Tuesday 11 September 2018

Toys out of the pram

Ian Gilmore: "Do as I said or I shoot!"
You may fondly recall neo-temperance extremists walking out of the government's Responsibility Deal project in a huff in 2011. You may also recall the same 'public health' groups storming out of the EU's Alcohol and Health Forum in 2015. When these people don't get what they want, they exclude themselves from positions of influence. It's a brilliant strategy!

Ian Gilmore, the chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance, is throwing a similar hissy fit today, 'threatening' to walk out on Public Health England if they continue to promote sensible drinking advice with the semi-temperance charity Drinkaware. Why? Because Drinkaware is funded by the dreaded alcohol industry. Never mind that it is patently independent and does not further the drink industry's interests (as anti-alcohol morons understand them) in any way.

Gilmore and the anti-smoking fanatic John Britton, have written a pompous letter to The Times about it...

Sir, The launch of a new public awareness campaign on alcohol, jointly between Public Heath England (PHE) and the alcohol industry-funded organisation Drinkaware, marks a major shift in PHE policy in its willingness to share a public platform with the alcohol industry. It also demonstrates a failure at senior level in Public Health England to learn the lessons from the use by the tobacco and alcohol industries of voluntary agreements and other partnerships with health bodies to undermine, water down or otherwise neutralise policies to reduce consumption.

Given that responses to our submissions to PHE’s chief executive, Duncan Selbie, have confirmed that the lessons of history have not been learnt, we feel our respective roles as co-chairmen of the Alcohol Leadership and Tobacco Control Implementation Boards of PHE are undermined and must cause us to consider our positions if the partnership with Drinkaware is not terminated with immediate effect.

Professor Sir Ian Gilmore, chairman, Alcohol Health Alliance, University of Liverpool; Professor John Britton, director, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Nottingham

The Times and The Sun are both reporting that Gilmore has already quit. If so, it's not a moment too soon. His involvement in the guidelines rigging process should have been a resignation issue and there should be no place for a hardline temperance zealot in a powerful government agency.

So long, Ian! Shut the door behind you.

One day these people will realise that they need the government more than the government needs them.

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