Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Ugly Face Of Alcohol Prohibition

If you're still sceptical when I describe those kindly, calm-speaking medical types as "prohibitionists", try this two minutes of education from Ian Gilmore about the inner desires of the Alcohol Health Alliance.

His choice of words is clever throughout. For example, he describes his group as "non-governmental" despite almost all of its 21 members being funded out of government tax receipts.

He is more honest, though, in rubbishing the commonly-held belief that the current anti-alcohol drive is restricted to those whose alcohol abuse affects others or causes havoc in town centres.
"We set this up about 5 years ago because the emphasis of the media was all about crime and anti-social behaviour."
Well, yes. Because the vast majority of the public only tolerate the likes of Gilmore meddling with taxation, restrictions and bans on the understanding that he is tackling abusive behaviour, not a few drinks of a weekend. Not so, says Gilmore, mere 'intoxication' is enough for him and his pals to intervene.

His mask slips further by his admittance that the war on booze is following in the footsteps of that on tobacco. You may recall anti-smokers denying this slippery slope on many an occasion - tobacco is a unique product, remember? Gilmore is very clear on the matter, though.
"It was modelled on ASH, which has been tremendously influential ... which was spun off from the Royal College of Physicians in 1962 or so"
And very closely modelled he intends it to be, too.
"We set up the Alcohol Health Alliance five years ago with very much the same idea of allowing it to be an advocacy organisation just a step away from the Royal College of Physicians."
Again, though, he is very careful with his description (or, more accurately, re-writing) of history.

The health community love repeating the myth of ASH being set up by the RCP, and get prickly when you point out that they're lying

The real formation of ASH is an entirely different story.
In January 1971, the British version of Action on Smoking and Health was launched. 
ASH (UK) was a unique creation in British politics. It would masquerade as, in [Chief Medical Officer] Godber's words, a "voluntary group" but was staffed by full-time government employees. It would accept donations but would never be reliant on them since it was funded by the taxpayer. It was created by politicians but it would be staffed by people who would never have to stand for election. The public would be allowed to become members but it would have no need for volunteers since it would speak directly to the media and lawmakers (its membership never exceeded more than a few hundred people in any case). ASH did not exist to set up stop-smoking clinics or to provide help for smokers who wished to quit. Instead it was designed from the very outset to be a professional pressure group and by the end of its first decade it had become set on an agenda of eliminating smoking throughout the United Kingdom.
For tobacco's Godber, read alcohol's Gilmore as he seeks to immortalise himself as the founder of the long road to alcohol prohibition with the astoundingly anti-democratic ASH as his inspiration. 

Gilmore's denouement further emphasises this as he states that the first step for the AHA is to bully politicians into installing minimum alcohol pricing.
"Our priority at the moment is to support the government's alcohol strategy in introducing a minimum unit price for alcohol ... we're also wishing them to do a bit more about marketing (etc etc, DP)"
In time, doing "a bit more about marketing" would inevitably lead to plain packaging for beer, wine and spirits as already hinted at in, err, the government's alcohol strategy of which Gilmore speaks. And then, following in ASH's footsteps, onto the "endgame". Or, in common parlance, ultimate prohibition.

It's not like he's hidden his aspirations, either, as this article at the Devil's place in 2009 shows. It's just that the media and a bovine public have still to wake up and smell Gilmore's acrid authoritarian stench.

When you next open your payslip and weep at the extortionate deductions ripped from you by politicians, remind yourself that a proportion of it is directly funnelled to Gilmore and his chums to punish you in your leisure time with your own hard-earned cash. 


Mark.S said...

Pocket Money prices....Check

45p too low....Check


c777 said...


Steve Brown said...

Gilmore = Cnut

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Cute response :)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Oh, it's sound bite central all right, it's a trick they've learned over the years. It helps them to avoid proper impartial evidence.

It's ironic that they learned the tactics from advertising by private businesses who they now profess to despise and whose methods they condemn.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

A 'proper' one, as the Devil's link points out. ;)

John M said...

This is the inevitable result when Government sets up and funds single issue lobby groups like this. Your give the child a hammer, pay him to use it, but once he's hit the nail you wanted it to it can't put the hammer down because he's being paid to use a hammer, and suddenly everything else around it becomes a nail.

No-one seems willing to remove the alcohol alliance's public funding even though Gilmore is walking towards the french windows with his hammer. No-one is brave enough to take the hammer from him.

Ivan D said...

ASH is a creation of the DH.Gilmore is a product of the UK medical establishment. Both structures are undemocratic, socially divisive, amazingly expensive and in urgent need of reform.