Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Onward Puritan Soldiers

My, that was quick.

A week ago, you may remember, the drinks industry launched a £100m initiative aimed at reducing alcohol intake amongst under 25s. One of the reasons for the proactive move was to stave off the looming spectre of advertising restrictions.

If the adverts don't work, then it is possible the government will push through stricter rules to reduce the amount of alcohol people are drinking.

These could include a ban on cheap booze offers in both bars and supermarkets and tougher restrictions on advertising alcoholic drinks.

I opined that the drinks lobby were chucking their readies down the drain, that this smacked of appeasement, an admission of guilt, and that it will be used against them. It has taken a mere 7 days for the puritans to stomp into the news and prove me correct.

There should be a ban on all alcohol advertising, including sports and music sponsorship, doctors say.

The British Medical Association said the crackdown on marketing was needed along with an end to cut-price deals to stop the rising rates of consumption.

This is even more dramatic than the attacks on smoking. At least, back then, the bansturbators used the perceived failure of the tobacco industry's solution as justification for a draconian all-out ban on advertising.

With alcohol, they're not even waiting to see what happens!

One has to assume they are in such a hurry to get this through before the godawful, pliant, healthist Labour airheads are swept from office. And Comrade Beeb are working like trojans to help them.

The cost to the NHS for treating injury and illness linked to drink has been estimated to be anything up to £3bn a year in the UK.

It comes as alcohol consumption has been rising rapidly in recent years with over a third of adults now drinking above the recommended amounts.

One-sided equation (counting costs but ignoring alcohol duty which far outweighs it), followed by a cast-iron, bare-faced lie. Here, according to ONS figures, are recent male and female consumption figures, in graph form.

Rising rapidly in recent years? Bollocks.

This has been coming for a while, as I have mentioned over and over again. I even set out the steps, in the path to prohibition template, which anti-smoking activists used, and are teaching to other would-be righteous. This is the consolidation of step 3.

3) On the back of junk science, nobble the opposing industry with advertising bans - Tobacco advertising completely banned, alcohol advertising is subject to very strict rules ... so far.

I'm afraid I'm going to have to repeat this piece of advice in the vain hope that someone, anyone, in the alcoholic drinks lobby WILL FUCKING LISTEN!

It really is time that the drinks industry stood up for itself and was more positive in its defence. Their current back-sliding in the hope that the prohibitionists will just leave them alone, is naive in the extreme and simply won't work.

They can start by challenging Don Shenker on his choice of words.

And Don Shenker, of Alcohol Concern, added: "There's no longer any doubt - the heavy marketing and promotion of alcohol, combined with low prices - are encouraging young people to drink at a level our health services are struggling to cope with."

It's the old 'no doubt - the debate is over - evidence is overwhelming' ploy again. The utterance of which is proof positive that whoever said it is a top drawer duplicitous cunt.

And always remember that all of this - every little piece of the whole rancid, steaming mountain of deceitful horseshit - is paid for by your taxes, for your own good.

UPDATE: Having looked at the BMA document on which the BBC article is based, the only basis for the spurious claim that we are drinking considerably more in 'recent years' is ... a study by the BMA. In their document 'Alcohol misuse: tackling the UK epidemic', they talk of the increase of alcohol consumption since 1950 when rationing was still in force. So recent years means ... err ... six decades.

And how about this for top quality BBC journalism. The BMA pdf file uses this exact phrase (verbatim) three times, in the first sentence of three separate sections.

Alcohol consumption in the UK has increased rapidly in recent years

And from the BBC article,

It comes as alcohol consumption has been rising rapidly in recent years

Brilliant paraphrasing. 'rising' for 'increasing'.

UPDATE2: IanB has a piece over at Counting Cats on this. It seems the report's author isn't impartial at all. What a surprise.

Graph H/T The Filthy Smoker


Dick the Prick said...

Some numbnuts was on Toady this morning calling for an Alcohol Worker (I forget the 4 word job title) to be based at ALL A&E depts so when people come in drunk they can be told err... you know why you fell over? It was because you were drunk! Whopdee doo - eureka! Why don't we have gravity officers or kinetics advisors?

Lord Lindley said...

I said when Hunting was banned that smoking was next and then alcohol. Unless we rise up and fight, we may as well leave. All three main parties will drag us further into the nightmare of the EU, where liberal do-gooders are the order of the day. Vote extreme and march whenever asked. They may listen to the people, eventually!

Anonymous said...

Most will succumb to control
Most will say nothing
Most will not care
Most will obey

.........BUT NOT ALL.............

Free Corps

Screaming Banshee said...

Is this ever going to stop?

Ian B said...

Lord Lindley, this isn't the fault of the EU. The primary temperance nations are the anglosphere- the USA and us, mainly. We're dragging the rest of the world along with us, it's not the other way around. The EU is shit, but it's not the source of the Temperance Movement.

