Years of lies and half-truths from the temperance movement culminated in a parliamentary debate on Wednesday. Regular readers will know how the supine media, the fake charities and the quacks have been drip-feeding the public scare stories and bogus statistics about the pretend alcohol epidemic since—oh, let's think now—shortly after the smoking ban. In all that time, barely a word of truth has escaped their lips and on Wednesday it all paid off. The venal cretins in the House of Commons fell over themselves in their rush for legislation.
Dick Puddlecote has already filleted the debate in expert fashion but, as the psychiatrist said of Basil Fawlty, there is enough here for an entire conference. The campaign for minimum pricing is being led by Kevin Barron MP, an anti-smoking weasel and temperance nut who has been well briefed on demonising the drinks industry and playing the think-of-the-children card. While regurgitating every myth about alcohol, he accused everyone else of making myths of his myths:
Kevin Barron (Rother Valley, Labour): A myth is widely propagated by parts of the drinks industry and politicians that a rise in prices would unfairly affect the majority of moderate drinkers.
It would, you devious fuck. Even assuming you would keep the minimum price at 50p unit—which I seriously doubt—everyone would pay more for their drink.
It would effectively mean that a woman who drinks the recommended maximum of 15 units a week could buy her weekly total of alcohol for £6. Of course, probably not everyone drinks industrial white cider only.
Well, precisely. But we soon will be if you get this illiberal and illegal law through.
Unlike rises in duty, minimum pricing would benefit traditional pubs—the on-trade, as Greg Mulholland suggested—so, unsurprisingly, it is supported by the Campaign for Real Ale, which also gave evidence to the Committee.
CAMRA can suck my balls, the thick-headed, narrow-minded, pot-bellied, do-it-to-Julia cunts that they are. It's only a matter of time before the head of CAMRA gets off a plane saying that he has a piece of paper in his hand. As Mr A points out at Leg-Iron's place, CAMRA should be a verb:
I wonder if "doing a CAMRA" will become an accepted phrase for stupidly rolling over, attacking your potential allies and cosying up to the enemy when they are clearly out to get you, like the term "Quisling" did?
Sorry Kevin, you were saying...
We are all concerned about the closures of public houses in this country.
Are you concerned, Kev? Are you really? Let's see shall we?
How Kevin Barron voted on key issues since 2001:
Voted strongly for introducing a smoking ban.
I thought not.
They are closing for many reasons, not necessarily just the price of alcohol...
No one look at the elephant. The room is going to be just fine so long as we don't look at the elephant.
According to calculations undertaken by the Treasury at the Committee's request, for our report, if the duty on a bottle of spirits had increased since the early 1980s at the same rate as earnings, it would now be £62.
That statistic reeks of bullshit, but let's go with it. Surely you're not proposing that the price of a bottle of gin should be £62?
Neither I nor the Committee recommend an immediate leap to those levels of duty on spirits, but we should certainly make a start.
Are you fucking insane?! Your ultimate goal is to make a bottle of spirits cost £62?
We think that a start should be made. We recommend that duties on spirits be returned in stages to the same percentage of average earnings as in the past.
Ride my face to Chicago, you're really serious! Listen Kevin, waste of eggs and semen that you are, tax on alcohol has risen above inflation since the 1980s. If alcohol is more affordable today, it is because the working wage has risen and living standards have improved. These were—as your daddy might have told you—the aims of the Labour movement before it became infested with paternalistic cunts like you.
Being able to afford things was once since as a good thing, even by the pricks in your party. If you start setting a minimum price for everything you don't like, just because the working class can afford more than a crust of bread and a copy of The Morning Star, you will be doing it to everything. But then you'd like that wouldn't you, you sordid, totalitarian lefty cunt?
And what do Cameron's hip young Tories have to say on the matter?
Robert Syms (Poole, Conservative): I was listening to a programme on Radio 4 earlier in the week about marmalade.
John Grogan (The turgid member for Selby, Labour): A couple of years ago, I suggested that Sir Terence Leahy was in danger of becoming the godfather of British binge drinking, given the low prices at Tesco. Some alcohol was being sold more cheaply than water.
