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The lives of others

Not a film review. Truth is more horrifying than fiction, sometimes.

The truth in question being the willingness of those close to power openly to advocate ever more interference with you and me, not ad hoc for venal, corrupt, human reasons, but in order systematically to enforce the currently approved good life on society.

From the BBC (Public Policy Research1 is by subscription, and I am not subsidising the bastards any more than I already do from taxes):

Jasper Gerard argues in PPR: “When it comes to booze, society seems to have lost its senses.”

He says current regulations are failing to tackle the growing trend of under age and binge drinking. By raising the age threshold, he claims: “It is at least possible that those in their early and mid teens will not see drink as something they will soon be allowed to do so therefore they might as well start doing it surreptitiously now.”

Alternatively, he proposes getting 18-year-olds to carry smart cards which record how much they have drunk each night and making it an offence to serve more alcohol to anyone under-21 who had already consumed more than three units. [Cant for a pint and a half of ordinary beer – or one decent cocktail – GH]

He conceded that no measure would stamp out youthful drinking entirely, but said it was time for a crackdown.

I note the BBC has this story under ‘health’, rather than ‘politics’. It does not have a ‘neo-Puritanism’ category (perhaps we should have). Medicalised bullying sails past the questioning pickets of journalism and gets straight into the credulous baggage train. As does technological bullying. And here we have medicalised state bullying enabled by technology. Woo-hoo!

One can not quote this fragment of C.S. Lewis too often:

Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber barons cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.

It may spoil the mesodiplosis, but those first too mays should be ises. The robber baron pursues his own whims and pleasures, regardless of others; the neo-Puritan is only happy when the lives of others are under control.

1 = The journal of the Institute for Public Policy Research, the tank in which New Labour thinking goes on.

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28 comments to The lives of others

  • Sunfish

    Alternatively, he proposes getting 18-year-olds to carry smart cards which record how much they have drunk each night and making it an offence to serve more alcohol to anyone under-21 who had already consumed more than three units. [Cant for a pint and a half of ordinary beer – or one decent cocktail – GH]

    “Getting’ them to carry smart cards? What happens if they refuse?

    Not only that, but how is a smart card even going to measure? I mean, I have a preliminary breath tester on my desk right now. It’s about three times the volume of my cell phone. And it cost about $400 or so. And it’s not precise enough to even be admissible in court. (It can accurately determine the presence or absence of ethanol, but the courts here have ruled that its not sufficiently accurate at quantifying alcohol content to be admissible at a criminal trial, or even an administrative driver’s license hearing)

    And some clomp thinks he can get better instrumentation into a smart card?

  • 6th Column

    My reading of the smart card was that it is swiped each time the holder buys a drink and records how many units have been bought per day. Once the holder hits the limit set by the commissar he cannot buy anymore.

    Sounds moronic to me. What about people buying rounds? What about sharing cards or black market cards. This is just another raft of rules and more chairwarmers will be needed to administer them.

    My son (18) and daughter (20) barely drink at all. Perhaps they could sell their allowance?

  • Phil A

    These people are implacable, with their relentless drive to control every aspect of our lives – and should frankly scare the socks off all reasonable people.

    We are spared the worst of it so far only by their monumental ignorance and incompetence.

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    It cannot repeated too often, or too loudly, that, godwins law aside, New Labour are a fascist movement. Fascist lite maybe, but fascist nontheless. They have no concept of the separation of the public from the private.

    Say it loudly, say it often, maybe the message will start to get past their collective and offensively smug, self righteous carapaces.

  • Stephan

    Sheer bloody idiocy! kids don’t just drink for the ridiculous reasons stated by that politico moron! They do it because: A. they can and think its fun, especially socially! B. its a form of rebellion (thank the drinking age for that one) C. a whole assortment of personal reasons… Raising the drinking age will do nothing useful, but will certainly entail a whole lot of bureaucratic nonsense, and leave good number of perfectly mature slightly older drinkers looking and feeling stupid when they’re asked to present their ID’s..

  • John K

    Chris, I quite agree, fascism is the only word which adequately describes the Nu Labor Project. I am sure they would be very offended by this, as by and large they do not wear black shirts, and have no immediate plans to invade Abyssinia. Nonetheless, the ideology of fascism seems to most closely match their world view.

  • Phil, the problem is that reasonable people don’t know about it. The media is so tied up with the aims of the state that it basically reports what it is told to report and ignores everything else. The BBC is the worst culprit but supposedly independent media are just as guilty.
    The state (and their corporate sponsors) will notbe happy until we’re all catalogued, tagged, numbered, and our habits monitored so as to determine how to milk the most profit from us. If I could afford to leave I would. If I could afford to mount a serious campaign to change the system I would, I wake up every day and hope that someone has noticed and reported on the perfidy being perpetrated by the government but to no avail.
    This doesn’t get reported because it is in the interests of those who do the reporting not to.

