Monday, 2 March 2009

With Friends Like These ...

If I were in charge of an organisation that fights for the rights of drinkers to enjoy their selected tipple without state interference, I'd be particularly worried about this lunacy from the Scottish arm of the UK Righteous society.

Scotland moves to cut cheap alcohol sales

LONDON (AFP) — The Scottish government announced on Monday controversial plans to set a minimum price for alcohol in a bid to tackle liquor abuse including binge drinking amongst the young.

The Edinburgh administration unveiled the plans aimed at stamping out cut-rate prices for alcohol including money saving promotions such as "3 for 2" deals.

This is a Holyrood initiative, remember. So why was it receiving prominent billing on English radio stations and regional TV news bulletins tonight? The implication appeared to be that it is almost certainly going to be mirrored in England and Wales. In fact, scratch that. It wasn't implied, it was cast as almost a definite. Boy, those fake charities that want us all drinking lemonade out of the bottle through a straw have been busy today. Are our Jock friends being used as national guinea pigs again? I think they are, you know.

CAMRA are, as you would expect, incandescent with rage at this first step towards denormalising alcohol.

The Campaign for Real Ale (Camra) has backed moves in Scotland to ban supermarkets from selling below cost.

“It is irresponsible and reckless for the major supermarkets to sell alcohol at below cost," said Camra chief executive Mike Benner.

Mike Benner, you short-sighted cunt, do you not remember this? It was only last month, for fuck's sake.

A pub chain is cutting the price of a pint to 99p to cheer cash-strapped drinkers - but the move has sparked criticism from an alcohol charity.

JD Wetherspoon, which operates 713 pubs across the UK, is offering "indefinite" reductions on some beer, bottled lager, wine and spirits, plus £2.99 meals.

Health campaigners fear other pub chains could follow.

Alcohol Concern says pricing drinks at 1989 levels could cause more people to drink too much and end up in hospital.

Nicolay Sorensen, from the charity, said prices across the industry were already 65% lower in real terms than in 1980.

They're after you already, you smug bell end. Appeasing these tedious, prohibitionist shitsticks isn't going to work, seriously. When are your lot going to start standing up against them?

Benner, you are an incompetent of the highest order if you haven't done your research and realised that the supermarkets aren't bothered in the slightest by all this. In fact, they will be perfectly happy to see it happen all over the UK.

Tesco last month urged the Government to implement a ban. It claimed it could not act by itself, as competition laws prevent it from discussing an industry-wide alcohol price increase with its rivals.

Think about it, Benner. Why would Tesco be calling for this type of legislation? So that pubs could benefit to the mass retailers' detriment? Or do you not think they know a hell of a lot more than you about how this is going to work?

CAMRA's argument seems to centre around the assumption that supermarkets are using beer as loss-leaders to invigorate sales in other areas. It may well be true, but by the same token, if that advantage was taken away, surely they would lose the increased related sales and wouldn't be very happy about it. They don't seem to be bothered.

But why should they be? They're clever enough to know that the increases will be brought in across the board. As usual, our EU masters are there before us. Artcle 81 (1) of the EC Treaty specifically prohibits Resale Price Maintenance (RPM).

The following shall be prohibited as incompatible with the common market: all agreements between undertakings, decisions by associations of undertakings and concerted practices which may affect trade between Member States and which have as their object or effect the prevention, restriction or distortion of competition within the common market, and in particular those which:

(a) directly or indirectly fix purchase or selling prices or any other trading conditions;

Now, I may be wrong, but EU law allows for differences in member state taxes and duty but simply won't tolerate ramping up prices artificially for consumers. Argos got in a lot of trouble for this a while back over collusion with competitors on toy sales. It cost the perpetrators over £20m in fines.

It's possible that the EU may throw this out anyway, but if UK government manage to push it through, it will either be through taxation, which has already been OK'd (see difference in duties and import restrictions between member states), or by an agreement that government can inflict minimum prices on unhealthy products. Benner, you enjoy an unhealthy product. Your organisation may well crow now, but the minimum price will not merely apply to supermarkets, but to breweries too.

Do you really think that brewers are going to swallow these extra costs themselves? Of course not, they will pass them on, probably with a premium on top. The status quo is re-installed, Tesco still sell their beer a lot cheaper than your favoured haunt, but everyone now pays more. Well done, Benner, you fucking idiot. Now, how about taking your head out of your arrogant arse and doing something constructive?

Well, I suppose it's fine seeing as the SNP must have done some 'consultation' to get to this draconian stage. I'm sure there was a groundswell of opinion. Not a bit of it.

A total of 530 responses were received: 260 from individuals, 215 from organisations and 55 from MSPs and other sources.

Five million people live in Scotland, and the consultation received just 260 responses from individuals. This is what passes for democracy in our modern world.

So, was Holyrood swayed by the overwhelming evidence from the people that took time to reply before they brought in these measures that Shona Robison describes as "unashamedly radical"? No, not really.

Responses to the Scottish Government's disputed alcohol strategy were published today, which include mixed views on proposals to increase the legal age for alcohol off-sales and set minimum prices for certain 'problem' drinks.

However, there was broad approval from medical bodies for plans to stop cheap promotional offers on alcoholic drinks, as well as introducing minimum pricing for certain products.