Howard Stoate (Dartford, Labour): When I was last in Washington on a Select Committee inquiry, I was refused alcohol on the grounds that I could not prove that I was over 21 as I did not have my passport with me. I was not sure whether to feel flattered or insulted.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): My hon. Friend is obviously very youthful looking. No one challenged me, I have to say, but other staff were challenged, and the age limit was rigidly enforced.
Look, dickheads, we're trying to have a debate here. Have you got anything other than feeble anecdotes to contribute?
Indeed, not so long ago, two British sisters were on holiday in Florida, one over 21 and one under. Their holiday flat was entered by the local police who found them both drinking. The older sister was sent to prison for corrupting a minor-that is how seriously it is taken. I am not suggesting that we should be so draconian, but there are countries that take the issue a bit more seriously than we do. We have a long way to go.
"A long way to go"? Cops bursting into houses arresting people for drinking. That's what we're working towards, is it? God, I hate you.
Anne Milton (Shadow Minister, Health; Guildford, Conservative): I know a little bit about Canada, which has quite vicious laws on alcohol. Instead, it has a significant problem with cannabis misuse.
A salient point, at last. Crazy drinking laws in North America have only led to endemic, tedious pot smoking by the under-21s. A bit of an unintended consequence there?
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): In Sweden, they have had serious problems with alcohol.
Yes, yes. Another avenue of sanity has opened up. Time to grab the bull by the horns. Sweden has the highest alcohol taxes in the whole EU but serious problems with alcohol. Riddle me that, fuckers.
No? Nobody? No one even going to respond?
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): There is an argument even for raising the minimum drinking age. In America, it is 21, but it is much lower in Britain. That is something that we should consider, and in time we may do so—but not at the moment.
You people really are the pits.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): The minimum price argument is overwhelming. The Chief Medical Officer said that it should be a minimum of 50p per unit of alcohol. I would be happy with that.
Let's be very, very clear about this. Liam Donaldson has been the most deceitful, scare-mongering, incompetent, unhealthy, dishonest, unscientific, pus-filled, overweight, pasty, waste-of-space turd polisher to ever rise to the high office of Chief Medical Officer. From the smoking ban to minimum pricing and from bird flu to swine flu, there is not one thing this pernicious ball-licker has touched which hasn't turned out to be based on a shit-heap of lies. When the crank dies I will cry tears of joy, so do not even think about quoting him as an authority on anything.
It would also save a valuable cultural feature of our society—the great pub—which is suffering greatly at the moment from cheap alcohol being drunk elsewhere.
Can't think of anything that might be making pubs suffer, Kelvin? Maybe a little ban that you, too, voted for? So, how can we find a way of forcing people back into the pubs that your smoking ban has crippled?
We should make all cheap alcohol sales techniques, such as happy hours, illegal, and enforce that rigidly.
More bans. More bans will make everything all right. We're only ever one ban away from Utopia.
And then we have the voice of the esteemed medical profession, Dr Richard Taylor, to give us the measured and rational facts upon which less learned members of the house can base their judgement on what is, after all, a complex issue.
Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest, Independent): Dr. Stoate did not do this, but my job in these debates is to terrify people.
So speaks the medical man. Of course your job is to terrify people. You are, after all, not only a doctor but a politician, and therefore—in your own eyes—God almighty.
If women drink heavily at the end of pregnancy, their babies can be born addicted to alcohol and will have to go through the withdrawal process. That is absolutely horrendous... Alcohol in excess is a drug of addiction. It is a poison in excess, leading to comas and things that, in the past, have led to deaths in police stations... Alcohol is not a stimulant; it is a narcotic... jaundice, cachexia, a grossly swollen stomach and distended veins, and vomiting blood...
Christ, that balanced and objective overview is enough to make anyone give up drinking. You are, I presume, a teetotaller?
However, I am with everybody else: not consumed in excess, alcohol can bring a great amount of pleasure, and I would never miss out on the House of Commons claret, for example, or several of the other potions that we can have here.
Gloating about the claret in the subsidised House of Commons bar while you scheme to rob the public of yet more of its hard-earned money. I hope your constituents tear you limb from limb.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): To reinforce my hon. Friend's point, I studied and taught economics, so I know about a thing called a demand curve, which shows that if the price is raised, consumption goes down.
