Friday, 25 May 2012

Monty Python Policy-Making In Action

Back in January - with regard the hoops cash and carry outlets were being forced to jump through - I wrote about the hilarious consequences of idiot MPs deeming tobacco packs too dangerous to be seen.
There's your local Makro, or other such entity, building isolation units for boxes of tabs, cigars and tobacco for fear of a food retailer catching a glimpse of an outer of Marlboro. There'll need to be an announcement to 'look away now' when the door opens, of course, to protect anyone tempted to peer inside.

Meanwhile, in the loading bay fork lift drivers - presumably wearing a blindfold - are clambering on the back of artics, draping tarps or blankets over pallets of Hamlet, to ensure someone walking past isn't subject to the life-threatening prospect of seeing the packaging.

On the sales floor, customers are walking around with trolleys groaning under the weight of shrink-wrapped wine gum boxes and baked bean trays, but with the radioactive cig boxes concealed by black bags in case someone who doesn't sell tobacco is infected by baccy-package-itis.

God help the tobacconist who removes his supplies from their church of public health burqa to have a little look! Sirens will sound; rotating red lights will flash; and store staff will come running as if he'd begun letting off acid-laced fireworks.
Well, the regulations have bedded in for a month or so now ... and it doesn't appear to be making our politicians any friends.
Wholesalers have branded the tobacco display ban at their depots “a right pain in the a***”.

The ban, which came into force just over a month ago, means wholesalers have to ensure all tobacco products they sell at their depots are covered on their way from tobacco rooms to checkout areas.

All tobacco products have to be hidden from view in transit to prevent them from being seen by non-tobacco retailers. This means that all products leaving tobacco rooms must be concealed by either a cover, a box or a bag. This must be sealed when a customer leaves the tobacco room and then reopened to be processed at the checkout. Products must then be resealed and covered before leaving the depot. Tobacco room windows also have to be covered to hide products from view.
Not much help for such businesses from this coalition, eh? Both parties in government pledged to can this stupid law when they were in opposition, remember. Then just waved it through like morphine-addled clowns once in office.
The source added that he knew of wholesalers that “were putting two fingers up to it all and not doing it”, claiming that Trading Standards had not “got to grips with it yet”.
It's what all businesses should have done in April, to be frank. It would have sent a strong message to our deluded Westminster chimps, and no mistake.
The ban was implemented to discourage children from smoking, but the vast majority of wholesalers do not allow children into their depots.
There's a reason they weren't exempted - as tobacco retailers and suppliers were for the advertising ban under Blair - and that's because it isn't about children at all. Never has been.

Just like a smoking ban (supposedly to protect bar staff from a negligible risk) which won't countenance separate smoking rooms as the rest of Europe have been clever enough to permit, the display ban not allowing exemptions for places where kids are never likely to be is proof that children were never the driving force. Denormalisation of adults was.

MPs can play with their coloured duplo bricks, suck their thumbs, and pretend their law was about protecting teenagers - their intellectual superiors - but in the real world no-one with any sense is fooled by it. They've simply been (very easily) conned by a tobacco control industry desperate to keep the taxpayer-funded gravy train rolling for as long as possible.

The legislation is extremely funny for those of us who don't have to live with its consequences, but yet another idiotic burden for businesses struggling to cope after decades of piss poor state management from elected numbnuts.

And what faces wholesalers next? Well, that would be covering up products to protect non-existent children, when the branding they're to be shielded from isn't even on the packaging anymore.

At which point, Leg Iron's black hole of stupid may well swallow the entire universe.

H/T Harley at VGIF


Michael McFadden said...

There's a reason they weren't exempted - as tobacco retailers and suppliers were for the advertising ban under Blair - and that's because it isn't about children at all. Never has been."

Exactly.  The Antis are moving much more seriously, quickly, and blatantly toward total Denormalization now in all spheres since they've determined that people will put up with it.


Furor Teutonicus said...

Just wondering what they would do when I wander around their wee shopping areas with all the tobacco advertising clothing I can possibly carry around without wearing SIX T-shirts, and park my Motor-cycle/car, right next to the entrance, resplendent in their J.P.S black and gold paint jobs.

Will I be told to "cover up"?

If not, how long will it take for them to get the legistlation through Parliament, I wonder?

David said...

I guess there're many out there who'd exploit the denormalisation process in order to express themselves as non conformist. For example, with tobacco we are quickly reaching the stage when it'd be ultra-cool to wear 'the badge'. And, of course, teens would be the most receptive to making a statement. It'd be interesting to see how tobacco companies would react to people walking around with brands emblazoned on T-shirts if and when the antis succeed with plain packaging. Whatever, it'd be a great opportunity for the counterfeit clothes industry. 

Lyn Ladds said...

And what protection is there for the person on the check out who does not 'yet' smoke?

Whoops, shouldn't give them any new ideas, should I?