  • Not a single word in the article about parental responsibility.

    This is part of the propaganda to set in train ‘social’ engineering, starting with the youth.

    We will have the Hitler oops, Brown Youth movement next.

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)


    Then just spread the word. The more people use these words the faster the message spreads.

    Repeat it down the pub, allude to it at work, state it directly to NuLab aficionados at dinner parties. Shame those who support them.

    If I could afford to mount a serious campaign to change the system I would

    And what is there to stop you from partaking in a low level grassroots campaign? A personal guerrilla action?

  • guy herbert

    JohnK, IanP,

    Mr Brown seems to be thinking along the same lines.

    In nine years I’ve learned that these new challenges can be met only by government and people working together, met only by an active citizenship only by involving and engaging the British people and forging a shared British national purpose that can unify us all.

    …have no immediate plans to invade Abyssinia, yet they have sent troops into five wars and

    Let me promise: as a government, as John Reid and Des Browne have said, we will take any necessary steps and find all necessary resources to ensure whether in Iraq, Afghanistan or anywhere else there is no safe haven for terrorists and no hiding place for terrorist finance.

    We will have the Hitler oops, Brown Youth movement next. Indeed:

    Let us do more to support what gives young people opportunity and idealism: a youth community national service offering thousands of chances to expand horizons.

    And as Tessa Jowell has urged us, let us encourage thousands of young people to be volunteers for the London Olympics of 2012.

  • RAB

    Ah the moral panics of a government that is dead in the water and no direction home!
    Last week the little shavers were all going to be clinically obese. Something must be done!
    The week before they were all going to be stick insects from copying zero sized models. Something must be done!
    Now underage drinking….
    Dont our politicians do history at school anymore??
    Pupils at Eton and Harrow used to have two pints of porter with their porridge every morning. Made first period double maths much more interesting!
    Indeed most of the population were perminently half pissed up until oh about 1880, cos you couldn’t trust the water supply.
    The smart card is this govts best yet though! A scheme of spectacular stupidity and unworkability.
    I’d like to meet the bloke who keeps selling the Government all this dodgy technology though!
    He must be a genius.

  • Phil A

    Mandrill, I can’t say I disagree with anything you said there (11:32).

  • Nick M

    I saw this coming a mile off. This is the ultimate endgame of the ID card and Millipede’s carbon card (Is your journey really necessary? – Nah, I drive round and round the M60 just for the sheer enjoyment of it!)

    Everything will be rationed and controlled. They’ve started already because every second bus in Manchester is festooned with government advertising (especially the ludicrous and patronising “traffic-light” healthy eating thing). Well, HMG, I’m not a fat bezzler and I eat very healthily and I’m a bloody good cook and I know a fair bit about food. None of the above is the result of HMG spending my money on crap like this. I feel patronised, infantilized and ripped off.

    But what if I was a fat bezzler? I’ve known some in my time and I can conclusively state (almost typed “sate” there!) that HMG’s “traffic lights” will make not the least difference to somebody who (even when not intoxicated) will glibly order a donner-meat pizza. I use the word “meat” there in the loosest sense.

    So, back OT. they wanna ration booze. Grand, whatever. I’m sure everything 6th columnist says will come to pass. And the rest. I’ll pass my twilight years hawking bath-tub gin for sexual favours on street corners (cash payment being illegal by this point) and us proles will rejoice in the latest victory over EastAsia (we have always been at war with EastAsia) while David Millipede toasts it with the finest wines known to humanity.

    And what the fuck is the BBC doing pondering such issues anyway? We pay ’em handsomely and they’re suppossed to entertain us. Apart from Dr Who their output this weekend has been utter shite. Whoever is responsible for that train-wreck “starring” Robert Lindsay and Zoe Wannamaker ought to be hung, drawn and quartered.

  • Nick M

    You’d need a sledgehammer wielded by Geoff Capes (in his prime) to penetrate the carapace (thanks for that image – it’ll come back to me at about 3am) of NuLab. The likes of Millipede and Bleary, Spewitt and (Irritable) Jowell are so intoxicated on their own propaganda that they are essentially trans-human. They operate in an entirely different mental universe. They have sold their reason for a big pay-cheque and a ministerial Jag. They are not just a disgrace to the United Kingdom, they are a disgrace to H. sapiens sapiens. We don’t require an election. We need Rentokill.

  • RAB

    Down at the local dealers-

    Now look chill dude! According to your Ganga card
    you gone through dat quarter a bit quick!
    I cant sell no more till next tuesday!

  • Mesodiplosis? Is that something like a diplodicus?

  • James

    The IPPR is actually the Institute for Public Policy Research, but that’s minor detail….

