By Lloyd Mudiwa.
British journalist, broadcaster, and political aide Alastair Campbell has said the Guinness photo call opportunity by politicians visiting Ireland, most recently and famously by US President Barack Obama, sends out the wrong message on alcohol.
In Dublin recently to support the Reduce Your Alcohol Use campaign, Campbell queried: “I am not criticising Guinness, but if a British politician comes to Dublin and wants a photo call, what are you going to do?”
”Go to a pub and buy him a pint of Guinness and it’s nice and touchy-feely, and it’s warm and it’s blah, blah, blah. But actually what it does is it sends a message that that’s what you do when you come to Dublin — have a drink.”
Responding to a question on whether politicians should champion the campaign to tackle alcohol abuse, the former British Labour party spin doctor said it would help if there were more politicians who saw this as a significant issue and spoke about it publicly.
“If alcohol didn’t exist in the world and a company brought it onto the market now, how many governments would license it? When we know what it does to the brain, we know what it does to your senses, we know what it does in relation to violence, we know what it does in relation to liver disease or heart disease, domestic abuse.
“Now, I am not suggesting unlicensing it, but I am just making the observation that we are dealing with something that is historically embedded in our cultures and because of that we are not facing up to it.”