Just think about that for a minute. That is the whole quote. I haven't edited it. He actually interrupted a debate in the mother of all Parliaments to recite the most elementary piece of information in the field of economics. That he felt the need to do so says something about him or it says something about the stupefying ignorance of his fellow MPs. I fear it may be the latter.
And then there's this asshole:
Pete Wishart (Perth & Perthshire North, Scottish National Party): Let me clarify: everybody in Scotland is for minimum pricing, whether they are health professionals, chief police officers and the licensing authorities. The only people against minimum pricing in Scotland are the Labour party in the Scottish Parliament, the Liberals in the Scottish Parliament and of course the Conservatives, as we would expect.
That's quite some support you've got there, Pete. Everyone's on board except the Labour party. And the Liberals. Oh, and the Conservatives. Apart from that, everybody.
And what do the Conservatives think about all this anyway?
Anne Milton (Shadow Minister, Health; Guildford, Conservative): In 1947, we drank 3.5 litres of alcohol per head in this country; now, the figure is well over 9.5 litres.
So what? As Dick Puddlecote has pointed out, we were under the yoke of rationing in 1947. Is that Tory party policy now?
The British Medical Association believes that we have some of the heaviest levels of alcohol consumption in Europe
In that case, the British Medical Association are lying cock-suckers to man. World Health Organisation figures show that the UK drinks less than the Czech Republic, Ireland, France, Germany, Austria, Poland, Spain, Denmark, Hungary, Luxembourg, Switzerland and Finland. That puts us firmly mid-table, no?
Minimum pricing is regressive in that the capital made by increasing the price of alcohol will go straight to the supermarkets and shops that sell the alcohol. Instead, why not tax the alcohol so that the profits of any increase can, as the report says, go back to the Government.
Aside from the fact that this woman has no idea what the word 'regressive' means, you have to admire the Tories for being up-front about it. They want to screw the punter just as much as Labour, but they're going to make damn sure that it's the government, not the retailers, who get the money.
So, not a cigarette paper between the Tories and Labour on this issue, as usual. In a three hour debate, only one voice of sanity emerged from this den of liars and thieves. In these dark days it is only proper to give credit to a man who exhibits some balls and principles. To that end, I give you Philip Davies MP...
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative): Given the Chairman's lack of complaint about his own colleagues appearing and intervening in the debate, I suspect that his concern with me is not that I am contributing to it after having arrived late, but simply that he will not agree with what I am about to say. I am afraid that I am going to disappoint him again.
The report is certainly a useful contribution to the debate on addiction—not, unfortunately, on addiction to alcohol, but on this Government's and the Health Committee's addiction to the nanny state. They have already helped to dismantle the pub and club industry with their smoking ban. Pubs are closing at the rate of 50 a week—many because of the ban on smoking in public places—and the same fate is being felt by many clubs, such as working men's clubs. It seems that the Health Committee, not satisfied with dismantling the pub and club industry, now wishes to direct its fire in other areas, such as at cinemas and commercial broadcasters, to try to close down those industries. Many sports will also be adversely affected if its recommendations are introduced.
Do my eyes deceive me, or is this fellow bang on the money?
All that would not be so bad if I thought that, in the end, if after all the Committee's recommendations were introduced, its members would say that they were satisfied. The problem, however, as with all these matters, is that the report panders to the zealots in society who are never satisfied. I guarantee that if all the recommendations were introduced, Committee members would, within a few months at most, come back with further recommendations because the previous ones had not gone far enough. This lobby is impossible to satisfy.
How did this fellow sneak into Parliament? Security!
The problem with the political classes generally, particularly in this House, is that when they are faced with a problem—there is no doubt that there is a problem with excessive drinking of alcohol—the solution that they propose has to be constituted of two particular themes. The first ingredient in any solution that politicians propose is that it must show that they are doing something; they have to be seen to be doing something. The second ingredient, which we always see, is that the proposal must not offend anyone and must be superficially popular. Once again, that approach applies to many of the recommendations, most of which would not make a blind bit of difference to excessive or under-age alcohol consumption.
