As usual, the government have buttoned everything up in their favour beforehand. They will go through the usual motions of listening to the public but they don't really want to do anything of the sort.
For example, on the 8th of March, CRUK were invited to Westminster.
Yesterday the Policy department headed to Westminster to host an expert briefing on the plain packaging of tobacco products. The event was attended by Peers and MPs from across the three parties to learn more about the evidence behind our campaign.Needless to say, no similar invite was extended to anyone who opposes Lansley's policy. Nor would any request be entertained - the government doesn't want to hear anything negative, you see.
Attendees heard from Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies at the CR-UK Health Behaviour Research Centre at UCL (University College London), and Peter Astley MBE, Head of Public Protection at Warrington Borough Council. They discussed the evidence base for plain packs and dispelled some myths around smuggling.
Accompanying the announcement of the public sector consultation was a document - a weighty and generally impenetrable 116 pages, as is customary - detailing all the 'research' so far collated on plain packaging. Well, I say all of it, but in actual fact it is just those studies deemed relevant by the authors.
A total of 4,518 citations were identified following initial searching, and after screening and quality appraisal 37 studies were included.You would presume that those authors would be entirely impartial, wouldn't you? If so, you still haven't properly understood the modern machinations of government.
It was produced [PDF doc here] by some of the biggest anti-smoking professionals in the country including Gerard Hastings and Linda Bauld, and proudly endorsed by the University of Stirling who - you may remember - are so biased and compromised in their hatred of tobacco that they refuse to obey Freedom of Information requests.
As such, the words 'civil', 'liberty' and 'freedom' don't appear even once between them on any of those pages.
It's how government rolls these days - or the Department of Health at least - with exactly the same cherry-picking of 'experts' going on with the current alcohol strategy consultation sham.
And as if Lansley hasn't already recruited enough lackeys to kiss his reddened backside after the Health Bill, ASH and YouGov - a partnership which has never produced a poll which is remotely objective, nor ever intended one to be - will no doubt further point the dozy clown to their recent offering claiming 62% support from the public. Despite the fact that generally anti-tobacco Guardian readers prove it to be nonsense by their 80% deep cynicism and derision in the comments.
ASH's Deborah "Confidence Trickster" Arnott has gone on record explaining exactly how such results are achieved. In Hansard, no less.
Dr Stoate: You will have heard the question from Charlotte Atkins that one of the Government's contentions is that smoking in public places is popular and therefore should be allowed to continue. We understand ASH has done a number of surveys gauging public opinion. Can you tell us more about the results of your surveys?Indeed. As explained very astutely by Sir Humphrey.
Ms Arnott: It does depend a bit how you word it.
So, a done deal then, and a corrupt and anti-democratic one at that.
Well, perhaps, but if that ends up being the case we jewel robbers will have plenty to say about it come the time. Till then though, it's still worth throwing a few rocks at the consultation to make things uncomfortable for these state-funded fraudsters.
There is a precedent, you see. Last year, a consultation on e-cigs was embarrassed by the public derision at a recommendation by the MHRA to ban them prior to regulation. Each reply was published in full by pdf and the pre-determined outcome stalled by government falsehoods being visibly countered. There's nothing a politician hates more than a record of his mendacity being in the public domain.
So I'd urge you, as well as signing up to Hands Off Our Packs, to submit a full response to the consultation itself.
There is plenty of time to do so as it doesn't close until July 10th, and I can help you along. Remember those 'myths' that CRUK were invited to London to dispel, along with others spouted by the massed ranks of people paid to make us that bit more oppressed and denormalised? Well, one has already been proven conclusively to be true, and the others are just as dodgy.
I will put up a few posts detailing why all of them are flawed very soon. One by one. You can use any or all of them to submit a personal response and get your name right under Lansley's arrogant nose. By doing so, you'll also be pissing on tobacco control's chips for their hideous temerity in using your taxes to shaft you with lies and deceit, while attempting to exclude you from the whole process.
If you're up for countering venal fake charity self-enrichment, tax-sponging liberty takers and corrupt government, keep 'em peeled here.