Star comment: Enjoy a tipple but don't go mad

Brits have a complicated relationship with drink.

December and drink gohand in hand for many
December and drink gohand in hand for many

For most, a little tipple is an occasional treat that aids relaxation after a tiring day or week at work. For some, however, drinking in excess is a guilty pleasure. They know they should drink less but it does not dominate their lives.

There is another group for whom alcohol is a dangerous drug that has the potential to ruin lives. The victims are not just the drinkers, but also loved ones.

Christmas is a difficult time, particularly for those with an unhealthy relationship with drink. There are many who need to keep away from the temptation that alcohol presents and their task is all the more difficult when adverts and social occasions make that more challenging.

Progress has been made. Young people are now as likely to meet in a coffee shop than a pub. But the culture of binge drinking remains with many and that brings the obvious dangers to health and wellbeing.

Today a panel of experts have their say. It is easy to think “well, they would say that wouldn’t they”. But if nothing else, the advice should make us all consider our own relationship with alcohol.

Drinking in moderation is pleasurable and does not harm our health. There are many, however, who are unable to adopt that approach and for them abstinence is a necessity. It is important that improved education is provided from an early age about the dangers of binge drinking and alcohol addiction and about ways to wean ourselves off it when it becomes too much.

Those on the continent have a better relationship with alcohol and we can learn much from them.


Less than a third of job adverts offer flexibility, according to a new study. Remarkably, those findings come at a time when more than half a million people are seeking part-time work.

Britain suffers from chronically poor productivity and firms need to offer a more flexible approach to tap into this pool of workers.

Covid has shown many the way to flexibility and both bosses and workers have benefitted from the ability to flip between the office and home-working.

There are times when nothing beats being in the office, shop or factory with colleagues. Yet that is not the only way and business needs to be nimble in the way it operates to compete.

It is also all about balance, and the balancing point will be different for each workplace. Business needs to adapt to make the best use of talented workers who are no longer willing to be fixed in one spot.

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