Thursday, 23 June 2011

We Really Must Do This More Often

It's been one of those seriously hectic days. Running around all over the shop, uptown for most of it at an important transport industry gathering with regulatory reps, rushing back to sort the kids out, and then onto the lad's cricket training at a place Salty once described as "a lovely part of England".

While there, I was able to check back at a discussion - on my really crappy android, grr - which had been developing yesterday over at Liberal Vision. And boy was it entertaining!

I only dabbled briefly last night and thought it would have died a death by now, but bugle calls for the anti-tobacco galacticos are becoming more regular, it would seem.

This contribution from 'Martin' would have been funny enough on its own for its almost satirical ignorance of irony.

[quoting Dave Atherton] "Martin, you wouldn’t be Martin Dockrell, Head of Policy at ASH, would you? If so I salute you for posting comments outside of working hours."

Congratulations! You’ve outed yourself as a conspiracy theorist – how could anyone who possibly disagrees with your opinion be anyone other than someone working for THEM?

[...]

All you fools doing the paid or unpaid work of the tobacco companies should bugger off to a more apt website
That's right. Everyone who suspects tobacco control industry involvement in defence of ASH must be a conspiracy theorist ... followed by a comment which, err, suspects industry involvement in any comment which "disagrees with [Martin's] opinion".

Comedy gold, huh?

But it gets better. Because a short while later, who turns up but CRUK rent-a-gob Robert West.

Some of the posts above have all the hallmarks of an orchestrated attack by the tobacco industry which is deeply concerned that the activities of ASH will damage their revenues.
Yes. You really did read that correctly.

In defence of ASH - who receive government funds, which the article was about - an employee of CRUK stood up and showed himself to be a 'conspiracy theorist' in Martin's parlance, by accusing those who disagree with his all-encompassing greatness of being in the pay of the tobacco industry.

Despite the fact that he should be careful of throwing stones around his glass house.

From time to time, we do receive a small amount of government funding, ring-fenced for specific projects. For example, in 2003 the Dept of Health gave us two and a half million pounds to develop anti-tobacco campaigns.
Man working for government-funded anti-smoking organisation defends government-funded anti-smoking organisation by accusing others of having financially-motivated interests. Which don't actually exist.

Priceless.

You think that's the end of it? Not on your nelly.

ASH's Martin Dockrell pops in to wave his little flag.

It does seem to me that Mr A resembles Dave Atherton in the style, content and length of his posts and I understand Dave has used a range of pseudonyms.
No conspiracy theory there, then.

Of course, this will be a reverberation from Debs "what's wrong with denormalising smokers?" Arnott's green room rant on something as inconsequential as 'not an expert, Dave' Atherton using the username of Dr Dave on CiF.

By contrast, Dockrell is most definitely an expert ... in fully paid PR advocacy.

My views on front groups can be found in [link]
Because anyone who disagrees with Martin Dockrell is a 'front group' and while he's there he may as well publicise ASH's recent report which was taken up by just about no-one.

Please do read the whole thread because there is so much more fun to be had. The woolly lib who thought it intellectual debate to ridicule the article author's name; the 'outraged' Lib Dem who came armed with typical tobacco control soundbites; some guy called Militant throwing 'man not the ball' aspersions like confetti, including this ...

Be the way, on the subject of posting under real names, is little Mr Puddlecote really called Puddlecote?
Quite the detective, eh?

Then we have Jen. Aww, good old, respected, 'public health doctor' Jen. Or, as per the rules laid down by 'Martin', a conspiracy theorist.

It is likely that many of the bloggers above are linked in a concrete way with the tobacco industry. Unlike me, they won’t say who they are.
We'll look for 'Jen' in the phone book then, shall we?

And, as a final curtain call, Linda Bauld joins the party. You may have heard of her.

I am a social policy academic, as you know, and much of our research is government funded or funded by charities, or indeed funded by government through the research councils. The university receives these funds, not the academics. This is how university research funding works across the country and indeed in other countries.
So, her university benefits by Bauld continuing to be a helpful source for their funders. Yes, we kinda knew that.

To recap. Anyone who derides ASH on a thread about how the nature of their funding suggests that they cannot possibly be impartial, are obviously in the pay of tobacco and therefore their opinion should be ignored. While those who are openly paid to promote anti-tobacco policies are just doing the Lord's work and should be trusted implicitly.

I know it's a hackneyed phrase, but ... you really couldn't make this stuff up.

