Monday, 30 April 2012

Plain Packaging For Alcohol Confirmed As Future Policy Objective?

As reported here last month, the government gently floated the idea of plain packaging for alcohol during their investigations in advance of the trumpeted alcohol strategy.

The drinks industry have since removed their fingers from their ears long enough to pooh pooh it. They've listened to those nice, kind, honest upstanding MPs, you see.
Darran Britton, marketing and strategy director, Carlsberg UK, says that he will not be distracted by the discussion about plain packaging. 'The government has stated its direction within the recently published alcohol strategy,' he explains. 
'This does not refer to plain packaging for alcohol. We are focusing on the areas raised in the alcohol strategy.' 
This view is shared by Tim Lefroy, the Advertising Association's chief executive. 'Plain packaging didn't appear in the alcohol strategy, because there is no evidence that it will reduce harm,' he says. 'The government has since reiterated that it is not in their plans, and rightly so. The idea lacks precedent, and confuses problem drinking with branding,' he adds.
Aww bless. They're still under the impression the government requires evidence, is true to its word, and cares if a pet idea is loopy or not.

I believe, however, that the most telling quote in the article contains a very significant three letter word.
Alcohol Concern, often a thorn in the side of the industry, was surprised by the proposal. Emily Robinson, its director of campaigns and fundraising, says: 'We'd like to see more action on labelling, but we haven't called for plain packaging, yet.'
Give them their due, at least their anti-smoking counterparts used to fiercely deny policies which they knew full well would be vigorously pursued in due course. Alcohol Concern don't feel the need to be so coy.


21 comments:

Curmudgeon said...

There's no evidence that plain packaging will reduce tobacco-related harm either. Doesn't stop them wanting to do it.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

You spotted that bit too, then? Yes, certainly raised a smile, so it did. :)

ivandenisovich said...

First of all they will have to get around the problem that alcohol is allegedly good for you in moderation. This will be achieved by a combination of paying unscrupulous academics to get the "right" answers and accepting garbage from those who are naturally inclined towards self righteous authoritarianism.  The methodology will be deliberately opaque but will rely on statistical gymnastics almost certainly involving systematic reviews and meta-analysis.
 
The most likely approach will be the no safe level of consumption with respect to cancer route. It is a relatively easy claim to make using rubbish data and as the example of passive smoking has shown, there is absolutely no need for robust, high quality research in order to establish something as a fact. A few nice catchy sound bites based on nothing much whatsoever will do for the faithful.

Taking the cancer route gives access to highly paid propaganda experts who will wrap the junk science in glitzy packaging and use sophisticated marketing techniques to sell it to your elected representatives together with the army of sad people who are only happy if they are involved in an illiberal campaign of some sort or other. Nobody will stand up to them as they will claim that “it is for the children” and if “it saves just one life it will be worth it”. Battered wives, alcoholic husbands and 21 year old cirrhosis victims will be paraded until eventually the scarred livers appear on the bottles.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yep, that'll be the plan. 

…Zaph said...

I am going to invest in a crystal decanter or two, I think.

May look a bit odd with red wine or London Porter in it, mind, but better than the gore-fest from so-called plain packaging.

Tom said...

Drinkers, meet smokers.

Tom said...

Plain packaging, a car-crash/train-wreck, in progress.

Curmudgeon said...

Given the different way in which alcoholic drinks are distributed and consumed compared with tobacco, I really see plain packaging as something of an irrelevance in the alcohol market. Indeed some upmarket products deliberately make a point of very austere and understated labelling, and in the on-trade you usually don't get to see the package anyway. Alcoholic drinks are also much more differentiated purely from their names. The key elements in the toolkit are banning advertising and promotion, and banning self-service in the off-trade, which you never got for tobacco anyway apart from duty-frees. Once that has been done, plain packaging is largely irrelevant.

JonathanBagley said...

To be fair, Clive Bates was head of ASH UK from 1997 to 2003. I'm not sure he wanted a complete ban on smoking in pubs. It wasn't in the Labour manifesto and only came about in 2005 when Arnott was in charge.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There were smoker bans in the US before and during his time, he was fully aware that it would be a future policy proposal. 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I don't think the trade will think large rotting livers too attractive for their products. ;)

ivandenisovich said...

The YET is a major giveaway. This character is someone to look out for. He is a very unpleasant arrogant man. 

 

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Err, who is he?

Sam Duncan said...

“First of all they will have to get around the problem that alcohol is allegedly good for you in moderation.”

They'll either do it that way, ivandenisovich, or they'll put it on prescription.But yes, that “yet” speaks volumes, doesn't it? Whether or not it's officially in AC's long-term plans or not, it's patently obvious that it's the way Ms. Robinson is thinking herself. And a pressure group is the sum of its members.Plus, I'd say that it's a much weaker denial than Bates's “nobody is seriously talking about...”.

ivandenisovich said...

 Dr. Jürgen Rehm

D'babe said...

tut... I hate to repeat myself , but ... wfms, etc...

Lyn Ladds said...

And they have already got a vast number of paranoid followers - those that are scared witless that the tiniest whiff of tobacco smoke will kill them! 

People who can actually be that gullible are the ones that will help to drive these sorts of campaigns ever further.

Ashraf Uddin said...

The internet is full of opinions and disapproval's, but no matter how loud you express your disgust and outrage, what you generally disagree about happens anyway. why? because "we" let it happen.

Cigarettes WILL become extinct
Alcohol WILL be a thing of the past
The food we love love WILL disappear
Your freedom WILL be heavily restricted
The right to think for yourself WILL be stripped away from you.

The point im trying to make is, the change that will lead to a fascist state will happen, and there is NOTHING you can do about it.

Im sorry

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