Wednesday, 7 October 2015

Tax-sponging temperance quacks

The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance's temperance conference is underway in Edinburgh at the moment. Sessions include:

'Building Support for Protecting Children’s Right to Grow Up Free from Alcohol Marketing' (there is no such 'right')

'Alcohol Marketing: The Need for Radical Action' (with the certifiable Gerard Hastings)

'Public Health vs Big Alcohol in the World Cup of Alcohol Marketing' (ooh, "Big Alcohol")

'Building Effective Advocacy For Effective Policy' (ie. lobbying)

'From Evidence To Action - Using Harm To Others Evidence To Build Support For Whole Population Approaches To Reducing Alcohol Harm' (ie. lobbying, propaganda and dogma)

'Alcohol Sports Sponsorship: Is It Time To Cut The Tie?' (the speaker is from the UK Temperance Alliance so the answer will be yes).

This is a tiny selection of the vast number of presentations and panel discussions that are being held at the conference this week. As with tobacco control conferences circa 1983 (when the anti-smoking movement became explicitly neo-prohibitionist) the main themes are advertising, price and advocacy (ie. lobbying).

You only need to look at the list of speakers to see that there will be no meaningful debate. Aside from the aforementioned Gerard Hastings - who has declared 'war' on alcohol - there is Eric Carlin, various members of the Institute of Alcohol Studies (AKA UK Temperance Alliance), Robin Room, Jim McCambridge and various state-funded temperance nags like Colin Shevills from the still not yet de-funded Balance North East.

The opening addresses were given by Derek Rutherford and Nicola Sturgeon. This tells you everything you need to know about the unholy alliance between gospel temperance and the Scottish state. I have written about Rutherford's extraordinary network of booze-hating organisations before. Most, if not all, are taxpayer-funded and this week's conference is taxpayer-funded via the Scottish government, the NHS and the WHO.

I can't think of anything worse than spending three days rubbing shoulders with these lemon-sucking cranks, but since it is a publicly funded conference any member of the public should be entitled to attend.

Not so, however. Mark Baird is a taxpayer, he is Scottish and he works for the alcohol company Diageo. He is, therefore, quite obviously a stakeholder in a taxpayer-funded event about 'global alcohol policy' and yet when he registered to attend, he received the following reply (which I reproduce with his permission)...

Dear Mark Baird,

Global Alcohol Policy Conference (GAPC) 7th – 9th October 2015, EICC

Thank you for registering for the GAPC conference, however, on reviewing your registration we note that you work in/are affiliated to the alcohol industry.

Unfortunately, as stated in the conference terms and conditions members of the alcohol industry are not permitted to attend this event since The Global Alcohol Policy Alliance is a network of non-governmental organisations and people working in public health agencies who share information on alcohol issues and advocate evidence-based alcohol policies, “free from commercial interests.” 

A full copy of these conditions can be found on the GAPC website:
If you have already paid for your booking a refund will be arranged and sent to you in due course.

We hope you will understand our position on this but should you have any questions please do not hesitate to get in touch at

Kind regards

The GAPC Conference Team

Kind regards, my eye. Whatever happened to 'nothing about us without us'? It's bad enough that we are forced to pay for a Methodist teetotaller to hold a three-day crusade against the demon drink without them doing it in secret. If these people thought that their agenda was defensible, they would have industry spokespeople on the stage debating them, not banned from attending.

What a shameful, paranoid, tax-sponging, parasitic bunch of charlatans the 'public health' racketeers are.


I've seen the BBC's typically fawning account of this pretend public health conference.

'Political courage' on drink pricing policy praised

The Scottish government has been praised for its "political courage" in attempting to introduce a minimum unit price for alcohol.

It came from the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance (GAPA) which aims to counter the health problems created by alcohol consumption.

The Beeb doesn't bother to ask what the Global Alcohol Policy Alliance is. Perhaps 'Taxpayer pays for international temperance shindig' wouldn't sound as good.

Derek Rutherford, who chairs GAPA, said holding its annual conference in Scotland would acknowledge the work being done there to reduce the harm caused by alcohol.

Nor does the Beeb ask who Derek Rutherford is, or why the taxpayer has to fork out for a teetotal Methodist to promote his agenda.
Dr Mac Armstrong, chair of Alcohol Focus Scotland (AFS), the national charity working to reduce alcohol harm, said: "The Scottish government's plans to introduce minimum unit pricing for alcohol will increase the price of the cheapest, strongest drinks.

Alcohol Focus Scotland gets hundreds of thousands of pounds from the Scottish government every year, but this doesn't warrant a mention.

I think I'm going to be sick
The SNP have naturally press released the praise they've received from their clients.

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