Thursday 1 October 2009

Penny falls?

I have expressed concern on here in the past that CAMRA seemed to be adopting an ostrich-like attitude to the threat from the anti-drink lobby, failing to see the parallels with the anti-tobacco movement and somehow believing that the tide of neo-Prohibitionism would wash over real ale and traditional pubs. Even worse, on some issues it was tempted to make common cause with the antis, naïvely believing that a combined assault on the off-trade would somehow benefit pubs.

Now, it seems the penny has finally started to drop. First came the online petition to oppose the BMA’s anti-drink proposals, which at the time of writing has garnered over 700 signatures.

Now the October issue of What’s Brewing has a front-page headline “Doctors push for tough new curbs on alcohol” and the editorial is entitled “Anti-drink lobby must be stopped”:

The catch-all approach currently being suggested by the BMA seems draconian – penalising the many for the actions of the few.

It seems naïve to claim that those who drink alcohol irresponsibly do so because the pub is open a few hours later, or it is a certain price, or indeed that they’ve seen an advert that day. Responsible drinkers experience the same adverts, are charged the same prices and visit the same pubs with the same opening hours – but don’t abuse alcohol.
Over the coming years this must become CAMRA’s core campaign as, make no mistake, if the anti-drink lobby have their way, there will be precious little left worth campaigning for.

And please don’t give any space or time to the absurd myth that “responsible drinkers don’t exceed 3-4 units a day”!


  1. In relation to CAMRA's approach to the alcohol campaigners, you slapped me down on 30 September with: "I've seen precious little sign of it so far" (i.e. of CAMRA recognising the threat they pose), and yet just 24 hours later you write, "Now, it seems the penny has finally started to drop."

    Perhaps I just saw it before you did!

  2. I only received my What's Brewing today :P

    I recall a fairly recent letter from some twerp suggesting that Prof Ian Gilmore was actually talking sense!

  3. I don't expect my plumber to be an expert on water shortages in sub-Saharan countries, nor my local grouse shooter to be an expert on the best weapons to use in war. Ian Gilmore is a liver expert; why does anyone think that someone who knows the damage alcohol can do to a liver is an expert on the best ways for society to deal with excessive drinking?

    P.S. I got my WB today too!

  4. I think Gilmore takes a narrow, monocausal view. He is an expert in liver disease, and a high proportion of liver disease is caused by alcohol abuse. Ergo, if we all drank much less, liver disease would be greatly reduced.

    Next: most wars involve tanks, so if we stop producing tanks, we will stop war.

  5. When the sandal wearers drop the "make it the minumum" campaign and adopt a "make it the maximum campaign" to keep the cost of grog low, then they can call themselves a consumer organisation.


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