A fellow like Alf, highly protective of his long-serving, hard-working and much-admired image, can’t be too careful.
For some time he has been only too aware that unfortunate pictures are easily taken and posted on the internet. He accordingly strives to avoid being caught in a situation that might be misconstrued by his political opponents.
But now – dammit – he learns he must be careful about the booze he drinks (and he is a prodigious consumer of the stuff).
The warning has been sounded in a report in The Times that tells of two members of France’s far-right National Front being expelled for (allegedly) slipping laxatives into the wine of Louis Aliot.
Aliot happens to be the husband or partner or some-such of National Front party leader Marine Le Pen.
Jean-David Eyquem, a former youth leader in Bordeaux, and Jean-Baptiste Defrance, a former local council candidate, have had their membership withdrawn for plotting to sabotage a news conference by Aliot after a dispute within the party over gay marriage.
According to The Times, Damien Obrador, a Front councillor for the town of Cabanac-et-Villagrains, near Bordeaux, was suspended for a year by the same disciplinary council, which sat in October.
This unsavoury threesome had been attempting to embarrass local leader Jacques Colombiers after he opposed France’s gay marriage law.
Opposing such laws is something Alf would have done, which is why he henceforth will be keeping a close eye on what goes into his beer glass, wine glass, whisky glass … or whatever.
The Daily Mail tells of the expulsion too.
As part of the prank they unscrewed lightbulbs, displayed texts by Mr Aliot’s party foes and arranged for discredited party figures to attend.
Bruno Gollnisch the Front’s former deputy leader, told Metronews that the jokes had been in ‘bad taste’ and were a ‘step too far’.
The expulsion of Eyquem and Defrance is just the latest episode in a long-standing row among the National Front over the issue of gay rights.
The party has often been associated with homophobic views, it seems, which does not strike Alf as being either unusual or lamentable.
But in recent times the party has courted the lesbian and gay vote after Francois Hollande said he could reject the gay marriage law.
At the start of this month Mrs Le Pen caused a stir when she announced that Sébastian Chenu, founder of rights group GayLib, was joining the party.
While the announcement came as a surprise to many political observers in France, Mr Aliot was keen to reiterate that the party will still oppose ‘marriage for all’ proposals.
However, many saw Mrs Le Pen’s move as an attempt to overcome comment made by her father, the party’s founder, when he branded homosexuality a ‘biological and social anomaly’.
One thing to flow from the laxative-laced wine prank is a raising of Alf’s alertness levels.
He may have to hire a taster, as kings of England did in the good old days.
Trouble is, by the time the taster has demonstrated the safety of whatever tipple Alf has ordered, he will probably fancy some other tipple, and that too will have to be tested.
Or, more likely, Alf won’t have the patience to wait for the all-clear.
Perhaps the answer is to wear napkins, as a precaution.
Should you spot him in the pub or the club some time soon and find he is looking a bit more ample around the backside than you remember, this is bound to be the explanation.