Neat rhetorical trick

Rather than viewing Dry January as a threat to their business, the alcohol industry views it as a neat distraction from an inconvenient truth. Although alcohol consumption is declining overall, 4.4% of the population account for more than 30% of all the alcohol sold in the UK. But Dry January is not aimed at high-risk drinkers, as Alcohol Change UK makes clear. It would be potentially life-threatening for people in this group to suddenly stop drinking. They need specialist support to reduce their alcohol intake if they are to avoid harming their health or, worse, dying.

Abrupt alcohol withdrawal can kill. So there is a real danger that these campaigns play well with the alcohol industry as they distract attention from a group of people who are at the greatest risk of dying prematurely due to alcohol.

You’ve got to be really caning it – couple of bottles of spirits a day level – for going cold turkey on booze to kill you. So, nice rhetorical trick there but no cigar really.

34 comments on “Neat rhetorical trick

  1. So, if the anti-drinking campaigns are aimed at nice middle-class people, why are they punishing poor people with higher prices?

  2. It is. It’s just that “high consumption” has to be heroically high consumption for it to be so.

  3. my brother in law is doing Dry January (first time I’d heard of it)….my sister says she is supporting him by doing Dry Ginuary…..

    HNY everyone btw…enjoyed all the banter over the year…..

  4. @M’lud

    You write:
    Asking for a friend …
    but weirdly I’m hearing
    Arshkin forra fren (hic)
    !

  5. I am a recovering alcoholic: it has been more than thirty years since I last took a drink of alcoholic beverage in any form. I was also a very heavy drinker, managing to get through a great deal of beer, wine, and spirits, and when I decided to stop drinking I STOPPED DRINKING.

    That is all there is to it. It is hell for a week or two, then the honeymoon starts and, with a bit of perseverance, you can give it up.

    You can, if you determine to do so, give up anything.

  6. The bit I found amazing was this – “4.4% of the population account for more than 30% of all the alcohol sold in the UK”

    That seems astonishing. Clearly a lot of people are not pulling their weight.

  7. @AD

    But Tim is correct that at the very high end of consumption (v v v high end) you can’t just stop – you need medical supervision to come off it or else you can indeed die. Think Louis Theroux did a documentary film from such a hospital ward and it was even more depressing than his usual pieces…

  8. Didn’t Amy Winehouse die of sudden alcohol withdrawal?

    @anonymous_dry you were an alcoholic and a heavy drinker? Quite an achievement.

    The dry January crowd are evil. They realise that depriving a lot of businesses of cash flow for a month is going to cause problems. Plus all the health lies they espouse.

  9. Why anyone deprives themselves of a tipple to brighten the least favourite month is way beyond me.

    I hate January. I can’t work outside, I can’t grow much, the roads are lethal, it’s dark all the time, it’s damn cold and I want some comfort in my late-middle aged years, as does my lady wife.

    I think it’s a stupid idea, probably dreamed up by the Guardian faction of the sugary drinks and misery federation.

  10. New Year’s Day, and I pass a pub with a sign reading ‘Dry January’.

    Just when I think this is akin to a turkey voting for Christmas, under it I spy a list of appropriate drinks:

    dry gin, dry martini, dry white wine.

    Now that’s my kind of detox.

  11. 4.4% drink 30% of the alcohol or 30% of the value of alcohol?

    My sister drinks less than me, but I drink $10 wine and she drinks $120 French Champagne and the like. She is probably one of the 4.4% by price, but isn’t a heavy drinker.

  12. “4.4% of the population account for more than 30% of all the alcohol sold in the UK.”

    So what?
    If a whole country was tee-total but one person had one drink then they would be consuming 100% of that country’s total consumption – with zero ill-effect.

    If you have to use impressive-sounding but, in isolation, meaningless numbers then I suspect that your argument isn’t half as strong as you want it to seem to the unwary.

  13. I use champagne to polish my boots. Positively ruins meh, dear boy!

    Never drink anything but vitamin and mineral enriched water, tho’.

