back to article Boozing is unsafe at ‘any level’, thunders chief 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. Graham Triggs

    Boozing definitely isn't safe if your pints are the colour shown in that photo

    1. Big O

      I have had a pint that came out around that hue - and was supposed to. Can't for the life of me remember what it was called (due to too much beer?) or I'd look it up to find out how they went about brewing it.

      1. gerdesj Silver badge

        "Can't for the life of me remember what it was called "

        Green Dragon - Pint glass. 1" orange juice, 1 shotish of Blue Curaceu (hic), two to four shots of gin and/or vodka to taste and fill up with "snake bite" (50/50 lager/cider). To add a bit more interest, use barley wine and scrumpy for the Snake Bite component. This beast tastes a lot nicer than it sounds and should have a clean crisp flavour. Bloody lethal though.

        However a Green Dragon is not transparent and more grass green.

        1. a cynic writes...

          Bloody hell...The gin and the orange juice were a new one on me. The version I used to drink 20-odd years ago was just a snake bite and Blue Curacao.

          One abiding memory is when I introduced a mate to them. A few hours later he was praying at the porcelain alter and I heard the plaintive wail " fucking bastard - IT'S GREEN" .

          1. moiety

            Purple Nasty...same principles but blackcurrant + vodka + snakebite. Works quite well; but the blackcurrant gives it a sort of fruit juice taste which usually means that the victi drinker drinks it waaaay faster than is good for them.

          2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge

            Oh god! The memories! My friend drank 9 bottles of Orange Hooch. I guess the Yanks had to do something with their left over Agent Orange, when the Cold War ended.

            I've never seen fizzy, Sunny Delight coloured vomit before.

            His plaintive cry, while praying to the porcelain, was "mummy". He wasn't allowed to forget this fact. He didn't drink it again.

            That shit can shorten your life.

          3. gerdesj Silver badge

            "Bloody hell...The gin and the orange juice were a new one on me"

            The OJ + Blue Curacao is what makes it green 8)

          4. Omgwtfbbqtime Silver badge
            Thumb Up

            @a cynic writes

            The Percy Arms in Newcastle used to sell that under the name "Duckhams Hypergrade"

      2. Marky

        Big O - it could have been "Sign of Spring" from Bunces Brewery, makers of Stonehenge Ales. An excellent ale!

      3. grumpyoldeyore

        Can't for the life of me remember what it was called

        Stonehenge Ales Sign of Spring?

        I've drunk it and lived to tell the tale

      4. John Geek

        I remember a norwegian or danish or something import by the name of Green Rooster that was fairly bright green. It was a quite boring export lager other than the color.

      5. Vic

        I have had a pint that came out around that hue - and was supposed to. Can't for the life of me remember what it was called

        Stonehenge do a beer called "Sign of Spring", which is green. I've not tasted it.

        There was another one a few years ago; I've forgotten the name. It wasn't up to much...


    2. MyffyW Silver badge

      I was wondering what that young lady was doing with two pints of crème-de-menthe.

      1. David 132 Silver badge

        I was wondering what that young lady was doing with two pints of crème-de-menthe

        "Garçon! Two pints of Absinthe por favor!

        And the same for my friend!"

        1. Chika

          Don't forget - Absinthe makes the heart grow fonder...

          1. x 7

            "Absinthe makes the farts green longer"


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Billy Connolly used to tell a joke about this.

        Two Glaswegians find themselves in Rome, and ask for two pints of "heavy" in a bar. The barman says he's never heard of that, so they ask him what the Pope drinks.

        The barman says "I believe the Pope drinks crème-de-menthe".

        "Ok", say the Glaswegians, "we'll have two pints of that then".

        After downing their green pints and standing up to leave the bar, one Glaswegian turns to the other and says "Christ, no wonder they carry him around in a chair".

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Creme de Menthe

        is my nick name..

        I'm a fancy French licker..

    3. disgruntled yank Silver badge


      There are bars in the US that will serve green-dyed lager on St. Patrick's Day. I don't remember it being quite that Kool Aid green, but then it has been quite a while since I saw it.

      1. EastFinchleyite

        Re: colors

        I was on a skiing holiday in Breckenridge, Colorado in 1993 over St Patrick's Day. Not only do they put green food dye in the beer (improves the flavour was one comment, and that was from an Australian!), but they also had a town "Beer Race".

        The course consisted of a few miles interspersed by nominated bars in which the competitor had to down a medium sized (green) beer. In earlier years it had been a gentle stroll but as with everything USA, it had turned into a hard competition.

        Breckenridge was a lovely old mining town especially covered in fresh clean snow. It wasn't improved with hundreds of dollops of green foaming ejecta from competitors lightening the load.

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: colors

        "There are bars in the US that will serve green-dyed lager on St. Patrick's Day."

        Lager? Fscking heathens!

        1. TRT Silver badge

          Re: colors

          That was a joke in Star Trek wasn't it? It is... it is... Green.

    4. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Eh, that and the bottle redhead are standard fixtures for St. Patrick's Day on this side of the pond. "Green beer means you're Irish"

      1. Loud Speaker

        Guiness is not supposed to be that colour.

        You are supposed to brew it with Liffey water, not Iffy water.

    5. Roo

      "Boozing definitely isn't safe if your pints are the colour shown in that photo"

      Agreed, that's a terribly vulgar way to consume vast quantities of Absinthe.

    6. el_oscuro

      Yeah, yellow number 5 and blue number 2 will definitely mess you up.

      1. JeffyPoooh Silver badge

        el_oscuro " number 2..."

        Crikey. If your 'number 2s' are blue, see a doctor.

      2. TRT Silver badge

        Number 5 and number 2?

        Is that like when you ask for a number 1 or 2?

        So vomit is... 3? No. Vomit is 4.

        You should ask in binary. So a number 3 is a number 1 and 2 simultaneously. A number 5 is a wee whilst being sick. And a number 7 is a typical night out in Glasgow.

