Sunday 15 June 2014

Shock as prohibitionist finds Drinkaware and British Institute of Innkeeping are funded by the drinks industry!


There is an academic called Jim McCambridge at the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine who has written some stuff about charities receiving benefit from the drinks industry. Specifically, this tin-pot health fascist suggests that somehow we can't trust these charities because of their links to the drinks industry:

The Alcohol Industry, Charities and Policy Influence in the UK, published this week, looks at major charities in the UK that are both active in alcohol policy and funded by the industry.

These are Drinkaware, which receives 98 per cent of its funding from the industry; the Robertson Trust, which is almost completely funded by the whisky-maker Edrington, itself controlled by the trust; and the British Institute of Innkeeping, which is funded by membership fees and member services.

According to the LSHTM researchers, Addaction and Mentor UK also receive industry funding as well as public sector grants. The study notes that these two charities share office space above a pub.

In Mr McCambridge's somewhat warped world, funding from corporations is always self-serving and that support for these charities is part of a wider strategy to pull the wool over our eyes about the evils of alcohol. Now Mr McCambridge, despite working at a medical institution, isn't a medic but a sociologist and social worker. Nothing wrong with this of course but it rather muddies his authority to speak of these matters. So far as I am aware nothing in Mr McCambridge's study suggests particular expertise in business strategy or charity law. And, just for completeness, Mr McCambridge's main funder (for his substantive research into drugs policy) is the Wellcome Foundation, a charity entirely funded from the pharmaceuticals industry.

What this report has done is pretty straightforward - Mr McCambridge has visited the public site of the Charity Commission and looked at the report and accounts for the charities his disapproves of and has found out what he already knew - they receive all or part of their funding from the drinks industry. It wasn't exactly a secret but from this public information, Mr McCambridge has manufactured a sinister world where charities funded by the drinks industry are having a major influence on the setting of policy in public health.

Central to this argument is that Addaction and Mentor UK didn't join in when various organisations walked out of the government's Public Health Responsibility Deal in a huff. Now I'm pretty sure the government would welcome Mr McCambridge and his pals back onto the panel looking at alcohol policy - alongside representatives of the drinks industry, the retail business and the food industry. So moaning that Addaction and Mentor UK influence policy is frankly a bit pathetic - all the bodies that walked out could influence that responsibility deal if they just got their knickers untwisted.

This report is just another example of dissembling by the prohibitionists and killjoys who want all of us to pay because a few people have a problem with booze. And the saddest part of Mr McCambridge's pathetic little rant is that the charities he attacks are all doing dreat work either funding research and social programmes, delivering drugs and alcohol support or lobbying on responsible drinking. These are the good guys - Jim McCambridge isn't.


No comments: