Thursday, 15 October 2009

Not very NICE

Whichever moron thought up the acronym of NICE (which stands for the National Institute for Clinical Excellence) really is trying their best to be at the top of my list of people to be executed when I finally achieve power as the UK’s supreme leader.

If ever there were an oxymoron, it’s NICE. This Croydon-based office block houses a bunch of cheap-suited weasels who preside over the rest of us, deciding who gets a life-saving cancer drugs or who will be refused treatment that may extend someone’s life. I suppose if you’re a sad little underachieving public servant, there must be a certain frisson of excitement at being able to play God and decide who shall live and who shall die. Perhaps the Americans had NICE in mind when they were jabbering on about NHS ‘death panels’.

Anyway, this miserable bunch of creeps has decided (like all civil servants) that they’d like to extend their empire a bit further. The cheeky bastards are now suggesting that the public should be limited on the amount of alcohol they can import from the rest of the Europe. These six-fingered inbreds would like to end the culture of the booze cruise as they think it’s bad for our health.

They want minimum prices and import restrictions placed on alcohol. In their teetotal opinion, people will drink less if alcohol is made more expensive. Hello, you morons! Would you like to turn your swivel-eyed gaze northwards for a moment and take a look at Norway, Sweden and Finland. Each of these countries believes in horrendously expensive alcohol and yet your average Nordic spends most weekends in a catatonic state, no doubt in a desperate attempt to forget the stultifying misery of living in a stultifying nanny state.

I suppose the nits at NICE are worried that we’re all drinking more than the number of recommended units of alcohol endorsed by the government and enjoying ourselves. Interestingly, those recommended units were figures plucked from the air by a bunch of doctors who had no idea what safe limits were but who felt compelled to set the bar low in case they were criticised for being too liberal. Try going to a party of medics and see how closely they observe the recommended units. I’ve never seen a profession more drink sodden than those who preach sobriety to the rest of us.

Well, the good news is that the NICE nannies can’t do a damn thing about limiting how much booze we can bring in from Europe. It’s part of the EU’s free trade policy and is about the only positive thing the EU has ever done for the rest of us. The Government hates it because it means people can enjoy a drink without being taxed to death so that ministers can piss away our taxes on really useful stuff like ID cards and Trident missiles.

The NICE alcohol guidelines are currently out for public consultation until November 10th. I’m sure if we all tell them we don’t want them poking their puritan noses into our personal lives they’ll take note and withdraw their proposals.

Of course they will. And I’m the tooth fairy!


  1. They tried to make equally stupid alcohol restrictions in Australia. Everyone just cracked another tinnie and laughed their arse off at the Government.

    Especially as the Prime Minister here had a widely publicised public display of drunkenness at a strip club in New York while he was a minister.

    Pot, Kettle, Black anyone?

  2. Well we, apart from NICE people and those running the health department at Westminster, all know putting up the price of booze will not stop over indulgence of the stuff. You don't even have to go to Northern countries to see that. What happened to the cigarette? They slapped tax after price increase on that and .... have they stopped? Did they stop? ... NO! It was only imposing a law banning it's use in public enclosed place (something I entirely agree with by the by), then it REDUCED, the use. Education, in it's present form does not have any impact on either substances.

    Nope it's in our culture where the problem lies ... Like knowing you are an alcoholic, the sooner they understand that then the sooner something can be done about it. It's unfair to punish all drinkers with the same blanket bomb of suggestions made here!

    Rant over

  3. We are a supposedly free and civilised country, emphasis on the supposedly, if we want to drink, we drink, if we want to smoke, then we smoke, don't you just hate these people telling us what to do, how to do it, and when we should do it, the nanny state is alive and well and called Britain

  4. Ann said...
    if we want to smoke, then we smoke, don't you just hate these people telling us what to do, how to do it, and when we should do it, ....

    I say ... If you want to smoke do it in your own cocoon and don't bother those who don't wish to smoke ... exhaled or otherwise!

    Alcohol is a totally separate issue to smoking with regards to social impacts on your neighbour. ... don't get me started now :-)

  5. I say ban all alcohol and cigarettes, ban butchery shops, and while we are about it, ban cars and houses with over 3 bedrooms. Then ban the government who have failed society miserably.

    Lets all go and live in the trees and start civilisation again !

  6. but you can't deny that they are trying to do something for the benefit of the people. Booze does not bring happiness, it only brings more misery.

    Alcohol does serious damages to human body and surely they must have seen a lot of such cases to actually suggest something to be done. If they don't do anything then there is no point for them to be sitting on that board nor for such a board to exist in the first place.

