This article (apparently to appear in Saturday's Guardian) is as woefully skewed as anything the Mail - who Guardian readers revel in holding up as a model of lax, one-sided journalism - has ever produced. Except that whereas the Mail generally employs one author per piece of rubbish, it took two fearless Graun writers to produce their particular abject crayon-scrawled mess.
Beginning with an attack on Freedom2Choose concerning something which had nothing to do with them, they also seem to have forgotten one of the prime principles of responsible news reporting. Context.
The deleted post to which they refer appeared - very briefly, as I recall - on the F2C blog which carries quite a significant disclaimer.
The opinions expressed by the authors on this blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Freedom2Choose organisation or any member thereof. Freedom2Choose is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the blog Authors.Didn't stop them implying it was on the Freedom2Choose website by linking there, and saying it was hosted by them which it wasn't. They should be 'blaming' Google for that.
Additionally, while talking about how security has been "stepped up" for tobacco controllers, they fail to point out that the F2C blog is all but redundant seeing as the last article published was over two months ago.
They are also either investigative journalists who have no idea how to, you know, investigate, or were wilfully not doing so. The 'snipers' article was a direct satirical response to something just as - if not more - deeply objectionable which appeared in the Luton Herald & Post.
My only suggestion for effective action is to be a bit literal around it.Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember the Guardian expressing outrage at the threats posed by that article. Nor did Messrs Campbell and Meikle bother to point out to their readers that it even existed. They could have even added in a bit about that fantastic game where the online world gets to shoot smokers in the head, or pointed out that the Luton 'shoot smokers' article came out in the very same week Anders Breivik was doing exactly that to lefties in Norway.
Anyone who buys a packet of fags emblazoned in huge letters with that no nonsense warning that smoking kills is tacitly accepting the possibility.
So let's set a squad of licesed snipers on the streets, with permission to pick off smokers whenever there's a clear shot.
I confidently predict that the prospect of having your head blown off while enjoying what you didn't realise would be your last cigarette would give smokers up and down the country an extra incentive to kick the habit.
And if they defiantly carry on puffing, when they are popped between the eyes it will save the health service all the costs of caring for them in their declining years.
Perhaps they felt such context irrelevant in their zeal to produce a piece so one-sided I'm surprised it didn't slide off the side of my monitor.
I'm sure Frank Davis can fight his own eloquent corner in response to the specific claims made about him, suffice to say that I expect he was reacting to a sob story from Linda Bauld about how she was being insulted for the job she is paid for.
No-one, but no-one, mentioned in the Guardian piece would condone such behaviour. But similarly would any right-minded person not condone the kind of rancid, vitriolic, violent and disgusting behaviour Bauld and her ilk have created and nurtured. There are numerous hideous examples the Graun authors could have seen in our intermittently-updated catalogue while they were researching if they'd bothered to look.
And they did look here, because your jewel-thieving host got a mention.
Another libertarian pro-tobacco blogger, calling himself Dick Puddlecote, wrote that the NHS-funded Smokefree Southwest campaign was made up of "grasping bastards" and called Gabriel Scally, until recently NHS regional director of public health, "part of a bullshit spreading campaign".Firstly, let's just point out to Harry and Lloyd that the only reason the "Smokefree Southwest campaign" for plain packaging is now acknowledged as being "NHS-funded" is because this blog discovered so despite attempts to hide it.
As such, that's my investigation contributing to your article, Denis and James. Where's the link?
It would have also been helpful to their readers to offer a link to the article where those quotes of mine occurred. That is, this one.
It detailed how Gabriel Scally was whining on the BBC about how the "tobacco industry" was submitting FOI requests to disrupt the plain packaging campaign which no voter asked for, and no manifesto promised. The kind of deceit the Guardian usually gets very hot under the collar about under this coalition.
As I said at the time.
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.So, yes. Scally certainly is "part of a bullshit-spreading campaign" if he claims that those responses emanated from the tobacco industry. There's no two ways about it, especially since the NHS Bristol website logs one such response to prove it.
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?
As for "grasping bastards", how else does one explain people misrepresenting the truth in order to keep the state-funded wonga flooding in to their bank account, regardless of the disgusting behaviour it encourages? Perhaps I could have been more polite, but this is a blog written by someone unpaid and having to listen to Scally's paid-for shit, not Gardeners Weekly.
There is a plus side to the Campbell/Meikle nonsense, though. And that is the subtle shift away from references to "the tobacco industry", exactly the point I was making about Scally's bullshit. This Guardian article specifically states that it is "pro-smoking activists" the tobacco control industry is now worried about.
For years they have tried to pretend that every objector is funded by a tobacco company, but the scales would seem to have finally fallen from their eyes. Instead, they are now trying to stifle ANY kind of objection - just as they did with the tobacco industry - even from enfranchised and tax-paying individuals who have a right to raise them.
Again, you'd expect the Guardian - self-declared civil liberties champion, and all - to be very much for such a concept, but their integrity is obviously as limited as the research which has gone into Campbell and Meikle's article.
I'll wait patiently for a deserved link or an update, but won't hold my breath. If they'd wanted something transparent and amenable to critique, comments would have been enabled. But that would have only ruined the whole point of their inept puff piece, would it not?
All in all, it's still very encouraging though. If such a weapons grade reaction is being commissioned by Scally and his cohorts, we must be making progress. Keep up the good work boys and girls.