The Nanny State – and the keys to the Liquor Cabinet


Yesterday I went to the dentist.  They had me fill in a medical status form.  The dentist asked me about my alcohol consumption (perhaps because I had written “substantial” on the form), and proceeded to harangue me about the dangers of alcohol.  For him, the liver damage seemed marginal — but he was keen to tell me about cancers of the mouth and throat.

It was only my innate courtesy (and perhaps a fear of the drill) that prevented me from telling him in forthright terms that I was paying him for dental treatment, not joyless anti-alcohol propaganda.

Of course the state has a legitimate interest in public health, and no one should be concerned that the state points out the various risks of excessive alcohol consumption.  But with doctors and dentists and wine bottle labels hectoring us with advice, we’ve reached an “Enough is Enough” point.  For heaven’s sake, guys, back off, and give us a moment to enjoy a glass of wine in peace.

We are approaching the stage where the government thinks it has a right to wrap us up entirely in cotton wool.  After all, if we get ill through our own ill-advised behaviour, are we not an extra cost for the NHS?  But on the other hand, are we to stop or constrain every activity merely because injury would involve costs to the health service?  Most people have a lively sense of their own well-being, which is driven by more pressing concerns that the cost to the tax-payer.

Are we to stop sea-swimming or mountain climbing or hang gliding because of the risks involved?  Are we to tell little Johnnie that he can’t go to rugby practice for fear of a broken collar-bone?

We already have proposals in Scotland for a social worker for every child — an outrageous and intrusive proposition. How soon before every adult drinker has a government apparatchik beside him with a calculator totting up drinks for the day and offering precautionary advice?

The guidelines offered by government are open to question on many grounds.  First of all, the guidelines themselves seem a bit arbitrary, and have been widely questioned.   They don’t seem to reflect any major epidemiological studies.

Secondly, they are far too general.  Different people metabolise alcohol, and respond to it, in different ways.  It’s not only weight, but clearly a ten stone man is likely to feel more effect from three units of alcohol than a twenty stone man.

Thirdly, it’s none of their business.  If grown-up people, aware of the dangers, choose to indulge in risky behaviour, that’s up to them.  We’ve had quite enough of regulatory over-reach and government intrusion.

But now they’ve gone even further.  Not content with average daily/weekly consumption, they’re actually proposing a special “Saturday night” figure for “binge drinking”.   This is absurd to the point of farcical.  It may also be counterproductive in its own terms, as it seems to sanction binge drinking as a legitimate activity.  Maybe all those civil servants thinking up these daft schemes could be reassigned to some useful work — perhaps as Border Agency staff in Calais.

Frankly, I’m sick to death of government advice on alcohol consumption.  It’s enough to drive a chap to drink.

Note: I should declare a personal interest here.  I worked for United Distillers (now Diageo) in Korea and Singapore for four years in the 1980s.  And I enjoy a glass of Talisker before bed-time.



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34 Responses to The Nanny State – and the keys to the Liquor Cabinet

  1. afwheately says:

    Perhaps we ought to assign a “peoples’ representative” (or more precisely a “tax payer’s representative”) to every politician! And, as a quid pro quo, paid for by a hypothecated tax on politicians’ income.

    As to binge drinking, I think such behaviour has become far too readily accepted as the norm; normal for some few, that is. It is about time the rest of us expressed our disapproval in loud and disparaging terms. If people become drunk and disorderly in a public place, especially if drunkenness is their objective, then they should be arrested and chucked in the cells to sober up, as used to be the case.

    And oh yes, I go out drinking with my dentist! But then he is a mate, and a bloody good dentist to boot.

  2. Jane Davies says:

    Having worked in health care, mostly in the NHS, I can tell you this is a case of do as I say and not as I do. I knew during my years of working alongside doctors that many smoked and drank like fishes and my daughter, a dental practice manager can tell a tale or two about dentists habits that contradict their advice on oral care! They are just following the nanny advice from which ever government happens to be in power, telling people how to live there lives is far easier to address than real issues affecting the country. I always say, everything in moderation and my doctor just last week, when looking at the results of an annual routine blood work, said whatever I’m doing is working well, good cholesterol increased, bad cholesterol decreased, and to carry on doing it! My advice is not to take all this conflicting advice too seriously, as a healthy baby boomer I’m not going to listen to the latest fad given out by doctors who look about twelve years old!

  3. Ex-expat Colin says:

    Its part of the International NHS…oh, wait a sec, it isn’t much anymore. Since they stepped out of preventative services (sort of free) I should imagine healthy teeth/gums are a thing of the long past. The dentist I use keeps quiet thankfully.

    However, GPs that spend their life looking and being miserable suddenly let rip with general health advice bothers me a lot. Well, you know…you smoke and drink and eventually the NHS won’t treat you (HIV they will…no matter who). And you look over weight, here’s an exercise chart and notes that I’ll draw up for you now. 4 years later that GP asked me about the exercises that were personalised for me by her. I said I didn’t do them and with a miserable glare she asked why…I said that I go to the gym 3 times a week and drag my wife there.

