Thursday, 12 January 2012

Bogus charity bingo night goes ballistic

Last November ( see ) I prophesied that a Manx bogus charity was running out of government funds and would launch a new moral panic to stay in business. To recap, I said that Isle of Man Alcohol Advisory Service had “struggled for a year or two now to justify further direct government funding, or to use their relationship with government to demand ‘charitable donations’ from local retailers in return for not further infantalising the whole process of buying alcohol.” I then outlined how they would join forces with a similar British government puppet charity to talk up the ‘dangers’ of gambling until someone threw enough money at them.
Not only have I been proved right, but a report today (see )suggests that (1) they’ll split the loot with their Brit ally and (2) in the process open up a process of back door taxation of Manx businesses to subsidise a Brit government ‘third sector’ initiative.
Funnily enough, this means the Brits get to tackle an entirely imaginary ‘social problem’ without having to spend a penny or employ a single public sector ‘professional’ or ‘expert’. Sadly, that doesn’t mean the problem of the imaginary social problem will go away too.
This all began when in 2007 GamCare received 80% of a £3.5 million budget set aside on government mandate by the UK gambling industry to ‘promote responsible gambling’. They were hoping to bump that up to £5.34 million in 2010 and 2011, but the latest accounts they’ve submitted to the Charity Commission suggest that the gambling industry told them where to get off, also that the ‘charity’ still gets no other income apart from their gambling industry hush money.
And on today's 'news', I should also say that the pseudo-survey is a classic marketing scam, and now a bog standard tool for the moral panic industry.
As I’ve explained elsewhere, the trick is to decide what answers you need, then set the questions and participant parameters so that you can get no others. It is ridiculously easy, as the full results and methodology will not be in the public domain, old fashioned rigorously neutral academics able or willing to find the time to take such nonsense apart are thin on the ground, and even cynical lay people tend to take such surveys at face value if they’re for a ‘good cause’ or concern a matter which decades of biased reporting lead us to falsely believe is a ’social problem’.
A classic example is the infamous regular ESPAD 'surveys' of ‘’under-age drinking’ which, here and elsewhere, have kept an entire bogus therapy industry in funds for over a decade now. But even right wing amateurs like the Mothers Union are getting in on the scam (I mentioned their scare tactics over ‘parenting’ some while back, and now it seems they have David Cameron’s ear, so keeping tweedy geriatrics with one foot in ga-ga-land off the backs of decent parents is going to be an increasing problem in the coming year).
If only such imaginary problems and the proponents of their equally imaginary solutions could go away or be forgotten as quickly as bad dreams.
Sadly, I would not bet on that any time soon. Not considering the amount of public money wasted dreaming them up, along with ever more pointless employment opportunities for the bogus therapists involved.

No comments: