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WHO , alcohol consumption worldwide policy. It is coming our way

I just read the latest online email from The Drinks Business" and their first article was a warning to the UK drinks business of the new WHO policy on how to reduce alcohol consumption. That old phrase “The nanny state” so often used by independently minded adults should now read “The nanny World Health organisation.”

I started skim reading it and reached the section marked “Action plan”…the first point is

"Proposed actions for Member States

Action 1.

On the basis of the evidence of the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of policy measures, to promote the prioritization, according to national needs and contexts, of the sustainable implementation, continued enforcement, monitoring and evaluation of high-impact cost-effective policy options included in the WHO SAFER technical package,4 as well as other interventions already proven to be cost-effective or subsequently proven to be cost-effective based on upcoming evidence, including the assurance of universal access to affordable treatment and care for people with AUDs within national health systems."

I had visions of a Sir Humphrey Appleby lookalike sitting in a large glass office trying to ensure that he wrote the longest sentence in human history. By the final line I was gasping for grammatical air.

I shall continue to read the prolix “holier than thou” rhetoric that pervades the WHO plan. I suppose the object is to ensure us drinkers “liver longer life…”


And in plain English……any idea what it’s supposed to mean? :grinning:


That sentence explains why the full stop was invented.


What I’d like to know is the number of units per week that optimises the number of glasses of wine you can drink in your lifetime.


Isn’t that what Sir Humphrey wrote when there was no real intention to do anything?

Sadly, I suspect the WHO come from a different mindset, and I hope that their report is suitably dealt with by a modern day Sir Humphrey…sadly, I suspect that some of the shrill voices we hear too much of already will be all over it like a rash, trying to legislate our consumption.

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Absolute gobbledegook from WHO. Public organisations have a duty to communicate in language people can understand.

That said, I dislike the term ‘nanny state’, used by people to moan about legislation (such as seatbelts in cars or smokefree public spaces) that’s saved countless lives. People affected by Grenfell or fixed-odds betting terminals might feel that the state needs to be a little more nannying. I personally have reservations about the the low recommended alcohol limits set out by the government, but I don’t have to play a blind bit of notice to them if I don’t want to (I do accept things are different in Scotland and other jurisdictions with harder legislative restrictions on pricing or availability).


I think that there’s a difference between inflicting passive smoking on people and making one’s own choice about drinking - obvious exception being drunk driving where there is an externality consistent with passive smoking.

Grenfell was a failure of building standards, fire standards. Interestingly, Scottish Government tried to mandate a level of smoke alarms in a rather heavy handed manner which is now backfiring on them. Many people were forced into spending money to replace systems that were perfectly adequate at a cost of several hundred pounds. And yes, Sturgeon, or more accurately her former zealot sidekick McAskill, is also responsible for being unable to buy a bottle of wine when doing shop before 10am in Scotland. Ridiculous, but typical.

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I don’t disagree with lots of that Mark. Although I I understand the intent I’m unconvinced about measures like minimum unit pricing which is why I was talking about voluntary guidelines in relation to unfounded ‘nanny state’ claims rather than those harder measures.

As for Grenfell, does the state not set building and fire regs?

Yes, I wasn’t suggesting otherwise. Nor do I think it’s an example of Nanny state in a multi occupancy building in particular, and for fire proof cladding which most people wouldn’t know about anyway.

I don’t have a problem either with advisory pronouncements which I think are cr@p or over cautious, provided they are just that, advisory and voluntary. Had the SG come out with advisory stuff on smoke alarms, or made the new protocol compulsory on new builds or at time of sale, then I wouldn’t have a problem with that. It backfired on them when they said it would not be insurance compliant not to install them, and the insurers didn’t support this statement. My house insurance policy states its governed by the law of England, which kind of pulls the rug from under SG!

Another exception is the misery and violence alcoholics may inflict on those close to them.

And acts of violence committed by drunkards who are not alcoholics?

Otherwise the externalities are similar to personal decisions to have a poor diet and not exercise enough.

Not being judgemental here. Just sayin’

True, but minimum pricing etc isn’t going to make a jot of difference there.

I’m not sure “minimum pricing etc” would reduce drunken driving either. But it might - in both cases.

Let’s just say that identifying the problems of alcohol is easier than solving them

Yes, but Grenfell was primarily a catastrophic failure IN THE APPLICATION, OVERSIGHT & POLICING of building standards & fire standards.

The legislation is in need of a overhaul, and it has become apparent that Gov ministers have been aware of this, but chose to ignore expert advice. However this would not necessarily have prevented Grenfell (where even the most basic of existing fire regs were ignored)

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Not disagreeing with that. The mistake in the aftermath of such cases is to make the legislation more complicated thereby increasing the chance of the failures in delivery of them which you outline.

I kind of disagree, building & fire regs are not complicated - I have to work with them as part of my job (commercial interior design). They are deliberately phrased in plain English so as to to be understandable and unambiguous - leastways that’s the situation in England & Wales, I don’t know about Scotland.

That’s why I get incensed about Grenfell, the regs were not difficult to understand and comply with.


Getting back on thread - out of curiosity has the minimum alcohol pricing policy in Scotland had the desired effect (has it been running for a few years now?)

My comment was intended to be general and not specific, apologies if it didn’t come across that way. I bow to your greater knowledge of the specifics!

Scotland was a case of trying to introduce legislation that was going to be unenforceable in practice. Several examples of this recently up here, all with elements of ‘Nanny state’ in them.