Thursday, 5 February 2015

Tiresome fake charities

From the BBC...

Campaigners want tougher regulation of alcohol adverts

Campaigners wanting tougher regulation! Whatever next?

Who are these campaigners, I wonder.

Alcohol Focus Scotland, Alcohol Concern, Balance North East and Drink Wise called for alcohol advertising to be restricted to factual information in adult press, cinema advertising only to be allowed for 18 certificate films, and the phased removal of alcohol sponsorships.

In the longer term, they want a ban on alcohol advertising and sponsorship.

Let's take a look at this merry band of grassroots activists...

Alcohol Focus Scotland
A primarily state-funded fake charity which relieves the taxpayer of several hundred thousand pounds a year via the Scottish parliament.

Alcohol Concern
An overwhelmingly state-funded fake charity that received £222,298 from the Department for Education and £225,626 from the Welsh Assembly in 2012/13, in addition to a quarter of a million pounds received from providing 'consultancy and training' to various arms of the state. It was recently given another £500,000 from Public Health England (to do what exactly?)

Balance North East
A wholly state-owned and state-funded astroturf group that gets £680,000 a year from the taxpayer.

Drink Wise
A wholly state-owned and state-funded quango created by NHS North West. Financial accounts not available.

And that's it.

Frankly I'm disappointed. Britain leads the world in handing over people's cash to parasitic lobby groups to campaign against freedom and the best they can come up with is a ban on advertising? It's like they're not even trying. Come on, fake charities, let's see some imagination! Anyone can copy what anti-smoking groups said twenty years ago. You've got millions of pounds of public money without having to demonstrate a shred of public support, surely you can come up with something more original?

It's not just that an alcohol advertising ban is not supported by the evidence. It's not just that since France banned alcohol advertising "there's now a real trend among French youths to drink more regularly, usually at weekends; to drink more; to drink outside, in the streets; and to drink in order to get smashed". It's just that a campaign against alcohol advertising is so dull and predictable. People work hard for this money, damn it. We're writing big cheques for you and this is all you've got? The only supporter you've got on your press release is Gerard Hastings, for god's sake. He can't make his swivel-eyed anti-capitalism sound even vaguely reasonable. Surely you can find somebody with a bit more credibility. How about using Alistair Campbell again? Okay, he's not very trustworthy, but beggars can't be choosers.

And what's this when it's at home?

"This research shows just how many of our children are being exposed to alcohol marketing, with an even bigger impact being made on those children with an interest in sport.
"Children get bombarded with pro-drinking messages...

Children, children, children. Yeah, we get it, but three times in two sentences? After the whole plain packaging thing, disingenuous references to children are so passé. And the word "bombarded" in relation to advertising is getting really tired. How about using "pounded" for a while? Or "blitzkrieged"?

Pull your socks up, guys. Just because governments of all parties have inexplicably thrown massive sums of money at you for years doesn't mean you can rest on your laurels. The next time I hear one of your state-funded pseudo-charities being interviewed on a state-funded radio station I want some blue sky thinking. Don't forget who pays your wages.


Christopher Snowdon said...


Christopher Snowdon said...

Well said, and thank you for saying it! There seems to be a new parasitic organisation every five minutes, all gobbling up public funding and producing ever more ordure. We need to instruct our illustrious leaders that we do not see this as essential spending of our money. Oh well, May is coming, so we may have a chance!