    Whilst at a dentist(?) in the RAF during the 60’s I was about to have a filling when the idiots greyhound locked up in a surgery cupboard yelped. So the idiot jerked only I moved away first…luckily!

    Its all part of the confused modern society which seems to contain various groups of poorly qualified/experienced hand wringers obsessing about minorities. Those 1 in 10, 3 in 100 they keep on about. So really if you eat too much of the wrong stuff, binge and smoke… and your not built well the chances are you’re somewhat weakened. Not that I note a universal rule there.

    And all those supermarkets selling cheap booze…tut, tut. And those brewers making too much too cheap…oh dear! Luckily for me they sell a fair range of real ale at a reasonable price.

  4. John Poynton says:

    Just shows how used to scrounging off English taxpayers the Scots have become that it doesn’t even occur to them to cost this proposal! Independence would serve them right.

  5. Flyinthesky says:

    I had a similar experience at the dentist, the obligatory health questionnaire, I duly completed both the alcohol and the smoking sections with M.Y.O.B.

    I went on a course, as a licensee, run by Diageo a few years ago, drinkaware logo displayers of course. It was called “the perfect serve”, most of the course entailed how to upsale a measure to a double.

    • Flyinthesky says:

      N.B. My dentist thought it was hilarious.
      The fundamental problem is we have been coerced and programmed, mainly by fear, to allow all our once services to morph into authorities. From the NHS to the dustbin man, oops recycling coordinator.

      • Jane Davies says:

        And how meek some have become in willingly answering personal questions without questioning why is there a need to know. I love your answer and will file that one away for the next time I’m asked questions on my lifestyle, instead of just putting a line through the question. Sheep and lemmings spring to mind….I guess it’s all part of the grooming process to eventually turning all the plebs into automatons.

  6. ian wragg says:

    The young Spanish dentist last month asked me how long I had been drinking to excess. I was a bit puzzled and asked her to clarify. She said I have a gum disease caused by excess alcohol. I explained that it was caused by 9 years in the navy and 20 plus years in the Middle East and was caused by drinking demineralised water.
    She was quite subdued for the rest of the inspection but still tried to sell me a £40 descale until I pointed out his was covered in the £17.
    I was in the room 9 minutes.

    • Ex-expat Colin says:

      Had a gum infection in the RAF only cannot quite find it on the crap web. I think it was gingivitis of sorts. Websites say its a mild gum infection….mine wasn’t, white stinging spots. I thought it came from the crew room mugs (those idiots), but the dumb MO could barely communicate.

      After 4 days of pills nothing happened so I went back to the MO idiot who instantly had me attending sick quarters twice a day for a pill…the same one. No communication again.

      I didn’t suffer any ailment from the Middle East and as an Indian female chemist in Brum told my wife recently..the dangerous place is here in UK. Ah yes…

  7. Ian Terry says:

    Thank God it is only booze at the moment,

    The next campaign will be about sex!!

    This is just a load of stuff and nonsense.

    Stood in Boots lately and watched all the methedone druggies queing up for their fix? All the warnings in the world has not stopped the taking of drugs.

  8. omanuel says:

    I had the good fortune to visit several cities in the old USSR in 1980 and see Nanny’s operation before it engulfed the United States. There is little or no doubt Stalin emerged victorious from the ruins of WWII and united nations (UN) and national academies of science (NAS) into an Orwellian Ministry of Consensus Science (UN)Truths on October 24, 1945.

    Today and yesterday some element of truth is leaking out in comments on the 70th Anniversary of Hiroshima’s destruction in the Japan Times.

    After Stalin et al. took control of science seventy years ago (1945-2015), the truth about Earth’s heat source and the Creator, Destroyer and Sustainer of atoms in the solar system have been hidden from the public.

  9. catweazle666 says:

    Roger, I hope you realise that every penny that an indigenous White male like you costs the NHS due to your entirely unjustified self-indulgence is a penny less that can be wasted lavished on an AIDS or TB stricken benefit scrounging illegal immigrant poor downtrodden asylum seeker!

    • Brin Jenkins says:

      Exactly so. We should have closed Dover until the problem is sorted.

      Greece is even now being overrun and broke to boot. I see no reason why they should not just cash in and sell passports! The EU has screwed them so they owe nobody for helping them.

      • Ex-expat Colin says:

        Illegal immigrants and the French largely closed it anyway. M20 and french side was jammed. I am asking my MP to request the UK gov to bill Brussels for the loss of business, inconvenience to everybody and loss of food and medicines on those trucks. Either that or deduct from EU fees. Simple really. And the stupid lorry driver fines!

        Greece don’t want them and neither does Italy. They simply cannot cope but the EU remains in la,la do little land. Must be worried about their expenses forms …whatever?

