Monday 21 February 2011

The Precedent That Keeps On Giving

You may remember my describing - in this article - seat belt laws as the result of a highly successful misinformation campaign back in the 1980s, and how bansturbators have been studying the methodology employed back then to further mislead the public, refining it with every new assault on our freedoms.

Because, based on fantasy though that legislation was, it's seen by rancid prodnoses as a perfect precedent for invasive and illiberal future righteous goals.

One of the first UK laws to establish the state's right to legislate 'for our own good' was the Transport Act 1983 which rendered a driver punishable if not wearing a seat belt for their own safety.

It's no surprise, then, that mandatory wearing of seat belts is now regularly cited as a precedent by politicians - when they lack public demand - wishing to further interfere in our daily lives. It has been quoted to justify all manner of illiberal schemes including (I know my audience) the pursuit of smoking bans, minimum alcohol pricing and, increasingly, climate change measures
Today you may have noticed a perfect example from Ian Gilmore (I refuse to title him as 'Sir', he was better described by The Filthy Smoker here).

Quoted on Comrade Beeb's website, this is Ian's oleaginous justification for finger-wagging over minimum pricing of alcohol amongst other nannying nonsense.

"Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity like soap powder," said Sir Ian.

"It is a drug, it happens to be legal, but it is a drug and there are more than 1.5 million people addicted to alcohol. We think, like other areas of public health, like smoking, like seatbelts, there is a strong case for tougher regulation and the most effective regulation would be around price."
There it is again. The precedent that keeps on giving, and it will adequately fool most of our unquestioning population.

Even though all Gilmore is effectively doing is quoting two measures which have not saved a single life, to promote more nannying which will also have no positive effect whilst simultaneously punishing all collectively, unnecessarily burdening businesses, and making life in this country that little bit more miserable.

Still, it keeps the tax tap flowing into the tedious bastards' bank accounts though, which is the real point of the exercise, is it not?


JuliaM said...

You should catch today's 'Jeremy Vine' show - about 1 hr 20 mins in, an ex-Labour councillor called John Cowan expands on his idea for drinks licences. For drinkers...

Quite the most utterly bonkers man ever to grace that studio.

Dick Puddlecote said...

The same John Cowan who caused a bit of a stir in 2009 with this bollocks, you mean? ;)

I vaguely remember he got ripped to pieces online over that.

Mark Wadsworth said...

The BBC are still pumping out this shit on News 24

"A quarter of a million lives could be saved over the next twenty years" etc.

Not only is that a lie (you can't save 12,500 lives a year if there are only 9,000 alcohol-related deaths a year anyway), the cumulative figure is always lower than 'lives saved' (i.e. 'deaths deferred') x time frame.

Consider, if we magically reduced alcohol-related deaths to nil overnight, how many of the 9,000 people who would have died this year will die over the next twenty years anyway? Half of them?

Hence my counter-logic - if 100,000 people a year die in the UK from smoking related illness, then mathematically, over the next six centuries, the entire UK population of 60 million odd will die of smoking.

Ivan D said...

This is the equivalent of your local KwikFit fitter dictating traffic policy on the basis of the damage speed bumps do to your suspension. Gilmore is unqualified to comment on the price elasticity /inelasticity of alcohol on which his argument depends. He is trained to fix sick people and should concentrate on his core competence rather than sticking his insufferably arrogant nose into matters that should not be of his concern. He represents the unacceptable face of his profession. A scheming puritan determined to have his way, an unelected bigot unable to accept his ideas being rejected for extremely good reasons by two different sets of our elected representatives.

As for the BBC, there is a complaint category called “too much coverage” that I recommend readers use to try to persuade the BBC that the majority of us are sick to the back teeth of their less than impartial attempts to resurrect minimum pricing at every opportunity. I would gladly work for free if they would give me one chance to critically interview Gilmore or at least brief Paxman to do so. Why not unleash Peston on him? Gilmore’s arguments are economic after all.

Anonymous said...

Ah no ,not that bloody "Ferengi" again.

Longrider said...

There was an earlier precedent. !973 compulsory motorcycle helmets. All for our own good, of course.

Fewer deaths from head injuries, maybe. More brain damaged paraplegics to replace 'em ;)

George Speller said...

Somebody (F2C Scotland?)posted an "info" pack meant for Scottish anti smoke campaigners and it had an exactly similar reference to the seat belt law.

Everything they get away with they use as a precedent for the next repression. We MUST stop them.

(off topic)
If you smoke why not declare it as a religion in the next census.
Just put "SMOKER"
Half a million Jedis are now recognised. We can do the same.

Apologies for the intrusive campaign copy.

Anonymous said...

Apologies for being off topic, but George has a great idea. If smoking became a religion the smoking ban would be gone. A facebook group or similar should be organized to make sure that this happens.

rb said...

But what they really show me is that they sit on their high horses looking down on the “poor” and wringing their knarled little hands about what should be done about it. It is the essence of their ideas, it can only be so. These people think that alcohol dependency and misuse exists in the world of the tv show “Shameless”and that pricing them out of the market is the way to go. (Forget that they will just do with alcohol what they already do with tobacco – get it from the man in the van). It doesn’t (although it does include that type). They probably think this as they get home from a hard days “work” sucking at the teat of the taxpayer and making up bollocks and open one or two bottles of wine with their spouses. They probably talk about it in oh so sympathetic tones as they pour this alcohol down their throats from big crystal glasses – something decent though, a Chateau Neuf perhaps – not your cheap supermarket rubbish. They might have a bottle or two of wine most nights but its not “bingeing” – its “appreciation” – and always to complement their food of course – probably something with humus or some other shit.

