Friday 18 November 2011

Following The Template To The Letter

If you're looking for an illustration of the path of prohibitionists as they strive to emulate tobacco control, Balance North East is as stark as they come.

Best place to start is their 'about us' page.

We are aiming to inspire changes to the way people in the North East think about and drink alcohol. We aren’t saying no to alcohol and we still want people to enjoy themselves. But we do want to encourage people to reduce their consumption
I'm sure that if archives remain of ASH documents from the 80s and 90s, we could read the same understated, and reasonable theme.

The target for anti-smokers back then was merely to restrict advertising of tobacco to protect ... go on, guess. Wow, you're quick! No ask the audience required to conclude it's 'the children', eh?

Balance, naturally, want the same meagre concession (for now) as this publicly-funded video shows.

They were planning on having this televised, but it was rejected by the ASA.

Our advert is being shown online, rather than on TV, because the advertising watchdog ruled that it contravenes regulations which prevent organisations lobbying Government.
Aww, shame.

While we do not object to the judgement in principle, we do question whether it is correct that an advert which seeks to protect and improve public health is banned while the alcohol industry bypasses the regulations on a regular basis.
So they are bypassing regulations by releasing their film online, whilst simultaneously demonising the drinks industry as this big nasty, irresponsible conspiracy to get kids addicted to alcohol ... by bypassing regulations (and you just know that at some point they will hypocritically bleat about alcohol 'ads' on YouTube and Facebook).

Hmm, it's now widely accepted that tobacco companies are inherently evil and happy to inflict cancer on kids to improve their profits. How did that happen? Oh yes, I remember now. It was a decades long campaign by tobacco control to demonise the tobacco industry as this big nasty, irresponsible conspiracy to get kids addicted to nicotine.

Coincidence? Possibly. So who is this outfit run by?

Colin Shevills

A former communications consultant, he has extensive experience working in the field of public health. He previously helped to develop the brand for Fresh, Smoke Free North East and was instrumental in the successful launch of the office.
Getting uncanny, isn't it?

And what was their latest meeting about?

The author of the year’s most talked about book on alcohol is one of several exciting speakers lined up for our conference to mark the start of Alcohol Awareness Week.

Entitled ‘Enough is Enough – Calling Time on Second Hand Harm’, the conference will look at the damage which alcohol does to those around the drinker, from unborn children through to the wider community.
Inspired! Do you think they thought that up all on their own?

CAMRA, I'd start engaging with Forest sharpish if I were you, as it's not long before incessant propaganda dictates that you'll be widely viewed in the same contemptuous manner. You're toasting on a fork here.

Still, I might be over-reacting. This is just a local organisation, after all, as the 'about us' page points out.

Balance is the North East of England’s Alcohol Office - and the first of its kind in the UK.
That's all right then. I mean, there's no way other PCTs will see the swish website - designed with the obviously copious resources at their disposal - and covet the chance to spend taxpayer receipts on the same kind of thinly-veiled prohibitionism, is there?

And - do me a favour - even more unlikely that our incredibly wise Westminster overlords will sanction the spending of public cash on such illiberal stuff countrywide. It's not like we live in that shitty little puritan hell-hole off the north west coast of France or anything, is it?

Oh, hold on!


JuliaM said...

"So they are bypassing regulations by releasing their film online, whilst simultaneously demonising the drinks industry..."

Because, you see, when they subvert the letter of the law, it's only with the best of intentions, yet while the evil drinks industry plays by the rules, it's just to make piles of filthy lucre by getting us all hooked!

I think that's how the 'reasoning' goes...

Dick Puddlecote said...

Got it in one, Julia.

Ivan D said...

The theoretical idea behind this organisation may be OK but it serves only as a facade for the political ambitions of those we pay to run it. The fact that public money that could be better spent treating sick people is wasted on this is deeply upsetting.

Shenker maybe gone but Alcohol Concern has not improved its ethics either. It appears to have formed its own under 18s advertising standards panel of tame teenagers known as YASA. If you are interested in the exploitation of children by political activists the November 16th Press Release is worth a look. Needless to say, YASA’s findings on alcohol advertising are somewhat at odds with those of normal healthy under 18s. I know, the mid-sized Ds are entertaining and I have a houseful of them who can’t stop laughing.