It's encouraging that an industry which has steadfastly refused to debate in any way with detractors over the years - and has silenced all opposition via the WHO FCTC - should feel it increasingly important to dive into relatively sparsely-read online comments sections.

Personally, I welcome it, the astonishing astroturfing references are superb grist. We should all do it much more often.

Is that a rattled cage I can hear?


24 comments:

Anonymous said...

'twas a great diversion and maybe the beginnings of a new hobby. I usually walk down to the rocks to go fishing but not today.
I don't often go for bottom feeders yet with no expensive bait some real whoppers leapt out even the odd one from the depths of academia!
Dave A's facts seemed to upset a few and resulted in typical personal insults and even condemnation for being a non liberal and having the brass-neck to comment on a Liberal blog!
Over70 upset others with simple illustrations of reality.

The article's author also appears to have enjoyed the whole experience and, I can hear her laughing, added a pleasurable comment at 9.34.

They don't like it up 'em Mr puddlecote.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Funnily enough, I know a pro-choice blogger who normally uses a pseudonym whose real name is actually Martin. Maybe it was him doing the Devil's work of the evil big tobacco companies?

Martin said...

So that's why you slunk off with your tail between your legs - you were beavering away on your fantastical blog posting to an audience of millions!

Well, I say 'millions', but judging from your site I suspect I've sent this month's hit rate stats into a double-digit improvement from last month's.

Anyway, I feel genuinely sorry for you that you can only view your personal hobbyhorse in terms of established pro- and anti- groups. I'm sorry to upset your applecart by being a person who is outside of this particular conflict, but I'm a Liberal who believes that personal freedom extends only up to the point where going any further is to the detriment of others. Which is why I was reading and posting on a Liberal politics website.

As for the accusation of my 'satirical ignorance of irony', I've encountered Dave Atherton before on the site when he was bleating on and on about pubs closing. You can have a look if you don't believe me. Even then, it's quite clear he is a lobbyist of sorts, even if he happens to be unpaid, and given that he isn't even a Liberal there is absolutely no contradiction in mocking your 'contribution' and then suggesting that people like Dave take their personal obsessions elsewhere.

love & hugs,

Martin (the one without the published surname who you've taken umbrage to)

P.S. Wonder if you've got the balls to publish this unedited?

Martin said...

Ah! There's no pre-moderation on your blog, so we'll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not.

Mark Wadsworth - sometimes, just sometimes, it's possible that people happen on a website who aren't part of the normal circle-jerk of bloggers. Bear that in mind for the future.

Anonymous (eunuch alert!) - your grasp of reality amuses me.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Oh, the fun never ends. :)

"So that's why you slunk off with your tail between your legs - you were beavering away on your fantastical blog posting to an audience of millions!"

No, Martin. I do believe I mentioned above that I was at a meeting today which was important to my transport business. Registration (and coffee) was 9am in Russell Square (where I don't live). I then have family to attend to after it finished at 4:20pm (over-ran more accurately). Then - hmm, I feel I'm repeating myself here - it was my son's weekly cricket club. (hint: I don't get paid for this, goddit?).

"Well, I say 'millions', but judging from your site I suspect I've sent this month's hit rate stats into a double-digit improvement from last month's."

Yes, that's right. My wikio ranking is going to be massively boosted by your sole visit. I'm on my knees in gratitude.

Good grief.

"Anyway, I feel genuinely sorry for you that you can only view your personal hobbyhorse in terms of established pro- and anti- groups."

Hahah! This from someone who did exactly that in the comments over at Lib Vision.

"I'm sorry to upset your applecart by being a person who is outside of this particular conflict, but I'm a Liberal who believes that personal freedom extends only up to the point where going any further is to the detriment of others. Which is why I was reading and posting on a Liberal politics website."

Yep, after reading your incoehrent ramblings there and here, I can quite believe that. I apologise.

"As for the accusation of my 'satirical ignorance of irony', I've encountered Dave Atherton before on the site when he was bleating on and on about pubs closing. You can have a look if you don't believe me. Even then, it's quite clear he is a lobbyist of sorts, even if he happens to be unpaid, and given that he isn't even a Liberal there is absolutely no contradiction in mocking your 'contribution' and then suggesting that people like Dave take their personal obsessions elsewhere."

Yeah, OK. Dave being the big problem here for working in IT and having an opinion, yes? You. however, are pristine because you are ... a liberal?