BMA Scotland gave a similar response to those issues, arguing for "an end to irresponsible promotional activities such as deep discounting, loss leading and 'two-for-one' offers". The medical body also supported minimum pricing, arguing that cost is proven to have a direct relation to alcohol consumption and associated abuse.

So, the entire body of evidence came from those being paid to oppose differing lifestyle choices. Straight from the Labour manual on how to treat the electorate like shit.

The Scottish Labour opposition voiced dissent, but it can hardly be taken seriously seeing as they were the fucking loons that mooted the idea in the first place.

(Labour MP John) Grogan, chairman of the all-party Parliamentary Beer Group, said the supermarkets were guilty of "brazen" behaviour.

He added: "You would think they may have some shame given this is so much in the spotlight. The only way to deal with this is for the Government to drive through an order. It could be done very quickly."

Scottish Labour, stop it, you're not fooling anyone. Shona Robison, we already know what an illiberal cunt you are, you would look at your best under a careering bus. But if that is the resistance we are to expect from CAMRA, and we have seen such obsequious shite from the organisation before, what is the point to them?

Mike Benner, take your 'Old Speckled Hen' and stick it up your arse you 'Arrogant Bastard' (that's a real ale apparently), you are just making matters worse.


Anonymous said...

Considering CAMRA profess to love pubs they really are doing their best to see them all shut, aren't they? Or maybe this is just part of a campaign where the only place you can smoke and drink is in a sodden tent in Dorset surrounded by stained T-shirt-wearing social misfts and bearded ladies? My God, that's it! They're cleverer than I thought! They want a monopoly on beer and by seeing all pubs go to the wall we'll all be forced to drink in CAMRA-sponsored "designated drinking tents" with obligatory folk music and farting. That's the only explanation, surely? They can't be THAT fuckwitted..... Can they?

Anonymous said...

yes they destroyed pubs with every one of their policies. Cant believe i was ever a member of them!!

Emiliano Zapata

Mark Wadsworth said...

What first anon says.

Did CAMRA ever speak out for or against the smoking ban? That would clinch it one way or another.

DaveA said...

Mike Benner warned in November 2004 that smoking bans would lead to pub closures. I believe he is sympathtic to the smoking ban overall. To be fair I have met him and comes across as a decent bloke.

Anonymous the tent has to be 50% exposed.

Neal Asher said...

Time to stock up on the home brew kits before they start hiking the taxes on them. Also time to check out Internet diagrams on how to build a still.

Anonymous said...

From the link to the Holyrood site:

The Edinburgh Royal College of Paediatrics and Child Health said there "should be no promotions on any alcohol", while specifically arguing that "the sale of alcohol as a loss-leader should be banned". It also supported the proposal "to introduce a significantly higher minimum pricing of all alcohol products in the market".

Wtf have they got to do with it? Isn't it already illegal for kids to purchase alcohol and if so how would this idiotic piece of legislation help?

Anonymous said...

Everyone will be brewing their own beer, distilling spirits and growing tobacco, and will be sitting at home out of harms way.

Anonymous said...

CAMRA were very pro-ban before the ban came in - in one of their newsletters they expressed dismay at the small number of their featured hostelries which were non-smoking. Since the ban, however, with the clear evidence of the damage it has wrought upon the pub trade there has been a teeny, tiny change, with a few members now prepared to acknowledge that the ban is part of the problem, though always with the insinuation that it's cheap supermarket alcohol and the credit crunch which are the real culprits. Overall, I think it's true to say that they remain a pretty pro-ban group. Certainly, for a group which professes to have real ale and pub welfare at its heart, their response to the ban has been pretty limp and useless, to say the least.

banned said...

Seems a bit foolish for the drinks industry as a whole not to unite behind demanding that the state should have fuck all to do with minimum prices.
As for Scotland, they often trial policies there and then smugly point out " well it works fine in Scotland so what's your problem ? You must want the kiddies getting pissed so that you can abuse them ! "

"Nicolay Sorensen, from the charity, said prices across the industry were already 65% lower in real terms than in 1980.
What bollox, I and everyone I know could afford to drink myself into hospital every day if I chose to and could if they multiplied the cost several times over.
They are simply demonising 'cheap' alcohol to facilitate stealth taxes and to supposedly make themselves look all concerned and caring; cunts more like.

Neal Asher said...

Always the same on TV: it's the credit crunch and supermarket alcohol that's killing the pubs. No mention of how pub closures before the ban in 2006 were at about 4 a week then after the ban rose to about 27 a week. Of course it can't be the smoking ban that did that because all those non-smokers moaning about smokers in pubs were going to return. Like fuck.

Stop Hitting Me Officer said...

I would advocate the brewing of alcohol in the private home - except it ain't private any more.

Not long now until home brew shops are closed down and police helicopters are hovering, looking for signs of demijohns and barrels as well as cannabis plants and wood-burning stoves.

Then, once a glass of Chateau Puissance Wogga-Wogga or a pint of Olde Athlete's Foot is Class A/B/C controlled or whatever it'll be ... sugar, caffeine, saturated fatties, expensive imports like bananas. ...

Let's not teach moderation, let's ban everything.