Prof Gilmore, a specialist in liver disease and chair of the European Alcohol and Health Forum Science Group, said: "Given the failure of the Westminster government to follow through on its earlier commitment to a minimum unit price for alcohol, there is a real opportunity for government in Northern Ireland to show the way in adopting this evidence-based public health policy."Evidence-based? He's surely pulling our chain. You see, we can judge how good the evidence for minimum pricing is from the competency of those paid with your money to produce it.
Step forward Sheffield University whose policy-led report has been the basis for all of the public sector waste of taxpayer funds in this area for the past few years.
They've already been caught providing fantasy stats to the Guardian and to Panorama - for which the BBC had to apologise - and their assertions have been described by their own side as "not scientifically credible".
Sadly for Gilmore, it just gets worse for his 'evidence'.
The junk scientists at Sheffield University recently changed all their previous sure and certain predictions of how great minimum pricing was going to be, making absolutely sure that they erased all online copies of the original. There's a hint to why they did so in this exchange with John Holmes, one of Sheffield's
I think the point being made is that they are just cocking around with fake figures on a shonky pound shop calculator, as always.
And that's just the half of it. Although the original has been quietly removed, some, ahem, clever jewel robbers saved it as a copy pdf. Here are a few more highlights of the difference between what they insisted was fact in 2009 to con Cameron into action, and what their revised report now claims.
2009: 45p minimum price would cut consumption by 4.3%
2013: 45p minimum price would cut consumption by 1.6%
2009: It would save 344 lives in year 1 and 2,040 lives a year by year 10
2013: It would save 123 lives in year 1 and 624 lives a year by year 10
2009: Alcohol admissions would be down by 66,200
2013: Alcohol admissions would be down by 23,700
2009: Year one direct health savings of £58.6m and cumulative ten year saving of £1,074m
2013: Year one direct health savings of £25.3m and cumulative ten year saving of £417.2m
2009: Total societal value of harm reduction £6.6bnHmm, to any impartial observer, that would appear to be enough to hold fire on heavy-handed legislation, right? The obvious reaction from a political point of view is that the evidence is so weak and flakey that not even idiot politicians could place any faith in it.
2013: Total societal value of harm reduction £3.4bn
Now, I've scoured Twitter - and other places where the normally loud-mouthed anti-fun brigade tend to accumulate - but they are incredibly quiet about this massive downgrading of these, err, cast-iron 2009 promises. In fact, I've never, ever, seen such startling silence accompanying a major new revelation of current health 'evidence'.
This is the principal plank on which alcohol prohibitionists have built the case for minimum pricing over the past four years, and it's all over the place. No wonder Sheffield are desperately trying to hide it and the likes of Prof Gilmore are slithering off to NornIron and keeping schtum about Sheffield altogether.
Of course, for the prohibitionist, this merely means that there should be a minimum price of 50p, 60p or even more. In fact, seeing as John Holmes reckons that inflation ruins the whole idea, why not an ever-moving feast index-linked to whatever fiscal measurement punishes the less well off the most, eh? Exactly as we who are opposed to minimum pricing have been correctly insisting would be the case all along.
It was probably wise, then, that Gilmore didn't think Sheffield's 'ground-breaking' research worth mentioning in his press released jolly to Northern Ireland. It's not good form in temperance circles to
H/T Steve W