Alcohol Focus Scotland, ASH Scotland and Scottish Health Action on Alcohol Problems are pleased to announce a joint conference which will consider what progress has been made in alcohol control and tobacco control and explore what each sector might learn from the other.Of course, there isn't much anti-smokers need to be taught about creating mythical hazards backed by statistical chicanery, so the flow of information was almost certainly one way. As a result, the temperance movement appear to have learned quite a lot if Alcohol Focus Scotland's latest newsletter [pdf] is anything to go by.
Do tactics like this seem recognisable to you?
A new report from Alcohol Concern, Making an Impression, shows that children as young as 10 are more familiar with some leading alcohol brands and adverts than those for popular foods and snacks.Hmmm. Do you think this might be a heavy hint towards advertising bans, restrictions on display and even one day in the future - because those brands, you see, they're so very dangerous - plain packaging of alcohol?
The number of children able to identify alcohol branding and advertising was comparable to, and in some cases, greater than those who recognised brands and advertising for products known to appeal to children, such as ice cream and cake.
Well, there wouldn't be much point to their 'research' if not, would there?
Alcohol Concern’s Mark Leyshon said: “The drinks industry asserts very strongly that it doesn’t aim its advertising at children. However, this new study provides more evidence that alcohol marketing messages are getting through to young people well before they are legally able to buy alcohol. Research shows that children who are exposed to alcohol advertising and promotion are more likely to start to use alcohol, have positive expectations about alcohol, and to drink more if they are already using alcohol.Ah, the old 'industry is knowingly corrupting children' angle. We know a current campaign exploiting the same mendacious ploy, don't we, lads and lasses?
Perhaps alcohol puritans are salivating at the prospect of being bunged their own £2.5m from the taxpayer to hoist billboards all over the country lobbying for something which only a negligible minority of intolerant, anti-social prodnoses would consider remotely worthwhile.
The drinks industry will have valid reasons for resisting such pathetic self-enriching, duplicitous nonsense from these tax spongers but, you guessed it, the tobacco control template is there before them.
[Dr Evelyn Gillan, Chief Executive Alcohol Focus Scotland said], ... despite minimum pricing being the will of the governments both north and south of the border and enjoying the support of doctors, nurses, the police, children’s charities and others, sections of the alcohol industry continue to threaten legal action. The lobbying power of global corporations is well documented and unfortunately all too often results in decisions being taken which favour business interests over the public interest. If the global alcohol producers and retailers persist in seeking to thwart laws which are likely to confer significant health benefits on the people of Scotland and the rest of the UK, they risk going down the same path as the tobacco industry.The language is so uncannily familiar, it's almost déjà vu, eh? .
"All your business is belong to us" is about the gist of it. If the alcohol industry rightly claims that their detractors are absurd - and that it is long past time someone in government put them firmly back in their box - these rancid people-hating whingers will re-categorise respected businessmen as child-killers. No bag of jelly babies for spotting where this method has been employed before, I'm afraid.
Naturally, politicians will see straight past such hideous and miserable sophistry, yes?
During the Stage 1 debate in Parliament, Willie Rennie made a direct plea to the alcohol industry to stop lobbying against the measure: “I would appeal to the industry - do not go down the route of the tobacco industry and fight this tooth and nail, because there is a will in this parliament to deliver it. I appeal to them: Let’s get on with it.”Well, no. Of course not. Because politicians are idiots.
It's clear that there's only one way this is all going. There will be a minimum price for alcohol; there will be a ban on advertising all alcohol products at some point; there will be a display ban for alcohol too; and there will be gruesome warnings on bottles of wine because alcohol prohibitionists have a precedent to help push for all of them. Swiftly followed by plain packaging unless politicians stop being dickheads long enough to realise it's a pointless and wholly miserable idea.
What's more, it doesn't matter if the alcohol industry lays down and lets it all wash over them quickly - as alcohol campaigners would wish - or fights it every step of the way. They will still be portrayed as evil big business preying on the misery and suffering of little children. It's a vital component of the whole process.
If the industry is seen as responsible, alcohol control salaries don't get paid and conservatories, loft conversions, circular drives don't get built. The new top-of-the-range car is put on hold and the dining out at Michelin restaurants at the taxpayers' expense becomes more rare. The creation of an opponent allied with Beelzebub to entrap kids is indispensable to prohibitionist wealth creation. Appeasement is entirely futile.
It's what was taught at the tobacco/alcohol summit. It's all part of the plan.