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WRITER, CONSULTANT AND BROADCASTER SPECIALISING IN BEER, PUBS AND CIDER. BEER WRITER OF THE YEAR 2009 AND 2012

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Wednesday, 3 February 2010

An open letter to Frank Dobson MP regarding his comments on drinkers

Dear Frank Dobson

I’m just listening to you speak on Decision Time, Radio 4, broadcast on 27th January.

You’ve just claimed – and I’m quoting your words exactly here – that "heavy drinkers cause a vast amount of disorder, get involved in sexual assaults, get involved in accidents and are a major nuisance with loutish behaviour."

As a heavy drinker myself, I find your comments astonishingly offensive. I have never been involved – even in my youth – in any of the behaviour you describe above, and neither have any of my friends. You are quite clearly implying that if I drink, I am more likely to assault someone violently or sexually.

Your failure to specify ‘some’ or ‘a minority of’ drinkers, or to qualify your claims in any other way, means you are quite clearly claiming that ANYONE who drinks heavily is more likely to carry out such an assault. Having studied NHS and ONS data closely (I’d recommend you do the same) I know for a fact that there is no proof of this. While those who are already prone to sexual or violent assault may well have a drink before carrying out an attack, you are making a grave and slanderous error by implying that alcohol itself makes people more likely to commit such an attack. You are wilfully confusing correlation with causation.

On behalf of myself and the vast majority of drinkers who consume a legal drug that in the vast majority of cases enhances and benefits social interaction rather than damaging it, I demand an apology from you for this appalling slur on our characters, and suggest you check the facts before you open your mouth on this topic again.

As a beer writer, I’ll be copying this email in various channels and urging my many law-abiding, respectable readers to make their feelings known to you in a similar fashion.

Cheers

Pete Brown

Write to Frank at -
Frank Dobson MP
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA

Ring Frank on -
020 7219 4452 or 020 7219 5840

Fax Frank on -
020 7219 6956

Email Frank on
patelm@parliament.uk

14 comments:

Eddie86 said...

Done ( http://studentbrewer.blogspot.com/2010/02/quick-email.html )- cheers for the contact details.

And again, thank you. I think you've certainly found your calling Pete...

Scott said...

Amen brother!

ZakAvery said...

He's clearly put the cart before the horse. The people who do the things he describes may also be heavy drinkers, but not all heavy drinkers do the things he describes.

Still, it adds a bit of credibility to my theory that the current demonising of alcohol is more to do with public order than public health.

BLTP said...

people should listen to this show on the iplayer (in the UK) apart from Frank Dobson broad brush delude and outrageous babblings it was interesting on 3 other counts:
1: was the that most people on the show signed up unquestioningly to the idea that the uk is awash with violent drunks etc.
2:It was a useful insight into lobbying process law drafting process.
3. John Redwood (Tory) was in many ways the most balanced voice on the show!

Alan said...

If he said "heavy drinking many times leads to..." is it still offensive? I don't consider myself a heavy drinker so am not offended personally (especially not being in the UK or subject to this politician's opinion either) but I am not offended by the idea that heavy drinking many times is a contributing factor to disorderly conduct. Surely that is an important distinction.

Zak: crime control is public order, is it not? Even though we are not a police state, we still have "mischief" as a crime here in Canada so would not be personally concerned about public order and public health (or public safety) being issues of dramatically different orders. Culturally, do you make this distinction?

Not being rhetorical. Being curious. Also, having posting issues so please excuse potential multiple submissions. My browser is wonky.

Cooking Lager said...

Sent him my letter, boss.

We cannot let 'em get away with it!

eddy said...

Done and done - I've emailed demanding an explanation and will post the whole thing once I get a reply.

Tommy n said...

Well said!

Zak said...

Alan, the point I'm trying to make is that while the government here are talking about alcohol and health, their covert agenda is alcohol and public order.

Having accepted that "something must be done" about the "problem" of "binge drinking", they've come to the conclusion that demonising alcohol and drinking is the easiest way to do it - making people frightened of themselves if they drink, essentially.

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

Isn’t FD’s son a converted Muslim and might not the prohibitive attitude of Islam towards alcohol be beavering away in the subconsciousness of our former health secretary (as far as I could see he’s cool about his son converting). He’s also a politician and it’s their nature to use massive brushes to paint on their canvases.

Anonymous said...

yes very good, but walk around any major city or provincial town on a weekend about midnight and you might start to agree with Frank after a little while...

Adrian Tierney-Jones said...

I’m in the middle of Nottingham at the moment and there is a helluva lot of heavy drinking going on but as far as I can see nothing untoward is happening; oh look there are some people enjoying themselves and they might have had a few over the limit…quick call the Frank Dobson.

BLTP said...

anon: (BTW always love an anon posts they are so classy) many of us regularly walk around major towns and cities at night and don't deny that alcohol causes problems.
But we also drink in pubs (and have done for many years) were there's hardly ever any trouble and don't see why the social life and culture of the many should be curtailed by the action of the dwindling few. There are more than enough powers in place to help fight abuse of alchohol. In the programme they gave an example of multi agency approach which has reduced drastically the sale of alchohol to under age drinkers in cambridgshire I believe. Frank Dobson was dismissive of this because like many New Labour types he can't cope with complicated problems and prefers simple broad brush grandstanding approach.
Oh and if I did start to agree with Frank (you seem to be on first name terms with him) on this and several other issues I think I would definitely give up the booze.

DJ said...

I just emailed Dobbo and I told him in no uncertain terms if he didn't apologise to me I would drive my car through his front window, duff him up, piss on his carpet and touch up his missus! How dare he say such things !)