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« Now they want to ban smoking outside! | Main | Turn pubs into gyms, says Hockney »

The bully state moves in on alcohol

The British Medical Association wants Britain to become the first country in the world to introduce a comprehensive ban on alcohol advertising, sponsorship and promotions, reports the Telegraph. The ban, says the BMA, "should include all sports and music sponsorship, adverts in all media and end 'happy hour' and 'two-for-one' promotions ...A raft of other measures were also called for including minimum pricing, an increase in taxation above the rate of inflation and to link the level to the alcoholic strength of the drink, reduce licensing hours in both off licences and pubs, and to force the drinks industry to pay for independent public health promotion."

Full story HERE.

Worth reading, too, THIS article by health correspondent Jeremy Laurence in the Independent. "Privately," Laurence reports, "senior BMA figures admit they are flying a kite, to get the debate going." In other words, they don't expect this to happen any day soon but their long-term goal is clear.

Of course the same thing happened with tobacco. Ideas are floated and eventually, through constant repetition, they become orthodoxy. "Voluntary" curbs are introduced to encourage people to stop smoking or "binge-drinking" or whatever else the authorities decide isn't good for us. When (shock horror) people choose to ignore the authorities' advice, the state decides that we're too stupid to look after ourselves and voluntary becomes compulsory.

I accept that there are problem areas with drinking in this country. I reject completely the suggestion that Britain as a whole has a "drinking problem". Unfortunately the sort of measures the BMA has in mind will affect everyone, regardless of how much or in what circumstances they choose to drink.

Personally I welcome this assault on our drinking habits. It may just open a few more people's eyes to the bully state that is threatening to engulf us all.

PS. I shall be spending the rest of the day working on the manuscript for Brian Monteith's forthcoming book The Bully State: The End of Tolerance. Inspired timing or what?! Cheers!

Reader Comments (25)

It is said that 'the point of sale' is a form of advertising, so will alcohol be kept 'out of sight', like tobacoo products.
It is also said that films and TV programmes showing smoking scenes encourage children to start smoking. It must be the same with scenes showing people drinking, so will these scenes be banned. All soaps must be banned, as they revolve around pubs.

September 9, 2009 at 9:10 | Unregistered Commenterchas

"All soaps must be banned, as they revolve around pubs."

Two have never stopped the smoking either. It's outside now apart from "Dot" who dares to smoke inside in her home. AND there's a child in the house. June Brown lives around here and nobody will every stop her smoking.

I agree with Simon, this can only be good for our cause. It was my first reaction. My second was that we should be proud. It is Great Britain leading the way this time, not Ireland.

My third was that it should greatly please our friends in the Islamic countries. We may even get a few more oil deals out of it.

My fourth was to pour myself a large glass of red wine and light a fag.

September 9, 2009 at 10:12 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Their qoute,"to force the drinks industry to pay for independent public health promotion".
I read this as actually ,"to force the drinks industry to pay for EMPIRE BUILDING AND JOBS FOR THE BOYS ,AT VASTLY INFLATED SALARIES WORKING IN A NON INDUSTRY LIKE ,independent public health promotion.
We have enough of these over paid passengers in this country do we not?
Oh and another point I heard on this one ,the same old LIE.
You know the one about alchohol costing the NHS 2 Billion a year .
So how much revenue do the government already take on alchohol sales then .
Well I googled it and found it was 11.5 billion.
Its another con trick.
Just more lies, what a nerve these liars have.

September 9, 2009 at 10:20 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

This should be more and more publicised. As Simon says it is exactly the same as what happened to smoking eventually leading to the ban. I remember almost all snooker competitions were funded by tobacco companies but since the advertising ban snooker has gone into decline. Viewing figures are way down and now that they want to do the same to drink adverts, who is going to pay Stevan Gerrards wage if Carlsberg have to pull out?