  7. I guess it depends whether you believe in big government and the nanny state. I don't and I object to complete strangers telling me what to eat, drink and how to think. I'm sure alcohol has its downsides but that's something for me to decide. I'm a libertarian and wish to have control of my life. Others quite like being told what to do and what to think. That being the case, perhaps they'd like to move somewhere without personal choice and freedom. In my view, we tell the state what we want it to do for us rather than it telling us what we must do for the state.

  8. Traction Man - I wholeheartedly agree with you.

    dheepan - 'nor for such a board to exist in the first place' sounds good to me.

  9. As I have posted on other blogs, NICE should be renamed the Clinical Unit for Not Treating the Sick

  10. Last time we had a surfiet of Puritans, didn't we put them in a ship and offload them someplace? Can we not do so again? :)

  11. I enjoy a can of lager whilst watching tv on a friday or saturday evening, and treat it as a 'treat'.

    A neighbour who lives a few doors down from me on the other hand, drinks anything from 48-60 cans of tennents super per fortnight (otherwise known as 'tramp-juice' and at 4.5 units per do the maths...)

    She knows she's got a problem, but says she's not ready to deal with it yet.

    It won't be long, and she will be taking a break in our local hospital, at great expense to the tax-payer due to another 'drink related accident' (normally about one a year...)

    Some people need protecting from themselves, but as she says, it's her choice.

    LOve the blog and check it every day...

    get well soon TM

  12. Anon - 'Some people need protecting from themselves, but as she says, it's her choice.'

    The only way to protect people from themselves is to lock them up naked and alone in a padded cell !

    If she wants to drink she will drink. If she wants to stop she will. If she has no money she will go and get it from the nanny state who wants to protect people from themselves.....

  13. Hello I´m swedish, and I thank you for mentioning my country in such a coherence. Now I´m depressed! Ha hahahahh

  14. Dave30, I don't smoke, and yes I like the idea of going into bars smoke free, I like a drink now and again, my point was, why should we be told what to do, and this is the problem, we don't live in a totalitarian state, well not quite yet anyway, this is what I object too, the being told what we should and should not do, it is called freedom of choice.

  15. All totally pointless and a complete waste of public money. Whatever they say won't have the slightest impact on people's behaviour.

    No Guvment would dare take the Scandinavian route of extortionate pricing. Win three votes and lose three million? I think not.

    Prohibition --> home brew --> hootch --> sharp increase in alcohol related crime, disorder, disease and death. QED.

    Guidance, guidance, guidance. Words, words, words. Waste, waste, waste.

  16. NICE guidelines, the bane of my bloody life, They are guidelines but the way in which they are referred to mean that they take precedence over the ten commandments as the nice guidelines are set in stone tablets along with policy and cannot be modified under pain of death or being sent to coventry. I do however like Henry Crun's sentiment.

  17. I'm with you on this, TM. I'm sick to the tonsils of being told what to do and how to do it.

    I can feel my anarcho-syndicalist tendencies starting to quiver ..

    ("six-fingered inbreds" ... LMAO!! That's going to keep me chuckling all day ..)

  18. No, the average Swede does NOT spend the weekend in a catatonic state. The level of inebriation is much lower than in the UK and the level of alcohol-related harm is also much lower. And you don't take your life in your hands to the same extent when walking through a Swedish town late at weekends.

  19. @Sanningen: Yes, it is absolutely true that in Sweden there is a much lower state of inebriation and alcohol-related harm. It is similar in Finland which has a similar draconian policy. However, there are the daily Helsinki to Stockhom cruises on which everyone gets blitzed out of their heads - I know because I know Finns who have been on it. One described it as Party party party all the way there and party party party all the way back. Then wake up about three days later. That's when they're not doing the same on a trip to Estonia.

  20. There are daily Stranraer to Belfast cruises where the same thing happens... that's what people on ships do.
    Generally, the level of alcohol consumption in Sweden is much lower than in the UK - higher pricing does mean lower consumption. The UK needs higher pricing of alcohol. Booze in the UK is ridiculously inexpensive. More expensive booze means teenagers cannot afford to drink so much. Reducing alcohol-related harms by pricing policy is a valid Public Health strategy (and would have quicker results than trying to change attitudes.) Increasing prices should not be seen as punishing sensible drinkers. It should be interpreted as contributing to health protection and promotion for all.

