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Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

Samizdata quote of the day

One claim by campaigners is that this will ‘help the poor’, who are disproportionately more likely to suffer from alcohol-induced ill-health. How making poor people poorer will improve health is a real head-scratcher. This is typical of the missionary attitude of public-health zealots – imposing policies that poor people don’t want ‘for their own good’. Neither will minimum pricing do anything to solve the problem of weekend revellers ending up in A&E – bars already charge way above the minimum price. Instead, this new policy will target those trying to relax with a cheap drink at home.

Rob Lyons

15 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Paul Marks

    Yes indeed. Good post.

  • Zerren Yeoville

    “This is typical of the missionary attitude of public-health zealots – imposing policies that poor people don’t want ‘for their own good’.”

    Typical indeed – to the extent that about fifteen years ago the BBC made a children’s TV show called ‘Bootleg’ portraying a near-future state ruled by just such zealots who banned all forms of chocolate, promptly driving it underground and creating a black market for confectionery.

    Oddly, although it won a BAFTA for children’s drama, it doesn’t seem to have been repeated for over ten years or released on DVD … it’s almost as if powerful interests didn’t appreciate such subversive ideas being presented to younger viewers and would prefer to suppress it.

    Someone’s put it on Youtube though:


    …and I’m not sure today’s BBC would even consider making anything so un-PC.

  • pete

    If the poor spend more on booze and less on healthy food like vegetables then there can be a new campaign to solve that problem.

    It all makes work for the noddy Scottish parliament and their associated public sector busybodies to do, and that’s the whole point.

    An increasing amount of lucrative middle class employment is guaranteed by interfering in the lives of everyone else.

    With so many graduates produced each year this is essential.

  • john malpas

    prohibition has to start somewhere.

  • DP

    Dear Samizdata Illuminatus (Arkham, Massachusetts)

    It is obvious that these people are really in the pay of Big Homebrew and are trying to boost the DIY alcohol market.


  • Thailover

    Call it helping the poor, call it a sin tax, what it really is, is a tax on stupidity and the willingness of the apathetic general public to be RAPED by politician scoundrels who put an ever-increasing price on you living your life as you see fit.

    They do not have good intentions. They know EXACTLY what they’re doing. They want power over you and your own life, and they want your money too.

    Bottom line, it’s IMMORAL for the government, ANY government to get between you and someone else willing to engage in free trade. If they don’t care for the way I live my life, then they should promptly fuck off. If I break the law as a consequence of being inebriated, then it becomes their business. Until then, they’re Big Brother. Until then, THEY are the enemy. They are the enemy because that’s the position they put themselves in. They are the enemies of freedom, of Liberty. And anyone who doesn’t think so, is, in my opinion, either cluelessly oblivious, or flat-out stupid.

  • Stonyground

    Does anyone else here listen to commercial radio? Anyone who does is regularly exposed to a series of infuriating hectoring ads aimed at home drinkers. “I just want you to ‘ave a think about what you drink throughout the week” intones the ad. The ad is for the government’s ‘Drink Aware’ website where we are invited to go “for the facts”. The last place that I would go to in search of facts is a government website, especially one that gets so few hits that they have to advertise it on the radio. I did visit the site just once because I wanted to send them a scathing email, it will come as no surprise that there were no contact details. It seems that the government’s health fascists don’t actually want to know what people think about them, or more likely they already know and would rather not be reminded.

  • staghounds

    Trying to relax with a cheap drink at home is as far away from being controlled by the State as you can be, who better to target?

  • pete

    Stonyground, I do listen to commercial radio.

    The high proportion of government advertisements about drinking, pensions etc makes it clear that the stations are not commercial at all.

    But that is hardly surprising when the state lavishly funds its own radio stations, enabling them to dominate the market.

    The state advertises on commercial radio stations to enable them to survive, and so to maintain the illusion of a free market.

  • The state advertises on commercial radio stations to enable them to survive, and so to maintain the illusion of a free market. (pete, November 18, 2017 at 9:16 pm)

    You are attributing too much machiavellian subtlety to the state, pete: they advertise on commercial radio because a politician decided to ‘do something about binge drinking’ and ‘do something’ to the average politician means ‘give a sub-department some money and an appropriate name’. The unit has the money, so spends it.

    The state sometimes does things that serves its purpose, not the ostensible purpose, but much of the time it does things that just serve little or no purpose.

    (That said, till I can stop the state wasting my money, I’d rather they spent it on ads than on laws, and mind being made drink-aware less than those PC campaigns that try to make me less aware of common sense.)

  • Stonyground

    The radio ads are not really about binge drinking they seem to be aimed at those of us who just have a very moderate few on an evening and, as a result, are exceeding the government’s scientifically established guidelines.

  • Derek Buxton

    Which particular science would that be? Are not the HoC bars open all day? Hypocrites every one!

  • Watchman


    Technically they’d have to drink in the bars at all hours to be hypocrites surely – or if they do, to have voted for any legislation relating to this (actually, I doubt it is done through parliament – it is probably in the power of the ministry without oversight).

  • Stonyground

    The sarcasm didn’t come over in writing obviously. There is no science involved, the government’s guidelines on the amount that is safe to drink are made up. It is my understanding that the HOC bars are subsidised so that the booze sold there is very cheap. At the same time the booze that is available to everyone else is heavily taxed an hence expensive. I’d call it hypocrisy.

  • Mr Ed


    There is no science involved, the government’s guidelines on the amount that is safe to drink are made up.

    Last time I looked, there was no science but there was some maths. The ‘safe’ limit per week was by some bizarrely fortuitous findings, 21 units for a man and 14 for a woman, which all happily divides into 3 and 2 per day, since equalised downwards to 14 per week regardless of size or sex. And of course, this ‘unit’ is, they now claim, about 3/7ths of a pint of an unspecified strength of beer, not even a half, but more than a ‘nip’, which is still a lawful measure in England.