Dick Puddlecote-

I've blogged this across at Counting Cats as well (just popped across here after posting to see if you'd picked up on it) but frankly I feel a sense of hopelessness. It seems the bandwagon's just unstoppable. The brewers aren't going to fight, and to be fair to them Britain has been politically organised for a very long time now such that industries can't fight shit like this. It's a corporate state, ruled by the threat of the rule of law. I really do not know what we can do. If the brewers refused to comply, and the advertisers (TV, radio, billboard companies etc) refused to comply, they could quite probably win a showdown with the government. But they won't dare.

BTS said...

'Report author Professor Gerard Hastings of Stirling University said.. "All these promotional activities serve to normalise alcohol as an essential part of every day life."'

Two things to point out to this shaft-stroker here; in the first place, when exactly did alcohol become abnormal? If we're all drinking a shitload of the stuff how can it not be considered normal?

Secondly, I've never seen alcohol promoted as an 'essential' part of anything (always excepting the obvious answer of getting pissed). They're not allowed to advertise it as such because we already have restrictions in place. What a cock.

It's absolutely obnoxious to advocate minimum pricing when it simply will not affect those who suggested it. These people can afford to buy whatever the fuck they like to drink whereas I'm stuck on the cheapest I can get already. The previous proposals from Fat Fuck Donaldson of 50p/unit would more than double the price of my vodka.

That might require me to sober up.

And nobody wants to see that..


Mark Wadsworth said...

Well yes, obviously, the £3 billion "cost" of alcohol isn't even a properly big scary number, and about a third of alcohol duties plus VAT on alcohol.

But thinking aloud, have smoking rates gone down since the ban on tobacco advertising? Methinks not.
Hence, the tobacco industry has collectively saved itself a fortune in not trying to pinch market share from each other.

Maybe alcohol producers see this as a way to save money (a sort of ends to the arms race, if you will) while getting the banstubators off their backs for a few months until they dream up the next ban?

manwiddicombe said...

It seems that I'm not the only one that got enraged by this then?

Search for "Gerald Hastings vimeo" (or the link is over on my blog) if you want a peek into the future .. .. .. he's not just got it in for alcohol .. .. .. he hates tobacco as well.

Mark Wadsworth said...

@ IanB, maybe the UK government is more puritan than the average European government, but the EU is behind this in some shape or form. Banning things is what they enjoy doing best.

Unknown said...

This crap has been playing on the British Bullshit Corporation all bloody day and it woke up the docile Mrs. Yin with a start. She loves her glass of sherry, not any old sherry but Harvey's Bristol Cream, at £9.99 per bottle, and now feels here one glass of that sherry per day is under threat by these Nu Puritians! She has never shut up about it since this morning!

This vexed me a little as when the smoking ban came in, she smokes seven cigarettes per day, she counts the fookers too, she didn't give two fucks (talk about bloody apathy), she believed that it did not concern her as she could smoke at home, so who cares? Which was at odds with my way of thinking, I can tell you.

Now that the bansturbators think they have the smokers cowed, and they never stop once they they think they have cowed you, they then go on to redicule you (see Pat Nurse's blog), now they have turned to alcohol, it's users and, especially, it's over users.

Don't get me wrong, I have had my battles with the 'demon' drink, so much so, in my youth I went along to AA, and after one session realised I did not need any fucking higher power, I just needed to get a fucking grip.

So I opened a bottle of Black & White whisky, (I used to work for the company in a place called Stepps, just outside Glasgow) and poured a glass, held it up in front of my eyes and made a pact, I said, "I will not make a god out of you if you will not make a devil out of me!" We live together amicably now.

But I guess that is not good enough for the Nu Puritans, is it, the cunts.

Anonymous said...

Coming soon - state run 'liquor stores', with plain packaging and an alcohol allowance, monitored via an ID card and linked to a database which talks to the NHS so that, if you're caught trying to exceed your allowance, you're referred to one of Dick the P's alcohol officers, non co-operation resulting in lack of medical treatment....

On a lighter note (although I don't know whether to laugh or cry) the po-faced have excelled themselves today: just heard on the news that a cafe owner (or some such) is taking 'spotted dick' off the menu because it's fed up with "immature comments" from its customers. It's to be re-branded as 'spotted richard'......


Ian B said...

No really, Mark, this stuff is an Anglosphere problem. The major driver of it is the USA, with us holding their coat. Puritanism's an anglosphere thing. Always has been. This is American moral hegemony working at the international level. If you look at who's driven drug prohibition, the tobacco panic, alchohol prohibition (very famously), it's the USA. They invented the sex trafficking panic (white slavery as they called it then). They invented political correctness, and the racism and sexism discourses too, come to that.

The above looks rather anti-american. It's not meant to be. There are a lot of great things about the USA. But their take on moral probity- which we share, since they actually inherited it from us IYSWIM- is what's driving neo-puritanism. The continentals, for all their many faults, are relatively social liberal compared to us; they're being hammered into the anglospheric moral mould; which was made into its modern form by the religious revivalism in the US and UK in the late C18, and C19, that gave us "Victorian Values".

