Saturday, November 15, 2008

Looking for an "in"...

The subject of regulation of the internet is a bit of a nightmare for politicians. The trouble is, you see, that an awful lot of people use it for things that are a wee bit dodgy—pirating films, music and computer games; looking at porn, etc.—and many of the others who use it are paranoid free-speech freaks (I thang you!) or paranoid online gamers.

So, as we have seen over the last few years, politicians have been skirting around the issue; they have been prodding here and there to gauge how much outrage any one approach will take. They have tried to control it on the basis of quality, but people realise that they aren't forced to visit sites; they have tried whipping up a kiddie porn frenzy, but too many people think that looking at pictures is not actually the same as raping a physical child (and besides, most people know that finding real kiddie porn is pretty difficult); they have tried to convince people that those writing anonymous websites might be trying to deceive punters, but users just didn't care; even the standard default of its use by those eeeeeevil brown terrorists doesn't seem to have worked.

Now, via The Englishman, they are attempting control through leveraging their bete noir de jour: alcohol.
Controls on alcohol advertising should be extended to the internet as part of the drive against under-age drinking, a conference in Edinburgh will be told next week.

Jack Law, chief executive of Alcohol Focus Scotland, claims alcohol is being actively promoted on social networking sites like Facebook. And he will tell a conference organised by the Advertising Standards Authority at Dynamic Earth on Monday that these websites represent a challenge to the current system of regulating alcohol advertising.

Unfortunately, Alcohol Focus Scotland is registered under the Scottish Charities Commission which, unlike its England and Wales counterpart, does not carry detailed accounts. However, the website does inform me that I am entitled to gain the information from the charity itself.
Charity Accounts and Constitutions

OSCR does not publish this information on the website. The public have the right to the following information under s.23 (1) (a) and (b) of the Charities and Trustee Investment (Scotland) Act 2005 from the charity directly:
  • a copy of the charity's latest statement of account

  • a copy of the charity's constitution.

Please contact the charity directly to request this information.

Naturally, I have done so. Why? Because whenever a so-called charity supports a government initiative, you can almost always find that they rely on substantial state funding; I like to verify this fact as often as I possibly can.*

In the meantime, please rest assured that, should there appear to be enough support for this, the government will start legislation to restrict alcohol advertising on the 'net initially, and then whatever else takes their fancy. You have been warned.

* Alcohol Focus Scotland is one of those organisations that my colleague, The Filthy Smoker, would be somewhat incensed at for they are punting the "all alcohol is evil when pregnant" malarkey.
As more research is published about drinking alcohol during pregnancy, Alcohol Focus Scotland launches a new campaign - 'Alcohol and pregnancy don't mix'.

The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness of the 'avoid alcohol when pregnant' message among women who are pregnant, are thinking of trying for a baby, and among the wider population who may encourage women to have a drink without understanding the possible harm.

We are concerned that women have been given conflicting advice about whether or not drinking alcohol during pregnancy will cause harm to their developing baby. There is proven risk that heavy drinking during pregnancy can lead to Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD) however the exact level for risky consumption is unknown. What we do know is that the risk of damage increases the more alcohol is consumed and that binge drinking is especially harmful. This means that no alcohol is the best and safest choice.

Except, of course, when no alcohol isn't the best and safest choice. Like when... well... a study shows that drinking a small amount during pregnancy can be actively good for your child.
Research involving more than 12,000 children showed that mothers who drank lightly during pregnancy – defined as one to two units, or a single drink a week – did not increase the risk of having babies with mental impairment or behavioural problems.

Rather, children born to light drinkers were found to be less likely to have problems and peformed better in some tests compared with offspring of mothers who did not drink at all.

As my colleague remarked, the study is not conclusive (but then few are, as it happens). And it would be nice, nevertheless, if all of these charities, think-tanks and special-interest medical organisations would do us all a favour and shut the fuck up.

Especially when they are funded with money stolen from us, as I fully expect to find is the case with Alcohol Awareness Scotland...


Anonymous said...

Alcohol Focus Scotland are a member of the Fundraising Standards they ought to comply with public requests for information on how their money is spent.

They do however "manage" a number of projects on behalf of the Scottish Goverment.....which of course is code for "just send us the bill".

Interestingly they are part owners of ORION ( with whom they share an address) which is a IT consultancy organisation....a look at their website and databases they develop makes me shudder.

PS check-out the AFS forum....where I discovered that there are proposals to introduce a new 2/3 of a pint measure for beer.

Dick Puddlecote said...

"In the meantime, please rest assured that, should there appear to be enough support for this, the government will start legislation to restrict alcohol advertising on the 'net initially, and then whatever else takes their fancy. You have been warned."

