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Government acts to help innumerate park bench drinkers.

Or so this release from the Health Commissariat would suggest:

"By the end of 2008 the Government expects all alcoholic drinks labels to include alcohol unit information, following a ground-breaking agreement between Government and the drinks industry....Labels with unit information will help people keep an eye on how much they are drinking, allowing them to monitor their alcohol intake more easily. The labelling information will be supported by a major cross-Government campaign on alcohol from 2008, a large part of which will be about raising unit awareness".

So, off licence owners, tramps, binge drinking teenagers and the like will be able to scan bottles on the shelf and work out that much more quickly what is going to take them to palookaville at the fewest bangs per buck. Isn't that thoughtful? I wonder if the next step will be for thoughtful retailers to include price per unit information on their display units, thus promoting sale of the viler ciders, English 'sherry' and the like.

As ever, this is a problem looking for a solution. Drinkers intent on moderation already know that stronger alcohol content per unit will lead to faster intoxication, and probably worked that out from practical experience with their first few drinks. Excluding those with impaired mental capacity, are there really people unaware that vodka is stronger than babycham or shandy?

La Flint in her role as big nanny sees this things differently, and prefers to infantilise the population, especially pregnant women: "In addition, the Government is also encouraging the alcohol industry to include sensible drinking information for pregnant women on labels. Avoid alcohol if pregnant or trying to conceive is the shortened form of the Government advice announced on 25 May". There are times when I ponder whether the 'health' industry is intent on proving the old misogynistic saw that women lose half their brain capacity upon getting pregnant.

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Anonymous verity said... 11:13 pm

1. I have never drunk "a unit" in my life and do not intend to do so. I drink whatever it takes to cover the ice cubes and add some soda. When I drink wine, I like large glasses.

2. Caroline Flint, the public health minister, whose dress sense for official occasions seems a bit odd. Tight t-shirts sporting ample décolletage worn under an open tweed jacket for making official announcements don't, Caroline, lend you a lot of authority for lecturing your paymasters, the electorate, on "units".

Caroline - I am sure she won't mind if we call her that, says "This landmark, voluntary agreement will help people calculate, at a glance, how much they are drinking and whether they are staying within sensible drinking guidelines."

Personally, I can calculate, at a glance, how much I am drinking by looking at my glass. It's a talent I have.

And in my book, "sensible drinking guidelines" means you can walk to the taxi.

But wait!

3. Caroline is in for a cruel disappointment in happy-clappy Unitland, because: "... there is embarrassment and some anger at the Department of Health that a significant group of drinks manufacturers have not signed up to the plan."

WHAT?? The impertinence! "Diageo is one of the country's biggest drinks manufacturers. Its brands include Smirnoff, Guinness, Gordons Gin, Captain Morgan rum, Blossom Hill wine, Bailey's and several whisky brands, such as Bell's.

"The company indicated it prefers to adopt its own health messages rather than the label drawn up by the government."

I've made a note of their products and will make an effort to buy them from now on.  

Anonymous Nomad said... 6:34 am

One simple comment to describe the Government's plans/members.

Bottoms Up!  

Blogger Lilith said... 1:20 pm

I don't know that it is mysongynistic to assume that women lose half their brains during pregnancy...though that doesn't usually interfere their ability to discern that half a glass is ok but a whole one keeps them up half the night.

A 7 months I totally lost interest in work..but I developed reflexes like Jeff Goldblum in The Fly when it came to catching falling wine glasses etc...  

Blogger Croydonian said... 1:34 pm

Well said people.

A useful skill Lilith...  

Anonymous some guy said... 4:41 pm

Everyone knows that pregnancy is an illness. It can't be medicalised too much. Healthy bourgeoise women who object are just showing how ill they are.

Enjoy alcohol in moderation. Never drink more than 2 bottles of whisky a day.  

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