Smokefree South West claim that they have been "inundated by pro-smoking/choice organisations such as Forest, backed by the tobacco industry with FOI requests in relation to their campaign.Oh dear. That'll be partly our fault, then.
The BBC has interviewed Professor Gabriel Scally, recently retired head of public health for the South West, and they also want to interview someone from Forest.
Dr Scally, I am told, is critical of the tobacco industry, and campaigners like Forest, for their FOIs about plain packaging not only in the UK but in Australia, "in particular the expense and time it is causing them in having to respond to some 35 requests FOI requests including very detailed ones for emails".
And here they are bleating about it in a video broadcast on the BBC.
These people really do have no other line of attack than to try making out that everyone who disagrees with them are funded by tobacco companies. It's really quite pathetic.
Ever since I posted a photograph of one of Smokefree South West's advertising hoardings, I've received e-mails letting me know of FOI requests readers have submitted - probably because it was unclear at the time how much they cost.
On top of the design fees, as far as I can ascertain, this space would cost around £200 per week and, of course, we don't know how many of them there are dotted around, or for how long. Add on printing costs and beer money for the bill posters and we're talking a pretty penny being spent from your taxes, I reckon.I submitted some myself but it was a fellow jewel robber who e-mailed me this response which was the first we knew they were pissing half a mill down the drain.
Others who e-mailed me their FOI responses include a teacher from the Midlands, an IT professional, and a guy from Manchester involved in Intellectual Property, hence his interest. As for myself, regular readers will know I run a transport company which has grown from couple of borrowed vehicles in the 90s, so I'm just a glorified white van man. Remember too, that these are just those who copied me in on their responses and takes no account of any others who may have sent a request for personal curiosity without letting on. After all, it's a very simple process.
See any tobacco industry involvement there? No, it's utter arse-biscuits, of course. But they really don't like any kind of debate or questioning, do they?
You'll notice in the BBC report that they mention the half a million pounds figure that I revealed here in April. That was the first time it had been mentioned, and it's a fair bet that without the FOI requests Smokefree South West would never have revealed it. This is the entire point of the Freedom of Information Act. To force those who spend our taxes into letting us know what they are doing with them.
Far from being 'sabotage' of their lobbying plans, those requests made these people notify the public what is being done with the cash they have stolen from us by force.
Isn't it incredible that these grasping bastards are happily trousering cash by the many millions from the public trough but - once asked what they are doing with it - squeal like stuck pigs and default to spreading lies and insults.
If they don't want to be accountable to the public - which it is clear they don't - then here's an idea, STOP TAKING TAXPAYERS' MONEY!
This contemptuous deceit goes right to the top, too.
BBC South West, or whatever it's called, was happy to confirm today that the plain packs campign was "NHS-funded", yet Anne Milton denied this in March.
The Department of Health has not spent any money on advertising or marketing the forthcoming consultation on tobacco packaging, neither through the NHS Smokefree marketing campaign, nor through any other organisation.Thanks to our FOI requests, we now know this was a duplicitous dodge at best, a lie at worst. Again, it is perfect validation of how the Freedom of Information Act enables ordinary people to cut through bullshit from politicians and discover at least some small parts of the truth.
I say small parts as - in the sphere of public health anyway - even the government has no clue how much they are spending on this kind of stuff. They don't even know how many people they have working on it, there are too many snouts in that particular trough for them to keep track of.
The chief complainant, Gabriel Scally, is apparently debating plain packaging with Snowdon and Clark in Bristol tonight. Considering he's part of a bullshit spreading campaign on the BBC today, the chances of his being truthful there are obviously very slim.
Still, to all of you fellow jewel robbers who have managed to get right up the noses of these greedy, arrogant, public-funded arseholes. Very well done!