The stuff and nonsense that neo-prohibitionist groups incessantly attack the unsuspecting public with to further their misguided agenda continues to heat up in Great Britain. Happily, Pete Brown is once again on the case. Last week the Parliament Health Select Committee released a report on alcohol in the UK. Surprising no one, it’s riddled with misleading statistics and statements and even outright lies. I’m continually amazed at how gullible the media is when they want to be, swallowing their nonsense wholesale and not questioning it for reasons that pass understanding. In this interminable war between drink and dry, the dry side appears willing to do nearly anything, no matter how reprehensible. I realize I’m biased, but people who enjoy alcohol are on my mind generally more reasonable about this. We recognize and freely admit that some people abuse alcohol and may be a danger to themselves and others. That’s true not just of alcohol, but virtually everything. That’s the price if living in a free society. Not everyone will act, at least all the time, with the highest ideals and best interests at heart. People are … well, people. We’re human, which means fallible, prone to stupidity and even engage in self-destructive behavior from time to time. But while rational people accept his fact, neo-prohibitionists are determined to use this minority when it comes to alcohol to extrapolate their behavior and insist it means everyone who drinks is ruining society. Every single example of individual bad behavior seems to their addled minds to prove alcohol will and does have this effect on everyone equally. And they have the statistics to support that (never mind that they themselves created those statistics). But enough of my ranting.
Pete Brown gives his critique of the overall report, pointing out basic inconsistencies and fabrications. The initial takeaway for him — and me as well, frankly — is this:
Liam Donaldson told the committee (with his usual utter disregard of any factual substantiation whatsoever) that there are “no safe limits of drinking,” and that “alcohol is virtually akin to smoking as one of the biggest public health issues we have to face in this country.”
Bollocks of course. But officially published, sanctioned, and undisputed bollocks.
And that comparison with smoking is quite deliberate. Not all the measures listed above [see original post] will come to pass, but arguably the most important line in the report is this one:
“Education, information campaigns and labelling will not directly change behaviour, but they can change attitudes and make more potent policies more acceptable.”
Smoking hasn’t been banned form British society. But consistent campaigning against smoking eventually changed social attitudes towards it. The smoking ban came in because the majority of people were in favour of it. Nobody but the ad industry minded when advertising and sponsorship were banned. Making smoking socially unacceptable was far more effective than trying to ban it outright. The anti-drink lobby have learned from this, and this report is a naked attempt to make drinking socially unacceptable.
But drinking is NOT the same as smoking. The BMA itself acknowledges the beneficial effects of moderate drinking. Nevertheless, this report seeks to persuade people to treat it the same way, and is meeting with little resistance.
Pete’s become a man obsessed, definitely making him my kind of bloke, and promises to taking apart the arguments in the report in greater detail, with charts and logic, including at least the following topics. The first of the is now up, and it’s linked below. I’ll continue to update these as they come. Regardless of where you live, these are worth your time, because it’s become increasingly obvious that the tactics used cross national orders and are used universally.
- “Alcohol consumption in the UK is increasing”
- “Binge drinking is increasing”
- “25% of the UK population is drinking at hazardous or harmful levels“
- “Alcohol is becoming cheapermore affordable”
- “Alcohol related hospital admissions — and the cost to the NHS — are soaring”
- “Alcohol abuse costs the country £55bn a year”
- “The best way to reduce the harmful effects of alcohol is to reduce overall consumption“
- “Alcohol advertising and promotion must be tightly regulated because it encourages underage drinking”
- “Pubs are a problem“
- “Binge drinking has been made much worse by 24 hour licensing”
Pete Brown says
The next step – once we’ve spread this around – is to go beyond preaching to the converted and try to get some mainstream rebuttal. At best, these people have a very poor grasp of the data on which they are basing their findings. At worst, they are deliberately misleading the population in whose interests they claim to be acting. And we bloggers are the only people fighting back – so far.