Originally, I'd planned to reply in the comments but it was becoming rather long, hence this article. You see - we both being libertarians and my occasionally dropping one or two articles over at the kitchen myself - it shouldn't come as a surprise that I agree with him.
Well, up to a point.
A great number of bloggers are getting terribly worked up about the plain packaging consultation, both relevant to the subject matter.Indeed, this is mostly true. And also something I've acknowledged here before with articles entitled "How to rig a public consultation", and "How to rig the evidence for a public consultation", both relevant to the subject matter.
It is inevitable, of course, that because the government have not got the answer that they wanted from the "consultation" that they should "extend" the timescale to let all "stakeholders" respond.
None of this matters.
The power to "dictate the colour of cigarette packs, their shape, the trademarks displayed on them and any labelling" was handed to the Health Secretary solely back in 2009.
And you poor fucks think that we live in a democracy.
The consultation on this matter—just like the "consultation" on the display ban—is simply a democratic fig-leaf: the government simply wants to pretend that it is, in any way, answerable to the people.
Anyone who believes that our democracy is in any way "representative" is an idiot.
Politicians with power in this day and age are as slippery as a turkish wrestler; the civil servants behind them bent and self-serving. Politics is corrupt, and trust in the whole process is rightly screwed as evidenced by quite appalling election turnouts.
However - and it is a big however, in my book - this is precisely the reason why we should be getting right under the skin of these hideous fucks by playing their game, however fixed it may be.
Objection to the idea of plain packaging has come overwhelmingly from the police; the proposal has been lambasted by retailers; and packaging and related industries have detailed how it will put people on the dole in a recession, no less. Additionally, personal responses to the consultation have been numerous; and if government was hoping it would be a simple case of counting signatures collected by their various truth-free networks, the busy opposing petitions - including one outside London stations which fellow jewel robbers report to be doing a brisk trade - have embarrassment factor written all over them if handled right.
On the other side is nothing but hyperbole, government-funded self-lobbying, unsubstantiated claims, and - most importantly - a complete lack of any evidence whatsoever, which even the plan's biggest supporters admit.
If the dust settles with parliament deciding to ignore the sane majority once again, especially so soon after their pathetic idiocy has been unveiled to an incredulous public with the laughable tobacco display ban, it will mean hundreds of thousands more who will have had their eyes opened as to the disgusting abuses imposed on them by common sense-challenged MPs and their unaccountable support network.
The alternative - to shrug shoulders and just let the self-serving pricks get on with it - is unconscionable, in my opinion. Every opportunity that exists to show them up as ignorant and dictatorial should be seized upon with both hands, and this campaign has the potential to do just that.
Politics is, and always will be, a long game. The loony left and Mary Whitehouse-esque figures were objects of derision just a couple of decades ago - now they run the country, a perfect example of why knocking on closed doors is something we should be doing however futile it may seem right now.
There's also the matter of principles and integrity. As Delingpole described a week or so ago. While the bansturbators lie through their teeth and destroy the lives of others purely to trouser more cash for their grubby selves, we can hold our heads high and know that we've acted in defence of liberty and self-determination ... unlike Westminster tosspots who should be doing so but wouldn't recognise integrity if it were presented as a super-hero and advertised on billboards twenty foot high outside their office window.
So, I will continue to advocate that the consultation should be responded to (if you haven't yet done so, please go here and object in the strongest terms), and in a most emphatic fashion. The Devil is correct that insular Westminster knuckle-draggers will most likely ignore us, but that isn't any reason not to get a blow in here and there along the way. Being stubborn and saying no is a virtue which - if shown by more of us - would have prevented the vile bastards from putting us in such a powerless position in the first place.
Well, that's my take on the situation anyhow, although it has to be admitted that the Devil's mass hanging idea is equally attractive.