Friday 9 November 2012

Minimum Alcohol Pricing Advocates Admit Their Stats Are "Not Scientifically Credible"

I mentioned Phil Mellows a couple of weeks ago commenting on the 'evidence' for minimum alcohol pricing comprising what he termed "spurious cost savings".

He is correct, of course. The Sheffield University justification for Cameron's pet plan is pretty shoddy, and their staffers less than competent. But Mellows' latest article has pointed out that even anti-alcohol campaigners are in agreement!
But it’s Thomas Babor, who makes perhaps the most candid contribution, appearing to agree that such studies are “not scientifically credible” but “serve other functions” contributing to a “well-planned paternalism with a human face”. “In a democracy, politicians and policymakers often need to be shamed into doing the right thing, and costs to society have the ability to shame, blame and even defame… It is the simple, single monetary figure that captures public attention more than anything else.”
Do go read the source material, admittance of alcohol control mendacity is all there in black and white.

Just to boil it down to tabloid shit like we wot dwell 'ere find of interest, I think he's saying that he doesn't care if the 'science' is sound, as long as politicians are conned into legislating the way alcohol prohibitionists would like them to. Economists just get in the way.

You see, for yer unfriendly-neighbourhood bansturbator, the only figure they care about is some computer-generated 'cost' to society they have manufactured by feeding in all the bad stuff and ignoring the good stuff, as mentioned in 2010 by one of those pesky economists.
The value to the person purchasing the alcohol of purchasing the alcohol must be higher than the amount they spend on purchasing the alcohol. If it weren’t, then they wouldn’t purchase the alcohol now, would they?

Now yes, this might be diminished by the costs they also bear in cirrhosis, drunken fights and waking up to one of the Two Fat Slags on vomit stained pillows. And it would be right to take those costs into account as well. But as our first order estimate of the consumer benefit of alcohol our lower bound simply cannot be any lower than the amount that people are willing to spend on purchasing alcohol.

The BBC tells me that this number is £38 billion a year.
The UK alcohol market also enjoyed the biggest rise in value, with sales estimated at £38bn – up 15% since 1999.
That’s a fairly large number to put against that £2.7 billion a year cost to the NHS (however strangely calculated that was).
Indeed, especially since the value of alcohol to society has since risen to £42.1 billion.

It's very interesting, though, that anti-alcohol campaigners are now admitting that their figures are “not scientifically credible”, and that their emphasis is not on balanced cost/benefit analysis, but instead “well-planned paternalism with a human face”.

As seen above, how damaging to enjoyment of life their endeavours are comes a distant second to their ability to bypass public preference and install laws which enhance their egos and, by extension, their bank balances.

Now that's what I call anti-social.


JonathanBagley said...

The drinking habits of aborigines and the opinions of American college student focus groups not a sound basis for UK Government policy formulation? Are you sure Dick?

Junican said...

Not only that, DP, but it seems that Peto (of the Doll and Peto 40 year Doctors Study) is pulling back. I do not have the details yet, but it seems that he has been saying that you can smoke up to the age of about 35/40 without worries. Only smoking in middle age is harmful. If you survive beyond middle age, then smoking "the odd one" does not matter.
I have not yet had access to Peto's statement, so I do not know what the truth is. But if the report of what he said is true, then his statement blows SHS, as harmful, apart. How can SHS be harmful if Smoking is not harmful up to the age of 40 and can dismissed later in life?

nisakiman said...

Yes, rather destroys the "think of the cheeeldren" argument, does it not?