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12-01-2011, 11:20
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I’m going to start this blog by firstly admitting I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I’m going to justify it by stating nobody really knows what they are talking about and my opinion is as good as any. It is on the topic of heavy drinking, inspired by Glyns posts here (http://rabidbarfly.blogspot.com/2011/01/drunk-diary-day-eleven.html), and Mudges reaction to it here (http://pubcurmudgeon.blogspot.com/2011/01/100-unit-week.html).

When I say I don’t know what I’m talking about, what I am saying is that I really don’t know how much alcohol constitutes a safe amount. The government advises us that it is 21 units per week for a man and 14 for a woman, with a unit being half a pint of 4% beer. So 10 and a half pints of Carling per week, spread about and not all in one night. Can you drink more without ill affect? I’m sure you can. How much more? I don’t really know and question whether anyone really knows for sure. Is the government wrong to advise us regarding what level of booze we ought to be consuming or should the government stay the hell out? In fact there is no consensus, look here (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Recommended_maximum_intake_of_alcoholic_beverages) , differing governments advise different levels.

The government advise us regarding many things. This is often called “the nanny state” by those that object to being advised. Do I object? Not really. Public health is a public cost. I find it sad the government feel they have to advise us to drink less, eat fruit and vegetables, and exercise more. You can even stand in the urinal in a British pub and see an advert from the government asking men not to rape women. What is that all about?

Some advice you might object less to. Advising children not to get into cars with strangers and to look left and right when they cross the road. That I suspect is one aspect of the nanny state you don’t object to. I don’t read many blogs taking the line “How dare the government advise kids not to take jelly babies off strangers that pull up to them in cars and ask them whether they want to get in the back seat and stroke some puppies. It’s a free country goddammit; the kid should make their own mind up, assess the risks for themselves and decide whether they get in the car. Not all strangers offering jelly babies to kids are going to rape and murder them. It’s a diabolical liberty and infringement of our basic freedoms. Why are we paying our taxes for this?” Though if you know different, let me know. That would be one worrying blog to read.

For all I don’t know on the topic of what is a safe amount to eat, drink & exercise, there is something I do know. I know that eating healthy and taking exercise is in fact better for you than sitting on your fat arse eating chips. The government advice to do the former and avoid the latter isn’t actually wrong, and advising us of this isn’t restricting our freedom to do the latter if we so choose.

Like government advice on smoking, it is actually true that smoking kills you. For every old timer telling you they smoke 80 woodbines a day and never had a day off sick in their life, the graveyard is full of people not so lucky who are not around to tell you about their health. When the government say “don’t smoke”, they are not actually wrong.

Regarding drinking, it is a well known fact that heavy drinking is bad for you. Over time it kills your liver, mottles your skin and makes you look old and haggard. In the short term it makes you feel as rough as a dogs arse. For every idiot claiming they heroically knock back 100 units a week, AA (http://www.alcoholics-anonymous.org.uk/) has a dozen people on the 12 step program rebuilding their shattered and broken lives. It’s neither big, hard nor clever and far from heroic. At the risk of causing offence the heroes of heavy drinking like George Best, Richard Burton, Keith Floyd, Oliver Reed, are not really heroes. They are sad idiots that ruined their lives and died prematurely. The fact that they might have enjoyed doing just that is neither here nor there

So what is a safe amount to drink? I’m not even going to begin to express an opinion. I don’t know. If your doctor checks you out and tells you that you are in decent shape then that’s as good as indication as any that you might not die any time soon. Like getting your car serviced. The mechanic may tell you the car is in decent shape or he may tell you it’s a wreck. It’s no guarantee, but it's fair advice. If you get your car serviced but you never get yourself serviced, then I’d ask you what is more important, your car or you? When the government advise you check your knockers or nuts regularly for lumps, you know what? It might just add to your years on the planet.

Oh and if you read blogs where people are telling you they are seriously caning the grog, and you express admiration and respect for their heroic drinking, I’m sorry but you are as big an idiot as they are. Don’t encourage them just so you can feel better about your own habits. The risks you take are with your own liver, not someone else’s.

You’re an adult, do what you like, but heh be careful out there and don’t get into a car with strangers because you want to stroke a puppy. Especially not if the driver looks like a body building Freddie Mercury.


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