So that's the Drinkers Alliance shafted then. They're getting quicker I'll give them that, the fuckers.

Anonymous said...

Our long term aim is to achieve a culture change in Scotland

This quote from their website says it all really. By what right do these unelected self-appointed arseholes take it upon themselves to decide there is something wrong with the way the people of Scotland are living their lives? By what right do do they decide to seize a mandate to change our culture?

Further, what kind of self opinionated dickhead would dedicate his life to try to stop others doing something they enjoy?

Only possible justification is that you are too much of a cowardly cunt and believe you haven't the ability to make it in a real job. Working for a bogus organisation like AFS is all you are good for you miserable shower of bastards.

Anonymous said...

Have looked into the link with Orion and the stench is overwhelming.

Investigation please to find out what cunt is getting fat flogging second rate database software to a captive audience of quangos.

archduke said...

scottish charity no: SC009538


who are these people?

what electoral mandate do they have?

who is funding them?

Mitch said...

Just think of all those people walking around with huge penises due to the effectiveness of online advertising and spam.

What a bunch of tossers

Anonymous said...

From 2005 to 2007 their income went up from £950,000 to over £1.5 million.

For that money I would be prepared to tell people drink was bad for them.

Lots of times.

Ian B said...

These asshats are the Temperance Movement, which never went away but shifted its public rhetoric from Demon Rum to "responsible drinking" and so on. The Temperance Movement has always been closely entwined with progressivism and socialism; drinking being one of the primary Great Social Ills which needed to be "fixed" by wise middle and upper class social reformers and was part of that reform movement which encompassed, and still encompasses, eugenics and controlling the breeding of the untermenschen.

It's a big can of worms historically but it's a history that libertarians need to understand; that socialism (as opposed to marxist communism in this instance) was overwhelmingly a middle class social reform movement with a puritanical ethic. This is what we are living under now; the marxist communist phase was a temporary aberration, effectively (communism being intended as a working class "liberation" movement, which is directly opposite to the middle class progressive "reform" movement, which is why Marx and Engels specifically distanced it from bourgeois socialism by naming it differently).

Until the collapse of communism, the Left was trapped in a bitter struggle between the two stances; the end of communism simply allowed the old bourgeois socialism to reassert itself fully- which is what New Labour is. It's basically an attempt to turn the entire country into Port Sunlight, with morally uplifting concerts and speeches in the park bandstand, and no pub.

This is why conservatives are not libertarians, and why it's so depressing to see supposed libertarians for instance collapse into a demented Something Must Be Done fury over Baby P. It was interesting to read in the comments the idea that this monstrosity was down to the parent being untermenschen, and that they are a product of the welfare state. It's simply wrong; middle class panic about the untermenschen predates the welfare state and socialism and was indeed a primary motivator for the development of socialism; the Fabians and their fellow travellers grew out of panicking middle-class do-gooders who wanted to save society from the feckless undeserving poor, the "feeble minded" etc. Back then what we now call the underclass were called the "residuum" (or undeserving poor) etc. Strong drink was considered to be a primary cause of residuumism as were uncontrolled breeding, lack of "education", and so on. Socialism is inherently bound up with moralitarianism. It is moralitarianism. And that's why we should handle conservatives with tongs, because they don't want to go back to the (admittedly, largely mythical) state of individual freedom; they want to go back to the first progressive era with harsh management of the residuum by wise nobs. Which is why you get tits like James Brokenshire MP spouting the same garbagery as New Labour puritans; they are the same. They all believe in the strictly managed society; they just disagree somewhat about the scope and specific measures to be enforced. Oh, and may as well add that the main difference between mdoern progressives and the originals is the use of a Gramscian strategy, but that's less important than it seems. The goals are the same, it's just the crowbars they use are rather more effective and refined, being based on a clever understanding of cultural hegemony and the "war of position". Effectively these faux charities are 19th century temperance activists using a 20th century post-marxist stratagem.

Trixy said...

Alcohol and trying for a baby don't mix? That statement is wrong on so many levels.

Anonymous said...

Never trust social science statistics. Obviously, drinking yourself into a stupor every day of a pregnancy is going to result in a profoundly damaged baby. But the idea that light drinking can improve your baby is surely nonsense. My guess is that light drinking is not terribly significant one way or the other, but that light drinking during pregnancy is more likely to be upper class behavior, abstinence is going to be associated with the responsible middle and working classes, and idiotic behavior is going to be associated with teenagers and the impoverished. As average IQ scores are strongly linked to social class, you end up with the children of light drinkers being "brighter than average." But it wasn't alcohol exposure that gave them this advantage. They are smarter than average because they have smarter than average parents.