    7. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Boozing definitely isn't safe if your pints are the colour shown in that photo

      You're urine shouldn't be that colour after a few either...

      Green pints - It's not 'Loob' is it?

      ( - for those too young to know of it ).

    8. Semtex451 Silver badge

      My pee is that colour, is this a bad sign?

      I'll get my coat and head to my GP then.

    9. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Looks like

      a "brain damage". Half lager, half cider, shot of blue bols.

      Tastes like lilt and gets you well rubbered...

    10. Efros

      Pint of lager laced with a couple of creme de menthes was dubbed a Green Bastard in Glasgow. No subtlety there, but then we are talking about the city where it was not uncommon to see Carlsberg Special Brew on pub tariffs listed as "Leg Opener".

  2. Dr Who

    Thank God

    For El Reg!

    There I was feeling like a pariah and thanks to you, the Registrati, I feel normal again. Let's face it, most of us have sailed past the new weekly limit before breakfast on a Monday. By the end of a boozy Sunday lunch sitting in front of the snooker with a couple of cold ones I should, it appears, be dead. Instead, as the white ball clacks softly into the black, I find myself blissfully at one with the world and all creatures that inhabit it.

    1. Just Enough

      Re: Thank God

      If you've "sailed past" 14 units before Monday morning, then you are not "normal". You have a problem. And no, "most of us" do not spend Sunday downing more than the equivalent of seven pints of lager. If you seriously believe that then you're seriously deluded.

      The amount of bullshit macho posturing that goes on about alcohol consumption is pathetic. The fact you drink alcohol doesn't, in itself, make you a better person. It doesn't make you more of a loveable bloke, it doesn't make you more normal, it certainly doesn't make you more witty (there's nothing more boring than a drunk who thinks he's hilarious) and it isn't something worth crowing about. It just means you like a drink. You may as well brag about your potato crisp consumption.

      I'm not a teetotaller, but I understand that, like everything, moderation is the key. And I don't feel the need to strut about proclaiming "See me, I drink lots me! Cos I'm such a damn fine bloke. And so does everyone else!"

      As for these guidelines; if you don't like them then ignore them. No one is forcing you to do anything. They're mainly for the kind of idiots who don't accept responsibility for their own lives and, once they end up in hospital getting their stomach pumped, wail "This isn't my fault! Why did nobody tell me!"

  3. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Some or of all these things may not matter to you – but they matter to bureaucrats and diplomats when they meet on a junket.

    Would there be free drinks available as part of this junket?

    1. BlartVersenwaldIII

      As much free drinks as you like, however owing to new leath and safety legislation from now on all gin and tonics will be replaced by the much healthier Sivolvian chinanto/mnigs. Mmmmmm, Taste The Health Benefits!™

  4. Donchik


    Ish sho unfair!

    I'm heintarly shobor and will remain sho, eshpeshely ash I driv home shoon...

    I notice they've even misspelt Shubmit!

  5. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge

    I predict...

    Many comments. I could dive in and add my two-pennyworth but I'm still looking through the report and I'm certainly not relying on the newspaper "summaries". Most interesting observation to date - the report is one covering general health issues, including the important topic on the prospects for funding future care for an ageing population. Of course, everyone's talking about the booze.

    This will have to do for a Sir Humphrey icon.

    1. NotBob

      Re: I predict...

      Of course, in the request for comments it says: "We are not asking for comments on the scientific evidence or how the expert group has used it to decide on their recommendations"

      Even they knew it was shite.

      Now I'm off for a drink.

  6. MT Field

    Earned mine on Tuesday so I'm going to throw all caution to the wind tonight

    1. Amorous Cowherder

      I throw my caution to the wind last week, ended up with wet trousers!

  7. Locky

    I would put a pithy comment about this but...

    it's beer o'clock time....

  8. This post has been deleted by its author

    1. BenDwire

      According to the Beeb: ( )

      "The 14-unit limit has been chosen because at that point, your drinking leads to a 1% risk of dying from alcohol-related causes.

      This has been deemed to be an acceptable level of risk as it is approximately the same risk that someone has when they do an every day task such as driving a car."


      "Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, an expert in understanding risk from the University of Cambridge, said it was important to put the 1% risk in context. He said an hour of TV watching or a bacon sandwich a couple of time a week was more dangerous."

      So, not only can't we get bladdered any more, we can't sober up with a bacon sarnie whilst watching telly.

      Please. Won't someone think of the children?

      1. hplasm Silver badge


        "it is approximately the same risk that someone has when they do an every day task such as driving a car."

        Well, if it ain't safe to have a drink, it ain't safe to go to work. I quit!

        1. R Callan

          Re: Aiee!

          It's worse than you think. As far back as I can detect, all of my deceased relatives, with the exception of a great uncle who snuggled up to an exploding shell in 1915, have died in bed! Perhaps beds (and acceptable substitutes like chairs or floors) should be banned as being far far far too dangerous.

          1. Vic

            Re: Aiee!

            Perhaps beds... should be banned as being far far far too dangerous.

            If you look at the stats, over 90% of all deaths occur in hospital, whereas less than 2% occur in pubs.

            If ever I'm mortally wounded - get me to a boozer. It's just safer...


      2. swampdog

        Pigs in bacon

        Wasn't there a study just before xmas where bacon is less environmentally friendly than here? It was here (I think) - reported, as opposed to pigs and/or bacon being here.

      3. Stoneshop Silver badge

        Risk comparison

        "Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, an expert in understanding risk from the University of Cambridge,

        How does this compare to the risk from Oxford, from Imperial College and, say, MIT or Stanford?

      4. Chika

        Please. Won't someone think of the children?

        They can buy their own...

    2. Mark 85 Silver badge
      Black Helicopters

      Well.. we need to stop smoking (and vaping), no more bacon, no more pastrami (or any beef), no more alcohol. Even veggies are unsafe.. organics for the e-coli, etc that happens frequently here in the States and non-organic because of pesticides, etc.

