No, not me, Alastair Campbell. The Beeb has him fronting a Panorama programme about alcoholism tonight.
Having had first hand experience of alcoholism up close and personal, much of what he says resonates. However, he has swallowed the propaganda whole, I’m afraid. Not least when he starts talking about statistics:
Recent figures show that nearly 9,000 people die each year in the UK from alcohol-related diseases.
Now I accept that a hard drinking culture existed in Campbell’s profession, however, to project it as he is, onto the rest of society at large is at best misplaced, not least because consumption is falling and has been for nearly a decade.
The usual target of the temperance movement has been the Saturday night crowd as they are easily identified when falling out of the pubs and clubs to brawl, stagger or vomit their hazy way home. Now, inexorably, they move on, those temperance campaigners, to the middle class, middle aged drinker who imbibes a decent wine with a meal or might knock back a dram or two in front of the TV. This, then, is the latest front in the war on booze and we have statistics to back us up – look at all those diseased livers. And now we have a well known alcoholic to front our message. Look at me, he says, you don’t want to end up like this. Change, change now while you still can.
Of course this is all very admirable if one is an alcoholic who has reached that final personal pit of hell necessary for them to change direction. Change is necessary for them to recover from the harm they do themselves and those around them. However, someone who likes a drink – even to the extent of exceeding those wonderful made up government guidelines – is not an alcoholic. Shame on those who try to suggest that they are.