ASH reasons that tobacco companies are only upset about plain packaging because they know it will work (pfft). So by the same token, if tobacco controllers are squealing at having to justify themselves, they must be worried about being exposed. QED.
As such, the most effective way of irritating them as they bully you is to send letters and queries to find out what they are hiding away so assiduously. Since mentioning that readers here had been doing exactly that and sharing their e-mails with me, unsolicited, I'm happy to report that others have also stepped forward to raise other grievances.
Without wishing to sound like a modern day Barry Took, here's an interesting such missive from Mr R of somewhere or other (I don't pry).
Dear Cancer Research UKA bit of licence there, I presume that would have been the introductory address.
I have given money to Cancer research uk in the past, thinking that it would be spent on cancer research and treatment. However I have since found out that a portion of the money is spent on stop smoking campaigns. I want 100% of my money to be spent on cancer research, not prevention of people smoking. Please stop your anti-smoking campaigns or I will stop giving money to you.They did, at least, reply (not that it would harm their £482m annual income if they didn't) but contrite it ain't.
Thank you for your e-mail.Err, smoking causes cancer ... so we're hoping to ban colour schemes? That's one hell of a leap. There's still no whiff of evidence any kid has started because of the pack, let alone suffered years down the line as a result. In fact, CRUK's own report said they don't even notice them. But hey, salary-chasing anti-smokers have never been known for their integrity.
Cancer Research UK is dedicated to preventing, diagnosing and treating cancer. The link between smoking and cancer is irrefutable, which is one reason why we are currently campaigning for the introduction of plain packaging for cigarettes.
We fully appreciate that some of our supporters would like their donations to solely go toward our research. We therefore have the ability to ring-fence cheque donations received, so that this may be achieved. All that we ask is for the supporter to make it clear to us in a covering note that this is their stipulation and it will be processed accordingly.Weasel words, if ever they have been seen.
All that people who donate to CRUK ask is that their money is used for what it says on their highly-advertised tin.
Nothing there about "together we'll beat anyone who enjoys tobacco", or "together we'll stop you drinking alcohol". Oh, you didn't know that as well as a Tobacco Advisory Group, CRUK also have an alcohol equivalent? Well, they do. They're not too keen on the food you choose to eat, either, and throw cash at demonising fast food produced by popular companies.
Somehow, "together, we'll stop people enjoying themselves, by lobbying government, because we haven't the first clue how to cure cancer after over 100 years pretending" isn't as snappy, and certainly won't help those 164 employees of theirs to continue earning over £60k per annum, eh?
So perhaps, if they were being transparent and scrupulous they might - instead of only revealing the 'ring-fencing' option when challenged by e-mail - let every potential donor know this before they put their hand in their pocket, or run round a field wearing pink, to help pay for the CRUK CEO's £210k+ salary plus pension. See, that might actually mean something rather than soft soap from an administrator who knows full well that whatever the odd disgruntled correspondent says won't make a blind bit of difference to how their ocean of cash is distributed.
But more than that, they are weasel words since the employee who replied is one of a minority within the organisation who are aware that their company is involved in political lobbying. I've had cold callers begging for money who have laughed at me for suggesting that their charity is involved in politics. If their own fundraisers aren't aware of it, how do they expect anyone else to know, or - more to the point - be able to find some obscure part of their website (if it exists) which details any 'ring-fencing'?
No. Best course of action is to give your charitable donations to local efforts which deserve them and, sadly, are often starved of cash because of the well-funded predatory nature of CRUK Mega Inc.. Or there's always less bigoted deserving causes who don't turn down donations due to being wedded to the goals of the pharmaceutical industry like, err, Cancer Research UK.
Anyway, I digress. Keep pumping out those badgering e-mails and letters, won't you? And do share the results, the more they squirm the more cathartic the experience, I find.