finally realise that the NHS does not exist for their
own intellectual titillation, but to serve its customers
- the British people. We are not there to make its life easier,
but vice versa" - Alex Williams
I imagine many of our regular visitors have been waiting for a rant from us about the news that, according to government scientists, the middle-classes are drinking themselves to death and need "re-education" about their habits. It's true that here at Grumpy Grange the steam has been coming out of our ears and it's been necessary to quench the fires of anger with a number of units of red wine (Mrs.GOS) and cheap Italian rosé (The GOS has odd tastes, I'm afraid).
But before we could put pen to paper or digits to keyboard, Alex Williams has beaten us to it, writing on the excellent Adam Smith Institute website. So not being prone to looking the gift horse in the gullet, we'll let him do our work for us …
Government so small it can fit in your wine glass
by Alex Williams, The Adam Smith Institute
Research published this week has shown that 'hazardous' drinking habits are mostly concentrated in England's more affluent areas, contrary to the 'binge drinking yoof' stereotype that plagues the debate about alcohol-related health.
According to the report, men who drink between 22 and 50 units of alcohol per week, and women who drink between 15 and 35 are most likely to reside in middle-class suburbs such as Harrogate and Runnymede.
The news has been followed by the predictable clamouring of society's new high priests - the interventionist scientists - calling for the government to raise alcohol taxes in order to discourage consumption. Fears that the health service will come under unmanageable pressure as a result have been used as arguments for new government intervention to stop this social 'crisis'.
It would be refreshing if these scientific puritans would finally realise that the NHS does not exist for their own intellectual titillation, but to serve its customers - the British people. We are not there to make its life easier, but vice versa. To constantly try and mould individuals into a convenient model for a failing health system is both misguided and draconian public policy.
The onset of such 'wear and tear' diseases as liver damage is a sign of humanity conquering nature through the outstanding advances of medical technology. This is to be celebrated, but we also have to realise that something is going to kill us in the end. To sacrifice joie de vivre in the name of extending your life, or worse to have that decision taken for us, seems to be a misguided step.
One or two of the readers' comments posted at the Adam Smith Institute website were worth quoting, too …
"Kingsley Amis is recorded as having said something on the lines of "Denying myself a pleasurable luxury so I can spend an extra six months rotting in a nursing home does not seem like a very good bargain"."
"At some point in the future I am going to die, and I'd rather this was after a longish life full of luxury and joy, rather than after a longer one full of the pain of self-denial. This is my choice, and one I make freely knowing that I live and die with the consequences; unless my choices put an intolerable load on the State, I fail to see what business it is of theirs. Furthermore, if the State thinks it has the money to piss away on totalitarian boondoggles like ID Cards, then I think it easily has the money spare to care for the lifestyle-related illnesses of me and those like me. All it has to do is get liberal for a change." - Dr Dan H.
either on this site or on the World Wide Web.
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