If you have never read this blog before nor come across my work then, for the sake of transpancy, I have to disclose that I have a vested interested in all things booze related before I go on. I’m a member of the British Guild of Beer Writers and all three of my published works from the first cult classic, The Selfsufficientish Bible, the best selling Booze For Free to latest critically acclaimed (and soon to be best selling) beery exploit Brewing Britain. So indirectly, I have proudly earned a living from alcohol for the last few years.
I say proudly as I am proud to earn a living from alcohol as, I think alcohol can be wonderful for us humans. Alcohol has been with us since our species evolved, possibly longer as some primates enjoy and drink and it acutally can do us a lot of good. This is why it winds me up when alcohol gets called unethical in the press. Take the recent Comic Relief scandal for example; they have had their wrists slapped for investing money in unethical businesses and what were these unethical businesses? Well, the arms trade, ok fair enough,
tobacco yes again that is unethical and lastly alcohol, what you talking about Willis! To bunch alcohol up there with tobacco and the arms trade is like bunching Hitler and Kim Jong Un with Castro. Ok, so Castro might have made some enemies, just as alcohol has with some religions. But you know, he certainly isn’t a power crazed tyrant (well in this writers opinion anyway)!
I’m not saying that there are not people out there who’s lives haven’t been devastated by alcohol. Of course there are alcoholics, but of all the people I have met who have a drink problem I know many, many, many, many more who can have a few drinks and who don’t find it a problem. It seems unfair to alcohol to say that its unethical because of these few people.
If we look at government statistics around 9% of men and 4% of women in the UK who are problem drinkers. Seems a lot until you break that down, the vast majority of these are people who, “feel need to share a bottle of wine every night” . What this figure also fails to say is that it’s not necessarily booze that is the problem but the reason that people hit the bottle harder than perhaps they should. Such as high levels of social deprivation, joblessness and other social factors. Therefore we could argue that austerity cuts are far more unethical and bad for our health than alcohol. Making the chancelor a can of Special Brew!
Still, it’s far less complex to point the finger at alcohol. But imagine if back in the 1980’s we demonised glue because of the glue sniffers, bemoaning people for investing in glue, perhaps getting anti glue movements. Protesters could give out nails, drawing pints (tin tacks) and string to stop people using glue to stick things. Protests would form outside DIY stores and stationers. We don’t because that would be preposterous and so is demonising alcohol as alcohol in general is a force for good.
I’ve been to parties with very little alcohol, parties full of quiet introverted people keeping to their corners, rubbish parties. Take the same people and add beer, after a pint or two I’ve seen the lines between these ranks dissolve and I’ve seen people smiling and having a good time. Alcohol, has helped the akward since time began. Alcohol too can be good for us, it has used to aid digestion for centuries and there are studies suggesting that red wine helps reduce harmful oxidixed fats known as malonaldehydes, (or MDA) it also reduces the signs of aging. I can’t say that I’ve read a study that says guns and fags (cigarettes) are good for you health nor does a gun fight help the social akward, unless killing people gives them the peace they prefer!
Unethical beer might be a fair target after all it does give you a beer belly, well no it doesn’t. Beer is fat free, cholesterol free and low in Carbs according to this article. A pint will have around 7g of carbs and a pear around 26g. Are pears unethical then?
We have to question what it really is that alcohol has done wrong? You know I can’t really fathom it and so I’m off to find a group of like minded people to stand outside B &Q with placards that say, “down with glue”, or “stick it to the sticky stuff” as, if alcohol is so bloody terrible, then perhaps glue is our enemy too? Perhaps Castro will join me.