  21. Henry North London - I totally agree with you about NICE guidance. It's the bane of my bloody life as well. And now Henry Crun has renamed the faceless morons I shan't be able to keep a straight face at work when the next lot of guidance drops into my email inbox.

    By the way TM - was that a shot taken of the tea trolley?


  22. Yeah, NICE, they ain't nice. They recently refused me life-extending treatment in a roundabout way. Just because I don't have a popular cancer.


    Keep it up. Hope you get out soon.

  23. Personally I don't want to live in a country where the government is constantly haranguing me about my personal choices. Why should I pay more for my bottle of wine because some teenager can't handle their alcopops. And don't think they'll stop at alcohol. Next it will be meat, central heating, cars, salt, sugar and anything else the puritans disapprove of. The Nordic countries may be more cohesive and keen on consensus but I prefer to have freedom of choice. As a libertarian I believe I am not a servant of the state.

  24. Today to the dermatology clinic to meet my wonderful new surgeon who will blitz condition X into extinction.

    As per, waiting room was heaving and waiting times were long. Clean enough place has to be said, but on the walls - told you I waited ages - were:

    1. Nine, high production value glossy posters advising me on my sexual health - everything from 'Condom or feeding bottle the choice is yours' [sadly there are others all too often used]; to 'First sex and pregnant - whodda thought it? Clearly not you'; to (this was a cracker) three men in a changing room [geddit?] looking decidedly uneasy and not in the least bit gay, with the strapline 'Stay safe - whatever your game!' [geddit, geddit?]...and so forth.

    2. Thirteen HPVG posters as before advising me of the evils of drink: from photographs of a diseased liver; to useful illustrated guides of units of alcohol per bevvie; to someone in A&E being stomach pumped 'Your Saturday night ends here'; to offers of immediate confidential counselling...and so forth.

    3. Twenty-three HPVG posters as before depicting all the good things I could and must be doing with my life including: oversized pictures of bananas and apples in case I didn't recognise them or could not read [a possibility has to be accepted]; stupidly beaming, sweaty people on running machines and other instruments of torture; a geriatric couple with an over-active sex life [don't ask how I know this one]; happy, clappy children whose parents don't smoke, drink or eat all the pies....and so forth.

    Meanwhile over at reception the files were stacked in crates and on open shelves, as one game civilian tried to find all the info needed for the medics, with the queue stretching round the block 'cos one old darling's computer records had seemingly vanished.

    Oh, and had I had a mind to I could have gathered the addresses and phone numbers of any number of vulnerable people 'cos everyone was asked to repeat out loud both pieces of information for the benefit of 'the system'.

    There was indeed one complete babe - seriously talented in the bod department - whose mobile number is committed to memory, though retrieval of said memory is, at my age, sadly tricky.

  25. I would also point out that prohibition didn't work well in the USA and hiking the price of alcohol would encourage smuggling and reduce duties when the government desperately needs to fill a black hole in its budget. Let us not forget that prices are already high in this country compared with France, Spain, Portugal or Italy and yet these countries don't appear to have a drink problem. Increasing alcohol prices is a knee-jerk reaction that just punishes moderate drinkers.

  26. TM, the level of liver pathology and associated deaths is MUCH higher in France than in the UK. It is not just about freedom of choice. A nation has a collective responsibility for its youth and the life it offers them. If we have to pay more for booze that's OK, it is not punishing moderate drinkers, it is being responsible. Take your analogy a step further and we don't pay taxes for healthcare to fund treatment for people who smoke, have car accidents etc. 'Why should I pay more for healthcare just because somebody cannot keep their car on the road...'

  27. We differ philosophically and in the kinds of societies in which we would like to live. It's not so much the alcohol aspect I object to but the growing taste for government to ban things. If I wish to eat salt, sugar and fat then that is my business, the same as it is to drink alcohol. Obviously that's something you disagree with and you have a more corporate approach to society. I guess we will never agree.

  28. OK, we'll agree to differ. But have a look at today's BBC pages. Go to News, then Europe - and there you will see an article called 'Catalonia says no to happy hour'.
    Hope you get a nice supper.

  29. It wasn`t too long ago when the report in one of the papers ,told us that the bill for 25 grand for alcahol alone for 12 months I think it was, consumed by ministers and Government officials, was to be paid by the tax payers.

    Erm, they also disclosed a bill for caviar, lobster, etc.....


  30. Evening TM,

    Just got in from a mad day at work and found Mum laughing her socks off after reading your rant about NICE!!, Shes a nurse herself, along with my 2 sisters and she (Mum) enjoys reading your blog. Keep up the good work.