The Puritans are on the march again, emboldened by the successes of their war on smoking.
If you like a sup of alcohol from time to time, get ready to be de-normalised. If you can still afford to buy a drink in the pub, get ready for that to come to an end.
We have referred to that woman, Roisin Shorthall, in these pages a few times before and her crusade to put the whole country on the dry. But the tactics in this kind of thing require foot soldiers, so step forward Brian O’Connell, a journalist and broadcaster, who wrote a book entitled Wasted: A Sober Journey Through Drunken Ireland.
When Brian was younger, he could not (by his own admission) take a drink without having twenty more. In his book he describes his former life as one long, nightmarish piss-up, so by extension, we are all exactly like him. And now that he has seen the light, each one of must see the light as well.
His op-ed piece in the Irish Times a few days ago reeks of the tactics of the anti-tobacco brigade, just with a different target in his case. In Brian's defence, he had a major problem handling alcohol, and he must be applauded for overcoming it and discovering a better way for himself.
But his logic has somehow departed him in the process, and he now views alcohol as a mortal danger for anybody who engages with it. We are all Brian O'Connell at heart, is his assumption, with his weaknesses, pre-dispositions and personality, and must be saved from ourselves now by the great man.
Ex-smokers can be like that. In debate with them over time, they trot out the same mantras, arriving always at the conclusion that as life now is so much better for them, I must follow suit. To their annoyance, I always point out to them that they had the choices. They chose to begin smoking and they chose when they wished to stop. Nobody forced them either way. And this is the key. When they smoked, cigarettes were a reasonable price, and they could smoke anywhere they wished.
Right now, alcoholic drinks are a reasonable price and there are few restrictions on where you can consume them. But, if like ASH and a host of others on tobacco, the likes of Alcohol Action Ireland and our Brian should get their way, this will change with a "war on drinking" being declared while the rest of us are out at the pub at the time.