Sunday, 20 December 2009

Donaldson bows out with blast against drinking

The Chief Medical Officr, Sir Liam Donaldson -- the man who predicted [sic] that we'd all die from swine flu before the year was out -- made the headlines again with his view that giving watered-down drink to young people encouraged binge drinking and illness in later life.
In particular, he attacked what he called a "middle-class obsession" that believes watered-down wine for teenagers helps them understand and appreciate alcohol. Please don't call me middle class, but I think this "obsession" is sensible. When I was growing up in East London there weren't many wine drinkers around but my father -- an extremely moderate drinker -- would have a bottle of pale ale or brown ale with the Sunday meal and would give me a small glass of beer mixed with lemonade or ginger beer. Bring back shandy, I say! I was introduced to beer in a gradual way until I was old enough to go to the pub with my father and enjoy the Real McCoy.
The problem with drinking in Britain is that we tell young people "You can't go to pubs until you're 18" but when that liberating birthday arrives we send them off to the pub, totally unprepared for the impact that drink will have.
Of course, as society has changed, access to alcohol has become much easier and young people can now obtain drink from supermarkets, with the help of adults who buy cheap booze and pass it on outside the stores. On reflection, I think I would prefer young people to drink watered-down wine or shandy at home than hang around outside Tesco for some cut-price vodka.
Sir Liam is about the retire. I'm pleased he surived swine flu and hope he enjoys a glass or two of sherry over Christmas while his children -- if has any -- sneak vodka in to their orange juice.

2 Comments:

Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

Labour thought that the way to introduce " continental life style drinking" was to let pubs and clubs open all night and when they want
.All that has done is put even more youg people drunk on the streets later at night.

What needed to happen is for example let any cafe or shop serve drinks to be consumed on the premises between say 08.00 hrs and 20.00 without any kind of licence and only police it with restrictions if there are problems.
So a family going into a cafe could have tea, coffee, soft drink or a beer. or a warming brandy on a cold morning with a hot drink.
It then is just part of your life and not some sort of secret society.
There is very little all night drinking in France or Germany appart from large cities. in fact in most of germany it is harder to find places open than Britain.

Where I lived in Germany if you wanted a drink after work the only place open was the local supermarket bar.

21 December 2009 at 08:01  
Blogger Johnny Norfolk said...

So we would be at the supermarket bar having a drink watching all the shoppers go by with their trollies.
They only sold their own brand pils on tap. it was about 35p for a 0.4 litre glass at 5% and it was good.
Then into the cafe for a hot pork roll again about 50p. Then back into the bar to wash it down before my wife collected me.
We ended up with about 20/30 people on a Friday night as shopping Germans liked the idea and joined us. The manager had to extend his small bar area to cope with us. In 3 years I never saw a drunk German on the streets so it has nothing to do with price either.

21 December 2009 at 08:11  

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