Monday, 9 February 2009

Righteous Gear Up For Book Burning?

Julia M has had a justified rant at the righteous over at Ambush Predator, about this piece of morally indignant idiocy.

Tesco and Asda were condemned last night for selling a string of books and CDs with the F-word in their titles.

The items were available on their websites, where they were easily accessible to children

It was an error, of course. Both supermarkets normally filter these things out:
They appeared even if inoffensive words from their titles were entered into the sites' search engines, with the potential to shock and offend shoppers.

Asda quickly apologised when The Mail on Sunday brought the books and CDs to its attention and promptly removed them from its stock list.

So, problem solved, right?

Oh, no:
Tesco explained that its technological filter system, designed to prevent any products with offensive titles from appearing on its main site, had been faulty. It has since been repaired, making the titles more difficult to view.

But MPs and campaigners are now questioning whether a change in the law is necessary to prevent unlimited access to such products

I’ll save you the trouble – NO!

Not that that will stop the bandwagon jumpers, of course, for whom this represents a chance to get their names in the media:
Don Foster, the Liberal Democrat MP for Bath, criticised falling standards of decency among retailers. He said: ‘In terms of magazines, CDs and DVDs, standards seem to be slipping. If the industry can’t collectively sort itself out then we must seriously look into external regulation. If they can’t regulate themselves, we may have to introduce a statutory code.

They are regulating themselves – this was a simple error, which when brought to their attention, was quickly fixed.

Exactly. Except this is never enough for the righteous, as we have experienced before and will no doubt see again.

This is why Guinness are being rather naive in thinking that stating the amount of alcohol units on the side of the glass is going to appease these health crusaders.

Guinness is claiming an industry first with plans to put the number of units of alcohol on the side of a pint glass. The 500,000 new glasses that will be issued to pubs and bars from today will also mark the 250th anniversary of the founding of the St James’s Gate Brewery in Dublin by Arthur Guinness.

Diageo, the owner of Guinness, said it hoped that the move would help drinkers to stay within the Government’s recommended guidelines on alcohol consumption.

John Roscoe, Guinness marketing director, said: “If the glasses are effective, it would be good to see the practice become more widespread.”

It won't work. The righteous don't want gestures like this, they lust for complete control. Despite alcohol ads all carrying the 'Drink Responsibly' slogan, there are still regular calls for complete bans on alcohol advertising. After a few months, with alcohol consumption figures remaining the same, as they will do, the righteous will be jumping up and down screeching that drinks firms aren't doing enough. They will push for an advertising ban and then move on to calling for Government enforced price hikes, with a view to forcibly limiting personal alcohol intake in the future by other means (swiping ID cards, anyone?).

It's always the same. Wetherspoons & Pizza Hut are two high-profile examples of chains that had banned smoking before the ban, but it wasn't enough for the righteous, they wanted it all, and no amount of self-adjustment by the hospitality trade short of full prohibition would ever have satisfied them.

The screw is being turned on alcohol now and the same type of thinking behind the wailing and gnashing of teeth over books and CDs in supermarkets will be wheeled out in due course.

McVities can reduce fat in their biscuits voluntarily if they like. It won't matter a jot. Crisp manufacturers can reduce salt and fat, same story, it won't render them immune from the bansturbators.

When will businesses learn that you can't appease these people? The only line of defence is attack, using every facet of the vast amount of clout that their industries can command.

I'm sure a book I read last year is in that list of 'smutty' titles at Asda, but it is an extremely apt title. "Is it just me or is everything shit?"


Pat Nurse MA said...

No. it's not just you Dick, everything is absolutely shit!

I would say snuggling up to Nanny will do the alcohol industry no good at all. Why don't they get some guts and fight? They will find one day, in the not too distant future, that they are illegal companies fighting for the very right to exist if they don't stand their ground now!

If such companies don't put their foot down with the health bullies, and stand up for the rights of their customers, then they deserve to go under .. and they will!

Curmudgeon said...

Unfortunately "industry" only tends to be interested in short-term profit and is very reluctant to fight back against government measures that ultimately may destroy their business.

Have the motor industry done anything to fight the tidal wave of anti-car measures? No, so long as they can sell "green" cars, they're happy.

Likewise the tobacco industry made a very half-hearted response to anti-tobacco legislation. They know people are reluctant to stop smoking and, if advertising and product displays are banned, it simply restricts competition and protects their profit margins.

You could argue that it is in their self-interest as capitalists to do so and, ultimately, it won't be capitalists who save capitalism.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Very good to see you here, Curmudgeon, and a great contribution. Very sound arguments too. You're right about tobacco companies, smoking bans don't affect them or their customer base. If they squealed more, it would only do harm, so they stay silent.

I blogged something along those lines here

The losers have been the pubcos who rolled over and played dead, despite their obvious power.

Almost to a man, they refused to accept it would cause damage to their business. In some cases, almost terminal.

They don't seem to have learned, and it is very sad to see them still trusting this Government to help them on the issue of rejuvenating pubs. It ain't going to happen. They are next up the steps to the guillotine, and are following the same appeasement folly thinking they won't be for the choppping block.

It's time for them to stand up and say no.

I can't see them doing so while CAMRA still act like collaborators. Therein is a perfect pressure group who could do what the pubcos refuse to do regarding the arbitrary adherence to alcohol units, but they are still in denial and need to change their view too.

There's a meeting hosted by CAMRA on the 25th. With any luck some scales might have been lifted from their eyes by then, but I wouldn't hold my breath.

timbone said...

Dick, I don't know whether this is a relevant point. You were saying about firms standing up to the 'righteous', and stating the obvious, with a take it or leave it kind of kind of stance. I won't bore you with my thought process here, but it reminded me of something.
A friend of mine had been made redundant, managed to keep up her priority debts and secured loans, but had got into heavy arrears with credit cards. She was back in employment, on a lower salary, but was able to manage some monthly payments.
Now we get to the good bit. They wanted £500 per month, and she told them she would willingly pay £200 as this was all she could afford. The debt agency phoned her every day, more than once, with all kinds of threats, demanding £500 a month.
I spoke to my son who among other things deals with insolvency, and this is what he told me to tell her. Next time they phone, tell them that they can have £200 month or you will go bankrupt and then they will get nothing.
See what I mean. State the obvious backed up by facts and it is done and dusted.

Dick Puddlecote said...

That's right Tim. Stand up and be counted. Draw a line in the sand.

Constantly back-tracking isn't doing the pubs any good, and they will suffer further as a result.

Beer and Pub companies contribute to the economy to the tune of millions, whilst the righteous just drain. So why are the righteous dragging them through the mud uncontested? Why are pub companies complicit in measures that will hurt their business?

Why don't they stand up for themselves?

They are an easy touch at the moment, I bet the righteous can't believe how they are getting such a smooth ride.

Smokers didn't spot the threat early enough. Pub companies have no excuse, they have seen what can happen and are still sticking their fingers in their ears and singing lalala.

I wish they would grow a spine.

banned said...

"Diageo hopes this will make it easier for people to stay within Government's guidelines on daily alcohol unit consumption."
We don't want to stay within the governments fucking guidlines, we just want to get pissed.

Anyway, when alcohol quotas are introduced it will be Diageo crying into their alcohol free Guinness Lite. Cowardly fools who stand by hoping that the bad things won't happen to them; who didn't stand up for the smokers when they were come for.