Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Resistance Is Crucial

Further to yesterday's article - written with a tub of popcorn in my mitts while watching early indications of the drinks industry's downfall - it's worth highlighting this from the Morning Advertiser.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has written to supermarket giants over a failure to remove alcohol promotions from the entrances to their stores.

Lansley wrote letters to Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Marks & Spencer, Co-Op and Waitrose reiterating a request that the supermarkets pledge to remove alcohol promotions from the front of retail outlets where they are in plain view of customers.

A DoH spokesperson said: “Under the responsibility deal of March Asda was committed to ending promotions there by the end of April but other supermarkets are yet to follow suit.”
And they'd be best advised to categorically refuse to do so.

As examples on these pages continually illustrate, it doesn't matter how compliant or co-operative any business is towards health nutters, they will quite simply never be appeased. All the supermarkets quoted should make each and every tiny concession as damned difficult as possible for any politician to implement. Bite, obfuscate, kick, delay, procrastinate, and scream to the high heavens if need be. Just don't backslide without putting up one hell of a fight.

Because once you accept any demand from the health lobby, they have you right where they want you. No, seriously. Let's consult the tobacco control template for precedents, shall we?

1960s: Tobacco companies agree to withdraw TV cigarette advertising
1980s: Tobacco ads banned in print and hoardings
1991: Cigar and loose tobacco adverts banned on TV
1999: Cigar ads banned in cinemas
2003: All advertising and sponsorship banned
2010: Legislation passed to hide all displays
2011: Plain packaging mooted, an end to all brand awareness

Drinks companies and their retailers can be as accommodating as they like, but it won't stop the march of the miserablists. They'll simply move on to 'the next logical step'.

Worse, in fact, because asking for booze to be moved away from shop entrances may sound reasonable on the face of it, but you just know it won't stop there. Indeed, the very act of appeasement brings with it further ammunition for opponents of the drinks industry, as eruditely explained by Howard Stoate in 2009.

"In choosing voluntarily to remove its logo from child-size replica Rangers and Celtic shirts two years ago, Carling more or less admitted that the association between the clubs and the brand had a direct and positive influence upon young people's attitudes towards the Carling brand."
Yep, the act of doing as requested by MPs and swivel-eyed tax leeches only adds fuel to the fire. It proves, so it does, that the industry is not only evil - as the temperance advocates have already decided - but that it is knowingly evil. Best just stick to one's guns, then, and say no. Repeatedly.

There really is no way of winning with these bastards. So it makes sense to ensure that the next step is as difficult as possible to embark upon, by giving the old Harvey Smith and telling them to go for legislation if they dare.

It'll need to be done often, of course, and also should be accompanied by astute courting of consumers to pro-actively stave off the coming storm. Because the process of demonising any organisation which sells alcohol of any description is gathering pace, with tobacco control helpfully directing from behind the scenes.

Remember this?

The Wine and Spirits Trade Association (WSTA), which speaks on behalf of major supermarket chains on alcohol issues, accused organisers of a "calculated and deliberate attempt to mix the issue of alcohol misuse with the known and proven health harms caused by smoking".

WSTA spokesman Gavin Partington said: "The decision to refuse access to those in the industry who wish to discuss issues regarding alcohol misuse openly and honestly only adds to the impression that Alcohol Focus Scotland have their own agenda and wish to stifle debate".
The 'summit' was a supreme success, apparently, with ASH Scotland passing on tried-and-tested techniques to those who seek to 'denormalise' alcohol along the same lines as tobacco. There is another collaborative meeting of tedious anti-smoking and anti-alcohol joy-crushers planned for Wales in October, too.

If you click on those links above, you'll notice the presence of Gerard Hastings - an adviser to Kevin Barron's motley collection of hideous parliamentary health freaks - at both. And he was also quoted by Howard Stoate in his parliamentary speech referenced above. All very incestuous, but targeted laser-like at those who manufacture, retail, or enjoy drinks containing alcohol.

They're coming for you, drinks companies ... and in a very big way. Resist at every turn, or watch the floundering tobacco industry very carefully for it will be your future. One of impotence, condemnation, and calls for your ostracism from polite society - or worse - from a brainwashed public.

And yes, you're correct, you can detect a soupçon of self-satisfying 'I told you so' in my writing.


Mark Wadsworth said...


Anonymous said...

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley has written to supermarket giants over a failure to remove alcohol promotions from the entrances to their stores.

Langsley is right, all promotions, not just alcohol, should only be displayed where no-one can see them. How dare a business try to get maximum exposure to potential customers.

