I shall not dignify with a detailed response the British Medical Association’s call for a ban on drink advertising, together with the introduction of additional taxes and minimum price levels. The BMA’s PR spin contains much hyperbole; the report itself is a little more measured.
My impression is that the campaign is designed not to achieve the explicitly stated ends, but rather goad government into enacting further restrictions on the sale of alcohol, and inject a bucketload of money into healthcare programmes aimed at dealing with alcohol-related problems. This kind of politicking is typical of Britain’s medical profession, and is not in itself particularly newsworthy.
What is worthy of comment is certain media reaction to the BMA lobbying. Take, for example, Sophie Goodchild’s article in the London Evening Standard, which for the benefit of readers concludes with a detailed list of current supermarket “happy hour” prices:
“Beck’s Bier (4x440ml) Asda: Two for £6 (was £4.56 for one)
Foster’s (15x 440ml) Asda: Two for £16 (was £10 for one)
Malibu White Rum (1L) Asda: £13.84 (was £17.40)
Offenbach Rose Champagne (750ml) Sainsbury’s: £17.99 (was £35.99)
Charles Lafitte Champagne Non Vintage (750ml) Sainsbury’s: £13.99 (was £27.99)
Penfolds Bin 389 Cabernet Shiraz Australia (750ml) Sainsbury’s: £14.99 (was £19.99)
Duchy Originals Organic Select Ale (500ml) Waitrose: £1.61 (was £2.15)
William Grant’s Scotch Whisky (1L) Waitrose: £14.98 (was £17.90)
Bacardi Breezer (4x 225ml) Waitrose: Two for £8 (was £4.49)
Guinness Draught (12x 440ml) Tesco: £10 (was £15.25)
Banrock Station Reserve Chardonnay (750ml) Tesco: £4.99 (was £9.99)
Chateau Clos Renon Bordeaux Superieure (750ml) Tesco: £6.49 (was £12.99)”
Then there’s the fuck-the-nanny-state/spEak You’re bRanes comments that will inevitably follow Goodchild’s piece.
“The BMA said it was not anti-alcohol but that the focus of doctors should be to ensure people drank sensibly,” says Goodchild.
Really? The cover of the BMA report features three upturned spirit glasses. There’s a message buried somewhere in that image, which I imagine was the creative product of an extended liquid lunch. Can you spot the message?