So how has the modern prohibitionist tendency responded?
‘The drinks industry is now using the tactics of Big Tobacco in trying to undermine evidence-based alcohol policy measures which would save lives and specifically target young and heavy drinkers. A minimum unit price is a targeted policy that will impact heavy drinkers whilst leaving the majority of moderate drinkers unaffected, and the international evidence (from Canada) shows that it works’:Ah, the old tried-and-trusted model of tackling the man and not the ball, eh? Tobacco template front and centre. No slippery slope here, oh no.
And the evidence?
It will save lives – according to research by the University of Sheffield, a 50 pence minimum unit price will prevent more than 3,000 alcohol-related deaths in England each year.This is from a university with a proven record of incompetence. In September they apologised to the BBC for not having risk assessed their staff on handling a calculator.
Correction: 28 September, 2012:
The School of Health and Related Research at the University of Sheffield has confirmed to Panorama that unfortunately, due to human error, figures they produced specifically for the programme Old, Drunk and Disorderly? broadcast on 10th September 2012 were incorrect. The figures are in fact 4-5 times lower than those originally given to Panorama.Their response to detractors wasn't even able to correctly quote the name of one of the authors.
There should be another source for this 'evidence', but the state plumped for a single useless one to waste our cash on. Their report is awful and intellectually degenerate, but the BMA and RCP are clinging to it like a baby to a comfort blanket.
So we have a sole bunch of muppets who have been paid to produce a pre-determined policy conclusion, but been exposed as being pants at it, and we are supposed to consider them as authoritative as the Oracle at Delphi?
And when the daft presumptions are challenged - as is any industry's right during a consultation period in what we loosely term a 'democracy' - they are condemned as being evil by association rather than there being any thought of raising some kind of intelligent rebuttal. Plus, a rent-a-quote from Evelyn Gillan is trotted out, despite her evidently not understanding the concept of fair and democratic political debate, preferring instead to go by the North Korean model of "the state knows best, so pipe down".
This is truly desperate stuff, as is the claim that a population level, universally-implemented price rise can in any way be described as "targeted".
If this is indicative of the standard of bullshit we can expect in the fight over minimum pricing, I welcome it. It could well have the effect of opening many eyes to the abuses of trust that have been visited on the public previously.