        Its a serious attack on this country and its more than common sense to realise that. The numpty from spain (allegedly) spouts the usual cr8p. tut,tut..handwring.

    • catalanbrian says:

      What a disgusting, racist, bigoted and blinkered comment.

      • catweazle666 says:


      • Brin Jenkins says:

        Wake up Brian, or are you so far removed you don’t notice whats happening to the Country that raised and nurtured you?

      • catalanbrian says:

        Let’s start with the weasel’s comment then “Aids or TB stricken benefit scrounging illegal immigrant” Which bit of that is not racist, bigoted or blinkered?. Additionally you should both be made aware that illegal immigrants are not entitled to any benefits. On the basis of this it would seem that I am more aware of what is going on than you, or the Weasel. Finally, yes I have seen a change in Britain. When I was a child we were a nation that welcomed, indeed encouraged immigration and the population of Britain was relaxed about that and welcomed the immigrants. Now, the likes of UKIP and Britain First are leading a xenophobic attack on immigrants, many of whom are running away from the horror of wars, wars that we, the British were instrumental in starting,

      • catweazle666 says:

        ““Aids or TB stricken benefit scrounging illegal immigrant” Which bit of that is not racist, bigoted or blinkered?”

        Which bit of it is not true?

        “Additionally you should both be made aware that illegal immigrants are not entitled to any benefits.

        Disingenuous – mendacious even.

        You really haven’t a clue, have you?

      • catalanbrian says:

        If you were to bother checking your facts, Weasel. instead of relying on your hideous bigotry you will find that none of what you stated is true, and that which I stated is true. For the sake of clarity i state it again. Illegal immigrants are NOT entitled to any benefits. So now, who is the one who hasn’t a clue?

      • catweazle666 says:

        Ah, more abuse from the blog Eurofascist stalker-troll.

        So when we catch illegal immigrants (and, as all the so-called “asylum seekers” have not sought asylum in the first safe state they encountered, that includes the whole lot), we just chuck them out on the street with no means of support do we?

        You really are a complete moron, brian.

        Nor, for what it’s worth, would recognise truth if it ran under your wet, foetid bridge, leapt up, and bit you on the snout.

        Not surprising really, as you’re paid to spread your lying, slanderous filth on anti-EU blogs, aren’t you?

      • catalanbrian says:

        Check the facts, rather than just following your own bigoted and moronic viewpoint. As regards being paid – if only.

      • catweazle666 says:

        What facts?

        Are you seriously trying to make out that when we capture illegal immigrants we do not feed and house them, and that this does not place more stress on the overstretched benefits system?

        Cue some disingenuous blather to the effect that such expenditure doesn’t constitute benefits, and yet another slanderous accusation of racism and bigotry, right?

        You really have nothing but vindictiveness, hatred and abuse, have you?

      • catalanbrian says:

        Yes they are, when caught, imprisoned and of course they are fed until such time as they are deported. That is not “benefits”, Mr Clever Weasel, unless you are to consider that the entire UK prison population is equally on “benefits. And this is not “disingenuous blather” but a fact, something to which you are clearly a stranger.

      • catweazle666 says:

        So you are finally admitting that these thousands of non-indigenous criminals are an extra expense on the taxpayer, and you believe that anyone taking issue with that makes someone a racist bigot etc. etc. etc., as if we didn’t have plenty of indigenous lowlife of our own to pay to keep locked up.

        You really are a piece of work, aren’t you?

        Anyway that’s it, I’ve had enough of your sad little clown dance, you have nothing to say except name-calling.

      • catalanbrian says:

        You really are a nasty creature aren’t you. And clearly with short term memory loss. I have never stated that there is no cost to dealing with illegal immigrants and asylum seekers. I stated that illegal immigrants get no benefits. You stated that they got benefits, but are too dishonest to admit your error.

      • catweazle666 says:

        catalanbrian: “You really are a nasty creature aren’t you.”

        Dear me, aren’t you a bad loser.

        But there again, your sort of sad little troll always are,

  10. “If grown-up people, aware of the dangers, choose to indulge in risky behaviour, that’s up to them. ” Not any more it isn’t.
    The other side of the coin, as some commentators above can see is that what doctors (and politicians) love most is a victim to protect and defend. So we are all becoming victims. Victimhood is the new black.

  11. Christopher Browne says:

    Just wait until we have a cashless society and you have to use your credit card to pay for drinks in pubs, clubs and supermarkets, expect a visit from the alcohol police.
    Further, insurance companies will be monitoring booze consumption and find an escape clause for just about any claim.
    The possibilities are endless.

    • ian wragg says:

      I think you are correct. I find I am using more cash not less, just to keep my anonymity.
      All the supermarkets are gathering details of shopping habits and its only a matter of time before the health police will be getting access.

  12. Pingback: Bull In A China Shop | Frank Davis

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