Warning: health advice there to be ignored

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One of the great things about being a responsible adult is that - as long as the other half isn’t in the room - you can pretty much make your own decisions in life.

The first 18 years, a large chunk of which is spent in a classroom, should offer just about enough experience to master the basics. You know the form: never eat yellow snow, don’t pair ice cream with gherkins and never, ever borrow money from a Yorkshireman.

Granted, there are a few out there, regardless of age, who could not find their backsides with both hands and a dirty great torch, but once we are eligible to vote, it is accepted we are capable of thinking for ourselves.

Except society seems to have decided we cannot stand on our own two feet as the rules we face and the advice we receive seems to grow greater by the day. Has there been a period in history where the public has been subjected to as much legislation and scrutiny?

It is easy, and some would say boring, to bleat on about the Nanny State, but this week we have been told that putting health warnings on booze will convince the public that quaffing too much Chateauneuf Du Pape will do as much harm as glugging half a cup of battery acid. As daft ideas go, this has got to be one of the daftest, as the people who have a real problem with the demon drink are either too sloshed to read or are not in a position to listen to good advice. The health zealots will argue the aim of this is to hammer home the safe drinking message to youngsters, the hundreds of thousands who start their drinking careers well before it is legally permissible to do so.

A large sticker on the side of a two litre bottle of cheap cider has as much chance of stopping a 15-year-old from getting trollied as a picture of a set of diseased gums has on their smoking habits.

The default position of any self respecting teenager is to completely disregard any advice passed down by out-of-touch adults.

So if these mandatory health warnings are unlikely to have any effect on those who are arguably most in need of good advice, then who are these messages aimed at? That’s right folks - you and I.

Mr and Mrs Normal, the people who tend to do things like drinking in moderation. But none of this will have any bearing on this country’s decision makers as they are intent on ticking boxes and treating us like the children we used to be.