      There's nothing left then to live for... except work and paying taxes. I wonder if that's the plan....

  9. ZSn


    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.

    1. 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.

      1. 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.

    2. 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).

    3. Anonymous Coward

      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.

    4. 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.

  10. TeeCee Gold badge


    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.".

  11. chivo243 Silver badge

    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 ;-}

  12. 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.

    1. 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.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. 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.

        2. Paul Crawford Silver badge

          Re: "fractional freezing"

          How they create Tactical Nuclear Penguin "beer"

      2. Stork Silver 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 ;-)

  13. 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.

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

      1. 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.

      2. 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?

      3. fajensen Silver badge

        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!!

      4. Stoneshop Silver badge

        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?

    2. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

      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!

  14. 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.

    1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

      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...

      1. 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.

    2. Ken 16 Silver badge

      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.

      1. 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?

      2. 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.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          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.

          1. 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.

        2. JEDIDIAH

          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.

        3. el_oscuro

          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.

          1. 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).

      3. 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.

  15. ratfox Silver badge

    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.


      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).


      1. Richard 81

        Re: There is no safe level…

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

    2. 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.

    3. Chika

      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. ;)

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't drink

    Can I get a tax rebate before I croak?

    1. tfewster Silver badge

      Re: I don't drink

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

    2. elDog

      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.

  17. Anonymous Custard Silver badge

    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?

  18. 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).

  19. Paul Johnston

    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!

    1. 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.


      1. Paul Johnston

        Re: The Great Thing About the Internet

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

        I'm not :-)


        1. Fading

          Re: The Great Thing About the Internet

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

  20. Amorous Cowherder

    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!!

    1. elDog

      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.

    2. AdamWill

      er, what nanny state?

      "Bollocks! If I fancy a beer, I shall bloody well have a beer!"

      Well yes, yes you will. It's a free country. That's why the government health body issues *guidelines* and *recommendations*, not orders. So I'm not sure exactly what brave stand you think you're taking because everyone would be perfectly happy to acknowledge that yes, you have the right to drink however the hell much beer you like.

  21. 45RPM

    Consider for a moment, if you will, the danger to the economy of this quackery. Consider also the damage caused by ‘Dry January’ (and every other dry month - there are a worrying number).

    I’m not saying that everyone should drink - some people might have very good reasons for abstaining (not least that they don’t like booze very much). I’m not saying that some people shouldn’t cut back a little (but, on the basis of this report, it seems to me that some people could do with upping their intake rather a lot). I am saying that, provided what I do affects only me, the government should butt the fuck out and leave me to get on with it. I’d hate for pubs to have to shut because of all this foolishness.

    Join with me in a New Year Resolution - make 2016 the ‘Support the Publican’ year. Don’t drink at home. Don’t abstain (well, unless you’re teetotal - in which case, carry on). Go down to your local boozer at every opportunity and sink a couple. Your stress levels will go down - and your enjoyment of life will improve immeasurably - even as its duration shrinks infinitesimally.

    chin chin!

    1. Paul Johnston


      My new years resolution is start early, finish late, at the pub.

      Still not keen on people going to the pub for a ******* latte.

      When I can get a pint in Starbucks feel free to stop me getting alcohol in a pub by ordering a bloody coffee.

  22. Crisp Silver badge

    There is no “safe drinking level”

    So I'm not safe even if I have zero beers!

    Maybe a quick pint (or two) will help take my mind off the danger...

    1. Fungus Bob Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: There is no “safe drinking level”

      There is no safe drinking level for mercury.

      For beer the safe drinking level is anything that doesn't make you shit your pants while passed out.

      1. Chika
        Paris Hilton

        Re: There is no “safe drinking level”

        Hangonamo... Mercury's dead, isn't he? So he's unlikely to be drinking.

        All the more for the rest of us!!!

      2. harmjschoonhoven

        Re: There is no “safe drinking level”

        Umber reports the casus of a suicidal nurse who injected herself with with 27 grams of mercury, resulting in a small mercury lake in her right heart chamber. She lived many years thereafter and died of an unrelated cause.

        Sven Moeschlin, Klinik und Therapie der Vergiftungen, page 99.

  23. This post has been deleted by its author

  24. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What's it supposed to achieve?

    "As Snowden shrewdly observes, the alcohol guidelines aren’t written for the public, which will simply ignore them..."

    Indeed, the public will ignore them, but I can't really buy the idea that it's just to achieve faux moral one-upmanship at bureaucratic and diplomatic junkets either.

    As the article points out, this advice/recommendation runs counter to all of the evidence thus far gained and as such is a contradiction of reality.

    The most worrying aspect of this announcement is not that drinking is dangerous at any level but that the government's chief medical advisor thinks it's a good idea to make this announcement, in contradiction of reality, according to all the available evidence, and will achieve some objective by doing so.

    Given that the announcement is targeted at the public, and in a pretty high-profile way, as it's in all of the national media, I can't accept that the objective is simply bragging rights at junkets.

    I suspect that the real purpose of this announcement is to justify a big rise in booze prices, via a reduction in quantity for the same price, along the same lines as we've seen with recommendations to reduce sugar content and the size of food servings for health reasons, but with no corresponding price cut. Now these measures may deter those who do over-consume, but I doubt it; those who do over-consume already know they are doing so, and will continue to do so, as long as they can afford to. No, I think it's really for everyone else, who doesn't over-consume, and will just have to pay more to get the same (reasonable) amount.

  25. Efros

    News Just In

    Life is a terminal disease only curable by death!

    1. ecofeco Silver badge

      Re: News Just In

      And just who's crazy damn idea was this anyway? It's like life was deigned by some damn government agency!

      1. elDog

        Re: News Just In

        What a great (intentional?) use of "deigned". I had never realized that "designed" was a derivative but now I see the connection.

        This said with sincere hand-slapping!

  26. Keith 21

    Hands up who didn't see this coming?

