The tabloid newspapers are greatly enjoying the story of Natasha Farnham: "Drunk at 12, liver failed at 14, now rehab at 18", as yesterday's Metro put it.
The young lady in question apparently began drinking at 12 and was drinking six bottles of wine a day by the age of 13 (well, at least she had some class). After a three-day bender aged 14, in which she consumed 16 bottles of wine, cider and spirits, she was diagnosed with liver failure. Now – to her credit – she is warning other children not to repeat her mistakes.
The most telling part of the story were the comments of Natasha's mother, Michelle, who said "irresponsible advertising" was to blame. Yes, that's right, her 13 year old daughter drank 6 bottles of wine a day (Did she notice? Did she care?), and it's all down to advertising!
The abdication of parental responsibility must surely be behind many of Britain's social ills. Yet in this, as in most other things, government is not the solution to the problem. Indeed, to a great extent, government is the problem. It is the long years of welfarism and the nanny state that have told people we depend on politicians, not on ourselves, for our wellbeing. It's a sorry state of affairs.