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Cheers - AE

Monday, 11 July 2011

Drinkers - you ARE the new smokers

Those of us who've been paying attention to the ban-ny nannies and their antics have been warning you about this for long enough, and if you want to be able to enjoy a glass of cheap plonk in the future you seriously need to wake the fuck up. They've nearly got their way with smoking and are confident enough to have shifted a significant amount of their attention to their next target.

Which is you. Yes, you with the glass in your hand. Don't put it down as if it's got nothing to do with you, we know you were drinking from it just now.
SURGEON John Crozier operates on some of the 1500 Australians sent to hospital every week as a result of alcohol and can't understand why wine should sell for as little as $2 a bottle.

''If a bottle of water is more expensive than a bottle of wine, something is fundamentally wrong,'' says Dr Crozier.
Oh, fuck me, not that "cheaper than water" crap again. Look, Doc, if there is something fundamentally wrong with that it's that companies feel able to charge ridiculous amounts of money for bottles of water with a mountain on the front, which some people are clearly prepared to pay.

Assuming for the moment, Dr Crozier, that it's really top quality water, the very finest blend of two parts hydrogen and one part oxygen to be found, then wouldn't a fairer comparison with wine be something like a $100+ bottle of 2002 Nuit St George than three quarters of a litre of Chateau Lafaeces you picked up for a couple of bucks? And if in fact the water is no better than what comes out the tap then wouldn't a fair comparison of the cost of a bottle of cheap piss be with the price of tap water?

Of course that wouldn't support the doctor and his friend's plans for you drinkers.
Dr Crozier, a surgeon at Sydney's Liverpool Hospital, has added his voice to the growing clamour from health groups for heavier taxes, particularly on wine.

The result is that alcohol tax reform is now likely to get a serious hearing at the October tax summit.

Wine attracts a tax of about 7¢ a standard drink, compared to 28¢ tax on full-strength beer and 91¢ on alcopops.

Michael Thorn, chief executive of the Alcohol Education and Rehabilitation Foundation, says the significant increase in alcohol intake by Australians - up by about 15 per cent in the past decade - meant that too many people were drinking too much.
I can't answer Michael Thorn any better than The Daily Mash put it more than two years ago:
"As an adult, I think a reasonable daily limit is me drinking as much as I fucking want.

"If it affects my work I'll get sacked. If it affects my relationships I'll be all lonely and sad.

"And as for my health, following a quick glance at my tax bill I've decided that the NHS will treat me and the government can keep its fucking opinions to itself."
Besides which, cheap wine might not even be the problem.
... Stephen Strachan, who heads the Winemakers Federation of Australia, rejects the focus on wine tax as ''dishonest''.

Mr Strachan said a 2008 government survey showed that wine was not the choice of young ''risky'' drinkers, although it was for older men and women.
Naturally another Righteous doesn't see it in terms of who's buying it, just that it's too cheap as far as he's concerned.
''We are only picking on it because is so grossly cheap and I don't see how anyone can defend wine at 30¢ a standard drink,'' said Professor Daube, who is director at the McCusker Centre for Action on Alcohol and Youth.
I can defend it quite easily. First comparisons with water are disingenuous at best and deliberately misleading at worst. Second, what people spend their money on is up to them, not you, and talking about extra costs to the public health system is a bit iffy when they've paid for that healthcare in advance and under threat of force - if they had to pay for it on an ad hoc basis maybe they wouldn't drink as much. Third, the health care system is a fine one to lecture the wine industry and its customers when it's apparently unable to stop its patients from drinking the fucking sanitiser gel in hospital wards. And fourth, have you lot failed to notice what's happened where these paternalistic attitudes have banned or restricted or imposed minimum prices on alcohol to save drinkers from themselves? Yes, that's right, they end up smuggling the stuff, making moonshine, and sniffing, or even drinking, things like meths and petrol instead. Face facts, people want to get off their dials. Stop them because of the harm one option can do and they're more than willing to choose an even more dangerous alternative, and if that's one which the rest of society simply can't do without then you have a worse health problem than if you'd done nothing at all.

Not that any of that stands even a remote chance of swaying opinion among the Righteous - as the C.S. Lewis quote in the sidebar has it, tyrannies acting for the good of their victims can be the most oppressive and those who torment us for our own good will never stop because they do it with the approval of their own consciences. As the title of this post suggests I'm aiming this more at the drinkers than the anti-drinkers. Drinkers may not have seen it coming but are the new smokers and have been for a while, and I feel that's in no small part due to the fact that drinkers were largely too quiet and too reticent to speak up for the smokers when the bans began coming in. Those like me who neither smoke nor drink are not safe either - we know the takeaway fans and salad dodgers are next in the firing line and even those who aren't really fat but could lose a couple of kilos will eventually cop their turn. The neo-puritans, as Lewis warned, will not stop unless they are made to stop.

Their strategy is plain, divide and conquer, and their weapon of choice is piecemeal denormalisation of anything and everything they disapprove of - which is a growing list. They split the smokers off from the drinkers, and now they're splitting the drinkers off too along with anyone not of the approved weight. If you don't want your own lifestyle to come under attack then you have no choice - you must stand with those who are already fighting for the freedom to do as they've done. Drivers must stand with cyclists, cyclists with joggers and gym freaks, joggers must stand with salad dodgers, salad dodgers with drinker and drinkers with smokers.

Hang together or hang separately, folks. Those are the only options.
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