"P.S. Wonder if you've got the balls to publish this unedited?"

I'm a true liberal and don't moderate any comments. You may have felt a bit silly once your diatribe was published instantly.

Someone with guts (and who was truly liberal) would come back and admit to being a bit of a fucking idiot in the circs.

Won't hold my breath. ;)

Smoking Hot said...

"Ah! There's no pre-moderation on your blog, so we'll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not."

The absurdity of this reasoning is demonstrated by simply stating it.

Anonymous said...

But, if it was a "liberal" blog - then one should expect it to be moderated and censored - to fit only the "liberal" mindset. Well, just how "liberal" is that then - pretty "progressive" I'd say.

Leg-iron said...

Nothing ASH does has any effect on the tobacco industry. It's not intended to. If the tobacco industry vanished, ASH would have no further reason to exist.

As for Martin, so, personal freedom is fine up to the point where it inconveniences you, eh? Other people must be restricted because they do something that offends you, but you must experience no restriction at all. Spoken like a true smokophobe.

You don't like me, Martin, and you never will, even though you've never met me and probably never will. Just because I like something you don't like. If you listen very carefully, you might be able to hear the sound of me not giving a damn.

The antismoker (yes, antismoker, the pretence of 'antismoking' was dropped a long time ago) movement is spiralling into ever higher levels of utter absurdity and the cracks are starting to show. Even MPs are beginning to see through the scam.

It won't fall apart just yet. There are incredible absurdities yet to play.

When it all falls down, Martin, I'll tell you the antismoker persona I've been using.

ASH are great fun. They'll believe anything at all as long as it looks like a smoker gets a hard time.

Junican said...

Liberal Vision seems to have shut down (about 3am).

I see that Dave A took a lot of of 'ad hominem' s, as did you yourself, but more so Dave. Glad to see that he did not rise to the bait. There was a certain 'good cop', 'bad cop', about the way in which Dave was attacked. I made a comment just before the site closed down - maybe it got through - maybe it didn't.

I wonder why ASH has suddenly become so worried about the internet? Only a few days ago they flooded the 'Red Tape Challenge' Site with comments about the need to implement the vending machine law. I complained to the site about ASH flooding the site with suggestions to INCREASE regulations when the site is supposed to be about DECREASING regulations.

Anyway, it is very odd that ASH have started moving into the net - especially when their own site publishes propaganda without any possibility of comments.

It struck me that if Cunningham MP had published his Common's speech before he emitted his propaganda, it would have been torn to shreds within 10 minutes.

I wonder how it has come to pass that the whole Liberal Vision website has has the plug pulled?

Millitant said...

That would be "Millitant" you idiot.

Sir Killalot said...

Try not to upset him Dick, he's a bit delicate.

http://robotwars.wikia.com/wiki/Millitant

TJB said...

l prefer 'Millitant you idiot'

Blue'n'Bramble said...

"Don't criticise typos or spelling mistakes - the rule is you lose by default. Everyone makes them - some more than others - and it really is a pathetic jibe."

http://www.flayme.com/flame/04-psychology.shtml#Spelling

Sam Duncan said...

“From time to time, we do receive a small amount of government funding, ring-fenced for specific projects. For example, in 2003 the Dept of Health gave us two and a half million pounds to develop anti-tobacco campaigns.”

Oh, is that all? Not even three million? Christ, I lose more than that down the back of the sofa. Geez, and those highly-funded conspiracy theorists think you're getting actual money...

Just out of interest, Dick, how many million does this blog set you - sorry, Philip Morris and Gallacher of course - back?

Mr A said...

"Ah! There's no pre-moderation on your blog, so we'll never know if you possess adequate testicles or not."

Smoking Hot said: - "The absurdity of this reasoning is demonstrated by simply stating it."

Indeed, my first thought. Only in the deranged world of the anti-smoker can allowing unmoderated free speech be a bad thing and being an "UNPAID" (the very thought!) lobbyist be used as an insult. That's shown Gandhi, Rosa Parks et al, eh? They should have soaked up Government and Pharma funding and got paid for their efforts rather than doing what they do because it's right.

By the way - I am NOT Dave Atherton, although I have utmost respect for him and am, under my real name, Face Book friends with him. Indeed, I'm flattered to be compared with Dave who knows ten times more about tobacco science and the skullduggery of the antis than I do.

Junican said...

I see that the Lib Dem site is back up. But note that someone must have blown the whistle - all the A-SHites have run off home.

