Saturday 2 January 2016

Local Government joins the killjoys

I'm pleased to see my local in Southport, the Guest House, clearly nail its colours to the mast about Dryanuary on its Facebook page:

"We believe that a responsible approach to drinking is the only way to go... so would like to state our position on ‪#‎Dryanuary‬.

"Dyranuary is an ill-conceived scheme whereby tens of thousands of people across Britain will be convinced that, by boycotting their local pubs, they'll actually be achieving something. What really happens, guys, is that these businesses lose money in their toughest period of the year and we lose more local pubs. Instead of giving up for a month, why not just have 11 pints when you go out instead of 12?

"‪#‎Tryanuary‬ is designed to protect our local pubs against the devastating effects of a scheme that seems intent on destroying our industry.

"If your considering Dryanuary please fully consider the ramifications."

Well said!

The latest addition to ranks of the the alcohol killjoys is the Local Government Association (LGA) which is calling for "clear and prominent labelling" of the calorie count in alcoholic drinks, echoing a previous call by the Royal Society for Public Health. They say it's to tackle the obesity crisis in the country, arguing that people aren't aware of the calorific content of drinks. I'm all in favour of educating the public, but it strikes me that we are forcibly inculcated with things they decide we need to know, but are kept in the dark about things they'd prefer we didn't know too much about such as - to give a completely random example - how the amount we lose to social security fraud is a tiny fraction of what we lose to corporate tax fiddles.

A BBC interviewer astutely pointed out a possible unintended consequence: that it might encourage people to go for spirits as being lower calorie but higher strength. That, the LGA spokesperson said, would lead to the other part of their campaign to highlight the fact that excessive alcohol can lead to serious health problems like liver and heart damage, and an increased risk of cancer. 

Anything wrong with this? Not in itself, but how many people are there in the country who think alcoholic drinks are calorie-free or risk-free? I'd have thought very few, but despite that they still think we constantly need telling. I'd point out to them:
  • Almost no one takes the weekly unit limits of 14 for women and 21 for men seriously. The figures lack credibility, especially as one of those who worked on deciding the limits admitted a few years ago that they more or less plucked them out of the air.
  • If you keep on ramming the message down people's throats, you will encounter the "boy crying wolf" syndrome. People do not like constantly being preached at.
  • Why not give it a rest and just #DryUpInJanuary?


  1. Very well said by the Guest House. Every single pub in the land needs to be saying the same.

    This isn't a matter of individual conscience, it's a deliberate, organised attack on the pub trade.

  2. I agree. To them, pub closures aren't an unfortunate side effect, but a desirable result.


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