Last night's appallingly poor edition was so flimsily thrown together that it was comprehensively filleted at Snowdon's gaff (a must read) within a couple hours of airing. As such there isn't much left to say about the whole sorry shambles, except to comment on a soundbite from the grotesque Ian Gilmore (18:50 in at this link for the next 12 days) which is remarkably familiar.
"We're not trying to have alcohol banned. And we do know that changing culture takes a long time. What we need to do is use the levers we've got. And those are price, marketing, availability."Of course, every use of one of those levers is effectively a form of prohibition - or banning - for someone, somewhere. The very point of elevating price is to stop sections of the public being able to afford it; we've seen bans on marketing in tobacco control which is a stated goal of Gilmore's for alcohol; and if a product's availability is restricted, it's a ban by any other name. But Gilmore is adamant he isn't calling for a complete ban on alcohol. Yet.
Weasel words indeed, especially since he added the comment about changing culture which he knows is all that's needed before he can call for total prohibition. Our esteemed mascot sums up the likes of Gilmore very well.
The problem, however, as with all these matters, is that the report panders to the zealots in society who are never satisfied. I guarantee that if all the recommendations were introduced, Committee members would, within a few months at most, come back with further recommendations because the previous ones had not gone far enough. This lobby is impossible to satisfy.Quite.
It was interesting that Gilmore was subtitled as representing the Alcohol Health Alliance too - a collection of pressure groups inspired by the success of the Smokefree Action Coalition (these uncanny similarities seem to be getting more frequent, don't they?) - as their membership include some who very much would like to see alcohol banned.
One is the Institute of Alcohol Studies, funded by the Alliance Health Foundation. Their motto? "To spread the principles of total abstinence from alcoholic drinks and to promote the moral and physical welfare of the community", which is to be expected of an outfit which began life as the 'UK Alliance for the Suppression of the Traffic in all Intoxicating Liquors' and was known as the 'UK Temperance Alliance' up until 2003.
Not trying to have alcohol banned? Nope, but his corner is packed with many who would crack open the
Still, maybe you think I'm being too harsh on the old fart and that he's really very trustworthy. Well, I'm sorry but I've seen his type before.
Clive Bates, director of anti-smoking group ASH, said: "This is a scaremongering story by a tobacco industry front group.On that basis, believe Gilmore at your peril boys and girls.
"No-one is seriously talking about a complete ban on smoking in pubs and restaurants."
UPDATE: Spiked's Rob Lyons chips in with "Really, they ought to rename the programme Propaganda and have done". Please do go read Panorama’s addiction to pisspoor journalism.