Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Independence usually isn't

Ho hum - the BBC has yet another uncritical piece about the joys of not drinking alcohol. Or in this case the joys of drinking weak alcohol.

Weaker beers, ciders, wines and spirits are what is needed to tackle drink-related health problems, local councils have said.

The Local Government Association (LGA) has also called on ministers to extend tax breaks on lower-strength 2.8% beers to include ciders and wines.

The call has been welcomed by industry bodies.

The LGA represents 370 councils in England and Wales with responsibility for public health.

The cost to the NHS of dealing with excessive alcohol consumption is estimated to be £3.5bn a year, according to the LGA.

The words must write themselves mainly because much of it appears to be a cut and paste job from the latest bout of infantile scaremongering we have grown so used to over the decades.

As we are so often told, the BBC is supposedly independent, although one is bound to ask independent of what? Not independent of political correctness and surely that is a major aspect of genuine independence – to avoid being sucked in by the prevailing mores of the day. Which of course the BBC has no intention of doing. Beeb heads are not raised above parapets, hence the alcohol homily and many more where that came from.

Mine has been a family of regular but restrained drinkers, apart from Uncle R but even he managed to live a long and jolly life with nothing worse to show for it than a large purple nose. Social drinkers we were and those of us still on our feet still are. We know what we are doing when we pour that second glass of wine and that’s the point.

Some poor souls can’t handle the fermented grape, apple or malt but most can and their lives are enhanced by the experience. We don’t need legislation to fiddle around with labels or alcohol levels and we don’t need the homilies thank you very much. We already know the hazards alcohol poses to trip up the unwary but most of us aren’t unwary. Again, that’s the point. We learned from experience as almost everyone does and in so doing we gave it genuine social value. It's very similar to aversion therapy and for most of us it worked. BBC homilies cannot improve on it. 

As a supposedly independent body... excuse me while I emit a hollow laugh at that word... As a supposedly independent body the BBC could easily provide us with the other aspect of this sanctimonious sludge, the commonplace observation that most adults are able to handle alcohol and learning how to handle it is part of growing up.

If the BBC had grown up too then it might also ponder the more subtle aspects of the situation. We may indeed be more healthy if we never touched alcohol, but the conviviality it induces is part of our culture with substantial social value. How do we replace that social value? Certainly not by watching BBC television.


James Higham said...

Glass of wine - not just healthy but convivial.

Henry Kaye said...

And so it goes on. 1984 is definitely here.

Demetrius said...

I recall the days when it was policy to have weaker beers and at the same time heavy taxes on spirits. The result was that more beer was drunk and to speed things up whisky "chasers" were common. The rugger club I played for preferred champagne and draught Guinness half and half. But this was not usual. Nowadays, moderation in all things is the key.

Michael said...

Do they mention those sugary alcopops, so admired by children up and down the country! Probably not, as they were originally brought in to try and teach kids what happens - and is now a meg-industry of tasteless ignorance.

Try telling a miner, who has been down a hot pit for nine hours, that he isn't allowed to restore his bodily fluids in a pleasant way, but there again, we don't have any miners now do we...

Try telling a farmworker, who has been on the fields for nine hours, that he isn't allowed to restore his bodily fluids in a pleasant way, but there again, we don't have any farms like that now do we...

BBC = best avoided at all costs when it comes to sanctimonious rubbish.

A K Haart said...

James - because convivial is healthy.

Henry - yes, there is no mainstream political narrative which acknowledges privacy except for the elite.

Demetrius - I recall chasers being common. Champagne and draught Guinness sounds refreshing if a little expensive. Didn't it generate loads of froth?

Scrobs - the Beeb has been tamed, not that it was ever wild, but now it puts on its own saddle.

Derek said...

Biased Broadcasting Corporation aka the governments loud-hailer.
An antidote:

A K Haart said...

Derek - I wonder who actually watches the BBC these days?