Another time I was in 7-11 and the guy in front of me was buying beer. He looked kind of young, less than 25, and the lady carded him. He then announced that he was a cop and it was a spot check, and thanked the lady for carding him.

  32. swampdog

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    This is why we should be communists. Except possibly for the tainted vodka. I'm also not too fond of vodka. Too many stories about blindness from crappy communist vodka.

    Then you get capitalism where you're not allowed in.

    Fuck it. Communist blind StarTrek "wodka".

    Scrumpy.. hmm.

  33. Stephen W Harris

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    In some parts of the US it's a legal requirement to show ID to buy boozahol regardless of age, depending on the type of store (eg a pub may have different requirements to an offie).

  34. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

    Re: Calling Ben Goldacre

    Many retail clerks' light bulbs barely emit light. The can barely spot a fake US id, usually a driver's license and hand them a passport (including US or Canada) they have no clue.

  35. ratfox Silver badge
    Megaphone

    There is no safe level…

    …of radioactivity

    …of crossing the street

    …of eating chocolate

    …of doing sports

    …of not doing sports

    …of staying in the sun

    …of staying in the shade

    …of listening to inane politicians

    Having a beer right now.

  36. JEDIDIAH
    Linux

    Re: There is no safe level…

    After contracting an obscure form of cancer at an unusually early age, I am no longer impressed by these kinds of announcements (especially if they relate to cancer).

    ;-ppppp

  37. TRT Silver badge

    Re: There is no safe level…

    I think someone said this a while ago... let's see if I can find it...

    The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: If a large amount of anything causes intoxication, a small amount of it is prohibited. Abu Dawud 26:3673.

    Well there's your reason.

  38. Chika
    Pint

    Re: There is no safe level…

    Many a true word is spoken in jest!

    The fact is that drinking only increases the chances. It doesn't actually cause anything by itself. Nothing is completely safe; life is full of risks and hazards and it's how you deal with them that makes the difference!

    Now if you'll excuse me, I'm constructing a cancer butty which I shall wash down with a nice cool pint of cancer. ;)

  39. Richard 81

    Re: There is no safe level…

    My sympathies, but what exactly do you take exception to?

  40. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't drink

    Can I get a tax rebate before I croak?

  41. tfewster Silver badge

    Re: I don't drink

    NO. We pay extra taxes into the system on our vices, so YOU owe US.

  42. elDog Silver badge

    Re: I don't drink

    You'll collect your rebate in your version of heaven and I hope you can do something useful with it. I won't be there.

  43. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
    Trollface

    Everlasting life

    So no bacon sandwiches and now no beer. Even if you don't actually live any longer, you'll be so bloody bored and depressed that it will seem like it, and through stress and envy of others indulgence you may well shorten your lifespan anyway?

  44. Fraggle850

    Useless wastrels

    Pissing our money up the wall on such nonsense.

    > alcohol guidelines aren’t written for the public, which will simply ignore them

    That may be so until they are used to raise yet more punitive taxes on our enjoyment (no doubt to pay for more of this type of shite).

  45. Paul Johnston
    Windows

    The Great Thing About the Internet

    You can always find something in a blog which agrees with what you want to hear.

    Give me the raw data and I'll work it out for myself.

    Just saying it said in the 1960s they said a bottle of wine a day is obviously the way to go. Suppose you can find articles from then saying smoking is not a danger to anyone and you don't need to worry about asbestos.

    I'm sticking to beer!

  46. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

    Re: The Great Thing About the Internet

    Spoken like a true modern academic, Sir!

    Ie. Completely ignoring those 84 studies, and using anecdotes instead.

    (/s).

  47. Paul Johnston

    Re: The Great Thing About the Internet

    What could possibly make you think I'm an academic?

    I'm not :-)

    Paul

  48. Fading Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Re: The Great Thing About the Internet

    Have an up-vote for winning the stating the bloody obvious award of the day!

  49. Amorous Cowherder
    Gimp

    Bollocks! If I fancy a beer, I shall bloody well have a beer! If I fancy a few shots of something nasty, I shall have a few shots of some vile coloured liquid.

    I'm a middle aged adult, I know that when my head starts to get a little fuzzy it's time to hit the lemonade for a round or two until it subsides. When I was a youngster I enjoyed the novelty of the fuzziness and even pushed things a little further because at that age I had no experience of what real life was like, I thought I was immortal. Now I have grown older I know I am not and thus my common sense comes to bear with anything dangerous, be it a knife, a power tool or a pint of chemicals that will pickle my innards!

    Take your nanny state and stick it up your arse! I'm a human being and I want to feel emotion and pain in my otherwise humdrum and quite dull 9-5 life, just to remind me that I am a real, living, breathing, thinking person with needs and wants. The gimp mask, 'cos pain is close to pleasure and a good playful beating from the Missus let's me know we're both very much alive and kicking!!

  50. elDog Silver badge

    Excellent rant. Spoken like a true epicurean. It'd be a pleasure to meet you in this life, and whatever shithole we might end up in. The rest of them can go to hell.

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