America and Britain are the source of this awfulness. We can't blame anyone else. It's self-inflicted. The same thing would be happening if we were not in the EU.

JuliaM said...

"...just heard on the news that a cafe owner (or some such) is taking 'spotted dick' off the menu because it's fed up with "immature comments" from its customers."

Yes, but, well, it's Wales. So you can understand... ;)

Dick Puddlecote said...

IanB: This is what I have been so irritated by for a couple of years now. The total inaction of the drinks industry to fight like fury against the healthist lobby.

They have seen the tobacco industry beaten into such a position now that the EU are talking about not allowing them to even talk to EU members.

Yet, still nothing from the BBPA, CAMRA, BII, or any realisation from anyone in the sector that their product is going the very same way as tobacco.

These people cannot be appeased. They have to be shown up as liars, smeared, whatever it takes. They see no shame in doing the same themselves, so why not?

Today, on radio 5live, some smug BMA spokesman, when told that the industry says that banning advertising would lead to price reductions to encourage brand-switching instead of advertising, simpy replied "well, they would say that, wouldn't they". And then went on to say how they would ban that too. (more on next comment)

They're total cunts. Seriously deranged.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Crossposted from Counting Cats:

My post was rather kneejerk upon reading the BBC article so I didn’t look into the background of the authors till just now.

However, it just makes me more angry. It’s a one-sided piece produced with the single purpose of coming to a predetermined conclusion.

Now I have looked at their document, it seems that amongst the raft of stats, the only one that explains their phrase “Alcohol consumption in the UK has increased rapidly in recent years”, picked up so dutifully by the BBC, is the BMA’s own report, which was also dutifully reported word for word by the BBC.

In that document, they concluded that alcohol consumption has increased considerably since 1950.

So, for recent years, read ‘the past 60 years’.

It’s lying, is what it is.

** to tie in with my previous comment. The BMA spokesman replied to drinks industry defence with "They would say that, wouldn't they", yet the BMA is basing reports on their own reports, written by people who are paid to come up with predetermined conclusions.

And the guy can go on national radio talking about industry bias? Christ on a bike, the hypocrisy is staggering!

Mummy x said...

Thankyou for your guest post at mine, it is up now. I remember hearing about the 2006 CRB thingy and thinking what a crock off shit, and I still believe that now. It's a great post.

Mummy x

Dick Puddlecote said...

You're welcome Mummy. You can publicise your blog here, you know. Mi casa etc.

Fredrik Eich said...

Let us not forget Prof Hastings in the Mc Tear case co author of "Under the Influence" described as "He was the invited expert at the Government Tobacco Summit. He described this as "very exciting". It was when the present Government first came into power and they had a strong commitment to do things about the problems of smoking. If they were to have a serious public health agenda, then tobacco had to be dealt with as well as possible, because it contributed such a big toll. The Government had called the summit to talk through the issues and "get learning from overseas". UKWP 1998 was one of the things that came out of it. Tobacco had to form a big part of any public health strategy."
- IMO, meaning we do the "smokers" before we do the "drinkers".

Junican said...

I was struck by Ian B's confession of a feeling of hopelessness. This is unusual for a blogger because bloggers are, by and large, eternal optimists.

Ian B cites, as his reason for a feeling of hopelessness, the fact that the the brewers etc will not defend themselves. He is, of course, right.

But I think that the reason for Ian B's feeling of hopelessness comes from factors much deeper than that.

I think that the feeling of hopelessness comes from the sheer lack of influence that INDIVIDUALS have. A thousand people whose knowledge is wrong have more influence than ten people whose knowledge is correct.

There is only one way in which this imbalance can be corrected and that is through co-operation. Individuals must co-operate. The situation needs to be reversed. If ten medics say that the enjoyment of tobacco is bad for you, a thousand people must say, "I don't care! I will do what I want!" The problem, of course, is to organise the thousand people.

I have pondered this problem.

In the first place, it is important not to rush. At the moment, Ash etc have the initiative with the people for EMOTIONAL REASONS. Let it go for a time while you organise. When you have organised, and only when you have organised, hit Ash and the Government with the FACTS about the harmlessness of second hand smoke and the benefits of tobacco, along with the harmlessness and benefits of alcohol, and the harmlessness and benefits of being a bit fat.

The critical thing, obviously, is HOW TO ORGANISE!

I think that I have a possible solution to this problem.

If there is one over=riding organisation which is possibly able to co-ordinate everbody it is....

Sorry, it is almost 3am snd I am tired and I must go to bed. I will continue tomorrow.

Anonymous said...

Excellent post Dick. I have blogged from a slightly different angle on the same subject - French policy is diametriacally opposed to everything in the BMA document - and no drunks rolling in the aisles!


ps - glad to see you promoting Mummy's blog, there is some excellent stuff on there.

Anonymous said...

Did you know there was a 'Family Drug and Alcohol Court' in a pilot version in London?

I certainly didn't - you might be interested - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8243649.stm
They snuck that one in quietly!