A glass of chilled Chardonnay please. Better leave the bottle………

Alcohol makes you annoying – new health risks revealed
Public health minister Anne Milton told a committee of MPs that we are blind to the dangers of alcohol and deaf to the health warnings issued by governments. She stopped short of adding that it’s because some of us are too dumb to know better.
She said that the Department of Health was in “ongoing discussions” with the Treasury about the use of alcohol pricing to control consumption, but went on to say that setting a minimum price per unit for alcohol was “probably illegal”.
It’s not easy being a minister for public health. When your sensible advice is not being ignored it is being ridiculed. The fundamental problem is that public health campaigns do not work. If they did, the public wouldn’t be so unhealthy.
It’s not the message but the messenger. Governments dispensing advice always sound like well meaning but out of touch parents.
How Does Your Night End? is a leaflet produced a few years ago by the Department of Health and the Home Office.  You only need to get as far as the subtitle “Drinking, you and your mates” to know what you’re in for.
The document lurches unsteadily from the unconvincing, jokey vernacular of badly imagined young people – “You and your mates are out on the town, having a laugh” – to a very dull and sober grown-up voice a few short paragraphs later, as if your hangover had kicked in early: “Pregnant women and women trying to conceive should avoid alcohol altogether and never drink more than 1-2 units once or twice a week”.
There is nothing to be gained from reasoning with people. They respond much better to shock tactics. For example:
“There you were heading out for a few drinks with your mates and suddenly one of them turned in to the chief medical officer. Worse still, this fit girl you fancied said she wouldn’t let you cop off with her unless you had no more than two units of Stella. Complete downer.”
The real leaflet goes on to dispense further earnest advice: “The more you drink, the easier it is to cross the line between being funny and being annoying,” it points out, blithely unaware that it is veering incapably across the same line.
So raise a sympathetic glass to the minister. It’s difficult to come right out and say that tax revenue is a bad thing or that setting minimum pricing for booze is a daft idea, though clearly it is.
Ms Milton responded to difficult questions with straight shots, admitting to “an appropriate degree of cynicism” about the alcohol industry’s responsible drinking campaigns and to a healthy scepticism about the effect of government guidelines.
She also acknowledged the fundamental problem that people don’t take advice of any kind from governments.
The minister only reached for the tonic water when it was put to her that Parliament should close some of its bars, to encourage sobriety in MPs or to set a good example to the rest of us.
While she did not seek to excuse what she called MPs’ “risky behaviour”, she explained it with reference to their anti-social working hours and the time they spend away from their families.
It’s so hard to tell the difference between cause and effect, particularly after a few large ones, but don’t let it spoil the fun next time you and your mates are out on the town having a few laughs.

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admin, Dave, David, planetdave, le grande fromage (LGF) - it's all me. I was diagnosed with ADHD in 2006 and usually take medication. My path to diagnosis was so painful that I swore I'd do whatever I could to make things better for other ADHDers.
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