Apart from that I would just like to say a few words to all the drinkers out there who cheered as I was thrown out into the elements for a smoke.


Fuck you all.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

Agreed DP - and one question for govt: just whose business is it, M&S, Tesco, etc or the bloody governments?

As with the implementation of the smoking ban on pubs, they now trying to dictate on someone how to run their business.

Govt can go forth and......

Bucko said...

Dick - All your reccommendations are spot on but they won't happen. The supermarkets and the drinks industry will just bend over.

I was working for a brewery when they welcomed the smoking ban and gave us all extra training on how to make the most of this 'opportunity'.

They have since closed a huge portion of their estate.

Anonymous said...

I am going to lobby for bakers and sweet shops to cover their goods.
Oh, and the butcher sells meat and that too must be hidden.

The witch from Essex said...

How long before the few remaining pubs will be 'asked' to stop advertising that they sell beer ?

Anonymous said...

...asking for booze to be moved away from shop entrances may sound reasonable on the face of it..."

You spelt ridiculous wrong.

Anonymous said...

I never drank much, got my main thrill in life from smoking. As for the upcoming alcohol prohibition winding its way into being, well I'll have a good time sitting back and laughing this one out as the screws turn tighter on them. It actually won't affect me, so nothing for me to stand up for. After all, they never stood up for me. Turnabout is fair play and that sort of thing, good for the goose, now good for the gander.

Anonymous said...

In the DT the other day, in the business section (would you believe). the facts that you mention were related. One of the things that struck me as odd was that the article stated that 'Alcohol Concern' had withdrawn from negotiations because the Gov was not moving fast enough.

So what was Alcohol Concern doing in these 'negotiations'?

I think that supermarkets have learnt a little from the smoking fiasco. I think that they have ignored Alcohol Concern - and rightly so - and that is why AC have withdrawn. The fact is that they have been ignored. What is AC anyway? Probably just a dozen people working in an office devising press releases - as is ASH.

But the situation here is quite different. Parliament is sitting on (literally) about £500 000 of vintage wines, as is the Palace. When is the MSM going to wise up to this fact?

Anonymous said...

Setting aside the irony of politicians lecturing us about drinking, do they imagine we are all helpless pawns.

"I only went into Tesco for a pint of milk but came out wuth 144 cans of Stella because it was on promotion by the entrance, which I now intend to helplessly drink, if only Andrew Lansley could save me from myself" etc

Anonymous said...

It's about time ladies covered up their goods as well so I'm not tempted. Burka's all round please.

Anonymous said...

The miserablists are just like the islamists: Any concession to any of their ridiculous demands is seen as a weakness in their quarry that must be further exploited.

Chuckles said...

Why does 'the reply in Arkell vs Pressdram' keep coming to mind?

Roger Thornhill said...

One big racket.

One ever clicking ratchet.

I am Stan said...

Yo Dickie,

Yeah time the booze industry etc grew a pair of gonads, and lets have drugs legalized while we`re at it, appy days!

Dr Evil said...

Wonder if supermarkets would have to reduce job levels and of course stop paying so much duty and VAT to government if alcohol sales are affected by these creeping little changes? I expect free money given to political parties will decline too. How sad. With these puiblic sector layoff expected surely they want Tesco et al to be taking on staff not laying them off due to misguided government diktats?

Anonymous said...

I'll be laughing with anon 00.44. Happy now they are creches selling microwaved lassagne? They got what they deserved.

Anonymous said...

@anon 23.08 - a bakers near my office is halfway there - last week I had a rant in the shop because they wouldn't sell me a sandwich in a small roll because they couldn't justify charging me the £2.00 the till would accept, even though I was prepared to pay 'over-the-odds' for my choice and wouldn't salt the sandwich because they'd get into trouble for doing that. I fully expected to be refused the six iced buns I wanted to buy.

M&S are also at it, proudly declaring that they're reducing salt in their ready meals ahead of HMG diktats. When their sales of ready meals plummet they'll probably draft in a gaggle of expensive management consultants.


The Travelling Toper said...

Interesting to note that in a pastoral letter published in parish magazines across the diocese of Lichfield,The Rt. Reverend Geoff Annas,the Bishop of Stafford,reportedly wrote ' Alcohol abuse is one of the major sins of our time - and it is one that governments do very little to prevent.'

Dick Puddlecote said...

Travelling Toper: Any chance you could scan it and send to ;)

The Travelling Toper said...

Sorry I don't have an actual copy of the newsletter. The report was in a news snippet in todays Telegraph.

The Travelling Toper said...

Further to last. The message content is on the bishop's website. Google Bishop of Stafford and pick his personal site.