There is a current frenzy of Alcohol bashing that seems now to be including wine. Health lobbyists would have us believe that you can’t get a hospital bed for an elderly relative because wards are full of injured drunken youths or middle aged, middle class ladies with livers so badly pickled by Prosecco they have turned to Foie Gras!
In a study conducted in the UK up to 70 % of people surveyed said they had experienced harm due to another individual’s drinking. A significant proportion of the respondents had been insulted by someone who was drinking on the street! Imagine that! Being insulted by someone on the street. Of course I’m certain they never been insulted by a sober person?
I have been harassed, insulted, belittled by former bosses but they are not subject to any ban or sanction and nobody was conducting surveys and writing reports about it.
An even greater proportion of the respondents were kept awake at night because of drunken noise!
There is an endless list of noises both human and non-human generated that can cause sleep loss.
Who set these questions? Was snoring considered “drunken noise” and if so how does that contribute to the argument for more expensive wine? Should we have a warning on the back of the bottle about loud and disturbing snoring? We could place it between the pregnant mother warning and the operating machinery warning.
Conducting and reporting the findings of such ridiculous surveys is an indication of how strong the anti-alcohol lobby has become in the absence of a representative for the moderate drinkers of this world who could justifiable ridicule such a preposterous survey.
And by the way, worrying about how much of your taxes were spent funding this survey could kept you awake for a night or two!
Try to represent the moderate drinkers of Great Britain and health lobbies, temperance societies and medical representatives will jump all over you. It’s immoral! It’s indefensible! 14% of all hospital admissions are alcohol related. 1000s of people end up every weekend in Accident and Emergency Departments with Alcohol related injuries however millions don’t! If you are reading this I suspect that you are one of the many millions who do drink alcohol, some of you may even “binge” (which is defined as more than 4 standard drinks), but you do not end up in A&E.
You go out, have as much to drink as you like, have fun, maybe get lucky, fall asleep, wake up with a sore head relative to the amount you chose to drink, some good memories and life goes on.
We don’t need surveys to tell us about how much we can and can’t drink, that’s what hangovers are for!
I am also informed that if you are unlucky enough to be mugged by tee-totalling thugs looking for your mobile phone on your way home from a 2 glass of wine evening, you provide a stalwart bout of self defence against the two perpetrators however you eventually succumb and sustain some minor lacerations requiring a hospital visit. This is logged as an alcohol related injury!
So if alcohol is the problem why doesn’t every single one of us end up in A & E every time we have more than 4 drinks? Alcohol is not the problem, it is the catalyst for problems that should be treated elsewhere in the first place. Alcohol is the excuse we make for having had a shoddy provision for mental health for decades.
It is of particular concern to wine drinkers as wine does not seem to be capable of the delivery of alcohol that those most likely to abuse it seek out. I have observed beer and cider cans and bottles, vodka, gin and whisky bottles even a rather good Jarana Fino bottle but rarely a wine bottle thrown around popular outdoor drinking sites in my locality. I haven’t read about a person being hit with a wine bottle in a row because an argument about the merits of the 2005 right bank vintage escalated and spilled out onto the street.
Human nature is naturally curious and adventurous. This is how we progress, just as we say to someone today that they would be stupid to drink too much wine, our forefathers would have said to an explorer that he was mad to sail west as he would fall off the edge of the earth.
Our adventurous and curious streak led to great steps forward for mankind such as the wheel and fermentation and lesser ones such computers and America!!
Despite the efforts of our education systems our young people are naturally curious and adventurous and will occasionally overdo it with alcohol consumption, some may end up in A and E, generally they will learn a good life lesson and never end up there again. Many of my peers frequently ended up in A and E after playing rugby and it has not been banned or taxed, indeed one of them went on to earn a good living from the game, frequenting the A & E quite regularly.
If we remove or dramatically reduce our alcohol consumption where will all the extra revenue needed to fund a health service come from? The Health service will be lacking the excise and sales taxes from alcohol and attempting to cater for the increasing numbers of 90 year olds as we all live longer. Now my right knee has been creaking since I was 34, it will not last another 30 years. I believe that no wine drinker would want to be crippled by the pain of arthritis at 94 but with the liver of a 12 year old and a cellar that their day nurse won’t let them near. Let me leave this world drinking something wonderful with someone I shouldn’t be drinking with.
Without an immoral defender wine is an easy target for revenue hungry governments. A government will hide behind the health and well-being zealots knowing that alcohol is enjoyed by all demographics and demand is relatively inelastic. Wine is still mostly imported so point of entry duties are an age old way of tax collecting. Look at sugary drinks, the type 2 diabetes time-bomb; no taxes levied yet, it’s too inconvenient, won’t yield enough per unit and will cost too much to set up and administer. It won’t happen, a generation of kids will get fatter because their government don’t really care.
Minimum pricing has nothing to do with the health of the nation .There is as much pressure on the national waistline from bad childhood habits and nutrition as there is from alcohol. Why does this vast constituency of moderate drinkers including most of us wine drinkers have to accept higher pricing because a small minority have addiction and undiagnosed or untreated dependency issues.
We need a champion, a politician perhaps, he or she would garner a massive and probably unexpected vote from a much maligned population of drinkers. Our champion could tackle some of the loonies and their studies.
We are all going to die sometime, evidence suggests that this life is not a dress rehearsal for anything anywhere else so we should enjoy ourselves as best we can while we are here. So go have another drink!