Following the tobacco template
There is yet another bill worming its way through our legislative process.
This one is the “The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill” which proposes all the crap that us smokers know so well – warning labels, advertising bans, doors of shame in shops and of course minimum pricing.
They have started a new campaign here called “Drink is a Drug” which is a little confusing? Is water included in that catchy sound-bight? They even have a web site which is nice of them [though I’m not sure what Blind Eye has to do with it?]. I spent a happy two minutes browsing it so you needn’t bother. It’s full of the usual shit about how all our kids are getting smashed every night and how alcohol is costing us millions [which it probably will once they start with massive tax hikes?].
It does include a form for us to send to all our “elected representatives”. Rather handily it fills in the message for us to send, thereby saving us the trouble –
I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding the continuing level of alcohol harm in our communities, which now needs urgent action. For over 800 days, since it was first introduced, the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill has languished in the Oireachtas and continually faced extraordinary delay. I understand it is the come before Dáil Éireann Select Committee on Health in the coming weeks.
Meanwhile, alcohol harm in Ireland continues to claim three lives every day. It is responsible for a significant burden of ill-health, placing a constant strain on our health services, where hundreds of beds every day are occupied by people with wholly attributable alcohol-related conditions, at an estimated public cost of €1.5 billion annually. Assessing a wider set of cost implications to include current public expenditure in Justice, Children, Social Protection the estimated cost is €2.35bn. Alcohol plays a major role in serious issues such as drink-driving, assaults, suicide, self-harm, domestic violence, and child welfare and protection.
In short, the cost of excessive alcohol consumption is a major drain on current public expenditure: for €100m of public monies spent, €4.6m will be deployed to mitigate the harmful outcomes of alcohol consumption.
It is also important you remember that the harm that is caused by our excessive drinking extends far beyond the individual who is drinking, impacting on their families, and others, our businesses, communities, hospitals and schools.
In 2017 alone, 283,866 work days were lost to alcohol related absenteeism, while inexcusably 60,000 children will have commenced their drinking ‘careers’.
I strongly believe the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill can, for the first time ever, establish a set of measures, which when taken together, will provide a reasonable and pragmatic means to achieving a reduction in alcohol consumption in Ireland so reducing alcohol harms and the related socio-economic impact.
As my representative, I urge you to please support the implementation of the Public Health (Alcohol) Bill, in full, as it is only through our legislators introducing evidence-based policies that we can reduce the burden of alcohol harm on our society, improving health, safety and wellbeing for all.
Now it seems a bit pointless sending their own propaganda back to them, so I changed it a little bit and even managed to shorten it.
I am writing to you to express my deep concern regarding the continuing level of interference by the state in an individual’s lifestyle choices.
I agree that there is a certain “level of harm” caused by alcohol but this is down to a small minority of drinkers. The vast majority drink sensibly and derive great benefit from it. The Public Health (Alcohol) Bill will affect everyone regardless of their alcohol consumption. It is punishing the many for the misdeeds of the few. Target the minority if you must but not the rest of the adult population who are quite mature enough to make their own decisions.
Regarding underage drinking, there are sufficient laws already in place regarding the sale of alcohol to under 18s. Enforce those laws instead of introducing yet more.
The new proposals are obviously following the “Tobacco Template”. Smoking has been steadily decreasing over the decades yet not one of the anti-tobacco measures has shown any significant effect on the rate of decline whatsoever. This includes warning labels on packs, bans on display and advertising and the “doors of shame”, all of which are adapted into the new Alcohol Bill. I can guarantee that the Alcohol Bill will follow the same path.
Any imagined benefits of this bill will be far outweighed by the damage it will cause to the small retailer who will once again have to foot the bill for complying with the law and for any loss of trade. It will also be a boon to the illicit trade who supply their unregulated wares to anyone regardless of age.
This is a bad and unnecessary bill.
It has duly been sent to all my local and European representatives, who I might add don’t represent me one jot.
Fuck the lot of ’em.
Well said, Grandad. I doubt the scales will fall from their eyes. Drinking is a pleasure to be enjoyed. Only a small minority abuse alcohol and themselves for doing so. The vast majority just enjoy a couple of drinks of an evening or with a meal. I am a microbrewer and proud of the ales, stouts and lager that we produce. It is very rare to see anyone abusing our strongest beer and stout as three would simply end their night out! Most people do not abuse fine beer and we do not set out to make rubbish. I bet your public health is riddled with neo-prohibitionists as our is re guidelines. They hate it if someone somewhere is enjoying an alcoholic drink.
I have this feeling that all the recipients’ emails will be filtered – if the don’t match the provided pattern, they’ll go straight to the bin. Voila – 100% in favour of the bill!
We tried prohibition. It didn’t work. Ireland seems to be on it’s way there.
You are implying a use of common sense or even intelligence there. They steadfastly refuse to acknowledge any historical or scientific facts. Their way is the only way and somehow they will prevail.
If you follow the brain-dead Scottish model, minimum alcohol pricing is not achieved by tax, which could at least offer some potential national benefit (fantasy perhaps), it is simply a price increase, putting all the extra cash into the pockets of the brewers’ and distillers’ shareholders. One may wonder whether any of this huge bonus will quietly find its way into the greasy palms of the politicians who implemented it . . . .At least after Brexit there will be opportunities for organised booze-running across the long border with Ulster, the same border which the Republic demands doesn’t exist, so they may finally discover the error of their loony EU-centric ways. Mad as a box of frogs.
I always think about that too, when these pre-filled messages come saying to send it to everyone in government, but it’s really just expressing the fake-charity’s or whatever vested interest’s pre-written propaganda – instead of sending it as is, for the first sentence, write, “I wish to express my concern that government follow NONE of the matters listed below – NONE”, then send it in. Someone could almost start up a website exclusively to list prewritten campaigns like these and have the opposing copy and paste text ready to over-write and send in instead, thus using these fake-charity’s funds and website to send opposing viewpoints to everyone on their list.