    It's been obvious that this was coming ever since they banned smoking in public places, slapped huge duties on it, and cast smokers in the role of pariahs.

    I remember at the time, when several non-smoking drinkers were smugly celebrating their victories over smokers, saying that drink would be the next target. Sadly, it seems to be coming to pass.

    So, watch for increasing propaganda against drinking, leading to massive hikes in alcohol taxes "For the good of the public health".

    Then once they have achieved that for alcohol, it'll be on to the next item on their agenda, namely sugar (I note they have already started on that).

    "First they came for the smokers, but I didn't speak out because I am not a smoker..." to coin a quote.

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

      Sadly mostly likely true, have an up-vote.

    2. Swiss Anton

      Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

      The state can try to stop us drinking by quadrupling (or more) the tax on booze. However unlike tobacco, its easy enough to make your own beer/wine/spirits. True, most homebrew is horrible, but its amazing how, after just a few glasses, you kind of stop noticing how bad it is.

      1. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

        Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

        "...unlike tobacco, its easy enough to make your own beer/wine/spirits..."

        Tobacco is a plant. You can grow it in your garden or in a box on the windowsill or indoors. (If you live in northern Scandinavia or similar, you'd need some sort f greenhouse anyway.) Even the bit after the harvest isn't that complicated and about on par with makein wine or beer, distilling is a bit more tricky. Source: my grandparents did this for a while, way back when.


      Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

      ...except smoke in general is a poison that will kill you and one that people usually avoid.

      2nd hand smoke also contains nasty industrial pollutants that may not harm the smoker but can and do harm the people around him.

      Booze only pickles the person actually drinking. The fact that my cancer (likely caused by 2nd hand smoke) has left my liver in a condition that forces me to be sober does not put me at any risk from the guy guzzling booze next to me.

      Entirely different situation. even Russian males don't think it's cool to subject people to 2nd hand smoke and they're like the biggest jack*sses on the planet.

      1. TheProf

        Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

        " a condition that forces me to be sober does not put me at any risk from the guy guzzling booze next to me."

        As long as he:

        isn't driving his car in your direction.

        doesn't take exception to your face.

        doesn't gesture wildly at you with his glass,.

        doesn't puke/piss on you.

        Jeez, just being in a pub is dangerous.

        1. Vic

          Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

          Jeez, just being in a pub is dangerous.

          You go to the wrong pubs...


      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

        Quite a lot of people suffer ill-health due to the second-hand damage caused by drinking.

        Partners, kids, random folk in the street, people on the roads...

        I'm not anti-either; I just find the moral argument that smoking is deadly 2nd hand, but drinking is not, a touch disingenuous.

    4. Chika
      Thumb Up

      Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

      Very true.

      It's almost like somebody just looked around a pub, made a list then gave it to some oik to produce "recommendations" on.

      Just wait. Sooner or later there will be a report on the negative health aspects of chicken in a basket, crisps, pork scratchings, dominoes and darts!

      Sometimes I wonder if it's just a case of the idiots behind these reports are either afraid to have fun or just want to live forever!


    5. swampdog

      Re: Hands up who didn't see this coming?

      My mother lives next door to a nurse. Middle of nowhere. Nurse has been increasingly rabid about my mother smoking to the point they've fallen out. Nurse has had two sprogs. Nurse was slim. Now nurse is a fat bloater. Nurse used to smoke.

      Last time my elderly mother had an incident, I had to drive 80 miles because "NHS retained" flat bloater two sprog "I'm working" "child credit" woman has decided my mother's bird table is causing rats in her garden.

      Nurse needs counseling. Not going to happen. Tax dollars at work folks.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Can we please silence all the

    retarded politicians and so called "experts" that proffer such outright bullship?

    Just a hint, lies and prevarications uttered by these idiotic morons and pantywaists should ALWAYS be ignored.

  28. This post has been deleted by its author

  29. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

    "Wowsers" These people are called "Wowsers"

    Learn something new every day thanks to Jimbo's Fortean Grabbag of Deep Knowledge

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: "Wowsers" These people are called "Wowsers"

      @DAM: Excellent. Thank you for expanding my vocabulary. Filed under "I never knew that!"

      I was almost as confused as Rincewind about the word:

      ...'Oh, you don't wanna go to Bugarup,' said Remorse. 'Nothing in Bugarup but a bunch of wowsers and pooftahs.'

      ' 's okay, I like parrots,' mumbled Rincewind, who was just hoping that they would let him go so that he could hold on to the ground again. [The Last Continent]

  30. Anonymous Coward

    I just done the 'swingometer' thingy...

    ... and should have died 30 years ago.

  31. disgruntled yank Silver badge

    And here I always liked her movies...

    You'll find me in the error bar...

  32. Chuunen Baka


    14 units/week = 1% risk of alcohol related death.

    From the Beeb article

    "Prof Sir David Spiegelhalter, an expert in understanding risk from the University of Cambridge, said it was important to put the 1% risk in context. He said an hour of TV watching or a bacon sandwich a couple of time a week was more dangerous."


    1. Chika

      Re: Confused?

      How much is that in micromorts?

  33. dorsetknob

    The History Lesson

    For Thousands of years Water has been unsafe to Drink all those germs and crap in it

    For Thousands of years Beer was Brewed and Drunk (sic) because it was Safer to drink than Water

    You Cannot ignore the lessons of history

    Beer icon "What other could you have used"

  34. Charlie Clark Silver badge

    Reminds me of Woody Allen

    Repeated studies have shown that alcohol in moderation prolongs life: it reduces the risk of heart disease and strokes. In fact the benefits of alcohol in preventing strokes and heart disease are far clearer than the negatives of drinking.

    See the film "Sleeper" talking about smoking and eating hamburgers.

    I have a lot of time for Sally Hawkins and would side with her on the statement: "there is no safe level". But I think you can do this without being puritanical. Alcohol has strong physiological effects on pretty much all of our major systems and is known to be addictive and mood-changing: some of the worst damage is caused indirectly through injuries and alcohol-fuelled violence.

