Irish Prohibitionists Move on Smartly to Alcohol

I’m somewhat bogeyed tonight – not through alcohol or tobacco, but more by shear weariness. So I type this more for amusement before bed than with any serious intent.

The prohibitionists in Ireland are so cock-a-hoop about the successes of their planned and premeditated step by step persecution of smokers that they intend to transfer the methodology to alcohol, except that the detail is different.

A critical ploy in Tobacco Control is to demand that taxes on cigs be increased, the purpose being that the poorest of people will be forced to stop smoking. That is called ‘helping them’. In the case of alcohol, the method is ‘minimum pricing’, but it is just the same thing as increased tobacco taxes – demand for alcohol among the poorest people, the most defenceless, will be decreased, but demand among the better off will be unaffected. Well, that may be true, but demand from ‘problem drinkers’ (alcoholics or anyone who gets a bit slat at?) will not diminish. It is moderate drinkers, who are poor, who will suffer from higher prices.

You can see the salami slicing in action, can’t you? In the alcohol case, it is not the same type of denormalisation. It is more a question of ‘if you cannot afford the prices, then you should not be drinking and are harming your children’. Clearly, eventually, surveys will be conducted asking if 70% of respondents agree that poor drinkers, regardless of their ability to pay, are harming their children.

It is all very Nazi Germany, is it not?

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But what is really, really important is that politicians (Members of Parliament), even to the extent of the Prime Minister and other Senior Ministers, seem to have no comprehension of the recent history of tobacco control. The have no awareness of the salami slicing.

That is why we have to ‘bang on about the smoking ban’. It is that ban which was unethical. It was unethical because it turned publicans into enforcers, at risk of heavy penalties. It was not about individual smokers, and never was. It was about CONTROL OF PUBLICANS AND OTHERS. It overturned centuries of private property rights.

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Much as I detest tobacco control apparatchiks, I detest the likes of Cameron, Clegg and Miliband more. They bow down before the academics, and then demand that The People bow down before them.

Frankly, I think that our country really, really needs A KING. Something like the US President, but without the politics. A permanent KING, but one who is accountable.

Hereditary? Big Aristocracy? Certainly not! No, the idea would be to elect a person who is competent to see unintended consequences. Further, as regards the UK, no one, especially the EU, would have the power to over-ride our KING.

The importance of the idea is that the KING would be above the short-term interests of politics.

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Certainly, the present political set-up is unacceptable. There is certainty that either Labour or Tory will be the biggest group in parliament, but the differences between them are negligible.

But they are all the same.

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Most of us will vote. I certainly will. And yet the true way is to not vote at all. The point is that no one in the Commons would have legitimacy.

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At least it’s fun to consider these things!

Damn! I’m knackered. I’m off to bed.

 

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6 Responses to “Irish Prohibitionists Move on Smartly to Alcohol”

  1. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    Fully agree on the alcohol part Junican. That’s why I devoted the last Appendix in Brains to it, the “Beyond Tobacco…” section. The food and soft drink prohibitions are playtime things for control freaks. They’ll never have enough ooomph behind them to go very far. The Alcohol Prohibitionists though come from the same core groups as the Antismokers, and the main ooomph they’ve been missing is money. After decades of having virtually no power at all, they managed to grab some through the same mechanism as the Antismokers: “secondhand alcohol” … in terms of the strict limits on blood alcohol level and driving. They still don’t have enough money though to really make an impact on the public consciousness, so they’re not able to go for gory pics on bottles or banning alcohol in restaurants: they need to cull the population first — and minimum pricing will help them do that.

    Something I don’t understand about the UK system though: why haven’t the politicians simply coerced their own “minimum pricing” levels through taxes?

    😕
    MJM

    • junican Says:

      Something I don’t understand about the UK system though: why haven’t the politicians simply coerced their own “minimum pricing” levels through taxes?

      1. The UK already has the highest rate of alcohol duties in the EU.
      2. There are not a lot of teetotal people in the UK, so raising duties even further is not politically desirable. In theory, minimum pricing would not affect 90% (?) of drinkers since it is aimed at only the cheapest of alcoholic drinks.

      • michaeljmcfadden Says:

        Simply propose the same tax rate over base product price that they have for cigarettes! It’ll be a “level playing field” — an idea the Antismokers have pushed for YEARS! Plus, the higher prices will keep the alcohol out of the hands of children! And of course alcohol can’t be displayed, sold, consumed or advertised in connection with any sporting events. The players will be happy to help the children by taking pay cuts if needed, and fans will find joy in higher ticket prices. Hmmm……… annual playoff type events may have to move to just once every two years, but that’s a small sacrifice to save the li’l ones!

        I think we’ve got something here Junican!

        🙂
        MJM

      • junican Says:

        Well, yes, but what you won’t know is that small cider producers are exempt from duty. There are hundreds of cider producers in this country who make their own brand and mostly supply local pubs and outlets. They are only allowed to produce a few thousand gallons per an, otherwise they would be liable for duty.
        That cider is ‘proper’ cider. The big manufacturers use ethanol, water and apple juice. If the small producers had to pay duty, they would become totally uneconomical, and would be driven out of business.
        You can see what a mess it would be if the Gov tried to mess with alcohol in the same way that it has messed with tobacco.

  2. Rose Says:

    Taking the overview, it’s particularly noticeable that all these highly organised government funded health campaigns are against the traditional, natural things that people originally created for themselves, like pubs and alcoholic drinks, food and tobacco , never a word about the products of the Medical Industrial Complex.

    And yet we were warned.

    Dwight D. Eisenhower: Farewell Address – 1961

    “In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military-industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists and will persist.

    We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals, so that security and liberty may prosper together.

    Akin to, and largely responsible for the sweeping changes in our industrial-military posture, has been the technological revolution during recent decades.

    In this revolution, research has become central, it also becomes more formalized, complex, and costly. A steadily increasing share is conducted for, by, or at the direction of, the Federal government.

    Today, the solitary inventor, tinkering in his shop, has been overshadowed by task forces of scientists in laboratories and testing fields. In the same fashion, the free university, historically the fountainhead of free ideas and scientific discovery, has experienced a revolution in the conduct of research. Partly because of the huge costs involved, a government contract becomes virtually a substitute for intellectual curiosity. For every old blackboard there are now hundreds of new electronic computers.

    The prospect of domination of the nation’s scholars by Federal employment, project allocations, and the power of money is ever present–and is gravely to be regarded.

    Yet, in holding scientific research and discovery in respect, as we should, we must also be alert to the equal and opposite danger that public policy could itself become the captive of a scientific-technological elite.”

    http://www.greatamericandocuments.com/speeches/eisenhower-farewell.html

    There’s a lot more, but I feel that section is especially relevant.

    • junican Says:

      Very good point, Rose. Who is looking at the dangers of medical/pharma stuff?
      I suspect that it is a case of ‘perfect regulation’. All medical products are tested and approved. What can possibly go wrong?
      What Eisenhower did not spot was the rise of pseudo-science. It is astonishing that real scientists, who have the ear of the politicians, has not drawn their attention to it. There again, it is quite possible that real scientists have been excommunicated or gagged. Global Warming, for example?

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