Inappropriate headlineage

How about these little lies from the BBC:

Peace ’causes increased drinking’

Alcohol consumption has increased at a higher rate in Northern Ireland than in Great Britain since the start of the peace process, a survey has found.

The report said one possible explanation for the increased drinking since 1986 was the introduction of new licensing laws and the development of the leisure industry since the start of the peace process.

Researchers found that the rapid growth in nightlife and changes to the licensing laws have led to the higher drinking levels.

First off, the headline is a perfect example of ye olde post hoc, erg? propter hoc assumption. Peace didn’t cause any rise in consumption; if there was a rise in consumption it may have coincided with peace, but neither one caused the other.

The same could be said about the ‘rapid growth in nightlife'; pubs and clubs didn’t create demand, they were opened to deal with the demand that has been there for decades. Ditto the changes in licensing laws; these laws have barely changed in my lifetime, despite pretty much everyone being in favour of liberalisation to some degree.

But peace may have had some effect on the Rowntree Foundation. They’re more likely to operate here, and less likely to be met with suspicion by the people of Norn Iron. Which is why I suspect that the vaunted rise in consumption is nothing of the sort; I suspect that it’s merely more people telling the truth to nosey people from well-meaning charitable organisations.

That these well-meaning organisations then go on to reward being told the truth by encouraging the state to curtail the enjoyment of people isn’t a good sign. So I hope more people tell them lies in future.

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