Friday 8 January 2016

Just Guidelines? Yeah Right!

Well what a day of turgid gobshitery and joyless shroud-waving we have witnessed today over the Chief Morality Officer's new alcohol guidelines. I'd post about how deeply flawed they are but Snowdon has done so admirably already so pop over there and read all about it.

I must, however, comment on the blasé nature of many comments about the matter. Here is one and there are some spectacularly short-sighted ones under this tweet too.

This idea that these are just recommendations, and that's all, is incredibly naive. Have these people been sleeping for the past 30 or 40 years? When have guidelines ever remained guidelines without leading to more and more coercion?

40 years ago government guidelines on smoking were to not smoke but, if you must, take fewer puffs and leave a longer stub, now we have bans just about everywhere in a campaign of "denormalisation" of smokers. In many countries they are actually now speaking openly of the "endgame"; of prohibition. All because government were persuaded that the 'guidelines' were not being taken seriously.

With sugar, the guidelines had barely been altered downwards by the WHO before there were calls from 'public health' that the public isn't following them so we need a sugar tax and TV advertising bans on certain foods.

There used to be guidelines about what food kids should be given by their parents to take to school, now we have packed lunch inspections and unapproved food being confiscated, while many openly talk about mandatory school dinners because the 'guidelines' are not being adhered to.

These are just a few examples of many many others I could have chosen (add more in the comments as I'm sure you will know plenty of other examples). This is how health nags work, people, if you haven't noticed that where have you been?

Take all the above into account, and if you can still honestly believe that the hugely-funded Goliath of 'public health' is not going to be rubbing their hands with glee at the future possibilities after today, well, you're not very bright is the most charitable I can offer.

As a result of these 'guidelines' that we are apparently free not to follow - you know, they're just fuzzy-wuzzy friendly advice, that's all - a whole new door has been opened on alcohol nagging.

Soon there will be campaigns by the usual suspects to say that the guidelines are not being adhered to. It will not be because the public have taken note of the advice and chosen to ignore it, instead the legions of public health parasites will say that the 'guidelines' are just not working and something must be done about it; that big industry is blinding drinkers to the harms; and that - how convenient - there are now so many more people drinking over the recommended guidelines that government must crack down hard!

Research will be produced showing that x% of drinkers are exceeding the 'guidelines' and that therefore they must be brought into line with advertising bans; restrictions on availability; higher taxes; denormalisation campaigns and bans.

This isn't even conjecture because we've seen it all before. If you think these are just guidelines that can be ignored, and that that will be the end of the matter, you're either massively deluded or - like Suzi who tweeted above - a public health campaigner who is well aware of what is actually going on but just wants to quell the outrage a little before moving on to the 'next logical step'.

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