Note: This was first posted here as a comment on the alcohol pricing thread. Some blogs, I have no doubt, would remove it at once. I think it is worth promoting straight to the front page. It is a classic statement of what we are up against.
Look at the statistical assertions. 80 per cent of Melbournians frightened to use the public transport there? This sounds unlikely. If it isn’t a straight lie, we can ask what questions were asked of how many people. Or “48% reduction in costly and sometimes fatal alcohol related incidents.” What does this mean. What is the nature of these incidents? How many of them were fatal? How many fatalities were caused in any reasonable sense by people whose faculties had been impaired by drink? What is meant by costly? Or “(70% assaults in Oz are down to binge drinking.” Another suspicious claim.
Or look at the debating trick. Let us assume that these laws have dissuaded people from harming others. Even if true, is it necessary to set the limits so low? If you want to discourage bank robbery, is it necessary to hang shoplifters? The obvious purpose of all this is to produce large number of convictions and to frighten people out of drinking.
Then we have the continuous assertion that the right to stay alive is a civil liberty. This is a good one to throw about in a studio. It sounds reasonable, and explaining that it isn’t requires an argument rather than a soundbite. You can argue that staying alive is not a civil liberty, but one of those things that civil liberties are supposed to guarantee. Say that, and wait for the obvious sneered riposte. You can say there are better ways to protect the right to life than abolishing all the freedoms that make life worth having. That’s weak, because it requires you to explain that most of the alleged problem is made up, or that it is more effectively dealt with by enforcement of very old laws.
Yes – has anyone an effective one line response to this point about life as a civil liberty? Michael Howard once came out with it in private. He knew he was twisting words, and backed down when I laughed at him. But I’ve also heard Tony Blair use it. Any answers here? SIG
by Mike Cockburn
Well, a min price for alcohol is researched and recommended. No argument from me. IMHO, it’s not anywhere as effective as The Pedestrian 08 Campaign. The US Navy recently trialed something awfully close to Pedestrian 08 and got an immediate 48% reduction. That’s right folks! An immediate 48% reduction in costly and sometimes fatal alcohol related incidents. Nowhere in the Western World has any credible authority or government achieved such a culture busting result. Can you name one?
In Australia, where I write this, we have virtually eliminated driving under the influence. How? By setting out an easily understood limit to driving after drinking, measured and expressed in terms of your Blood Alcohol Content (BAC). Then we have worked on cost effective, but, complete methods of policing. A few busloads of police go out into the wilderness – our suburbs – and Random Breath Test millions of drivers. Yes, millions of breath tests. (Last big campaign- 1.1 million tests conducted over 50 days. All in Victoria (pop. 5.5m))
Effective? Yes, every year, an extra 100 drivers have to be RBTd to find one moronic drunk. We are up past 400 plus drivers now, who are delayed 1-3 mins for a test, once or twice a year. A small price to ensure, you don’t get maimed or killed in a head on accident via the selfishness of a moronic drunk…
Civil Liberties? You bet. The right to life for thousands of innocents have been preserved. What’s this got to do with the above? Well, The pedestrian 08 campaign seeks to do the same for our crime riddled streets and public transport.
1/ set out max BAC for pedestrians (BAC 0.08)
2/ educate widely.
3/ place BAC testing machines in all liquor venues so users can self test and stay within limits on own accord.
4/ deploy teams of police to widely test and fine, fine, fine offenders until they stop.
Civil Liberties: You bet: Freedom from fear, violence, assault (70% assaults in Oz are down to binge drinking), rapes and one punch homicides. Further enhanced by the removal of alcohol fueled offenders holding up jail cells, so we can give hardened crims, hardened time. (Where 10 maybe 20. Sound good?).
80% of Melbournians are afraid to use their public transport system, their taxes have paid for. They will now have freedom of travel returned. Whole districts have been declared No Go Zones because of binge drinking. Law abiding citizens will now have the freedom to return.
i urge you to do what will kill this problem off, once and for all. Pedestrian 08 has been proven by U.S. Navy Submarine Fleet. Motorist point 05 has proven it. Our work authorities have proven it industrially. Our civil aviation authorities have proven it for airline / commercial pilots. And don’t worry, anytime you want a drink, you’ll be able to get one.