    [Fixed. Thank you. Should check and not rely on my deviant’s memory. – GH]

    The bastards couldn’t fuck off and die any sooner in my esteemed opinion.

    Three units? Thankfully we have the Portman Group to strongarm these awful priggish scum.

    As for raising the age from 18 to 21, presumably they’re still okay with sending 18-year olds off to die and allowing them to procreate another generation of ‘customers’ of the state? Where would Blair get his cannon fodder otherwise? They’ll be pissed off in Basra being told they can’t have a drink in their mess’, lest it kill them…

  • guy herbert

    That’d be the same Portman Group that has its members print “please enjoy responsibly” on all booze advertisements; that helped the govt introduce “Think 21!” age-checking everywhere; that encourages the “Pubwatch” surveillance schemes… usw?

    I imagine the forces will be exempt. Just as they (and prisons) are from the “smoke-free workplace” regulations.

  • IanP

    Better order your leather coats and jackboots now. There will be a shortage soon.

  • IanP

    The New Nazi State: This is what Blair means when he said today that his legacy as prime minister will “stand the test of time” and the “final building blocks” of reform are being put in place.

    I assume this is why they only putting up candidates for 60pct of seats. The election is irrelevant to them.

    I wrote only 2 weeks ago of how they would take over.
    and it doesn’t sound so outrageous any more.

  • I think raising the legal drinking age to 21 is a step too far and smacks of the Nanny State.
    However I do believe that the current drinking law is open to abuse by teenagers.
    The problem we have with underage drinking is largely due to the 18-20 age group buying drink for their underage friends. I feel a good compromise would be to raise the age at which alcohol can be purchased in shops and off licences to 21. There’s a good chance that if you are 21 or older you will be less likely to buy alcohol for those underage. The age limit would remain at 18 in pubs, clubs and restaurants where regulation is already in place.

  • guy herbert

    The problem we have with underage drinking is largely due to the 18-20 age group buying drink for their underage friends.

    No. The problem we have with underage drinking is the puritanical licensing laws that create the concept of “underage drinking”, end even before the recent tightening of the bureaucratic noose in 2005 were the most restrictive in Europe outside Scandinavia, a relic of Lloyd George appeasing the prohibitionists among the Liberal Party’s non-conformist voter-base.

    The somewhat more liberal laws of my youth were less enforced, and we didn’t live in a milquetoast society where a 14-year-old with a hangover is a candidate to be ‘taken into care’ (i.e. kidnapped by the state) to the accompaniment of tabloid TV documentaries on ‘Britain’s Drunken Youth’. But we would still have benefited from the TT code being scrapped.

  • Phil A

    Re: The New Nazi State: This is what Blair means when he said today that his legacy as prime minister will “stand the test of time”

    Would that be the 1000 year Reich State then?

  • Chris Harper (Counting Cats)

    his legacy as prime minister will “stand the test of time”

    So that will be a thousand years then?

  • I have long thought of New Labour in these terms, hence my blog at NeueArbeit Macht Frei(Link).

    I see the “drinking card” as another craggy tip of the same iceberg that gives us the “carbon credit card”, road pricing and the ID Card. They want to know everything we do, where, when, with whom and why. They want to own us, because in their twisted skulls they believe it is their right.

  • Mike Davies

    “make it an offence to serve more alcohol to anyone under-21 who had already consumed more than three units.”
    A single pint of Stella is 3 units. If the scheme is introduced most pubs would go out of business, simple as that.
    There would be more sales of brewers kits and the like, ( which currently have no age limit ) and people would drink much more as a home brewed pint is very cheap. In the absence of bars and pubs, there would be more hanging around the streets than now, and more petty vandalism littering etc. (Prompting calls for the gov’t to provide facilities for young people, and more law’n’order powers, curfews perhaps).
    Alternatively people would simply use drugs to intoxicate themselves, leading to more drug deaths (caused by the illegality and hence poor quality of the drugs themselves), and then more calls for a clampdown on drugs and youths etc etc.

  • On the subject of the Portman Group and neo-puritanism, a Belgian lager featuring a girl in a scratch-off swimsuit has been “removed from sale in the UK”. I’m not quite sure what mechanisms are involved but it’s to do with the Portman Group’s “code of practice”:


    Shame, it seemed like a great marketing gimmick to me.

  • faye

    I’m 23 now, and I remember lots of my friends having drinking problems when they were 16 and that booze was not hard to obtain. They drinking age here in the US is 21 for anyone who wasnt in the know.

    How the hell is a drunk going to be able to use a smart card? They cant walk straight, but they’re going to be able to measure their alcohol level so that the cops can use it against them in court when they are above the legal limit?

    for those who think the legal drinking age should be 21 because they’re more responsible upright citzens, I direct you to a website called (College Humor)