    I also can't recall any studies that suggested that the chemical alcohol was in any way healthy. There are various benefits attributed to some of the byproducts of some of our tipples (red wine for hearts, pseudo-oestrogen for bones, etc.) but I don't think we'll ever see dispensaries of surgical alcohol.

    But banning something rarely makes it go away. Health education is the key to helping people make more informed decisions. There is much in our lifestyle that increases the risk to health but as the Dutch say "geniet, maar met mate" – "all things in moderation". I'll drink to that.

    1. swampdog

      Re: Reminds me of Woody Allen

      "I also can't recall any studies that suggested that the chemical alcohol was in any way healthy."

      It doesn't mean there aren't any. It's almost certain you exist because of it. Alcohol produces children. Alcohol enabled the parents to stay alive long enough to produce those children. Alcohol allowed those children to survive long enough to themselves procreate.

      Much though I fancy a tomato or lettuce when I've a hangover, neither of of those make my wife more fertile - (directly - snigger).

  35. AnoniMouse

    The dangers of "safe"

    As many politicians and others have found in the past, there are huge dangers in talking about anything that is risk-related in terms of absolutes - "safe", "secure", etc.

    In this case, "safe" has been defined as a less than 1% increased risk; which, as many others have pointed out, is small compared to many other risks to which we are exposed daily.

  36. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New Rule?

    In keeping with the principles of Eurobureacracy, we should now see a rule requiring that alcoholic beverages be excluded from all EU government expense accounts

    1. Charlie Clark Silver badge

      Re: New Rule?

      What does this article and the related the report have to do with the EU?

  37. AnoniMouse

    The dangers of "safe"

    As many politicians and others have found in the past, there are huge dangers in talking about anything that is risk-related in terms of absolutes - "safe", "secure", etc.

    In this case, "safe" has been defined as a less than 1% increased risk; which, as many others have pointed out, is small compared to many other risks to which we are exposed daily.

  38. Keith 21

    So if there is "No safe level"...

    ...that means that no matter how little you drink, it's dangerous.

    In that case, might as well just Go For It and down several units every day then - if we're going to die anyway, might as well enjoy it while we are here!

  39. Zog_but_not_the_first Silver badge


    Are there any studies on the social utility of alcohol? If there any benefits. Otherwise, why do we do it?

  40. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Surely the politicians should now set an example by closing the Commons bar immediately?

    1. Snowy Silver badge

      Would that be all 8 bars they have?

  41. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Alcohol is an escape from the situations the powers that be could alleviate.

    So maybe, legalise other things.

    Is microdosing LSD going to do someone any harm once a week in a safe social environment?


    1. Anonymous Coward

      Bollocks to Govs

      Remember LSD was further developed by the US Government for troops on the ground (in 'Nam) to keep them going 24/7 with no sleep if I am correct (can't be arsed to google it, too drunk). Also when I was an apprentice in Pompey Dockyard 1976 ~ 1980 all the matelots got 2 free cans of beer a day and 200 fags (called blue liners) when the ship/boat was in dry dock.

      Now they say it's all wrong, you STUPID foolish people. I reckon the only reason these stupid obsversations are now in place is to keep people alive longer as then you end up paying more taxes in the long run (WTF do you have to pay tax on a pension?).

  42. graeme leggett

    not guidelines - yet

    These are the _proposed_ guidelines that have been made available today.

    You have until April to tell Gov what you think.

    1. Chika

      Re: not guidelines - yet

      You have until April to tell Gov what you think.

      I hav red wat yoooo *hic* wrote an'..... *hic* I luv you!!!

  43. Anonymous C0ward

    Three pints

    is only a lot if you're drinking it every single day

    Also, eventually the mortality rate is 100%, whether you drink or not.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Three pints

      "Also, eventually the mortality rate is 100%, whether you drink or not."

      I will put that right - "Also, eventually the mortality rate is 100%, whether you are drunk or not".

  44. This post has been deleted by its author

  45. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good grief!

    It's your life, do what you want and don't listen to these motherhood quango quacks!

  46. Darryl

    No offence, but after reading this article and the one about smart meters, it just makes me glad that our (Canadian) government isn't alone in its ability to make monumentally stupid decisions and proclamations all in the name of showing how much they care, and not so much in the name of actually doing anything useful. Sometimes misery DOES love company.

  47. Marketing Hack Silver badge


    In order to protect my precious bodily fluids, I only drink rain water and distilled grain alcohol!!

  48. CAPS LOCK Silver badge

    There's no safe level of...

    ,,, politicians.

  49. Charles Manning

    Just more white male guilt

    Ok, we can all agree that an absolute puke-every-night consumption of alcohol is not good for you, so this report saying all alcohol is bad is really directed at shaming/guilting the once in a while/beer-o'clock drinker that are the white male storm troopers of the patriarchy.

    Whte, male: whatever you do, the Nanny State will say you're wrong. Certainly if you're enjoying yourself in any way. You should be reflecting on your Original Sin because of the colour of your skin and the thing in your pants.

    1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: Just more white male guilt

      As a white male full of guilt I think I'll just convert to Catholicism and attend every service available, maybe even carry out some of my own at home, Not only will I then have a protected right to drink the "blood of Christ" without fear of discrimination against my religious practices but I get to confess my guilt for absolution whenever I feel the need. Drink and happy, no guilt!

      Unless, of course, dear reader, you can suggest a better religion that involves alcohol as part of the ritual but requires less actual ritual.

  50. Sgt_Oddball Silver badge

    just a thought...

    I was under the impression that the government liked to think it lead by example.

    As such how about they abolishe the commons bars? Such a good example to all. Plus we'd finally stop subsidising the powers that be at beer o'clock.

  51. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    When it's legal throughout N. America and universally accepted to be no more harmful than alcohol, the only way the UK Gov can continue prohibition is by extending it to booze too.

