Friday, December 26, 2008

More asinine alcoholic bollocks

Apparently, people who drink more than the government guidelines face a large hike in life insurance costs.
Middle class drinkers who consume more than their recommended weekly intake of alcohol face paying higher life insurance premiums.
...

Official guidelines say women should drink no more than 14 units of alcohol a week, and men 21 units – with one unit equivalent to half a pint of beer, a shot of whisky or a small glass of wine.

But the reality shows that many drink far more, with 10 million adults – 20 per cent of men and 30 per cent of women - drinking at a level which is "hazardous" to their health.

Insurers say they are reacting to increases in health-related problems such as cirrhosis of the liver, heart problems and certain cancers.

A woman who drinks 21 units a week, not far above the Government's guidelines, could end up paying an extra £50 a year.

A man drinking 35 units, equivalent to two and a half pints of lager a night, could pay extra premiums of up to £100 a year.

And a man who admitted consuming 50 units a week could see his premiums double from £150 to £300 because his drinking would be categorised as "harmful".

Now, one could argue that this is all fair enough: insurers are simply calculating risk, as they should be. And, of course, those people who choose to drink more should pay more.

Others will argue, of course, that those insurance companies who "admit refusing to pay out claims if they have evidence that they were drink-related" when no such provision was made in the contract are a bunch of evil cunts who should be burned to death.

Both positions have merit, I think.

But what really pisses me off is the measures that insurance companies are using. Let us remind ourselves of some facts—rather than speculation—about alcohol consumption, shall we?
  1. The government figures were plucked from the air, as was reported well over a year ago.
    Guidelines on safe alcohol consumption limits that have shaped health policy in Britain for 20 years were “plucked out of the air” as an “intelligent guess”.
    ...

    The disclosure that the 1987 recommendation was prompted by “a feeling that you had to say something” came from Richard Smith, a member of the Royal College of Physicians working party that produced it.

    He told The Times that the committee’s epidemiologist had confessed that “it’s impossible to say what’s safe and what isn’t” because “we don’t really have any data whatsoever”.

    As such, the insurance companies are basing their assessment of safe consumption on flawed data. Well, actually, they are basing it on no data whatso-fucking-ever.

  2. Some reports suggest that drinking more than the government guidelines is actually healthy.
    Subsequent studies found evidence which suggested that the safety limits should be raised, but they were ignored by a succession of health ministers.

    One found that men drinking between 21 and 30 units of alcohol a week had the lowest mortality rate in Britain.

  3. Whilst a man drinking 50 units a week may see a doubling of his premiums, we assume that teetotallers will see no rise. An assessment that insurance companies might start to regret.
    Another [report] concluded that a man would have to drink 63 units a week, or a bottle of wine a day, to face the same risk of death as a teetotaller.

So, if you find that your life insurance premiums are rising (and you need to have life insurance to get a mortgage, remember), you might like to start the preparation of a civil case against the government, Richard Smith and the Royal College of Physicians for deliberate dissemination of inaccurate data, i.e. lies, formed with no basis whatsoever and which has caused you material damage.

Because these are the facts: in order not to look like a collection of know-nothing fuckwits, the Royal College of Physicians—an interfering bunch of fucking medicos who couldn't shut the fuck up—pulled some figures out of the air.

Despite knowing this, successive governments have continued to peddle these lies, using them as the basis for more and more draconian legislation, petty sanctions and illiberal policies.

And because of this consistent, and quite deliberate, lying, you are now being harmed financially.

The government must learn that lying doesn't pay: how are we to teach them this? Other than stringing them all up, of course...

16 comments:

Roger Thornhill said...

Maybe teetotallers are more at risk because in this pestilential existence full of sanctimonious parasites, disingenuous scumbags and Fabian Fifth Columnists, to not have a glass or two might cause more one stress.

I would like to see if there is any correlation between the KIND of alcohol one intakes, not just the amount, too.

Anonymous said...

Has it always ben like this? You know total fucking bullshit like Global Warming,21 Units a week,5 portions a day, Speed kills, being swallowed whole by government, doctors,police as a pretext for tax raising or interfering in my life. Were people more sceptical in years gone by? It must indicate the way more and more accept or even welcome being nannied. We are fucked.
By the way DK it's Know-nothing not no-nothing
Regards Happy new year

Devil's Kitchen said...

Anon,

Whoops! Thanks -- I'm always making that typo...

DK

Anonymous said...

If the safe alcohol consumption figures are indeed plucked from the air and without basis in fact....and if the insurance companies do indeed adopt these as a basis for determining risks and premiums...then their business model would be flawed...and this would, in time, result in reduced profits.

Memo to self: don't invest in insurance.

assegai mike said...

Good post. If I may be picky, you don't always *have* to have life insurance to get a mortgage. My last mortgage and my current mortgage, I checked and double checked. In both cases the company wriggled on the hook but admitted that no, life insurance wasn't a prerequesite. As a man with no dependents and unlikely to acquire any, I gave up the unequal gamble of life assurance years ago. In fact, I *never* take insurance unless it's a legal requirement, therefore only have motoring, buildings insurance and scuba insurance. You can get better odds at your local bookie.