Angela Harbutt said...

If NATO allies can be guilty of "mission creep" then, by jove, so can ASH.

Surely their stated remit :- to "work towards eliminating the harm caused by tobacco" has now turned practically into "work towards eliminating tobacco" - which is the language now used by Bauld et al constantly.

The omitted words " the harm caused by" are vital.

This of course explains why ASH are so set against any Government dialogue with the tobacco industry - no matter how useful/productive that dialogue might be. They have no interest in elimination of harm any more - they are now focussed entirely on the eradication of all tobacco.

That Government has been infiltrated by ASH so utterly explains why the Government appear to be proceeding blindly down the same path.

How and why ASH have altered course so fundamentally and why Government is being led down the same path needs further thought/investigation. But the fact that ASH has extended itself far beyond its own remit is a serious concern since it is undeniably preventing genuine harm-prevention discussions/ideas/activity from taking place.

This needs to be addressed.

Ps Normal Service now resumed at Liberal Vision.

Mr A said...

The comments about front groups etc are hilarious when one considers those recent Tobacco Control Guidelines for activists thing which appeared recently which advocated that antis post under pseudonyms to try and paint a picture that there was "a groundswell of support", and also recommended that they post illiterate and abusive comments whilst pretending to be smokers, to try and undermine sympathy for them.

They really do never cease to amaze me....

Pat Nurse MA said...

Anti-smoking did evolve into anti-smoker and now the tiny minority who squeal about their rights to "clean air" and fear the very existence of smokers are quite obviously smokerphobic.

Most non-smokers are tolerant and have no problem with smokers, most anti-smokers are happy for smokers to smoke as long as they are not where they are, smokerphobics however, call for violence against smokers, lobby for laws against them, and call for their exclusion from employment and accommodation.

The smokerphobic's right to this mythical clean air ends where our right to free association, jobs and housing begins.

I note someone above seems to suggest that Dick Puddlecote's blog is paid for by the tobacco industry (Yaawwn) - that accusation is like a tired old record playing over and over again.

Keep up the good (voluntary, unpaid) work Dick. For sure they don't like it up 'em and they don't like truth.

This kind of vile deceit on their part and debate by insult is making me feel inclined to blog again. Perhaps you could set my voluntary, unpaid, unsupported, unfunded blog free again for me to update people on my protest : "We Deserve to be Heard/It's Not About Health"

It's time to take this debate out from the internet and into the real world of a public who should know how they have been conned and misled for far too many years.

The best comment for me on LV is the one by Iro Cyr who says that ASH no longer cares about harm reduction and has stifled any projects that have looked to make tobacco safer - and the sheer weight and absurdity of their propaganda has led to the loss of real health messages of importance.

Belinda said...

@Angela Harbutt

I very much enjoyed your piece at LV and your rebuttals of Bauld et al.

You say: How and why ASH have altered course so fundamentally and why Government is being led down the same path needs further thought/investigation.

I think the answer is here: http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2003/9241591013.pdf ... the World Health Organisation's first global multilateral treaty, which among many other things insists that tobacco is kept out.

see http://www.worldlungfoundation.org/ht/display/ViewBloggerThread/i/17794/pid/5832

At a meeting of 90 health ministers this spring, gathered in Moscow to discuss the future of the non-communicable diseases (NCDs) - heart disease, cancer and lung diseases, and diabetes - Margaret Chan, Director - General of the World Health Organization (WHO), warned the assembled against having anything to do with the tobacco industry. “Forget about collaboration,” she said. “Never trust this industry on any front, in any country.”

This obviously imperils the integrity of national sovereignty everywhere, apart from the fact that it doesn't make any sense to leave tobacco companies out of policy discussions on tobacco and health.

John Demetriou said...

Christ, what a cluster fuck of 'liberal'-tastic proportions.

These authoritarian pricks just don't get it, do they? How dumb they look with their bumtuous, unfounded assertions.

Keep up the good work, Mr P. Cages are there to be rattled.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Well done as always Dick! I was planning to comment on the idiocy of Martin's blog-moderation comment but I think folks here have taken good care of that just by noting that its idiocy stands on its own.

:)
Michael

Rich said...

Reading the comments on here make me want to throw my laptop out of a window to protect myself from the internet.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Best you do, Rich. Expressions of freedom have been statistically proven to harm the authoritarian state of mind.

Words are like sticks and stones to such effete cunts.