Globalisation:Minimum Pricing Conclusion
In the debate surrounding the proposed minimum pricing system each side is represented by powerful collective organisations and associations. The opposition is charactarised by the WSTA, SWA and the GAP companies. Simplifying this factors allows one to see that the opposition is essentially the beverage producers and their negative stance on the values of the proposed legislation allows one to conclude that they are the ones who will lose out, due to higher product costs. Each of these organisations use their collective power in an attempt to influence public opinion (towards their cause) and political policy. The means of doing so have been covered extensively in the previous sections, but one that deserves special attention is their use/funding of alcohol related think tanks. This is also the case for the side who are promoting the implementation of the minimum pricing system, both in terms of collective unity and use of think tanks. However, it must be stated that the collective status of the promoting side is much smaller than the opposition. Their collective networks rely on research and data producers who manufacture favorable information which subsequently merges into a coherent whole, the example of the Conservative Party's funding/use of the CSJ and their affiliates is a pertinant example. Furthermore, their numbers will be naturally smaller as the proposed legislation is created by the minority and it will effect the majority. ie created in the political sphere (minority) effects the private sector (majority).
The use and funding of think tanks is common place within both camps of the debate. The GAP companies essentially own the ICAP and the Portman Group as they are the main sponsors of these institutions. This uncomfortable factor allows for a conclusion to be made that these think tanks are essentially the GAP corporations pawns and the 'research' they produce will always be favored towards their stance on any matter, not just the minimum pricing debate. The CEBR is slightly different as they are not funded directly by the GAP companies, however, when they are hired by a corporation to conduct research on any chosen field, they are inadvertently funding them and this means that the end product will favor their clients. The example of the report, ‘Minimum Alcohol Pricing: A Targeted Measure?’, commissioned by SABMiller was provided in a previous section as it encapsulates this factor.
The aforementioned use of think tanks by those in favour of minimum pricing is different to the oppositions use. The CSJ, chaired by Conservative Iain Duncan Smith, taps into a network of information producers who aim to “spread the principles of total abstinence from alcoholic drinks” (Alliance House Foundations main aim). This factor alone vindicates the arguement made that the CSJ support minimum pricing.
It is clear from the research conducted that Diageo acts as a common denominator in all elements of the opposition to the proposed minimum pricing. This is evident when looking at the positions held by high ranking Diageo employees in institutions/organisations who oppose the legislation (e.g SWA & WSTA). Diageo has infiltrated these organisations at the highest level, with the most notable example being Paul Walsh, who is Diageo's Chief Executive and the Chair of the SWA.
Their membership of GAP has allocated further influence, strengthening their position and point of view in the debate. The importance of think tanks have been identified, with GAP sponsoring a controlling stake in the ICAP and Portman Groups, meaning Diageo's membership of the GAP allows them increased leverage and power. Diageo's influence over think tanks is obvious when looking at the ICAP and in particular their publication of 'Working Together to Reduce Harmful Drinking', co-written by Leverton, who advises Diageo on their alcohol policy.