Many of my circle of friends/associates are teachers. I do not know of any other profession where alcohol is so widely “misused”. I know more than one teacher, both in mid management, who have spent at least £600 per month on alcohol for years. A middle manager in our school system now earns easily over 50k per annum (which equates to taking home about 3k per month). I know one guy who had his own building company which made a mint. He lost the lot through alcohol addiction. I don’t think that as he was doing it he thought to himself that he wouldn’t have drunk at all if that bottle of vodka was even as much as £5 more than he paid for it – he just wouldn’t have cared. I also know other professionals who spend more on alcohol each month than many spend on their mortgages. Many of them if truth be known are struggling with and because of alcohol, but the price just isn’t relevant for them.

It is such a simple and common sense fact that if you are addicted to alcohol then you don’t care how much it will cost. (If you are not then its none of the state’s business and neither is how much you choose to pay for it). That’s the same basis upon which I still spend almost £7 every day on a packet of cigarettes. That person spending £600 per month on vodka will just as easily spend £800 and the kids will get a slightly shittier holiday than last year – perhaps Haven instead of Gran Canaria. Mum or Dad will still go through the holiday pissed, come what may.

We must all pay. If you do not have physical withdrawal from alcohol and if it does not impact on your family or your work then you are not using alcohol in a way that the state should have any interest in. If it does then the state should be providing medical assistance and education paid for by your taxes (and, although there are many people struggling with alcohol it is still a small percentage of the population) to help you out of that situation, if you want it. If you don’t then it should treat you until you eventually end up having lost everything in a halfway hostel. You will either eventually “get it” or die and that’s none of my business, your business, or anyone else’s, let alone these elitist health fascists who want you to pay huge taxes on this miserable and devastating experience and to receive no treatment from the apparently destitute NHS, even though you may have paid in for years and years. Sounds harsh but I loved and lived with a woman who fell into alcoholism and living with an alcoholic for years, like I did, is devastating, I can tell you. But the fact is that price would have made absolutely no difference whatsoever. None at all. These people are not just thick - they let down the very people the presume to represent.

Anonymous said...

There is no reason why smoking cannot be made into a religion.

The smoke smells as sweet as incense, the puffs in and out help centre the mind and focus the brain, thoughts of God and all His glory go through one's mind and the smoke rising like puffy clouds ascends upwards to heaven and our thoughts go with it.

If that is not a religion, I don't know what is.

Facebook group needs made.

Ivan D said...

Well said RB and better put than I could manage. It pains and hurts me that a workshy waste of space such as Don Shenker can claim to represent me. Shenker represents nothing other then his right to live of the taxpayer as a media studies spin doctor of no worth whatsoever. It pains and hurts me that Gilmore has absolutely no popular support but commands the total obedience of the BBC to report every word that he says. Gilmore has every right to claim to be an expert on the consequences of alcohol abuse. He has no right whatsoever to claim to be any kind of authority as to its causes. It is high time that the media got wise to this distinction and ended the era of the arrogant medics who assume power way beyond their mandate competence or experience without question.

Anonymous said...

Why on earth does the other side of “higher taxes” never occur to these self-righteous twerps – that the more money they wring out of us, the more they will become dependent upon us continuing to smoke/drink/drive our cars etc etc, such that they will never, ever be in the position they so much desire – that of being able to completely ban outright whichever of our pleasures and relaxations they have most recently taken a dislike to?

Much of all this rushing around like chickens with their heads cut off about alcohol is because they are now so short of tobacco taxes (through people being coerced into giving up and buying from man-in-a-van) that they simply have to find the money elsewhere. And once they’re done with alcohol, they’ll have to start looking all over again – but then they’ll be looking to get back the missing taxes from both tobacco and alcohol.

And so it will continue, ad infinitum ……..

Anonymous said...

I think we're cheapening our position by making smoking a 'Religion'. There's only one problem - SHS and, resultantly, the ban. All else follows from this one thing. This is what should be tackled and pressured at every opportunity.

Ian R Thorpe said...

May I suggest a slogan for the fightback Dick :- "They Can't Put Us All In Prison."

All we have to do is ignore the law and refuse to pay the fines.

So every oppressive, pokenose law that is introduced in the name of saving us from ourselves we ignore.

Sometime ago I worked in Sweden where aggressive taxation has ben used to try to reduce drinking. There were some absolutely amazing home brewers and wine makers among my Swedish colleagues.

They had simply found a way round the law.

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous 22 February 2011 07:23
"I think we're cheapening our position by making smoking a 'Religion'. There's only one problem - SHS and, resultantly, the ban."

If smoking were a religion SHS would not matter because the government cannot be seen to discriminate against a religion. IMHO the smoking ban would have to be repealed.

Blue said...

So every oppressive, pokenose law that is introduced in the name of saving us from ourselves we ignore.

That's going to happen naturally Ian. Look at what is being ignored already, government has overstepped its authority and has invited the public to ignore rules they don't agree with.

They've actively destroyed respect for the law by being idiots. Most people now pick and choose which they abide by, they have only themselves to blame, and we can blame them for destroying respect simply because they can't bloody shut up.