    1. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Cannabis

      I don't personally care one way or the other about its use, but it is not legal in the USA in general. Over 20 states have medical use exceptions that allow limited cultivation and use at home, I think a couple went further and did legalize / decriminalize it, but it's technically still illegal even there until the feds decide. Plus while it's legal in a few places you can still be fired for failing a drugs test for it and you can't drive under the influence. So basically the entire situation is fubar :) I just don't want anyone getting off a plane, sparking up and spending 20 years in the slammer :) Use is widespread but lots of people get in varying degrees of trouble for it.

      Canada may allow it, but they even accept the French and put gravy on cheesy chips.

  52. Mike Bell

    You're going to die

    Get used to the idea. And have some fun before you check out.

  53. Tom -1


    Sink a couple (daily) and "your life's duration will shrink infinitesimally"???

    That's nonsense. Your life's duration will increase, and not infinitesimally - unless all I ever learned about statistics is utterly wrong. And if the couple is a couple of pints of 3.6% bitter and you are a 5ft 10in tall male weighing 161 lbs an extra jar (to make it 3 pints daily) would produce a further increase in life expectancy. (But if you are overweight you have to keep the alcohol down to a level where it won't make that worse, which may mean very little alcohol at all).

    Senior civil servants selecting the evidence to deliver the result they want (the famous prejudice-based judgement) is not at all unusual, it appears to be far more common in those circles than evidence-based judgement, and is certainly very visible in these draft recommendations and the accompanying claptrap.

    I've reached the grand old age of 71 now and decided to keep my alcohol consumption down to a reasonable level - no more than 50 units per week.That will reduce my life expectation compared to 42 units per week, but will probably be better for me than 28 units per week unless my weight starts going up. At least that's how I, as a mathematician and engineer, read the evidence.

  54. Herby

    Then there is Prohibition...

    And as all can see we tried that here in the good 'ol USA, and notice how it worked out (not very).

    As my mom says:

    There are "Lies", "Danm lies" and "statistics".

    All cam be manipulated, just ask a politician (any politician!).

    On the other hand, I am surprised to see that the percentage of beer icons is not very high.

    1. a_yank_lurker Silver badge

      Re: Then there is Prohibition...

      @Herby - The cause was the same inane stupidity and implied moral arrogance blabbed by Doc Moron. To many of the "experts" have personal agendas they must impose on others regardless of any evidence to the contrary. It is moral incompetence and arrogant certitude that causes more problems.

      The Prohibition was a disaster for the US as it made organized crime a massive problem throughout the US. The "War on Drugs" has not been much better either.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Then there is Prohibition... / statistics

      Studies have shown that 57,8 % of statistics used to make a point in a discussion are made up on the spot.

    3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Re: Then there is Prohibition...

      "And as all can see we tried that here in the good 'ol USA, and notice how it worked out (not very)."

      Yeah. Surprisingly for most of us, "lessons have been learned" so instead of a dated and absolute cut-off, they are leading up to it gradually.

  55. gerdesj Silver badge

    (Tom -1): "unless all I ever learned about statistics is utterly wrong"

    No but I think you might be lightly accused of misapplying it! It's that anecdote vs data thing. You can't really talk about Mr 45RPM's life duration with respect to his drinking as though it is a deterministic process viz: drink three pints a day and therefore you will live x time longer.

    Both of us and all the other commentards on here could bore ourselves silly with "well my gran drank 40 fags a day and snorted 10 glasses of homebrewed wine a night and lived to 95" stories. Those are still anecdotes and are not statistics unless we gather enough of them, in which case they will obviously form one of the finest studies ever performed.

    All we can really do with these types of statistics is make predictions across a population <slurps more wine>

  56. phil dude

    drinking, smoking and some basic biology.

    Smoking is *awful*. Not just for you but for me too. There is nothing good about breathing toxic compounds.

    Drinking, however, is food. It is part of any organisms method to staying alive. In fact, in the case of Homo sapiens sapiens it has been such an integral part of our evolutionary survival we have got *very* good at it. Even then there is still a great deal of diversity in tolerance*.

    Drink too much, too often, you will knacker your liver. The same is true if you take small molecules that are prescribed or the ones that are sold by some bloke in the pub. Things that can effect your body are by definition powerful and dangerous - kinda obvious, no?

    Most of the population have control over drink or drugs (illegal that is). For the small proportion that do not have clinical control, no amount of law, taxation or pointless politician posturing will make a noticeable difference.

    It will just get the way of our being ADULTS, and prevent another intrusion into our private lives.


    *I swear my undergrad dorm was a clinical trial.

    1. swampdog

      Re: drinking, smoking and some basic biology.

      "Smoking is *awful*. Not just for you but for me too. There is nothing good about breathing toxic compounds."

      You have been conned. It's pollution. Nasty diesel. Idiot council traffic calming measures. My car does 40+ mpg on a run. It used to do 30mpg round town. Now it does under 20mpg. Even in the middle of the night the traffic light sensors are programmed to make lights go red as you approach.

      Traffic calming measures are making your child asthmatic.

  57. ecofeco Silver badge


    Next they'll be telling us that fapping will make us go blind!

  58. PhilipN Silver badge

    What's bad

    Drinking to excess

    Jogging with poor posture

    Crossing the street negligently

    Sitting on an aircraft too long

    Eating junk food while watching TV

    I could go on. But now I am worried sick about :

    Background radiation

    Radon gas coming out of the ground

    Ah yes. Worry can kill you.

  59. Captain DaFt

    Applying daft logic here.

    "there is no “safe drinking level”, her team declared."

    Drinking zero alcohol is a level of drinking.

    Therefore it's as safe to drink heavily as it is to abstain according to them.

    Therefore... <ahem>... Therefore....

    Hey waiter! This mug ain't gonna refill itself, is it?

  60. jason 7 Silver badge

    Whilst Hobgoblin and Old Speckled hen are still £1.25 in my local shop...

    ...little chance!

    However, I only drink about one bottle every other day.

  61. qzdave

    Dismember them

    On the basis of this new policy, the Members' bar a the Houses of Parliament should be closed immediately out of genuine concern for the members' health. No more boozed up lawmaking!

  62. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Am I the only one thinking the timing of the article "First Friday of many peoples dry January" a little suspicious as generally that is when most people hit the booze?

    Reverse Psychology?

    It worked anyway I'm please to admit.

  63. moiety

    14 units a week IS dangerous

    ...if you're drinking them in Raqqa town square. Otherwise, not so much.

  64. DocJames


    Dame Sally is right. The claimed protective effects of alcohol have been vastly overstated, and may be non existent. The risk of harm with alcohol starts with any consumption and increases.

    The level of harm remains small for the vast majority of the population. (There are a few who will develop cirrhosis at tiny - like under 1 pint/day for 5 years - doses of alcohol, but even in the very highest consuming groups - 2 bottles spirits/day for decades - not everyone develops cirrhosis. They never look particularly healthy, mind.) Any level of intake will increase risk factors for vascular disease like BP, dyslipidaemia, inflammation (if you are foolish enough to believe cardiologists about inflammation being bad), and risk of malignancy. It also contains a fair number of calories - hence beer bellies.

    Having said all that, drinking is enjoyable; it's your life; these are only guidelines and apply to the population not individuals. If you don't want to follow guidelines you don't need to; being angry about it isn't helpful. And the suggestions that this is to "increase taxes" seems proper nutter internet conspiracy theory.

    my choice of alcohol -->

    (to cope with all the downvotes:-)

    1. wiggers

      Re: Sadly

      It seems she is wrong, there are clear beneficial effects of moderate consumption, it says here:

      1. DocJames

        Re: Sadly

        Good link, and well argued points. Have an upvote. But old references. I think subsequent empirical data suggests that the protective affect is overstated.

        And I think the statistician has taken the population mean and assumed that it relates to him... which is a rather embarrassing error for such a detailed rebuttal! Same for the linear assumption - that describes a population not an individual (although in that case I agree it's more likely to be a sigmoidal curve - I suspect a linear one has been used as we can't be sure where the inflection points are and putting them in would cause more problems that it would solve).

  65. Fading

    Probably pointless....

    But I have responded to the consultation - though I had to use the politician's technique of answering the questions I wanted to answer and not the ones offered.

  66. Simon Westerby 1

    But if we all stopped drinking and smoking tomorrow then the government would have a hissy fit about the loss of all that tax!

    NB: I don't smoke, but I do drink. This ridiculousness won't stop me.

  67. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge

    Palace of Westminster ?

    If the government believes this - is it going to ban alcohol from the Palace of Westminster ?

  68. Nanners

    All I have to say is

    I was in London for a week 3 weeks ago and you guys drink like Mormons. Nothing but 4 % session ales. I got ahold of a 7% and they warned me about how strong it was and then had the keystone cop follow me around to make sure I wouldn't cause trouble. So what's this guy going on about? And has he been outside London's boarders before?

  69. Rol Silver badge

    I feel a book coming on..

    Fahrenheit 685.

    You know the plot.

  70. Dagg

    The problem is not alcohol in the beer!

    It is that evil Di-hydrogen Monoxide!

  71. IT Hack

    Nanny State

    So I guess this means we can call both Labour and the Tories as 'Nanny Statists'?

    Or just the Tories?

  72. Salts

    Can someone give me...

    The risk assessment for working -- suspect it is way higher than the odd beer.

  73. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The main reason alcohol has the appearance of increasing life is that there are things in grapes that have health benefits: polyphenols, proanthoyanidins, and resveratrol.

    Alcohol itself is damaging, unless you are eating tainted food where it might do the bugs more damage than the bugs would do to you.

    Grape juice, or grape seed extract would do you more benefit.

    There is a small space for doubt though as a good mood is good for health. If it brings joy maybe it is not terrible. Of course, that also means if you just get grumpier, then it is doubly bad.

    Vodka though there is no doubt is harmful. The average Russian who drinks that stuff lives several years less.

  74. Alan Denman

    Deficit tax!

    Beer tax to rise massively in Spring Budget!


  75. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good on the UK government

    The new recommended alcohol limits give an estimated 1% probability of an alcohol-related death. This seems very sensible.

    Earlier evidence that alcohol was "good for you" is either flawed or less important than it seemed. Some of the research had a conflict of interest (e.g. funding from the alcohol industry).

    Given the many more studies and the newly appreciated link with cancer, it was time to review the guidelines.

    Looking back to 1960s recommendations is of historical interest only. In the 1960s, the (enormous) dangers of smoking were only just accepted, asbestos was still used for all sorts of things, and radium paint was not wholly phased out. We would expect drink guidelines from the 1960s to be wide of the mark.

    So - good on the UK government for making the change. Many of us do drink too much. Think about how much you like a drink, and how much you like staying alive. So long as you don't drink-drive or put others at risk in some other way, then in the end it's a personal choice. But now, it can be more informed one.

  76. Anonymous Coward

    This is a scientific site...

    So I propose a scientific study. I need 50 of you to get completely wrecked all day, every day for the next 10 years. In 10 years time, dash off a few words about how much it cost (in money and self-esteem), how you feel, how your life's gone, whether your children still speak to you, and so forth as a comment in the containerisation, storage or flash story of your choice on this fine site.

    I'll then do some really clever statistics and sums on your answers, or something, and come up with some dead smart theories and stuff. The winner gets a bottle of wine if we're still drinking fluids in the year 2026, or a vitamin pill if not.

    If you're in, please reply to my comment with the subject "Yes, I'll gladly get shit-faced for science".

    Good luck, readers. Science needs you.

  77. Zorro456

    Life is always fatal so ...DRINK UP!

  78. x 7

    How big are those jugs?

    Hard to tell from the photo just how much those jugs hold. Are they small enough to down in one? Do you think you need both hands to hold one properly?

    1. moiety

      Re: How big are those jugs?

      Those are litre (1.76 pints) glasses, Munich beerfest style. You can lift them one-handed. The German beerfraus run round with about 6 in each hand, so you'd be too embarrassed to use 2 hands. They're mostly used for lager-style beers, so they could be downed in one maybe, but it'd be pretty gassy for a while...

      1. x 7

        Re: How big are those jugs? missed the point. I meant HER jugs, not the ones she was holding...... meant the ones that were tastelessly cropped off the photo

        another failed joke....

        1. moiety

          Re: How big are those jugs?

          <naiive mode off>

          Oh yeah! Hurrr hurrr hurrr!

          Go on then, have a sympathy upvote. :)

  79. Andrew Williams

    Well, she probably is more worried about bacon or Star Wars

    As apparently drinking "14 units" of alcohol a week is no more dangerous than watching a film or eating a bacon sandwich. Clearly her statement is a ruse to deflect from these much more serious problems.

  80. Esme

    I would just like to express solidaity

    with the bulk of the Commentardiat; despite being damned close to being both a Veggie and a tea-totaler (ie: the amount of meat and alcohol that I consume is a long way under the national average), and a feminist lefty to boot, any government minister or spokesperson spouting arrant nonsense and trying to enforce stupidity upon us all should be tarred and feather and otherwise ignored. IMHO.

    Esme (off to deliberately eat a bacon sarnie washed down with a nice single malt)

  81. El Zed

    @time of this posting, Watchings Lemmy's Memorial Service..

    destroying a bottle of Rum and one Single malt.

    Fuck the government and their guidelines...

  82. AdamWill

    three pints, moderate? er...

    "with moderate drinking defined as men who drink about three pints a day and women who have two glasses of wine a day."

    Er, I really don't think that can be right. IIRC a pint is counted as two units. Three pints a day would be 42 units a week. I'm pretty sure that's never been considered 'moderate'. I suspect you were shooting for 21 units a week, which would be a pint and a half a day.

    1. moiety

      Re: three pints, moderate? er...

      3 pints a day is moderate if you're a journalist. Probably counts as monk-like self denial.

  83. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not Science?

    Sounds like she replaced the science with religion. Having many Catholic friends I wonder which religion?

  84. channel extended

    A old timers survey.

    When people over the age of 100 were questioned about their drinking most admitted to having at least one hard drink per day.

    Those who didn't drink died shortly after.

  85. Rampant Spaniel

    Well she can **** right off.

    Great, so they will be shutting down all the bars in the Palace of Westminster and stopping them buying drinks on expenses then!

    Who is this witch? how is she a dame and what planet is she currently in orbit of? It is crap like this that lends even more credence to the assertion that the political classes should be loaded onto a giant trebuchet and fired sunwards.

    Ps lived the Billy connelly reference, I remember having that on a cassette for a school trip and playing it on the coach radio.

  86. Buzzby

    One big Fraud

    I went into Wetherspoons last night and started reading their news sheet. There was a large write up about this, seriously debunking it all.

    The writer was a science journalist and producer of the BBC Horizon. He contacted N.I.C.E. regarding the article and was sent a copy of the so called research. Go to and see the blog.

    Tim's Viewpoint - It is hard to fathom why a gastroenterologist with an anti-alcohol agenda was asked to pronounce on matters of the mind, but it’s no surprise that his emissions on the subject have a distinct whiff. All the press seemed to fall for it. Read the blog it is very interesting.

    Mine's a pint for obvious reasons.

  87. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    And this differs from the anti-smoking brigades' lack of evidence how?

  88. pewpie

    Two words..

    Shit off.

  89. s. pam

    Which cash-sucking consulting firm is involved?

    I've just done the survey.

    It has too much consultant-speak and should simply say "drinking whilst pregnant may injure, deform, or destroy your unborn child". Or it should say "drinking too much may damage necessary organs, cause you to injure yourself" or "drinking too much in one session will cause you to have spawn just like yourself"!

    The instructions to the pubic are filled with thousands of words when 10-20 would suffice!

  90. tiggity Silver badge

    meh, in the context of other risks

    Relative risks.

    I work, with lots of associated (unhealthy) stress that is also relatively sedentary.

    I live in a Radon area (& have done for 20 years)

    It's also not a smokeless zone (i.e. people still allowed to burn coal, wood etc. on fires) and near a busy road so plenty of airborne pollution.

    I drive most days of the week.

    I sometimes eat meat.

    The exercise I get is not in an airconditioned gym but outside, often pounding pavements near busy roads with not the cleanest of air.

    Before the smoking ban I have worked in workplaces with high exposure to second hand smoke (and went to such places socially when v. smoke filled e.g. pubs, gig venues etc)

    So, in the general context of "health risks", in my life, any alcohol I have is just another of many risks.

    I do not drink much (though on average it would be higher than the new reduced recommendation of 14 units a week) & gov selective stat cherry picking is not going to alter my limited intake.

  91. MacroRodent Silver badge

    Biases for and against

    I have read articles both for and against the benefits of moderate alcohol, and they have left me with a nagging suspicion that the studies (or some of them) showing benefits have been biased by the quite substantial alcoholic beverages industry. There is quite a bit more money to be made by the pro-alcohol stance, than the teetotaler one.

    Other than that, I would be much happier if moderate alcohol usage really were healthier (so don't downvote too hard...)

  92. AndrewDu

    Is it possible that the increased death rates amongst teetotallers is because they're all such miserable gits?

    Just wondering.

  93. Tim Soldiers

    re: Palace of Westminster

    Just removing the bar subsidy would be a start...........

  94. SteveG

    They want you to die

    The sooner your dead the sooner they can stop paying your pension. It's probably a bit like Statins where you think your doing yourself good but actually your harming yourself.

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