Thursday 6 October 2016

More 'Public Health' Crocodile Tears Over Pubs

The cost of UK booze is the third highest in the EU behind Finland and Ireland, and we pay some of the most expensive prices in the world ... so today's tiresome 'public health' whine is about how alcohol is, nevertheless, far too cheap. Natch.
Alcohol continues to be sold at 'pocket money prices', report finds
It's about time they came out with a different sound bite because 'pocket money prices' is becoming boring. No-one who has shopped in a supermarket recognises it as true but it's exactly the same term they used in their last report of this kind in 2011. Mudgie explained why it was bollocks back then and nothing has changed since; it's still bollocks.

The report itself is the usual collection of pre-determined 'research', half-truths, selective arguments and junk opinions from professional finger-wagging misery guts, all wrapped up into a package of snake oil salesmanship designed to grab a few headlines and enrage the more bovine judgemental pricks in society.

However, one theme stands out for its stunning hypocrisy. You see, these alcohol-haters seem to think that they're a big friend of pubs now. No, seriously!
The former Chancellor stated that his programme of duty cuts was designed to protect the beleaguered pub, an admirable ambition given that they generally provide a safer, more controlled environment for drinking as well as being at the heart of so many communities. However, that ambition has not been realised. Pubs continue to close and the proportion of alcohol being sold from supermarkets and other off-trade premises has reached record levels.
They even provide this handy graphic. Look at them, they're thinking of those poor pubs, don't you see?

I bet the hospitality trade is so happy to have extremist temperance nuts on their side, and no mistake! Nuts like junk science-toting Andrea Crossfield of Healthier Futures, for example, who commented eagerly about this report on their website.

You may remember the name Andrea Crossfield because she used to be a tobacco controller. In fact, still is because Healthier Futures is just the new name for Tobacco Free Futures, an organisation which is hugely in favour of smoking bans which have helped close over 10,000 pubs since 2007. Andrea's interest, y'see, is that Healthier Futures is one of the four member organisations of the Alcohol Health Alliance (AHA) which produced today's report.

Now, it's more than arguable that the move from drinking in pubs to drinking at home which today's report complained about has been significantly impacted by the tobacco control industry driving smokers and their tolerant friends out of the on-trade for good. So isn't it a bit rich for the AHA to complain about the shift from drinking in a pub to drinking at home where you can relax and make up your own rules?

It's like Andrea flattening a shop with a steamroller then holding a hand out for more money from government to fix it.

The main spokesman, though, is Ian Gilmore, a tedious say-anything, do-anything, prohibitionist maggot who simply doesn't like anyone drinking alcohol and has been banging this dreary, joyless drum for nearly a decade now. He cares as much about pubs as most people care about syphilis, yet he too thinks the pubs argument is a winner.
We need to make excessively cheap alcohol less affordable through the tax system. In addition, a minimum unit price would target these products drunk by harmful drinkers, while barely affecting moderate drinkers. A minimum unit price would leave pub prices untouched.’
Well of course it would, for now. Because the architects of the ridiculous minimum alcohol pricing idea - Sheffield University's School of Health and Related Research (ScHARR) - have already laid out the plan for minimum pricing to be rolled out in pubs too, and I'm pretty sure puritanical Gilmore is aware of this.
Differential minimum pricing for on-trade and off-trade leads to more substantial reductions in consumption (30p off-trade together with an 80p on-trade minimum price -2.1% versus -0.6% for 30p only; 40p together with 100p -5.4% compared to -2.6% for 40p only). This is firstly because much of the consumption by younger and hazardous drinking groups (including those at increased risk of criminal offending due to high intake on a particular day) occurs in the on-trade. It is also because increasing prices of cheaper alcohol in the on-trade dampens down the behaviour switching effects when off-trade prices are increased. 
As you can see, as well as suggesting that the best outcome for 'public health' is a combination of minimum pricing of alcohol in supermarkets and pubs, they have also suggested which scaremongering tactic temperance shitsacks should use; to accuse the pub trade of harming youths and causing violence.

So while Gilmore today maintains that he's a friend of pubs and acting in their interests, in the back of his mind he is already planning an assault on them when - not if - any prospective minimum pricing folly doesn't work. Which it definitely wouldn't.

'Public health' positioning itself as being on the side of pubs is a novel approach, I'll give them that, but if anyone in the hospitality industry swallows it, they should realise that licensing headaches and irate neighbours will seem like a suburban tea party by the time weapons grade booze-hating lunatics like Gilmore are finished with them.

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