    Bed for the constitution of the boots, doncha know.

  14. “…tackling the root cause of excessive drinking.” I imagine that’s a couple of volumes in itself – root cause, that is. Engaging in Dry January seem a harmless enough social statement for the average drinker, though I struggle to define either average or high-risk when anything above 14 units/week is considered dangerous.

  15. What a dreary (sp?) bunch they are. I imagine them worshipping at the altars of the household gods of Cherie Booth and Fiona Millar.

    Bond also did Benzedrine. As, according to Chips Channon, did Churchill.

    I suppose my point is, men being men, proper men, they just keep going until they drop. They might be forgiven for requiring a bit of a pep along the way.

    The alternative is biological men who are basically women. Or ‘male’ Guardian readers.

  16. Why should I quit drinking for January??? No reason is stated. The writer goes on and on, and never says WHY THE FVCK ANYONE SHOULD STOP DRINKING, WHATEVER THE FVCKING MONTH.

    Junk journalism . . . but I repeat myself.

  17. The statement ‘ 4.4 percent of the ( total UK ?? population or is it ,4 percent of drinkers ) account for more than 30 percent of the total sold ‘ feels slippery and implausible,where does it come from?

  18. https://theconversation.com/britains-drinking-habits-revealed-new-figures-95667

    Says 4.4% of drinkers drink a third of the alcohol. But their source (the Groan) says 4.4% of the population. So two vastly differ ring interpretations of the source (PHE, but no link to any data by the Groan). So PHE could mean one, other, or neither.

    There’s probably a Snowdon piece explaining/debunking it somewhere. But, regardless, it’s bollocks and we don’t care. What matters (to the extent any of it does) is how many people drink actual harmful amounts. But we all knew that anyway.

  19. Here in Aus we also have Ocsober.

    Early October last year:

    Me: Pub?
    Friend: I was thinking of doing Ocsober.
    Me: Why?
    Friend: Fair point, let’s go.

  20. I suspect the Dry January crap might be aimed at the Resolutionaries that do their annual turning over a new leaf every new year. I find DJ slightly annoying, and I’m not entirely sure why really. The thing is that I generally jump on the wagon in the new year anyway and it makes it look as though I approve of the puritan stuff and I Don’t. I’m a type 2 diabetic and keep the problems at bay with a fairly intense diet and exercise programme but let my hair down a little before and during the Xmas period. Sports facilities tend to get overrun by resolutionaries at this time of year but things will have returned to normal by February.

  21. The one good piece of news about this campaign is it keeps the wankers out of your pub for at least one month of the year.

    December is the worst month, as not only are these wankers there but also the “only at Christmas” brigade who swamp your pub, have two drinks and start getting loud and think they fucking own the place, or something.

  22. Sports facilities tend to get overrun by resolutionaries at this time of year but things will have returned to normal by February.

    The gyms I used to go to were rammed in the first two weeks of January. As you said, tended to settle down a bit a month later, but the Direct Debits still kept going, of course. Heroic efforts by them to subsidise my annual membership! Like taxation, only not so general.

  23. Even though I’m an “old fart”, and thus should be nowhere near the dratted thing, I’m a member of a Facebook group “The Friends of Dry January”. Our mission is to drink a lot more in January in order to compensate for the reduction in alcohol consumption caused by those benighted souls who indulge in DJ.

    Ish great… An you’re all my bessht pals..

  24. I’m doing Ginuary as it is much more fun – at least one Gin a day for the whole of January… Others can feel free to go sober if they choose… Not my place to tell them what to do (other than enjoying a nice Gin in front of them with a smug, self satisfied look on my face)

  25. There’s also Veganuary (sp?) If you happen to get into conversation with someone doing Dry Jan and Vaganuary, they have probably also joined a gym, and your life expectancy through extreme boredom can be measured in minutes.

  26. Dry Jan
    Dry White Wine
    Dry Gin
    Dry Cider
    And in the words of Hawk-eye Pierce, a Painfully Dry Martini

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