Taking the Paracetamol 101

When I was a student, an appalling toothache on a Sunday led me to take too much paracetamol. I didn’t take vastly too much, and only two tablets at a time, but over 24 hours about twice the recommended dose. I am pretty certain it would have done me no harm, but I was sharing a flat with medical students and they insisted on rushing me to Ninewells. There the staff acted on the presumption that it was a particularly ineffective suicide attempt, which it most definitely was not, and instead of doing something useful about the toothache they lectured me about paracetamol.

My long introduction was simply to set the scene for that lecture, which has remained vividly with me, because the picture it painted was horrible in an Edgar Allan Poe sort of way. The doctor said that when people try to commit suicide with paracetamol, they generally wake up a few hours later in hospital and find they are not dead. Most of them are pretty happy about that. But then the hospital has to tell them that they are going to die anyway. Paracetamol has destroyed their organs and in five long days they will be dead. There is nothing the hospital can do to save them. Usually they are distraught.

I have no idea if that is true or just the doctor’s way of improving my views on toothache management. But I certainly never forgot it. It led me to wonder whether today’s statement by Harriet Harman that the Labour Party will not oppose Tory benefit cuts is the equivalent of taking that last bit too much paracetamol. The frank admission that the purpose of the Labour Party is to discern what wins the election and then support that, should finally drive away anybody with any interest in principles from that party. I was not joking when I said that Osborne’s budget outflanked Labour to the left. That is true, even though it was the most unabashedly right wing budget of my lifetime.

The parliamentary opposition to the benefit cuts will come from the SNP, Plaid and Greens, but it will not be allowed much time or given much publicity. The great question remains where the great mass of the abandoned people, with their left wing views, find political expression in England. I should love to believe that horror at Harman’s position will bring a surge of support for Jeremy Corbyn. But you only have to read Guardian and Labour List comments columns to see that the majority of Labour members swallow the line that you have to be right wing to win a general election – a myth carefully fostered by the corporate media but which I comprehensively demolished here.

It was at least as unthinkable that Labour would lose Glasgow as that they could now lose Darlington or Liverpool or Newcastle. But, with Clegg having moved the Lib Dems a long way right, there is still no sign of a challenging party that can emerge other than UKIP and their racist panacea. I find it hard to see what will happen in English politics. But Labour are going to wake up shortly and find they are facing a rapid and inevitable demise.

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101 thoughts on “Taking the Paracetamol

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  • Daniel

    “I’m seeing a lot of complaint that Tsipras should have thrown the Greek toys out of the pram, and left himself with the blame for the inevitable mass poverty that would result…”

    Both the toys and the pram are now to be reclaimed by an unelected banking elite whilst the parent looks on in dismay. Increasingly, the latter, who previously might of been apathetic or indifferent to the plight of others, will now I suggest, be prepared to fight for their dignity. Such is the extent of the betrayal of Tsipras, that teachers and other public sector workers who have paid their taxes in full and at source, and who previously may have been reluctant to take to the streets, will soon be scouring the bins for food along with the unemployed. There will be riots and looting on the streets in due course, of that, I’m certain.

  • RobG

    Cameron & Co are a deja vu moment; a re-run of when Thatcher came to power.

    In 1980, one year after Thatcher was elected, Michael Foot was elected Leader of the Labour Party. Foot’s hopes of becoming prime minister in the next general election were given a boost that year by a MORI poll which showed Labour on 56% with a 24-point lead over the Conservatives. Thatcher and her policies were not popular with the majority of the British public.

    Within a few years of Thatcher coming to power there were major riots in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Liverpool, and this civil unrest continued to a lesser extent throughout the 1980s, including of course all those infamous strikes as the UK manufacturing base was decimated.

    Arguably, there’s no way Thatcher would have got a second term if it were not for the Falklands war in 1982. In a way you can blame the pseudo-religious Thatcher cult and the rise of the neocons on the Argies (in a way you can also blame new Labour on the Argies).

    That was then and this is now. I believe that very shortly there’s going to be massive civil unrest, just like in the Thatcher years, and probably much worse (because the present Tory government are like Thatcher on steroids). Unless there’s another ‘Falklands’ moment this Tory government won’t last beyond one term; and might well get the boot before then.