Regardless, who is going to pay for sponsorship of sports and the arts if not the drinks companies? RBS? Bust and state owned. AIG? Ditto. Let these nutballs keep blabbing away and continue to point out the similarities between their campaing and the one against smokers. It may actually lead to smokers and drinkers uniting against nannyism.

September 9, 2009 at 10:35 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

Another impending example of the bully state. The French are considering banning la bise, the customary kiss of greeting, because it spreads swine flu.

How many French people have died of swine flu?


September 9, 2009 at 11:17 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

Idlex -


"How many French people have died of swine flu?


But that's THREE TOO MANY - you selfish so-and-so !

Amanda Sandford - the Health Lobby's answer to Andrea Dworkin - has said that even if The Ban,for example, saves ONE life.................(fill in as appropriate).

Case in point:

Last year, a chap at work played in an evening football match. He took a nasty kick to the leg, and was heavily bruised.

In the morning, he was found dead. He was 36.



Contact sports kill..............

But will anybody listen ?

September 9, 2009 at 12:23 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

It's the natural order of things - ban advertising and then ban the product. Those who have chastised people like me for smoking cigarettes will have the smile wiped off their faces if this assault is pursued. Something very serious must be happening at present for the assault on alcohol to be launched. Now I wonder what it could be?!

September 9, 2009 at 12:32 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

It totally amazes me that the exact same tactics are being rolled out, yet again, when they have never yet worked in the past! In fact, if anything, they have had the opposite effect!

Banning tobacco advertising and upping prices/taxes, etc did not stop people from smoking or starting to smoke, so why should anyone believe it will work with drinking?

Heroin, Cocaine and the like have never been advertised, so can't have advertising banned; as they are illegal, there is no government tax revenue, so that can't be increased; nevertheless, no-one has yet managed to halt the illegal drug trade and nowadays many people, especially youngsters, seem to find it eaier and cheaper to get hold of these illegal drugs and use them than it is to get hold of legal products that are being persecuted!

Is it just me who thinks this way? Am I totally round the bend with my logic?

Why is it that these so called intelligent and learned people can't see the obvious?

Or is it all just a conspiracy? By 'banning' and 'overregulating' these 'vices' more people actually take them up and this means, apparently, that more of us will die younger, hence helping to reduce the strain on the pensions!

September 9, 2009 at 12:40 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Lyn -

You ask:

"Or is it all just a conspiracy?"

Well, if it is, it has nothing to do with our individual longevity.

It is much more likely to be aimed at instilling - step by gentle step - the habit of Automatic Obedience to the commands of the Executive and its officers.

Our 'Parliament' (and soon, our Nation) has become Freedom's graveyard, and our 'representatives' so many flickering corpse-lights.

If the people of THIS country can ALLOW themselves to be dictated to in such a fashion, then we should ask the obvious question:

What will they NOT take from their Masters (from both here and beyond) ?

On current evidence - precious little.

The Habit of Obedience, you see, tends to be rather Habit-Forming.

One 'addiction' They DON'T want us to be cured of.


September 9, 2009 at 19:11 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I think that you're spot on, Martin. The EU is determined to have the Treaty fully ratified at which point democracy will be dead. We might still be encouraged to go through the motions of voting but we'll be choosing between a granny smith or a cox's pippin! There will be no more need of carrots to encourage us to comply with the diktats, only sticks with which to beat us if we don't.

I've heard Nigel Farage say directly to Gordon Brown in Brussels that, if the Treaty is forced through, the British people won't stand for it and eventually, if not immediately, there'll be trouble. I'm not so sure because it doesn't take long to turn people into zombies, especially if most are already halfway there.