PaulD said...

My GP - a good bloke - asked how much I was drinking these days.

"Oh, a couple of pints maybe. A glass of wine with dinner," I lied (and he knew it).

"OK, that's 21 units" he said, pumping the figure into his computer.

He went on to explain that, before long, the government and/or insurance companies will have free access to this data.

"Nothing I see about you gives me cause for alarm. I don't want the bastards screwing you".

There speaks a proper GP.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"The government must learn that lying doesn't pay: how are we to teach them this? Other than stringing them all up, of course..."

Get a gun. I'm working on it.

http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2008/12/someone-knows-me-well.html

Dick Puddlecote said...

PaulD: You're lucky, my GP is such a cunt that I told her to stick something sharp and jagged up her arse, and haven't been back.

It was in 1998 but I'm still paying her fucking wages.

wv. ducklic (oh FFS, it's getting silly now)

Anonymous said...

"So, if you find that your life insurance premiums are rising (and you need to have life insurance to get a mortgage, remember)"

It's not a legal requirement. As someone said above, some mortgage companies will do everything they can to present you with the illusion that it's needed, but you don't HAVE to have it.

max the impaler said...

You all need to take a step back from this type of debate.Ask yourselves this..What am I afraid of, and why? You are betting something bad is going to happen to you and they are betting it isn't.Death comes to us all, some sooner than others, but my best guess is that on the medical front,genetic susceptibility is the key.We all know people that have smoked 60 aday all their lives and died aged 90.Others don't make it past 30. Assegai mike is right, insurance but only if a legal requirement.Insurance companies do NOT want to part with money.Like our shitpot government you are only there as a milchcow.Just keep sending the money and shut the fuck up.

Professor Politico said...

Unfortunately we are in the era when the powers-that-be seem to think that everybody needs simple advice. Whether there is evidence to support that advice or not seems to be of no concern. They are copying the marketing people who are very successful in persuading us we need to pay to drink lots of water even though there is no evidence. Curiously people swallow (sorry) all this hook line and sinker. Even the hospitals have been conned into spending taxpayers' money on water.

Druid said...

I read the 1970's reports a while back and totally agree that it isn't the drink which kills, its the reason for the drink that kills.

I like a triple VAT every now and again, but on my terms, I have no idea how much alcohol I'm consuming, but if it makes the room spin, its possibly too much.

That is the sort of guideline that doctors should be giving - and it was back before NGO's needed funding because the government couldn't justify getting so big so quickly!

Hopefully, there will be a nice backlash soon which will involve the burning of nanny's workers, well, in a perfect world it could happen!

Bishop Brennan said...

Just in case there's any doubt amongst any nanny-statists monitoring this blog, I consume about 30 units a week and they can go fuck themselves if they think I'm going to stop.

Chalcedon said...

A unit is 5g of alcohol. You are absolutely correct in stating that there was no experimental or scientific trial basis for the definition nor for the consumption. It's a sort of educated guess.

Binge drinking was fashionable when I was a student over 30 years ago and is still in vogue amongst young people. Now when I go out drinking with my bro' and best mate and two out of the three of us have 5 pints in around 2 hours we are, according to the government, obligate sinners as we are binge drinking. I have never heard such daft bollocks in my life. Historically everyone from the King downwards drank beer. And it was around 8% or 7% ABV on average. The strong brew, followed by the second brew and the third brew of small beer which children consumed. Now once the kiddies got over 5 years old mortality was pretty reasonable (highish infant mortality means the average is reduced and all that jazz), with a fair percentage of oldish codgers knocking around in society. This means they were drinking beer from infancy into old age and not all dropping from cirrhosis by age 30.

The government is being bloody stupid in its approach, as usual, threatening everyone with a big stick. All it needs to do is get the rozzers to pick up the drunken yobs in town centres on Friday and Saturday nights, throw them into same sex drunk tanks and hold them for 24 hours and just release them. Eventually most will get fed up with this and change their behaviour. Issuing orders and publishing spurious limits and amounts won't change a damn thing. This shower always seems to think that if they make it cost money or more money everyone will obey. No, they won't. They may find an alternative, as smokers penalised by whopping taxes have done buy buying bootleg fags for example.

I really hate this bunch of authoritarian ignoramuses in government. I really, really do.

Sorry for any typos.

Furry Conservative said...

21 units for a man? I certainly remember when it was 24, and I am pretty sure that it once was 28.

They slipped that change out pretty quietly, didn't they? Is anyone else thinking about chocolate rations?

Vicola said...

Are there still people out there who tell the truth about their alcohol consumpation on forms? Bless them. Personally I have a standard answer of ten units a week that is trotted out on forms and to the alcohol obsessed lunatic nurse at my local GP practice who will not give you your contraceptive pill prescription until she has interrogated you about how much you drink and whether you smoke.