Tuesday 20 October 2009

Does it ever stop?

Scarcely a day seems to go by at present without some self-appointed “expert” from the medical profession clamouring for new curbs on alcohol. This is the latest dictatorial nonsense in today’s Guardian: Alcohol is worse than cigarettes. So why should everyone’s freedom be curbed because a 24-year-old woman in Derby died from alcoholic liver disease? And does it really matter if more than half the population are drinking more than the official guidelines, given that these figures were made up in the first place and have no scientific basis? This is what is in store for us:

Curbs on ads will have to be accompanied by restrictions on sponsorship and opening hours, minimum unit pricing, and a re-evaluation of the delusion that under-age drinking around the family table encourages responsible drinking. I would argue that every health district requires a named individual responsible for local awareness, early detection and effective support and treatment.


  1. Alcohol is worse than cigarettes? Passive smoking affects everyone in the vicinity of a smoker. A drinker does not affect anyone around him or her. Perhaps if the drinker were legless and misbehaving, but then they would be asked to leave most pubs I regularly go into.

    As for alcohol units, the figures were, as you say, plucked out of the air and lack credibility.

    It's time that these "experts" differentiated between drinkers and alcoholics, who are by definition ill. Perhaps if they concentrated their efforts on ill people, they might do something useful. But preaching is easier and more morally satisfying then getting your hands dirty and actually doing something.

  2. Us tobacco smokers knew, we just bloody knew, that the prohibitionists would think "well, we tamed the smokers now lets turn our attention to the drinkers and when we have finished with them then it's time to sort out those who eat to much." To say 'I told you so' does not cut it.

    The bansterbaters are getting more hostile without even looking at the situation, without a shred of credible evidence...they just have a vested interest in what they hate, despise, i.e smokers, drinkers and those that like their food...whatever next? Please don't ask.

  3. And, of course, a key tactic here is to prevent people drawing a distinction between "sensible drinkers" and "problem drinkers" by claiming that the majority fit into the "problem drinker" category, which is defined specifically to achieve that objective.

  4. "Alcohol is worse than cigarettes? Passive smoking affects everyone in the vicinity of a smoker."

    And the reason you believe that is the very same reason why you will lose to these people.

    A lot to learn.

  5. And, as pointed out by Chris Snowdon in this post, it doesn't matter what you think.

    You may honestly believe that smoking is one of the vilest activities known to man, a narrow second to abusing three-year-old children, while drinking alcohol is a noble expression of human freedom.

    But if the opponents of alcohol consider them to be two sides of the same coin - as they do - then there's nothing you can do about it. They will come after both with equal determination.

    And I don't remember any cases of people getting out of their skulls on John Player Specials and going home and beating the crap out of their wives, so the passive smoking argument doesn't entirely cut one way.

  6. How long before Mr Hawkey has his wish and gevernment-appointed "Gauleiters" preside over each district monitoring our alcohol intake? Viz comic got it right with their "Bottom Inspectors" strip, only this time it will be the "Alcohol Inspectors"! These nutters must be stopped.

  7. I have to say I was tempted to suggest these Alcohol Inspectors should be called Gauleiters, but felt that might fall foul of Godwin's Law ;-)

  8. "And the reason you believe that is the very same reason why you will lose to these people."

    Wrong. The reason I believe that is because I have experienced it throughout my adult life when going into pubs. I'm not anti-smokers at all ~ I simply don't want to share the experience with them, and now after 37 years I don't have to any more.

    The point I was trying & obviously failing to make was that I think a smoking ban attracted more popular support than a clampdown on drinking would because cigarettes affect everyone in the room, smokers & non-smokers alike. A drinker in the pub by & large only affects himself.

    And as for the comment about domestic violence: that just trivialises a serious issue.

  9. I drink lighter Pilsner beer in the spring summer and dark in the fall and winter. My favorite summer beer is Straub thanks for sharing this article I love your site will recommend my friends..

  10. RedNev,

    The problem with accepting the smoking ban was that it gave the temperance fanatics the impression that it was all right to ban things because other people don't like them.

    You didn't like smoking, so it was OK to ban it. They don't like drinking, so it's OK to ban it.

    The notion that smoking was banned because it was injurious to the health of others was always complete twaddle and has since been shown to be a barefaced lie.

    I didn't like smoking either but I opposed the ban because I could see immediately what would follow.

    Brian, follower of Deornoth

  11. You're wrong Brian: I neither like nor dislike smoking. What other people do with their lungs is not my business. It was what it was doing to me that I disliked: my eyes (I wear lenses), my sinuses (I'm prone to sinusitis), and the fact that my clothes and hair regularly smelt of smoke. And this was in pubs with supposedly sophisticated extractors. I also found the effect on me of other people's smoke became more severe over the years. Simple as that. I don't care if people smoke ~ I just don't want to share it. Seeing that emission-free cigarettes have yet to be invented, I was happy that smoking was moved from enclosed spaces where I drink into the open air.

