Monday, 15 February 2010

Three Is The Magic Number

While fake charities, righteously indignant busybodies, and state-paid tutters and head-shakers form a very long orderly queue, members of the public may be completely unaware that a 'public consultation' was launched today.

I mentioned at the weekend that government were mulling over the idea of ordering mandatory health warnings on alcohol. It seems they have mulled enough and you have till the 9th of May to air your views.

There are three options:

Option 1 [helpfully termed the "Do Nothing" option): Whether we should allow the current voluntary agreement to continue

Option 2: Whether there is any real prospect for a targeted and strengthened self-regulatory agreement with the alcohol industry to improve the coverage and consistency of unit and health information on labels.

Option 3: Whether a mandatory requirement with its associated costs, including those for small producers, is required [...]
There are plenty of pointers to guide you in the right direction, not that Don Shenker, Ian Gilmore and their swivel-eyed chums will need anything more than their prohibition targeted temperance compass, of course.

The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies/governments are all lined up for option 3, and in the background, the EU are nodding enthusiastically too.

Should the Government find that it is not possible to enter a credible, voluntary agreement on alcohol labelling with the alcohol industry, we would consider a mandatory requirement through notifying draft regulations to the EU. It is a particular concern that a future EU requirement for calorie labelling on alcohol labels, which the UK Government supports, should be complemented by alcohol unit and health information being also widely available on labels.
Hmmm. Doesn't look too much like a 'public' consultation so far, but I'm sure you'll be relieved that it is being conducted in strict accordance with the rules on such matters.

[...]the consultation exercise is designed to be accessible to, and clearly targeted at, those people it is intended to reach;
So off you go then. Have your say.

What's that? You don't know where to find it? That could be because government tends to find the public a bit too inconvenient for public consultations. As a result, the modern approach is to target, and intend to reach, exclusively those whom government choose ... and the public don't figure too highly in that regard post 1997.

Still, there is a vague chance your view may be listened to, so if you wish to respond, just go here [pdf] and plough through the 71 pages. It mentions that you should have your 'research' to hand, though, so I hope you have been busy with that qualitative study.

Lastly, you'll be pleased to discover that any resultant legislation ...

[...] does not differentiate on the grounds of disability, transgender, religion or belief and sexual orientation.

The policy will not influence unjustifiable discrimination.
... which I imagine was a quite a significant worry, wasn't it?

So there is nothing to lose. Go tell the government to stop being so dictatorial. I'm sure they'll listen intently, unless they completely ignore any dissenting view, of course.

Have I ever mentioned that mandatory health warnings on tobacco were the first step on the road to the situation we now find ourselves in?

A couple of buckets of water were lobbed down the drinks industry slope today.

UPDATE: On the same topic, here's a truly excellent piece from Tim Collard ... ahem, a Labour party member. For a brief moment, I thought I'd written it myself.


IanPJ said...

These fake charities are so funny.

We all know the real answer is 42.

Duncan Stott said...

One stumbling block for Labour is all that delicious money they get from Baron Hollick, who's a director of Diageo.

Mark Wadsworth said...

"Do nothing" should always be the preferred option. Always do that first and see what happens.

Pat Nurse MA said...

What's the point of consultations when they don't give a toss what the public thinks anyway :(

BTS said...

I wouldn't give a flying fuck about this 'consultation' were it not for the fact that, as Dick rightly pointed out, this will merely be the first step. Speaking as a raging alcoholic (Dick will vouch for me on that..), and therefore presumably one of those individuals that these stupid ideas are aimed at, a bloody health warning won't make the slightest difference to me (so long as I can still see what I'm buying).

I know the damage that alcohol can cause to the body and it hasn't stopped me. In fact, I think it only encourages me as I am sick to bloody death already of these fucking ignorant pricks trying to tell me how to live my own fucking life.

I'm looking forward to an early grave if it gets me away from such self-absorbed cunts.

Oh, the bottle in front of me informs me that I have already consumed 28 units today. Big fucking woo. I'm really looking forward to making a serious dent in the next bottle which says (surprise!) exactly the same fucking thing.

Stupid fucking overpaid thieving fucking cunts..

Anonymous said...

Well, I have just ploughed through the consultation stuff and, try as I might, I cannot find the 'consultation form'. Am I stupid or what?

