Different battlefield – same tactics.
The Big Nanny Machine has firmly set its sights on the drink industry. Already the sock puppet "charities" are clamoring for tax payers' money so that the gubmint can successfully lobby itself.
They all agree on everything and are all apparently reading the same manual. Alcohol is ruining the country. Alcohol kills 5,200 people every year in Ireland. One in every two drinkers will die from alcohol. Well, actually they didn't say the last two, but it's only a matter of time before they start plagiarising the Anti-Smokers' weird figures.
They all want the same things too. Minimum pricing is essential. Sports sponsorship must go too. It will only be a matter of time before they ban drinking in pubs.
You would imagine that seeing as they all want the same goals they would all be very happy with each other? Not so. One of the groups has come under heavy and sustained fire from the others.
Stop Out of Control Drinking [now there’s a mouthful you wouldn’t be able to say after a few pints] wants the same goals as all the others but it has committed the mortal sin of the Nanny movement – it has taken funding from Big Drink.
The arguments of course are precisely those we have all heard before – Diagio sponsorship "sends the wrong message". It will somehow attempt to "corrupt" the aims of the movement. It will try to confuse the Antis by releasing facts and figures which conflict with theirs [Heh!]. Anti Drinker must have NOTHING to do with Big Drink. This comes from the very top of the WHO who have stated clearly that the drinks industry must have no involvement and must be excluded at all costs, though apparently the WHO's action on alcohol document states that it would be a good idea to involve all parties including the drinks industry. They need to sort that latter one out?
Personally I think that if Diagio want to throw in a million or two then that's their business. Drinking has gotten itself a bad name thanks to the meeja waffling on about drunken teenagers and A&E being inundated with drunks on a Saturday night [there's nothing like a bit of meeja influence to turn a tiny minority problem into a national disaster?] so I suppose it would benefit Diagio to clean up the image a bit.
The coming months are going to be quite interesting though.
Just how closely are the Anti-Drinkers going to follow the Anti-Smoker template?
Are we to see demands that all alcohol be banned from view? Bans on all advertising? Plain packaging? Lurid "heath warnings". A ban on drinking while driving a car if children are present? As I said – a ban on drinking in all public buildings and places including pubs?
We live in interesting times.
[If anyone is interested, there was a discussion on the subject last night on Prime Time. It starts at 22:31.]