Dryathlon? I’d rather have a beer...

September is here. This means decreasing temperatures, falling leaves, and fun-sponge charity campaigns like Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon. The charity’s latest campaign encourages people to give up drinking to raise money.

As with every fad campaign, this means we can expect to see social media packed with people signalling their moral value by refusing the booze. Even the most selfless Jesuit would feel useless when faced with such angelic behaviour.

But I want to propose an alternative charitable theme for our autumn month – yes, let’s give to charity but why not have a drink while doing it? In fact, we could even introduce a sponsorship system to support the people who drink the most. How about ‘Can’t Remember September’ or ‘Not Sober ’til October’?

Is it really impossible to give to charity without cutting out the enjoyable parts of our lives? Past fundraising campaigns have urged us to exhibit our compassion by growing moustaches, chucking iced water over our heads and doing 20 press-ups a day (plus documenting and sharing our endeavours). But no booze? That’s a step too far.

Of course, the Dryathlon is not simply a charitable exercise. Cancer Research’s website has an ‘alcohol calculator’ – a little widget aiming to show us how much we drink in a week, plus how much money we’ll save and how many calories we’ll lose by cutting out alcohol. Having put in a rough estimate of my weekly total (10 pints and a few shots, if you must know) I was informed that, over the course of a month, I could save £186 and avoid 12,843 calories if I dropped my devilish ways.

Why does Cancer Research care how much we drink? Badgering me about my alcohol consumption and how it is supposedly ruining my life does nothing to dissuade me from ordering another round. Like me, most people enjoy life’s little excesses without worrying about calculating the damage.

This September, let’s reject the Dryathlon and other narcissistic charitable ventures. Sure, let’s donate to charity, but we shouldn’t commit to fashionable virtue-signalling. Instead, let’s raise a glass to altruistic pub-goers.

Charlie Peters is a writer and a campaigner for spiked’s Invoke Article 50 Now! campaign.

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