Posts Tagged ‘Addiction’

Jeffrey Archer Demands Ban on Gambling Advertising in Radio Times

October 30, 2018

Heavens, and what is the world coming to! I’ve just read something by Jeffrey Archer that actually made sense, and with which I agreed. The scribe of Weston-Super-Mud is in the ‘Viewpoint’ column of the Radio Times today, for the week 3-9 November 2018. His piece is titled ‘We have a gambling epidemic’ and has the subheading ‘Cigarette advertising is banned – so why not ads for betting?’

Archer begins by talking about how the Beeb has lost much of its sport coverage to the commercial channels, and so he has his enjoyment of the footie, rugger, golf and cricket ruined by advertising for gambling. He describes how these try to tempt you into having a flutter, even though the odds are stacked against you. You may win occasionally, but in the long term you’ll lose. He then goes to compare this with tobacco advertising, which also took many years to ban because powerful commercial interests were involved, which also heavily sponsored sport. He also claims that the NHS wouldn’t be in crisis if no-one smoked, because the money thus saved would vastly outweigh the tax revenue tobacco brings in. He then writes

Fast forward: we now have a gambling epidemic. More than 400,000 punters have become addicts, 26,000 of them aged 16 or younger. So how long will it take the Government to ban gambling advertising on television? Far too long, I suspect. A good start was made at the Labour party conference in September by deputy leader Tom Watson, who promised immediate legislation to dealwith the problem if a Labour government were elected. Watson pointed out that several experts had shown that unfettered gambling causes impoverishment for the least fortunate in our society, and this often results in abusive behavior towards young children and partners,, and all too often ends in bankruptcy, imprisonment and even suicide.

Rewind: successive governments took years to acknowledge that “Smoking damages your health”, and even longer to admit that “Smoking kills” should be printed on every cigarette packet; and it took even more time before they finally stamped out all forms of smoking advertising. Please don’t let’s take another 20 years before the Government bans gambling advertising, and wastes a generation of young people simply because of the tax revenue.

He then recommends that Tweezer’s new Health Secretary, Matt Hancock, should steal Watson’s clothes and bring in tough legislation dealing with gambling addiction before the next election, because ‘No one ever remembers whose idea it was, only the party person who passed the law.’

His piece ends ‘The slogan ‘When the fun stops stop’ is pathetic, and will reman so until it’s stopped.’ (p. 15).

Archer and Watson are absolutely right about the damage tobacco advertising has done, and which gambling and the advertising for it is continuing to do. And obviously a disagree with his recommendation that the Tories should appropriate Labour’s policy. If they did, it would only be token gesture of actually doing something for ordinary people, like Hammond’s wretched budget. A cosmetic improvement designed to get them re-elected so they can continue wrecking people’s lives in other ways, through destroying what remains of the welfare state and privatizing the health service.

But I’ve absolutely no fear whatsoever that the Tories will ban gambling advertising, for the same reason that they’ve never banned advertising for alcohol. There are heavy restrictions on the way booze is advertised, but not an outright ban. Which the European Union wished to bring in, according to Private Eye a few years ago.

The contemporary Tory party is a creature of its corporate donors. Always has been, to a certain extent. The Tories have always boasted that they represent business, and their MPs, like MPs generally in a political culture dominated by corporate cash, include the heads and managing directors of companies. Indeed, this is one of the reasons the Tories are dying at grassroots level. Ordinary party members in the constituencies are annoyed at the way they’re being ignored in favour of the donors from big business.

Going back 30 years to Major’s government, there was a demand in the early 1990s for an end to alcohol advertising. Major’s government was firmly against it. And one of the reasons was that very many Tory MPs had links to the drinks industry. Which Private Eye exposed, giving a list of those MPs and their links to particular companies.

I’m very confident that the Tory party now has very strong connections to the gambling industry, and so will very definitely not want to risk losing their cash. Just as it wouldn’t surprise me that if Labour did try to ban gambling advertising, the Thatcherite entryists in the party would turn against it. One of Tony Blair’s grotty schemes was the establishment of megacasinos in this country, modelled on America, of course. One of the ideas being kicked around was to turn Blackpool into a British Las Vegas. It’s a very good thing it failed.

Archer’s absolutely right to want gambling advertising to be banned. But the Tories are the last party that’s going to do it. If any party will, it will be Labour under the leadership of Jeremy Corbyn.

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The Young Turks on the Amphetamines Used by Fighters in Syria

November 23, 2015

A few days ago I posted about the report on the atheist news programme, Secular Talk, about the use of amphetamines by ISIS to keep their troops awake and fighting. The report originally came from one of the mainstream news agencies, based on statements made by ISIS’ opponents in Hizbollah. The Lebanese ‘Party of God’ stated that when they fought ISIS, the fearless warriors for the caliphate turned tail and ran. Later, when Hizbollah took their HQ, they found stacks of amphetamines used to strengthen the fighters’ resolve to maim and butcher for their sick theology.

I suggested in my post that, while the story is not incredible, it might be wise to take it with a pinch of salt. Hizbollah are also a militant Islamist group, who have shown themselves perfectly capable of using propaganda themselves. This might be more of it.

It seems in this respect, I was wrong and a bit too cautious. The drug certainly exists, and was the subject of an article by the Groaniad. The Young Turks discuss the Groan’s report in this video, describing the drug’s effects and the way it has been exported to other nations in the Middle East outside of Syria. The drug is Captagon. It’s a powerful amphetamine-based stimulant that keeps those on it up and awake for days. It makes them feel immensely powerful. They don’t feel they need to eat, and numbs them so they can carry on fighting.

It is highly addictive, and long term use results in psychosis and brain damage. Most of the victims of the drug aren’t in Syria, however, but elsewhere in the Middle East, including Saudi Arabia, where about 50,000 people a year go into rehab addicted to it.

The report states that it’s used by the fighters in Syria, and does not mention it as being exclusively used by ISIS. The impression is that everyone involved in the fighting’s using it.

Warning: Like a lot of people, The Young Turks are in favour of the legalisation of cannabis, and their pro-weed views come across in this report. I know a lot of people enjoy a toke, but it is an illegal drug and there is some medical evidence to suggest that it too can cause brain damage.

That caveat aside, the Turks make it extremely clear that they certainly do not endorse this drug, and warn people about how nasty it is. They aren’t clear on how available it is in the US, and on that score wonder how necessary their warnings about it are.

Regardless of its availability, it’s clear that this is an extremely unpleasant drug, not just for its addictive and medically harmful qualities, but for its effect fuelling the bloodshed in that region. The various groups using it are being funded partly through sales abroad of the drug.

Here’s the video.

My guess is that, sooner or later, this muck’s going to find its way onto the streets of the West. The Americans partly kept their allies in the Vietnam War and the Contras fighting the Sandinistas in Nicaragua going through getting the CIA to arrange to sell the drugs produced by them in the Land of the Free. In Vietnam, this was heroin. The Contras produced cocaine. And thanks to our invasion of Afghanistan, opium production there has also skyrocketed. This rubbish will probably end up here, to blight further of the poor and disadvantaged, while giving big profits to the butchers producing it.