Friday 27 March 2020

Corona-vultures in the temperance movement

The International Order of Good Templars has changed its name to Movendi International, presumably in the hope that adopting a bland, corporate name will make people forget that it is one of the world's oldest gospel temperance groups.

The Anti-Saloon League and the UK Temperance Alliance did the same thing and are now trading as the American Council on Alcohol Problems and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, respectively. What is it about their origins that they are so ashamed of?

Like nearly every other single issue pressure group these days, the folks at 'Movendi' are trying to exploit the coronovirus pandemic for their own ends. They are very concerned about - you guessed it - the alcohol industry.

Major alcohol producers have announced their commitment to helping fight the novel coronavirus, COVID-19. Alcohol producers are shifting production to make hand sanitizers.

The alcohol industry is doing valuable public health work. That must sting.

While this is welcome, there are several reasons for caution and concern.

Such as?

Producing hand sanitizers and taking care of employees is the least the alcohol industry can do in this crisis.

Other people and professions are contributing with far greater efforts to the fight against the pandemic.

But not Movendi, because Movendi is a puritanical lobby group that has nothing to offer.

Movendi International cautions against the promotion of alcohol brands, free media coverage and PR-celebrations of an industry that is not and has never been a responsible corporate citizen. Political leaders and the media should refrain from providing a platform for brand exposure and free coverage of a health harmful industry.

Yeah, because people thinking well of the alcohol industry is the real issue at the moment, isn't it? Get a grip.

Corporate social responsibility initiatives are known to be strategies by the alcohol industry to do well by appearing to do good.

They are doing good. Suck it up.

Movendi's demands won't surprise you...

Declare alcohol retail outlets non-essential and find effective ways to provide services for all people, alcohol users and non-users, affected by alcohol harm during the crisis.  

This is straight out of the Anti-Saloon League's playbook. Remember this?

They continue...

Alcohol is not an ordinary commodity and alcohol harm is multifaceted and pervasive. A major dimension of alcohol harm is the damage to others than the alcohol user. Comprehensive impact assessments should be conducted and will lead to the conclusions that alcohol retail outlets are non-essential businesses...

They will, will they? I know that the quack social science of 'alcohol control' styarts with the conclusion and works backwards, but you're not supposed to say that out loud.

Be gone with you 'Movendi'. We need you now less than ever.

No comments: