Gordon Brown – please get out of my living room.

The government is proposing to crack down on middle-class drinkers of wine, and is making noises which appear to mean that eight units a week (according to the BBC) are indicative of ‘a problem’ with alcohol. That’s four glasses of wine a week.

I can’t be the only person who, on reading this piece of puritanical, nanny-statist rubbish this morning, ran straight out to buy a bottle of wine. This comes hot on the heels of last week’s announcement that they were going to ignore the advice of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, and, flying in the face of all the published studies, instruct pregnant women to abstain from even a single glass of wine a week, or risk being looked at very hard by a dour man with a clunking fist.

It all comes together now. I assume that Gordon’s going to use a camera in my dustbin to measure how many wine bottles I throw away, and raise my taxes accordingly. I hope you’ll all join me in raising a glass to the very important fact that I enjoy my autonomy, and am perfectly capable of worrying about my liver on my own, unaided by the civil service.

6 Replies to “Gordon Brown – please get out of my living room.”

  1. My reading of the links you added is that they are concerned about people drinking one or two bottles a night. That is quite heavy drinking. The only mention I saw of eight units was for pregnant women (and that they shouldn’t) – while I don’t see the need for total abstinence, I could agree that 8 units a week if you’re pregnant is a bit on the high side. And 8 units is 4 very large glasses of wine.

  2. I’ve just checked the bottle we’re drinking this evening – it’s 10.5 units. We don’t own unusually massive wineglasses, but that made two-and-a-bit comfortable glasses each for us, which is even worse than the figure I mentioned above. (The eight units statistic has been popping up all day on BBC News 24 – unfortunately I can’t find a figure corroborating that on their website, but I’ll keep looking.) I don’t think that sharing two or three bottles of wine a week with the person you live with is unusual, and more importantly, I don’t think it’s morally reprehensible.

    I quite agree that drinking vastly during pregnancy is a remarkably peculiar thing to do! It’s important not to obfuscate the real problem here, though; that problem is that ministers are choosing to misrepresent research and, frankly, tell untruths in order to make what is, ultimately, an economic point. If consuming alcohol in any amount, let alone moderation, is seen as something unhealthy and otherwise ‘bad’, it becomes a much easier proposition to raise taxes on it. (The fact that the money I pay for my NHS comes out of my National Insurance and not out of the duty on alcohol or cigarettes is neither here nor there…)

  3. YM and I were getting cross about the revised alcohol guidelines the other day (me more so than him, surprisingly!). I drink a small amount almost every day: either one glass of wine with dinner on a weeknight, or, if not, maybe an average sized whisky before bed. YM and I might share a bottle of wine some nights. Sometimes he goes for a small number of pints ( 2 or 3, now he’s nearly an old married man) with friends. All in all we are, I think, moderate, reasonable and above all sensible with our drinking. Neither of us would ever set out to get hammered. However, these current guidelines cast us as alcoholics. I am not impressed with this at all.

    As for the pregnancy drinking, as far as I understand most people would not be able to face alcohol, or indeed anything potentially harmful to the baby during pregnancy. My very carnivorous mother went right off meat in all forms. Although I have no medical backing for saying this, and may well call down wrath upon my head, I suspect if you can face a small amount of wine very occasionally while pregnant it’s probably not harming you or the baby.

    OK – rant over. Hic!

  4. 8 units a week? 28, more like. And that’s a “good” week.

    Yes, I know it’s not big and it’s not clever, but almost all my friends consume similarly if not worse.

  5. More than a year on I have just come across your piece on wine consumption. You are clearly a good egg.
    You might, or might not, enjoy http://www.notbornyesterday.org, a non-profit site dedicated to getting a life,living it to the full, and laughing at the Wishful Unthinking Tendency (WUTs) who’d like to ruin it for the rest of us.
    Best Wishes
    Filosofoodie x

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