The British Medical Association is a threat to to our freedom.
That's the only conclusion I can come to with the news today that they're seeking a total ban on alcohol advertising. This is an outrageously over the top response to the problems we have in the UK with regard to booze abuse.
Let's be clear about this: the doctors want to ban the promotion of a perfectly legal product, enjoyed by millions every day, on the grounds that doing so will somehow reduce the problems of binge drinking and the health problems which result. This is nonsense.
If such a ban were introduced, I doubt it would make any real difference to the levels of binge drinking in this country. People don't over-indulge in booze because they've seen an ad on the telly promoting a particular brand of wine or beer - they get drunk because they want to, because of problems in their lives, because they don't know their limits, because they're having too much fun to stop, because of peer pressure, because of 100 different reasons. Indeed, I don't recall seeing too many ads for Buckfast on the telly, but that doesn't stop it being a favourite tipple among teen binge drinkers.
As well as being ineffective, such a ban would also be wrong in principle. This isn't the same as banning tobacco advertising. That's a product which has absolutely positive side, whereas there are numerous health benefits claimed for moderate consumption of alcohol. So we've got the strange situation that doctors' leaders are wanting to ban the promotion of a product which, in moderation, can have significant health benefits - crazy or what?
And a booze ad ban would also have other effects. It's estimated it would cost the media industry somewhere in the region of £180m in advertising revenue, at a time when many companies are suffering significantly as a result of the recession. And according to this story in The Times, drink companies are the second biggest sponsors (behind the financial services sector) of sport in this country, supplying a total of £487 million last year. I wonder how the BMA would propose to fill that £1.4 billion gap between now and the London Olympics if alcohol sponsorship were withdrawn tomorrow?
It's time to stop this health fascism nonsense in its tracks. The mad medical zealots can't be allowed to erode our freedom any further.
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