Leading article: It used to be just how much to drink. Now, it's when


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The Independent Online

So now they want us to abstain from drink two days a week. Those of us whose memories are not shot to pieces will recall that it was not long ago that we were being urged to drink a little every day, for the good of our health. The argument of the Alcohol Health Alliance has a queasy circularity about it: in Britain today, we have 1.5 million "dependent" drinkers.

Abstaining twice a week is "a very good sign", says Sir Ian Gilmore of the Alliance, of not being hooked; so by climbing on the wagon twice a week, we will automatically drive the figures down. But if there is anything guaranteed to get the average Briton bingeing at the weekend, it's telling them not to spread their boozing across the week.

Enough of this patronising counsel. Tell us, if you must preach, to follow the sensible ways of the Mediterranean: only drink with food and in company, and stop before you are squiffy. And for the binge-drinkers: find a more convincing religion.