Goddamn. That was good. I think we're going to need one less lamp-post. Naturally, the government's response was dismissive and patronising.
Kelvin Hopkins (Luton North, Labour): It is clear that the hon. Gentleman and I come from polar opposite positions, but he is making the classic freedom speech. He is saying that we have the freedom to do what we want, without intervention from the state.
"The classic freedom speech". That's what centuries of political thought boil down for these fascists. John Locke, Alexis de Tocqueville, John Stuart Mill—it's all just a bit of verbal jousting to them.
The same speech will have been made against the breathalyser, crash helmets, the compulsory wearing of seat belts and a whole range of traffic regulations that are designed to save lives. Freedoms affect other people, not just the person exercising them.
No. No. No. Wearing a seat belt and a crash helmet does not affect other people and never has. It was with those laws that the rot set in. I've quoted it before and I'll quote it again, but when Ivan Lawrence spoke in 1979 to oppose compulsory seat belts, he predicted exactly where this would all lead:
Why should anyone be forced by criminal sanction not to hurt himself? That was never, at least until the crash helmet legislation, a principle of our criminal law. Where will it end? Why make driving without a seat belt a crime because it could save a thousand lives, when we could stop cigarette smoking by the criminal law and save 20,000 lives a year? Why not stop by making it criminal the drinking of alcohol, which would save hundreds of thousands of lives?
When will we realise that laws not only cannot cure every evil but are frequently counter-productive? Here the harm done to our criminal process may well exceed any good that the law can do. We can see that in advance, so why do we persist with it? If there was a law which made it a criminal offence to smoke or to drink alcohol, neither of which, of course, do I advocate, just think of the amount of bereavement that would be saved, the number of hospital beds that could be put to better use, and the time and energy of our doctors and nurses which could be more usefully employed. Yet we do not consider doing that. What is it about the motorist that requires him to be singled out and subjected to this sort of legislation?
The harm to justice caused by this legislation will be far more substantial than we think. When will we realise that every little infringement of liberty, for whatever good cause, diminishes the whole concept of liberty? If life is the only criterion, why did we sacrifice so many millions of lives in two world wars? Why did we not in the Second World War lie down and say "Because millions of people may die, we should let our liberty be taken away before the onset of the Nazis?" The answer is that more important than lives is the concept of liberty.
Since I have been in the House I have seen the cogent arguments and the telling pleas of hon. Members on both sides of the House persuading and succeeding in persuading the House that it is only a very little piece more of liberty that we are withdrawing and for such great benefits and advantages. As a result we have far fewer of our freedoms now than was ever dreamed possible a few years ago. In the end we shall find that our liberties have all but disappeared. It might be possible to save more lives in Britain by this measure—and by countless other measures. But I do not see the virtue in saving more lives by legislation which will produce in the end a Britain where nobody wants to live.
And he was dead right. If people had opposed that little law back then we would never be in the situation we are now, with authoritarian scumfucks like Kevin Barron citing is as a precedent to justify the state fixing prices. And once we accept that the state should fix prices for our own good, what will come next? Even now, with overwhelming evidence that these bastards will never stop, the basic principle of individual liberty is drowned out by the spastic yelps of the temperance zealots. Even now, a photo of some tart pissed up in a town centre carries more weight than centuries of hard-fought liberty. Even now, there are people thinking that it's only the cider-drinking plebs who will lose out from this bullshit law. From making it a crime to not wear a seat belt to banning happy hour in one generation. Silently but inexorably, the state marches on.
Never mind that, think of the children. You don't want babies being born addicted to alcohol do you? What kind of a monster are you? Look at our statistics. Feel my sincerity. Alcohol is cheaper than water. Is that what you want? Is it, eh, murderer? Won't somebody please think of the children?!?
No one heeded Lawrence's warnings in 1979 and no one will heed Philip Davies in 2010, because it's just one little law, isn't it? It's not as if thousands of little laws add up to one big tyranny, is it?
Richard Taylor (Wyre Forest, Independent): When parents are not providing adequate control, the nanny state has a place, if it is thinking of the good of all the people.
Fuck you, Taylor, and fuck your nanny state. I wish nothing but harm on you and your kind. Nothing.