Wednesday, 6 July 2011

... Now For Alcohol

"Prohibition is won, now for tobacco," proclaimed the great anti-saloon preacher Billy Sunday in 1919. Within months of the war in Europe coming to an end, the US federal government passed the 18th Amendment and the sale and consumption of alcohol was banned across the nation. The temperance dream was now a reality and, for those who had spent years campaigning for it, prohibition was just the first step towards the moral regeneration of the country. The next step was to stamp out tobacco. In 1919, Frederich W. Roman published a book with the ominous title Nicotine Next and its author confirmed smokers' fears in an interview with the New York Tribune, saying: "We have been holding back our agitation during the war for patriotic reasons, but now that the war is over we intend to push it vigorously." 'Nicotine Next' was soon adopted by the WCTU as their pithy, post-war slogan and Clarence True Wilson, leader of the Anti-Saloon League, urged anti-tobacconists to "strike while the iron is hot."
The above is taken from Velvet Glove Iron Fist which, if you haven't read it already, you definitely should (click here to buy).

The passage illustrates that, as many of us are astutely aware, the fortunes of tobacco and alcohol are inextricably linked. Sadly, there are a large number of beer afficionados (yes, I'm looking at you, CAMRA) who seem ignorant of the lessons of history, believing instead that drinking is somehow an entirely different case to smoking.

This might wake them up a bit.

Cigs war won: Now cancer campaigners set their sights on beer

HEALTH activists who believe even one alcoholic drink can cause cancer are lobbying MPs in Canberra today for limits on how much we consume and how much we pay for it.

If they're successful in branding alcohol a carcinogen it could lead to tough restrictions similar to those applied to tobacco, including warnings on labels and laws requiring plain packaging.

The Cancer Council of Australia argues even one drink is dangerous, a view similar to its position that even one cigarette can injure health.

“There is no evidence that there is a safe threshold of alcohol consumption for avoiding cancer, or that cancer risk varies between the type of alcohol beverage consumed,"
Note how the headline is uncannily similar to the declaration made by Billy Sunday nearly a century ago.

Because the people who wish to demonise alcohol and tobacco today are exactly of the same mindset as those evangelical loons of yore. Just as Carrie Nation (alcohol) and Lucy Page Gaston (tobacco) fought together on both fronts, so do their current day incarnations.

The arguments employed in both areas are the same too, as are the people involved. Take Vivienne Nathanson, for example.

She said: "By not banning smoking in public places, the Government is putting the health of vast numbers of the population at risk and is also placing a huge burden on the NHS."
And ...

Dr Vivienne Nathanson, head of science and ethics for the British Medical Association, said: "We have to start de-normalising alcohol - it is not like other types of food and drink."
I'll keep saying it - we're not talking of two issues here, there is only one. Those drinkers (and their associations) who were happy to let tobacco fall only hastened the onset of their own woes. Some of us did try to warn them, but there were just too many fingers in too many ears.

The only difference between now and a century ago is the order in which freedoms are being attacked. "Nicotine Next" as a rallying call has simply been replaced with "Alcohol Next".


18 comments:

Chalcedon said...

As an adult I should have the freedom to choose. If I choose beer, wine spirits that is my affair and no-one elses if I don't bother anyone else. Prohibitionists can just go away for sex. Unfortunately they never do. Don't tell them that oxygen is a dangerous and toxic gas.

Frank Davis said...

"We have to start de-normalising alcohol..."

Why do they HAVE to? They don't "have to" at all. It's something that they WANT to do. It's something that they are freely choosing to do, while pretending that they have to do it, out of some driving necessity.

They're liars.

RB said...

I'm not worried in the slightest.

Tobacco was an easy target with a minority of the population directly affected.

Lets see them try alcohol. The population just wont stand for it on this one.

Higher taxes, bank bailouts, EU waste and despotism, austerity for us but not for them, climate change taxes and green energy taxes, work til you drop dead at your desk, etc. etc.

AND you want to take away my pint? Just fucking try it.

Bandit 1 said...

Who knows. They may well get their way. It's not as if public opinion matters. But even if the Righteous/New Puritans do secure a New Prohibition on alcohol, it will prove a Pyrrhic victory.

Just as with the smoking pogrom. For, even though the never-look-back Progressives may not want to face it, reality says that this war is far from over. Declaring the "Cigs war won" is more than a little premature; it's outright hubristic.

Nemesis to follow.

Dick Puddlecote said...

RB: Smokers would have said the same about a smoking ban in pubs 20 years ago. The 'can't happen here' mindset is a very dangerous one, and when push comes to shove after the drip-drip effect of constant anti-alcohol propaganda, drinkers will meekly capitulate - even be ashamed to admit they are drinkers at all.

The only way to counteract the threat is to act forcefully and proactively.

All we have seen so far from the drinks and hospitality industries is appeasement and tumbleweed.

Woodsy42 said...

"Lets see them try alcohol. The population just wont stand for it on this one."
Sadly RB the public will stand for anything provided the propaganda and lies are repeated long and often enough for them to become belief and for the believers to be made to feel superior.
Think about all the people all over Europe in 1918 who said there would never be another European war. It took just around 20 years.

D'babe said...

'Cigs war won' ??? If, as is stated, 17% of Aussies (adult population) still smoke - then a whopping 2,848,605 people have patently not yet surrendered. 'Job done' ? I think not...

Mr A said...

@ RB

It may have been a minority but it was a sizeable one. Eurostat says 28% of adult Britons smoke, and there was research out recently that said that a huge number of people smoke but say they don't (so-called social smokers). My own experience supports this - out of a dozen close friends, I'm the only smoker (lower than the national average). But get the beer out and around 4 or 5 people join me outside (the begging swine!). Also remember, the British Pub Association said that prior to the ban the average pub was made up of 60% smokers - more in some, less in others. If they're happy to completely mess with that, you think they'll think twice about drinkers? A helluva lot of people don't drink at all. Boozers aren't the big majority that you think. Besides, if the Smoking Ban has proved anything, it's that public opinion counts for nothing. And of course they have the "A few years ago a smoking ban would have been preposterous, now we can't believe people ever smoked indoors; it will be the same with drinking" line, sadly a line I have heard our medical overlords use more than once in recent months.

The Ban set a precedent - it won't take them 3 or 4 decades as it did with smoking - when they start slicing that ol' salami it'll be big, thick cuts. A few fake studies here, a healthy dash of denormalisation there (notice how people don't enjoy wine or savour real ale, anymore? No, they "binge drink" and our media is awash with pissed up people sleeping in the street with arseholed girls cackling with their knickers round their ankles. That's no more common than it ever was, but they are already starting the process of denormalisation....).

And many public areas, including town centres and my local park are already "alcohol free zones." Did they ask me? No, they just came up with some guff about stopping chavs. And people who like a drink applauded because it wasn't them that was being targeted, it was the nasty chavs, even though the legislation affects them just as much.

Denormalisation, divide and conquer, misinformation and undoubtedly something to do with the cheeeellldren. That's the template and they're already using it.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Couldn't agree more, Mr A.

{applause}

Anonymous said...

'I'm not worried in the slightest.'

Good, go back to sleep.

@Mr A.

You put it far more eloquently than I could (and with no expletives!)

I'll put money on it that 3 or 4 years after the alcohol ban, Don Shenker (is a cunt) will produce a study that shows that the hospitality trade has grown by 5% since the ban's introduction.

Anonymous said...

As a smoking ex drinker(ended 01/07/07),I welcome
and support any campaign that
stuffs the cowardly limp wristed
back stabbing two timing creeps who still patronise the licensed cafes some clowns still call "pubs".
Had the real men and women of England done the business and deserted the God foraken maggot sheds
in even greater numbers,we might have seen less yellow streaks on the Publicans crawling rears.
Like the jerkoffs who still
patronise Spain ,patronising
turncoat venues only gives fuel to the heath Fascists propoganda.
Keep on kicking untill the blinkers work loose


No limits ,no rules
All or nothing

Anonymous said...

Propaganda works. People are thick.
I've sat in a pub beer garden and watched couples with their obese screaming obnoxious offspring sitting happily at a table next to a car park with engines running bathing them in diesel fumes. But you flick a Zippo 20 yards away and you are Dr Death.

George Speller said...

Well . . . for once I beat them to it:
www.alcoholhealthalliance.org

Roger Thornhill said...

We do need to be very very concerned.

De-normalisation has proven to be effective.

I note that boiling one's own head is not illegal or being prohibited, so maybe those killjoy temperance monkeys should take that up.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Agreed. It's all the same thing. But the salami slice tactic seems to work - your average smoker or drinker abandoned those who enjoy cannabis or heroin to their fates decades ago. And even the drinkers didn't kick up too much of a stink [sic] at the smoking ban. And so it goes on.

Reinhard said...

Let's think about the similarities between alcohol and smoking before the health nazis got at it.

1. Used to be really popular
2. Lot of people did it socially
3. Was not the government's business whether people did it
4. Outright ban was laughed out of pubs
5. Advertised a lot during sports events
6. Had genuine health risk associated
7. Generated huge government revenue

I don't think I need to go on. The health lobby seem to have turned genuine care about people avoiding cancer into a cult of the health conscious. That is why they will never stop at tobacco - religious fervour is pushing them on and they are merely doing it under the pretext of health. A hundred years ago the pretext was puritanism. In reality they have turned health into their god, created the demons of cancer and heart disease to frighten people into line and now they're running with it for as long as they can. Their doctrines are the supporting science, no matter how tenuous. And they will not stop. We already know their next target is fat, followed by meat. Throughout history there have been such people, and we are under a wave of them: greenies and healthists. They come because people stop questioning, stop defending, and stop thinking. They have caused this as well, with educational reform and social engineering. We have allowed this to happen because we lost our vigilance. We have laughed them off and they have gone away and worked and raised funds and distributed propaganda so that when next we looked no one believed otherwise. We ought to be ashamed that we have let it get this bad.

Curmudgeon said...

Hi Dick,

Sorry to abuse comments for this, but I have sent you 4 e-mails over the past week. If you haven't received them there may be a problem with your spam filter.

Anonymous said...

Heres a time line starting in 1900,dont be surprised to see the same thing playing out today nearly 100 years later.

1901: REGULATION: Strong anti-cigarette activity in 43 of the 45 states. "Only Wyoming and Louisiana had paid no attention to the cigarette controversy, while the other forty-three states either already had anti-cigarette laws on the books or were considering new or tougher anti-cigarette laws, or were the scenes of heavy anti- cigarette activity" (Dillow, 1981:10).

1904: New York: A judge sends a woman is sent to jail for 30 days for smoking in front of her children.

1904: New York City. A woman is arrested for smoking a cigarette in an automobile. "You can't do that on Fifth Avenue," the arresting officer says.

1907: Business owners are refusing to hire smokers. On August 8, the New York Times writes: "Business … is doing what all the anti-cigarette specialists could not do."

1917: SMOKEFREE: Tobacco control laws have fallen, including smoking bans in numerous cities, and the states of Arkansas, Iowa, Idaho and Tennessee.