September 10, 2009 at 7:46 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Sorry to disappoint the BMA but they are not the 'first' country to ban alcohol advertising because, like the smoking ban, ireland has boastfully and enthusiastically beaten them to it, its already in operation in this bankrupt little country. Ireland always endeavour to be the first to do things you see, even bankrupcy.
I wonder what Nigel Farage thought of his oponent, ireland's ex failed health minister, Michael Martin, who was responsible for bringing in the smoking ban and who has since been promoted to Foreign minister, when they were both interviewed on RTE radio yesterday about irelands forced rerun of the Lisbon treaty.
Because Martin lost the argument to Nigel hands down by adopting his usual tactic of constantly interrupting his oponent when loosing the argument.
He was like a rat caught in a trap blustering and floundering for his political survival. I thought he was going to choke at one stage tripping over his lies and propaganda for the Yes side.
As one of the chief people resposible for our economic downturn and reduction of our quality of life particularly for older people, his little world now lies in tatters and he has turned into a snarling terrier snapping at anyone who disagrees with his 'visionery' views. And politically he is fast becoming yesterdays man.
Unfortunately ireland is also in great
need of a Churchillian like character.

September 10, 2009 at 10:27 | Unregistered Commenterann

P.S. I wish to thank Nigel Farage for giving his time and his brilliant interview yesterday on RTE, which he won hands down, while also informing the irish people of the real and serious issues involved in the treaty, which are not made known to the electorate here, only propaganda from the govt and the Yes side.
Thanks again.

September 10, 2009 at 12:04 | Unregistered Commenterann

I don't believe that the demonization of alcohol will actually take the same route as that of smoking, although there are many who would like to see that. The problem they have is that the enormous power of the Drug Companies is not on board that particular wagon for the lack of alcohol patches,or portable alcohol-substitute drips.

The anti-smoking crusade have their huge financial backing, this crusade doesn't, and that is vital because there isn't any other pot which they can take from, as far as I can see, to fuel a massive indoctrination campaign, apart from the usual Government warnings.

As long as people can drown their sorrows,and become even more apathetic, then the sinister forces that are undertaking a war on freedom will be happy. So I think alcohol is safe, for the time being.

September 10, 2009 at 16:19 | Unregistered CommenterZitori

Re conspiracies (above) it’s odd that anyone alleging a contemporaneous conspiracy is regarded as a bit paranoid, whereas history shows plots do happen. I don’t know what conscious plan, if any, was in the minds of those who thought up and introduced the relaxation of the licensing laws. It seemed to conflict with the joyless mindset of our masters. But now, serious restrictions are being threatened on the drinking habits of all middle Britain in response to the excesses of a minority in town centres at weekends. How convenient an excuse for the Puritans to get a foot into our sitting rooms. They’ve already manoeuvred us out of our pubs.

I was also puzzled about the apparent enthusiasm of centrist leftists for devolution and other forms of localised government, until I noticed that the various bodies which resulted were lush habitats for their clones.

As for obedience there are already key words which trump all objections: ‘The EU’, for example – and how docile we all are about light bulbs - or ‘health and safety’. I had a battle over a newly introduced piece of form filling in a local pharmacy today. I really had to press for an answer to my question as to why it was required. Actually it was simply a receipt. The first reply was a resigned and shrugging comment by the assistant that it was ‘new’. My insistence on an answer jarred a bit. The softening up is everywhere.

September 10, 2009 at 16:26 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

I think that in the long term, alcohol will be left alone. Any large price increase will cause people to turn to home brewing and home wine making, which was very popular in the seventies - Boots then sold wine and beer making equipment. For 5 bottles of wine, you can either buy a kit and it works out at less than £2 a bottle or, much more satisfyingly, buy 3 lbs of sugar and 3 lbs of the fruit or vegetable of your choice. This could work out at only 50p per bottle. The Government would not want this to become wide-spread. They lose a lot of tax and it is difficult to know how strong the brew ends up. When youngsters find you can ferment yeast, water and sugar and then freeze out the water and add fruit juice to the strong liquor, they will be in alcopop heaven and there will be binge drinking on an heroic scale.

