That’s seven glasses A WEEK, ladies and gentlemen, not a day.

As a man who has been trying to give up smoking for 20 years, it gives me no pleasure to say “I told you so”. (Actually it does, but less pleasure than a cigarette.)
I will confine myself to saying that we did warn you. That when you coughed and flapped the smoke away like a bronchitic seagull, when you shoved us out of your kitchen-diner and onto sodden patio, we did point to your overflowing glass and over-stuffed wine rack and say that the puritans wouldn’t stop at us.
First they’ll come for the smokers then they’ll come for the drinkers. First they will ban smoking in pubs then they will ban drinking in pubs.
And not just binge drinking. Not the drinking that leads to murder and cirrhosis of liver, but any drinking beyond a miserly sip.
I’m from the old Fleet Street and accept with reluctance that my idea of a reasonable level of alcohol consumption – half bottle of wine at lunch, a teatime snifter, pint after work, then home for dinner with the best available claret – may strike the shirkers among you as on the high side. But if I push it a bit the low definition of “safe” prescribed by Dawn Primarolo, the round-headed public health minister, is hysterical in its extremism.
Shocked by the discovery that the middle classes can drink wine regularly – well of course we can, we can afford it – she announces that a man who has more than seven large glasses a week or a woman who has more than five is on the way to alcholism.
Where to begin the argument against her is as hard a question for me to answer as why I’ve voted Labour all my life. I’ll confine myself to sayingno civilised society could have survived New Labour’s onslaught. If she had heard the great Persian poet Omar Khayyam sing that his idea of paradise was to be, “Here with a Loaf of Bread beneath the Bough, A Flask of Wine, a Book of Verse – and Thou” a medieval Primarolo would have confiscated Omar’s flask and forced a sherry glass into his hand.
If she had heard John Keats cry, “Oh for a beaker full of the warm South, Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene! With beaded bubbles winking at the brim, And purple-stainèd mouth” a Georgian Primarolo would have marched into Hampstead and demanded to know precisely how much of the “warm south” Keats’ beaker held, and how many other beakers he had had that day.
It wouldn’t work then and it won’t work now because Primarolo’s claim that it is “hazardous” for a man to drink eight large glasses of wine a week isn’t true. Not only untrue medically but psychologically and emotionally. The human race cannot accept it, because if it we did life would not be worth living.