"Prohibition is won, now for tobacco."
So said the great anti-saloon preacher in 1919. 2011's version is only slightly different.
Cigs war won: Now cancer campaigners set their sights on beer
This is from Australia, natch. Nonsmoking drinkers should pay attention, particularly those of the complacent Campaign for Real Ale variety. This is all about you now.
HEALTH activists who believe even one alcoholic drink can cause cancer are lobbying MPs in Canberra today for limits on how much we consume and how much we pay for it.
If they're successful in branding alcohol a carcinogen it could lead to tough restrictions similar to those applied to tobacco, including warnings on labels and laws requiring plain packaging.
Oh, what a tangled web we weave. Still, at least there isn't an equivalent of Action on Smoking and Health to fight a vociferous campaign against drinkers. No, hang on, there is.
Today's offensive on drinking problems, including limits on how much we consume and how much we pay for it, is being launched by the National Alliance for Action on Alcohol (NAAA), a group of health and community organisations formed in March last year.
But surely they wouldn't equate the risks of drinking with the risks of smoking?
The Cancer Council of Australia argues even one drink is dangerous, a view similar to its position that even one cigarette can injure health.
And don't bother pointing out that a little alcohol is good for your health. The wowsers have got that one covered as well.
It’s bad news for wine lovers - a leading health researcher has dismissed one of the cherished hopes of drinkers everywhere - that a couple of glasses a night is good for the heart.
Professor Tanya Chikritzhs, of the National Drug and Research Institute, says the health claims are based on flawed and biased research.
My, my. This is terribly surprising news isn't it? And all the more ironic since only last week the drinks industry was whining about a BAT advert depicting a beer can in plain-packaging as a warning of what is to come.
Stephen Strachan, the chief executive of the Winemakers Federation of Australia, said his members would reject any suggestion of a link between alcohol products and tobacco that the ad implied. There was no suggestion that alcohol products were to be subject to plain packaging.
"Our industry does not like any association between tobacco and alcohol," Mr Strachan said.
As I've said many times before, it doesn't matter a damn how the drinks industry sees itself. It only matters how the neo-prohibitionists see them, and they see alcohol as a carcinogen that causes death, disease and "passive drinking".
It is undeniable that alcohol causes some cancers, so any dunce who justifies extreme anti-smoking policies because of the "I don't see why I should pay for smoking-related disease" argument (which is a myth anyway), should bear in mind that they've sowed the seeds of their own vilification.
As Dick Puddlecote wrote a couple of years ago:
I once suggested to some beardy tossbag from CAMRA that he should throw his weight behind objecting to tobacco prohibition because his vice was next. He piffled that drinkers were too numerous to be subject to the same denormalisation.
May God rot his middle class pompous paunch if he doesn't now realise that he was disastrously wrong.
Well, guess what? Wowsers, health fanatics and puritans are not the drinker's friend. Never have been, never will be. Those of us who enjoy pleasures that carry a measure of risk are on the same side. Always have been, always will be. The temperance lobby met with ASH in Scotland recently to swap notes, for God's sake. How far down the slippery slope do you need to be before you realise you're on your arse?
On the plus side, the temperance lobby are following the anti-tobacco blueprint to the letter, so drinkers know what's coming. On the down side, many of them have conceded so much ground to their enemy by accepting their arguments against smokers that it's difficult for them to put up a consistent defence of their own pleasures.
Still, good luck, and remember...