September 10, 2009 at 17:35 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Ah, the joys of home-made wine: my former mother-in-law used to make a lethal bottle of apple and blackberry which she fortified with brandy. It was delicious and very deceptive.

I think that this is a hobby I'd like to take up: useful, money-saving, with the satisfaction of denying HMRC funds and the obligatory taking of individual responsibility to Save The Planet by not buying imported wine.

September 10, 2009 at 20:38 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

If its home brewing you want, go ask the masters of the trade in Bulgaria.
When we were on hols there some years ago the waiter told us every household brews their own booze 40proof at that.
But he said that since they joined the nanny state ie EU they had to curtail it and were given permission to only brew a certain amount, cant remember the exact details.
But knowing the bulgarians for the people they are ie doing their own thing, I'm sure they still do what they want.
I had been amazed at how much liquer they could consume of an evening without showing the slightest sign of being drunk, until this waiter 'enlightening' us as to the secret.
Seemingly its drunk from an early age like we drink water, but in a controlled way, with respect and understanding.

September 11, 2009 at 9:49 | Unregistered Commenterann

Joyce -


"I think that this is a hobby I'd like to take up.........."

If you like the occasional glass of bubbly, I heartily recommend something my mother used to make religiously once a year (when Seville oranges become briefly available around February): Orange Champagne.

Just the right balance of sweet and bitter - and VERY lively.

Delicious (I hate oranges as a rule - and think Buck's Fizz an atrocity) !

And - for a while - it makes even Life Under Socialism seem almost tolerable.

September 11, 2009 at 10:26 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Sounds more to my taste than carrot juice, Martin - I'll scour the net for a recipe!

September 12, 2009 at 12:26 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Joyce: carrot wine's very good but it takes at least four months to ferment and settle before it's drinkable, as do all home-made wines. Various recipes are in "Home Made Country Wines -Tried and Tested Recipes collected by The Farmers' Weekly" (Hamlyn). My copy is dated 1976. I obtained it from Amazon after lending my original copy to someone and not getting it back. You need a really big sink to prepare country wines though and I had to stop when we had a kitchen refit. My favourite: elderflower wine, brewed in June and drunk at Christmas, brought in straight from the icy garden shed. Elderflower champagne - a different process - may be drunk soon after brewing but I only had one batch which worked.

September 12, 2009 at 16:42 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

I don't have a big sink either but the bath would do, wouldn't it? I think that I have an elderflower bush in the garden so, just the book from Amazon, four months' supply of shop-bought wine (for the bottles, you understand) and I'm away...

Thanks very much, Martin and Norman for the tips.

September 12, 2009 at 18:04 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Every success and all the delights of country wines I wish to you Joyce. It's just that I found it difficult to rinse out the fermentation jars in a smallish sink, when there was washing up to be dealt with as well, but where there's the will, the way will present itself, I'm sure. The kitchen smells from elderflower and lemon, or from the soaking and boiling of elderberries are a hint of heaven themselves. Pick the elderflowers when they are big, full out,dry and dusty with pollen which colours your hands.

September 12, 2009 at 18:42 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

Joyce, a postscript if I may: many of the recipes recommend 3lb of sugar per gallon of liquid. I found that, for my own (urban) taste and needs, the sugar remaining after fermentation was complete, left the wine too sweet. If you were to prefer a dryish wine I would suggest you experiment at first with, say two and a half pounds.

September 12, 2009 at 19:00 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

Thanks, Norman, actually I do prefer a drier wine. I've ordered the book from Amazon (and not from the seller who said that he contributed from each sale to BHF!)

September 12, 2009 at 23:00 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Let us accept that alcohol is a drug. Let us accept that nicotine is a drug.

Let us also accept that coffee and tea are drugs. And, of course, food and water are drugs.

I venture to suggest that alcohol has been around, in one form or another, for tens of thousands of years. It is a natural substance that is good for our bodies.

Can anyone prove otherwise?

September 13, 2009 at 2:37 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

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