Monday, 16 February 2009

Next They Came For ...

Another good spot by the Pub Curmudgeon, and accompanied, as always, by his customary common sense.

The latest intrusion of the government into people’s private lives is the plan to quiz jobseekers as to how much they drink. Surely this is entirely people’s own business, and as long as they are able to function in a job should be of no concern to the State. And, if people are unable to work due to alcohol problems, they can claim invalidity benefit anyway. The authorities may claim to be only targeting “problem drinkers”, but how long will it be before people are refused benefits because they exceed the official alcohol guidelines of two thimblefuls every Preston Guild? And who will be next – smokers, the overweight, those who don’t eat their “five a day”?

That last bit made me smile. Smokers being next. For the past couple of years, I've been attempting to wake people up to the fact that the punishment meted out to smokers is just the start, and that drinkers and those who enjoy 'unapproved' food would be next. If you have any sort of vice, you should be worried about the treatment of smokers, no matter your like or dislike of the smoking ban.

It's happening more swiftly than even I imagined.

With the righteous hitting a bit of a stumbling block with regard the hiding of tobacco displays, they have simply moved onto a fresh target using, as predicted, the same template.

In this instance, they can't possibly argue that smoking can be an obstacle to capacity for work, but they can certainly misdirect a sheep-like public into believing the notion that alcohol consumption invariably has that effect. It's an easier target, so they will hit that first. Smokers actually take a back-seat for this particular righteous offensive. Quite a novelty.

The Curmudgeon is absolutely correct that if they get this one through the gullible public, other lifestyle choices will surely follow. (false) Figures will be trotted out about how successful this initiative was and that replication will only be good for the country.

Stopping benefits for those who are taking the piss and are unemployable by their own volition makes perfect sense, but this is nothing of the sort. It is behaviour management, pure and simple, with a large splash of blackmail thrown in.


Curmudgeon said...

Thanks for the mention. Obviously I'm well aware that smokers are usually first in line for Nanny's attention, but as being a smoker doesn't obviously disqualify you from work in the same sense as being an alcoholic, in this case it is drink which is getting the spotlight turned on it.

Clearly this is the first step in what is likely to be a growing movement to make benefits dependent on officially-approved lifestyle choices.

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's not always just smokers and drinkers.

Didn't they do photographers yesterday, and hobby deep sea fishers last month, just for a bit of variety?

Leg-iron said...

Already, employers are allowed to discriminate against smokers. Soon they can determine whether their staff drink more than the Permitted Amount and sack them if they do.

It's going to make the Christmas parties even duller than I remember.

Then they'll require your height and weight on the application form.

Naturally, if you fail to get a job because of your deviation from the State Average, you won't get benefits either.

It's unnatural selection in action. Survival of the most banal.

banned said...

I thought I was joking when I mentioned that before long we will be subjected to alcohol quotas.
Next we will be criminalised for trading in quotas when buying a round.

A. Righteous Drone said
"Yes but, I think that buying a round of alcohol based liquids would be inappropriate because someone might not want that last drink but feel pressurised by his peers, We will not tolerate this drinkist behaviour "

As you say, picking on the unemployed is just the start, next will be anyone in receipt of working family tax credits.

Neal Asher said...

Funny, I'm utterly against the government interfering in people's lifestyle choices, but in this respect I'm not so sure. Smoking and drinking are luxuries so why the hell should the tax payer fund them? This of course is the wrong way of going about it - 'jobseekers' should receive vouchers rather than money for the necessities of life.

Gordon said...

@ Asher? Why don't they give the jobless free bus tickets on election day, but only if they're going to vote for the right party? I would much rather pay my taxes so that a JSA claimant is able to buy the occasional pint at his local than any number of schemes this government spends my taxes on (Mr Khatader, Jacqui the Hutt's sister's house, David Milliband (and his brother), most H&S officers etc etc etc.