Sunday, December 11, 2011

Moment of truth

A point I have made several times on here is that many “beer enthusiasts” seem strangely oblivious to the threat to their pleasure posed by the growing movement to have the State control and dictate individual lifestyles.

Not only do they refuse to accept the first they came for the smokers argument, but they seem to believe that their particular interest can sail on unscathed through the obviously increasing trend towards the denormalisation and demonisation of even moderate alcohol consumption. One day, though, something will happen to make them wake up and think “oh shit, this really does mean us!”

Perhaps it will be when the UK ends up with the highest beer duties in the developed world, which a few more years of the annual duty escalator will bring about. However, from the government point of view, we are already into the realm of diminishing returns on that one, with absolute revenues dropping and a substantial rise in smuggling and illicit brewing and distilling.

Or it could be when tiered beer duty makes selling anything beyond very weak beers prohibitively expensive.

Or maybe when restrictions on promotion and advertising (which is where I fear we are likely to see most action) make it impossible to carry on the activities of running beer festivals and producing local newsletters and render most micro-breweries unviable.

I don’t know, as I’m not in possession of a crystal ball. But one day it will happen, and the one thing that is absolutely certain is that it will be too late.

And, in case anyone still didn’t accept the “first they came for the smokers” argument, you only have to read this singularly vile article from Prohibitionist harridan Joan Smith in today’s Independent on Sunday, ably fisked by Chris Snowdon here.

Any suggestion that the principles behind the smoking ban be extended to junk food prompts near-apoplexy, as though we have an inalienable right to consume as much high-fat, sugary rubbish as we wish.
You do have to wonder what is the underlying motivation here. The hackneyed argument about “unhealthy” lifestyles imposing costs on the rest of society does not really wash, as it has been amply demonstrated that, over their lifetimes, those “healthy” people who live into extreme old age cost the NHS far more.

Or it is that we need to have a healthy population to fulfil our national destiny, something disturbingly redolent of the totalitarian ideologies of the 1930s? Or simply a desire to control others and stop them doing anything that the Righteous disapprove of?

And, for what it’s worth, although she says “filling your face with popcorn is not a human right”, in my view being able to choose your own diet and not have it imposed on you by the government is a fundamental human right.