Scottish government officials will meet with the Advertising Association (AA) and Portman Group to outline their plans for reforms to alcohol advertising. But the real question likely to be on the minds of those representing advertisers is why a committee advising the government on those reforms is made up almost entirely of temperance campaigners.
You may recall something similar happening with the committee put together by the Chief Medical Officer to discuss the risible new drinking guidelines.
It is the Scottish government's first official encounter with the ad industry on the matter since it quietly formed an international group of experts (see below) at the turn of the year to advise it on tougher advertising measures. The move happened despite concerns over the group's constituents from at least one of the major alcohol producers. The fear being that the panel, which consists of health and marketing experts such as Gerard Hastings, professor of social marketing at Stirling University and Karine Gallopel-Morvan, professor of social marketing at the School of Public Health, is one-sided and could help push through tougher measures in the next phase of the Scottish government’s framework, according to a source close to the matter.
Regular readers will know that Hastings is a highly emotional, far left-wing fruitcake whose hatred of advertising is only matched by his incomprehension of it. Check out the presentation he gave to a government-funded temperance conference last year. Click on the link. Look at it. This is a guy who should be shouting from the sidelines at a Corbyn rally, not getting invited to policy meetings. And yet - almost unbelievably - this who the World Health Organisation went to when they wanted a review of the evidence on food advertising and he is the go-to man for 'public health' lobbyists when it comes to alcohol advertising. Perhaps this is not so surprising as he can be relied upon to demand a ban regardless of what is being advertised.
It doesn't stop there. Other alleged experts on the Scottish government's panel include...
Colin Shevills, director of 100% state-funded anti-alcohol pressure group Balance.
Sally Casswell, Kiwi 'public health' fanatic, wibbles about corporate power, denormalisation, people vs. profits etc.; wants 'comprehensive' alcohol advertising ban, natch.
Katherine Brown, director of the neo-temperance Institute of Alcohol Studies (formerly known as the UK Temperance Alliance)
Eric Carlin, director of the state-funded 'public health' sock puppet SHAAP
Peter Rice, chairman of SHAAP
Suzanne Costello, chief executive of Alcohol Action Ireland - a sock puppet pressure group set up by the Irish government specifically to lobby for its Public Health (Alcohol) Bill.
Mary Cuthbert, board member of Alcohol Focus Scotland - a campaigning 'charity' that is almost entirely funded by the taxpayer.
Mac Armstrong, chair of Alcohol Focus Scotland.
Mike Daube, formerly of ASH (UK), now a jackboot of all trades in Australia; denies that moderate drinking is good for you; got an operatic production banned because it was set in a tobacco factory.
Niamh Fitzgerald, one of Hastings' colleagues at the University of Stirling, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies.
Amandine Garde, lawyer, big fan of using EU law to regulate people's lifestyles.
Mariann Skar, secretary general at EU-funded teetotal group Eurocare.
Looking at the full list, I can't see anybody who is likely to demand anything other than an extensive ban on alcohol marketing. Not one of them works in the private sector, let alone in advertising or media.
Health secretary Shona Robison said: “The establishment of this group was a recommendation made by the Universities of Stirling and Sheffield in their independent report which found that the UK government’s alcohol policies are weaker than those implemented by the devolved nations."
Oh, for God's sake! Obviously these people are going to recommend their mates and exclude their opponents. This is Mickey Mouse policy-making of lowest order. It would be better - at least, it would be more honest - for the SNP to abandon the pretense of consultation rather than waste money on this kangaroo court.
Any changes to alcohol advertising that stem from the panel would be a fillip to the SNP, which has taken a hard-line anti-alcohol stance since it came into power in 2007.
No kidding. It's all about boosting the SNP's prestige, just as the taxpayer-funded jamboree last October was all about Sturgeon-worship, but don't these people feel any shame about running their country like a banana republic?