Ah! Joan Bakewell! Dubbed the 'thinking man's crumpet' by Frank Muir many moons ago and a feature of every self-regarding, slightly left wing, artsy-farty programme ever since, the woman has become (for reasons that escape me) some sort of champion for the elderly.
Now, in line with the latest piece of prohibitionist propaganda, Ms Bakewell has transformed from crumpet to fussbucket overnight. Apparently, she has been told that every second old widow woman is now a complete lush, out of her brains on wine or G & T.
Barbara is in her seventies and since being widowed has lived alone. She and her husband were enjoying a happy retirement in France’s expat community. But his illness and death plunged her into gloom. Come 4pm, she starts on the wine and downs a bottle a day.
So Barbara needs a social life, perhaps someone like Joan to take her to the theatre or perhaps just shopping. Maybe just a road trip to the seaside or into the hills. Or an occasional visit to a nice cafe. But that's not what Joan is offering. She's offering a stern lecture about drinking and support for making Barbara's bottle of wine (or actually not unless M. Hollande plans to completely destroy his electoral chances by making wine more expensive) more pricey.
The saddest thing is that Joan Bakewell - who is approaching the grand old age of 80 in fine health - has got the drinking thing about nailed:
Which brings us back to those units. I won’t recite them now because they’re confusing and contradictory: what exactly is “half a standard glass of wine”? All I can say is that my drinking diary registered me as well over the limit. Yet I share the same way of life as many, never drink at lunchtime, rarely touch spirits. And I enjoy the conviviality of old age.
Joan's 'drinking diary' may exceed the limits recommended by the prohibitionists but she's doing fine and has no need - or reason - to change her drinking habits. Certainly not on the back of a pack of lies from the Church of Public Health about old people drinking.
Sadly Joan, once so liberal in outlook, has become just another nannying fussbucket. Indeed, the thinking man's nannying fussbucket!