David Blackburn

A parting shot

A parting shot
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I need a new radio for Christmas. Whilst listening to Dr. Sir Liam Donaldson tell the Today programme that parents should not offer their fifteen year old offspring alcohol, my pocket-radio had an altercation with a wall. The soon to be retiring chief medical officer said: “The more they get a taste for it, the more likely they are to be heavy drinking adults or binge drinkers later in childhood.”

This latest soothsaying counts among Sir Liam’s other alcohol-related triumphs; he also gave us the inscrutable phenomenon of “passive drinking” - I don’t know about you but this guy makes me drink actively. Continental Europe has its fair share of drunks, but French and Italian drinking habits, formed around the lunch table in what’s commonly known as adolescence, are restrained compared to ours.

As Tim Montgomerie notes, politicians should decide policy on the balance of scientific advice, including the legalisation of drugs, epidemics and climate change. On this issue, David Cameron takes a sensible view:

“I think the idea of introducing your children to understand that drinking is something you can do socially and something you can do with a meal and something that is part of life, you know, I think that is the way to do it.”

And common sense will prevail across the spectrum: the No.10 press office assure me that Donaldson will not determine government policy on this point. Further tax increases on booze duty on the hand...