Probably appropriate as there is at least a chance that Comic Relief will step in and replace the government as principle funders. After all, their logo does appear on AC reports so some of David Walliams hard earned cash must be going in that direction.

Unknown said...

I live in the NE and i've never heard of Balance? My head is spinning with all this shite. I'd commit hari kari if it was not for the fact, as a drinker and a smoker, my death is imminent (or so I am told).

Anyway, have a good weekend everyone, I am...and I've just only started so it'll be a long one. Anything to forget eh.

Sue said...

Bloody hell! Second hand drinking. What's next, second hand obesity? Get slimmer because your children will suffer if you don't....

I notice he's a member of a brainwashing cult "IPRA"

"How Social Marketing can Achieve Positive Change"

Perhaps we should start a marketing campaign for "minding your own sodding business?"

Unknown said...

Sue, this is not the first time that have talked about 'second hand drinking' or as I heard it not long after the smoking ban came in 'passive drinking'.

I told this to a relative once as we stood outside a pub for a smoke and he laughed his c*** off before telling me he was all for the smoking ban and told me he had been to earlier smokins at pubs but did not enjoy his smokes and prefered to stand outside??? The mind boggles.

Anonymous said...

Public 'must be protected from passive drinking' - 2009

"PEOPLE should be protected from "passive drinking" in the same way they are protected from second-hand smoke, Britain's top doctor said today.

Sir Liam Donaldson, the Chief Medical Officer for England, called for society to recognise the consequences of one person's drinking on another's well-being - a phenomenon he labelled passive drinking."

"Outlining his annual report on the state of the nation's health, Sir Liam said it should no longer be socially acceptable to be drunk. He said: "England has a drink problem and the whole of society bears the burden. The passive effects of heavy drinking on innocent parties are easily underestimated and frequently ignored.

"The concept of passive drinking and the devastating collateral effect that alcohol can have on others must be addressed on a national scale. Cheap alcohol is killing us as never before. The quality of life of families and in cities and towns up and down the country is being eroded by the effects of excessive drinking."


Neil G said...

You should look at Our Life in the North West.

It takes £1.6m from PCTs. I presume they are ordered to pay the money.

It is entirely publicly funded apart from £1,000 from some individual - probably laundering cash from the public sector.

It has classed itself as an industrial and provident society so that it does not have to respond to FOIs.

It uses public money to openly campaign on political issues. They campaign on the live political issues of minimum pricing on alcohol and against the 'power' of supermarkets.

They urge people to lobby their MPs.

They urge people to sign political petitions.

I'm a taxpayer. This is MY money.

I contacted them and said I would complain to Andrew Lansley that they were using public money for political campaigning.

Nonchalantly, they replied that Lansley already knew and approved of their political activities.

What kind of political system do we now live under.

Total rentseekers!

smokervoter said...

Perhaps we should start a marketing campaign for "minding your own sodding business?"

That's an excellent idea. Let's put the shame back into sticking ones haughty proboscis into other peoples affairs. At one time you wouldn't have needed to, as nosey-parkers were universally reviled. It all changed with the advent of the tobacco control movement.

It's time to put the high horses back in the corral.

Anonymous said...

Let me hurl this distasteful offering into the snake pit.

Journal of Medical Ethics blog

Smoking in Cars and the BMA: The Counterwheeze

"You can tell libertarians from the sound they make: it’s the faint rattle of a tiny intellect untethered in an otherwise empty mind. Cheap and all-too-easy insults aside, though, I’d been wondering how long it’d be, in the wake of the BMA’s recommendation that smoking be banned from cars, before we got a response from the libertarians. The answer, it seems, is a couple of days. The Libertarian Alliance, for example, has had a go (it’s a totalitarian tax ruse, I tells ya!

Thank goodness tax is low on tinfoil hats…); but the example that really caught my attention – by which I mean rendered me slack-jawed in amazement – was this piece by Rob Lyons in Spiked, the online journal of choice of the bewildered."

I suppose that attitude could explain why they don't seem to think that there is anything fundamentally wrong with "denormalising" ordinary citizens or sending the elderly and the sick outside to smoke.


J Bonington Jagworth said...

Where's Alan Sokal when you need him?


What can you think of that sounds suitably daft to start as a rumour that can later be exposed? It's a tough one, I grant you, in view of what's been taken seriously lately...