What amazes me is the massive amount of money that must have been spent on producing the document. Have you read the impact assessment stuff? - How much money might be saved by the reduction of unemployment and absenteeism and illness, etc. Someone has somehow managed to produce figures showing actual vast cash sums which will be saved apparently IF the labelling of drinks reduces consumption by, say, 0.2%, 1% or 10%. The sum for 10% is in the hundreds of millions of pounds.

As with recommended units, by whom and how were these figures produced? The mind boggles at the vast cost of putting labels on bottles and cans which no one will read.

Let us all vote Conservative. Let us ensure a Tory majority. Let us hope and pray that the Tories, while having a department or depts to sort out the economy, institute a dept whose sole objective is to abolish totally and completely all quangos and fake charities the purposes of which are to exaggerate and compel. And let us hope that they force the implementation of the same policy upon the EU.

The one good thing about Margaret Thatcher is that she said to the EU, "No! We will not!"

BTS said...

I really do admire your tenacity junican..

But I still don't see the tories as being much better. Dave's already backed down on an EU referendum and they're going down the same route as Brown's shower on the booze front.

And you can forget about them revisiting the smoking ban too..

*Apologies for not citing any quotes but I seem to recall Dick mentioning these specific items previously right here.

And this bottle is making me feel lazy..

Bucko said...

I read recently in my local paper that they are building a childrens play area on the grass directly opposite my house.

Apparently they had a public consultation for that too and "local residents" suggested the site.

There are five houses on my very small street and none of us have children.

I moved there because I cant stand the little bastards and none live anywhere near me.

Now it looks like they are about to start importing the buggers in.

I'm sure this "consultation" will also result in a much faked overwhelming puplic support for more dictatorial measures.

Dont Labour manage to get all their stupid policies in with huge puplic support when most of the nation cant stand the intrusive c**ts?

Anonymous said...

Its job creation for "PRIGS" !
Actually Labour are scoring a massive own goal here as unlike smokers.
Drinkers are a majority.
Well Labour, is it worth it just to satisfy the warped logic of a few "PRIGS".

Spartan said...
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Kin_Free said...

Here is one of the best examples of a nu labour 'public consultation'.

This wasn't just a 'consultation' it was a referendum that every household in the North East was given the opportunity to vote on. I hail from this area and remember well completing the official form on the proposed change to unitary councils from existing local councils.

The Unitary council was rejected by nearly 80% of the population.,_2004

Similar referendums were planned for other areas of England. I wonder why they were quickly shelved ?

Guess what sort of council we are now controlled by?

It just goes to show that the government ARE very considerate of minorities when making their decisions!!

Spartan said...

Does this mean l have to label my homemade plonk? ;-)

One wonders how long it will be before these moronic, anti-social, self-important idiots will turn their attention to the homemade trade.

Also wonder if you'll get a little leaflet with every glass of alcoholic drink you buy at pubs seeing as you won't be able to see labels on the bottles etc from where the drinks are dispensed????

Kin_Free said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reason said...

A few points spring to mind:

(1) Page 8, para 2
“Over a quarter of the adult population (9 million adults) in England drink above the Government guidelines. These 9 million adults drink three quarters of all the alcohol consumed in England.”

So it’s a 75/25 split. Similar to Pareto (80/20) just as expected.

I bet those dreaming up this “consultation” are not in the 25% that consume 75% of all the alcohol!

(2) No mention that alcohol has benefits.

(3) No mention that alcohol consumption is actually falling.

(4) No mention that alcohol has doubled in price, in real terms, over the last 30 years.

(5) There is a forth option: abandon the labelling, just show the alcohol percentage and size of the container then let the consumers work it out for themselves.

However, having watched “Dispatches” last night on Channel 4, the standards of maths taught in schools nowadays is too poor to work out this simple sum. (But that’s another subject.)

Sam Duncan said...

“The Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish assemblies/governments are all lined up for option 3”

Oh, of course. What a shocker.

bayard said...

"Someone has somehow managed to produce figures showing actual vast cash sums which will be saved apparently IF the labelling of drinks reduces consumption by, say, 0.2%, 1% or 10%. The sum for 10% is in the hundreds of millions of pounds"

Does this take into account the loss of revenue from the duty on the alcohol, or have they conveniently ignored that?