    It's because drinking in pubs doesn't have the same immediate effect on surrounding people that smoking does will (in my opinion) make excessive restrictions on drinking harder to become generally acceptable. But that won't stop them trying.

  12. But however much you may dislike smoking (and you obviously do despite what you say) surely the answer should have been to encourage pub operators to provide non-smoking areas, and make a point of voting with your feet and using them where they existed, rather than seeking to have smoking banned everywhere indoors.

  13. RedNev: I wasn't alluding to whether you like smoke or not, nor whether the smoking ban was a good idea or not (althouugh it, of course, isn't).

    The point I was making was that you used the term 'passive smoking'. It is a term entirely manufactured by the tobacco control industry (and it is an industry). The very same tactics are being used against drinking.

    'binge-drinking epidemic' is one such example.

    As Curmudgeon's article shows, it is all nonsense, but they will keep saying it until it creeps into the minds of the sheep in this country. It is already working.

    You know it's over when even those who defend the restrictions have to quantify their defence first. For example, with the smoking ban, it will be something like "I detest smoking but ...". This is because the practice has been 'denormalised' - it is ingrained into the public's psyche and they perceive that they must distance themselves from the 'unclean' for their view to be respected.

    I have seen quite a few "I don't drink but ..." posts recently, so the propaganda is getting through.

    You are halfway to being denormalised already. It won't be long before it is total, and then your defence will be ignored because you will no longer be viewed as a beer afficionado, but instead as an 'alcohol addict'.

    These are the same tactics as used against smokers, and they work. The only way to fight these people is to reject their methods entirely, not just piecemeal. By denormalising them and their methods on all fronts and wherever they occur. By dividing us into sections who like one thing but not another, they are able to use confirmation bias within one group or another to spread any old lie.

    Lastly, they will never stop. Once one restriction is in place, they swiftly move on to the next. They are awash with money so will never go away.

    See? I wasn't having a go at you at all. :-)

  14. Who is Godwin, and what is his Law?

  15. See here. Basically, in an Internet discussion, the participant who uses an analogy with the Nazis is considered to have lost the argument.

  16. "You are halfway to being denormalised already." What arrogant rubbish. I have no problem with smokers ~ I just don't want to be swathed in smoke, not because I'm "denormalised", but because it affects me adversely, as I've already described. I notice none of the replies to me address that. The problem with apologists for smoking is that they don't really accept that passive smoking does affect people: don't tell me I'm falling for propaganda about passive smoking ~ my eyes and sinuses have told me differently long before the smoking restrictions. Smoke all you like, and if you can keep all your emissions away from me, you are genuinely welcome to do it in my presence.

    And Curmudgeon, if I'd voted with my feet to get away from smoke, I'd be drinking at home, because the nearest smoke-free real ale pub was in either Cheshire or Shropshire: I live in North Merseyside. Wetherspoons had a "no smoking" area, but no one I know drinks there, and besides, smoke can't read the signs and goes everywhere.

    The pub industry made no meaningful efforts to accommodate those who had a problem with smoke, and until a ban was proposed, smokers were quite happy with the situation too. Well, I'm quite happy with smoking being moved outside, which isn't actually a ban, because you can still smoke, as many of my smoking friends still do without complaint. Just outside.

    And my point about smoking restrictions and drinking restrictions being likely to receive a different response from the public (see two previous postings) is being ignored. I fully understand the same puritans are trying the same tactics (and I was mocked by Stonch a while ago for referring to anti-drink puritans), but the issues involved in smoking and drinking are not the same. Spewing out nonsense such as I've been "denormalised" (whatever that means) or I'm falling for passive smoking propaganda just means you are refusing to face that fact.

  17. I would refer RedNev to this post from a few months back.

    I can't claim to be that familiar with Southport, but the idea that before July 2007 there were no pubs with non-smoking areas serving real ale nearer than Cheshire or Shropshire is, I am sure, completely untrue.

    Wetherspoons had a "no smoking" area, but no one I know drinks there - says it all, really. Pubs provided the facility and it didn't get used.

  18. RedNev: You clearly do not understand anything about denormalisation.

    You are being denormalised already because you like a drink. The anti-alcohol lobby is attempting to make your particular lifestyle choice abnormal.

    The fact that you don't like smoke is nothing to do with your own denormalisation. Smokers have already been denormalised. You are not affected by the denormalisation of smokers, only smokers are.

    You don't like smoke because you don't like smoke. Fine. No problem. But the smoking ban wasn't brought in because people don't like smoke, it was brought in for a completely different reason, one which was false and demonstrably so.

    You are honest, the anti-tobacco lobby are not.

    Just like they are now being blatantly dishonest about alcohol. To denormalise you. And people who don't like alcohol will nod approvingly as part of the process.

    D'you see?


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