    I see the problem with Jeremy Corbyn as being: A) after three decades of neo-liberalism many voters will have been brainwashed against the outright socialism of Corbyn, and B) Corbyn is operating within the corpse of a political party.

    I believe something like 50 Labour MPs are openly anti-austerity. If they formed a break-away party and allied with the SNP and the smaller parties, that would form a quite large anti-austerity block in Parliament. Over the coming years, with by-elections, political scandals and growing civil unrest, that block could well grow to form a majority.

  • fwlster

    There is an interesting scene in Bill Bowder’s Red Notice where he is trying to raise money on the cheap for his fund and he meets a former Russian minister turned astockbroker sitting on a sofa in a Swiss hotel lobby, who explains to him (quite correctly as it turns out) the power of the media to win a Russian election.

    Has it ever been different?

    Was W T Stead, the Muckraker, Britain’s first investigative journalist or ……?

  • fedup

    UKIP the party of “British People” aspirations, representing the “British People” vigorously!

    The benefit cheat and expense fiddler MEP jailed yet again for five years this time around.

    Ukip MEP Ashley Mote jailed over expenses

    “lied, protested, lied and lied again”, Mr Justice Stuart Smith told him as he sentenced him, telling him he would have got a seven-year sentence had he been younger.

    “Your greed and dishonesty were matched only by your hypocrisy, because while this was going on you carried out a high-profile campaign condemning corruption and the improper use of public money in the very institution from which you were leeching it,” the judge said.

  • Ba'al Zevul

    Both the toys and the pram are now to be reclaimed by an unelected banking elite… …etc.

    yeah, we know.

    Now what would you have done, genius? You’re between the rock and the hard place. Which? And never mind why, how?. Clue: it will take far too long to bring down the banksters and establish the workers’ republic.

  • TFS


    Swill your mouth with warm salt water in the general location of the tooth ache. It wont always work but may save you a trip to the dentists and lot of money.

    trutst me, im a doctor

  • Muscleguy


    I fear you have me confused with someone else. I have no recollection of writing anything on liposis and would not have since I have no pretence to any particular knowledge on the subject. Unless you mean my point about how exercise switches on brown and beige fat?

    In terms of subcutaneous fat that is not the most dangerous sort, it is visceral fat that is by far the most dangerous and along with too much fat inside muscle cells (they then actively exclude glucose uptake) carries the highest risk for metabolic syndrome and the precursors for Type II Diabetes and Alzheimer’s. Subcutaneous is a cosmetic issue mainly and the possession or lack of it appears to be independent of visceral fat. You can be overweight and active and have no visceral fat to speak of and thin as a rake with lots of visceral fat. The medics have a term TOFI for the latter situation. Plenty of unhealthy eaters who are stick thin, do not exercise and have visceral fat. Which is why we should swap fat shaming for inactivity shaming. You lazy bastard is much better than you fat bastard.

  • RobG

    Finland is also a complete economic basket-case (and to a lesser extent, Sweden), but why do you never hear about that in the news?

    Might be something to do with the fact that Greece has elected a left wing, anti-austerity government.

    The neocons will never allow a left wing government to take control of the Greek economy, because if the left wing government has any measure of success it will set a very dangerous precedent.

    Gawd, the wage slaves in the rest of Europe might start realising that they’re being conned.


  • TonyB

    Paracetomol kills by destroying the liver by using up the detoxifying agent GSH. However this takes about 16g of paracetemol. Therfore you would have to take about 48 300mg tablets in one go. Hence no need to take you to hospital and your friend knew nothing about pharamacology. PS Studies now show paracetemol no use for back pain. Long tern use of APCs ie bex powders etc which had aspirin phenacetion {like paracetemol} plus caffiene to addict people destroyed many kidneys in 1960s and 70s. Off topic useless titbits which I find intereting also find it funny when chemists warn me about aking lots of paracetemo forheadaches.
    Hate it when professions tell lies or are incompetent.

  • fedup

    Thanks Muscle Guy, you have indeed answered my point, although I had not put my questions as succinct as your answers.

    Very true, we need to start calling people “Lazy bastards”, because of the levels of inactivity that in turn are promoting all manner of complications.

    You have pointed my nose in the right direction so to speak of.

    Please let me know if you have other papers, and works that you have written or write about on the net?


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