Welcome Sharon! The main problem is that these mails pander to the lazy. They simply enter their personal details and send probably without even reading the damned message. I seriously doubt that they pay any attention to these mails anyway. Their minds are made up and the “public consultation” is just a farce.
What never ceases to amaze me is that non-smoking drinkers simply refuse to admit that there’s any similarity between proposals like these for alcohol and all those very same regulations already applied to tobacco – which, just for the record, many of them enthusiastically supported as “a good thing” beforehand and indeed many still continue to support, sagely nodding their heads in approval like dogs on the parcel shelf whenever some new crackpot scheme is proposed against smokers. And yet, when their little indulgence is threatened, they squeal like stuck pigs. They’ll still support cupboard doors and plain packaging for cigarettes, and yet will use the fact that both measures have been shown to be utterly ineffective as an argument against the same being used against alcohol. If they were clever, of course, what they would actually be doing is arguing that because those measures have proven ineffective against smoking, they should be abandoned immediately – and then also discarded in respect of alcohol. Their failure to do this simply weakens their arguing position because only objecting to something when it affects you personally is the most effective way of being labelled a hypocrite. And hypocrites’ arguments are easily brushed aside with a simple “well, you would say that, wouldn’t you?” Prohibition’s version of the NIMBY is the easiest of all to accuse of being biased, because they are.
Things can only get worse for drinkers if they fail to enlist smokers’ support – particularly non-drinking smokers’ support. No such thing as Passive Drinking, you say? Don’t be so sure. Just as smoking has been blamed for just about every physical ailment on the planet, and people have simply accepted all those made-up statistics as gospel truth, so too will drinkers shortly be blamed for every social ill – crime, road accidents, A&E admissions on the weekend, domestic violence, child neglect, divorce, ruined social events – oh, there’s a whole army of “innocent bystanders” out there just waiting to stand up and be counted, and I’m quite surprised that the Prohibitionists haven’t started down that road already. Perhaps they’re following the tobacco template again – through health scares, get the number of drinkers down to a minimum and the number of born-again teetotallers up to a maximum, and then introduce the Passive angle, which, of course, all those born-agains, just like all those obedient ex-smokers, will enthusiastically embrace as a useful conduit for their resentment at the ongoing grind of having to go without something which they would dearly love to re-start, but don’t have the moral courage to do so. The strength of feeling will rise, and be ramped up by a compliant, now largely non-drinking, media and before you know it, lots more MPs than now will be saying things like “something must be done,” and “the time is now right for …” and “the overwhelming majority of the public want …..” And that’s where your Passive Drinking will raise its ugly head. The idea of a pub without smokers in it was laughable right up to just over a decade ago (I actually recall a non-smoking friend laughing at the idea a couple of years before the ban was approved, with a casual “Oh, that’ll never happen. Nobody will take any notice of a law like that”), but now … Suddenly, the idea of a pub only being permitted to sell any one adult one alcoholic drink per visit seems horribly possible.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. The only way that drinkers are going to be able to avoid befalling the same fate as smokers is to join forces with them, make vocal and loud objections on their behalf and thus take the enemy back to re-fight a battle which they believe has already been won, which will in turn deflect their attention from this, their next chosen target. Attempting to stop this monster’s progress alone is impossible, as we smokers know only too well. When all MPs, all the media, the majority of the public, drinks companies, pubs, employers, the medical profession, spouses, children and even so-called Libertarian groups stand against you, you need at least one other group who “isn’t you” on your side (because an argument against restrictions from non-partakers carries much more weight than arguments from partakers), and the only group prepared to join forces with drinkers – as they will soon discover – will be the smokers. Sorry, all you boozers, that’s just the way it is. Only non-smoking drinkers’ pride stops them (well, who likes to admit they were wrong?), but it is both short-sighted and foolish to allow a silly sentiment such as pride to enable others to successfully attack something you enjoy in life. And anyway, don’t they say that pride comes before a fall? Drinkers – you have been warned.
The problem is that the state has already implanted the idea that it has the absolute right to legislate on lifestyles. People no longer question that and so will be more inclined to accept punishment in their own sphere – after all, it’s for their own good and look at how much it’s [whatever it is] costing the health service. They now lap up the idea that banning Coca Cola will eradicate obesity or that 2c on the price of a pint will end alcoholism. They have been brainwashed into thinking that these nonsensical measure have been a roaring success elsewhere.
I doubt that smokers will have too much sympathy with drinkers. Where were the drinkers when the smoking bans came in? If this war is to be won, my opinion is that fighting the alcohol battle or the “fast food” battle and the like is fighting a lost cause as those battles have already been lost, and the only way is to fight the whole principle of the Nanny/Bully State. As each battle encroaches on our civil liberties, more an more people are waking up to that fact.
Remember Martin Niemoller . . .
First they came for the Jews
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for the Communists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists
and I did not speak out
because I was not a trade unionist.
Then they came for me
and there was no one left
to speak out for me.
Now you know how they’re working and where they got the plan.
Grandad,I thought the national sport of Ireland was drinking Guiness, getting drunk and starting a fight?? What’s the problem?Cheers
Free pair of boxing gloves with every tenth pint.
High taxes, limited access, lots of anti propaganda, periods of prohibition, advertising bans, age restrictions and on and on and on….Norway has all of these and guess what, getting off your head anywhere and at any time alcohol is available and home distilling (with all of the unfortunate side effects) are national pastimes.
Fuck the lot of ’em.
I’ll drink to that!