The upside down Telegraph has picked up on the latest dangerous puritanism from the
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recommended the sale of duty-free wines and spirits be banned.
In a strategy paper, the UN health agency implored governments to curb excessive drinking.
"The harmful use of alcohol can be reduced if effective actions are taken by countries to protect their populations," it said. "Policy options and interventions include taxing sales of alcoholic beverages to, and/or the importation of such beverages by, international travellers."
The Aussies aren't too worried about it. After all, it's not intended to kick them in the metaphorical plums too hard. Nope, the watery eyes and nausea is reserved for us northern hemisphere types ... and Britons more than most.
[An Aussie quangoista] said the plan was more of a bid to curb the massive duty-free alcohol trade in Europe, where people crossed borders just to buy cheap alcohol.
For the apolitical punter, the ability to beano over to the continent, point at things instead of learning a few phrases, cause confusion on their roads, and return with an axle-stressing load of duty-paid booty to make the whole day economically viable, was a major facilitator of the great EU experiment. It was the soothing vaseline applied by europhiles as they gently bent the nation over.
But it right sticks in the craw of the healthmonger bandwagon post-Lisbon, so it's got to go.
The problem is that no national government in their right mind would attempt to legislate on such a universally popular 'perk', much as the EU would blanche a little too. But the WHO can. Not for them the tedious rigmarole of seeking re-election. Their global power is in inverse correlation to their non-existent democratic accountability.
In short, you can't touch them, yet their pronouncements most certainly touch all of you.
The government, of course, will throw their hands up and tell you that there is nothing they can do. It will be an 'international convention' which can't be avoided. Don't shoot the messenger, and all that.
The fact that government appoints delegates to the WHO, and could, if they so choose, impede such nonsense, will be conveniently omitted from press releases. After all, why should you be told that?
Still, perhaps this is just alarmist talk. It's possible that the WHO may be persuaded out of such an action. It just takes someone with some guts to stand up to them. We just need the right man for the job.
If, as seems likely, [Liam Donaldson] is moved out of Richmond House next year, a plum job awaits him at the World Health Organisation. In which case it would be a fitting ending for a man who thinks in terms of populations. The most far-reaching of public servants would at last get to serve the most far-reaching of publics.
Nothing to worry about, then.