Sunday, 12 August 2012

Buying Support At £2 A Pop ... Out Of Our Taxes

There was much triumphalism from the Plain Packs Protect campaign blog as the consultation reached a close this weekend, but you have to wonder who they think they are trying to kid. Themselves, perhaps?
Shouting from the rafters in netiquette-unsavoury capitals - coupled with an exclamation mark which is puerile and desperate under the circumstances - they have announced a figure which must surely be a disappointment to them if they were being honest.
Over 200,000 people in the UK have backed a move to place tobacco products in plain packaging ...
Of course, as we have been informed by their Australian ally, Simon Chapman, this is a pathetic result.

On that basis, the Plain Packs campaign have declared that 99.55% of the British adult population failed to find any merit in such a daft scheme.

OK, I'm having a bit of a giggle at their expense there. However, it's important to do so because the pro-silly idea team are doing their best to hide the fact that their campaign has been a comprehensive disaster. Instead, they seem to see this as a ringing endorsement, despite almost certainly being swamped by more numerous signatures against plain packs, along with the disapproval of businesses small and large, unions, and even the police!

The Plain Packs Protect home page declares that they have 203,114 'supporters' which "reflects the total amount of people who have signed up to support the plain packaging of tobacco products, via the Plain Packs Protect Partnership, British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK websites".

Marketing Week further reports that ...
The charity’s campaign has been run as part of a coalition effort of nearly 200 health organisations
And, of course, we know here - because we broke the story - that just one of said organisations was afforded £468,462.06 of taxpayers' money to finance huge billboards, a national online campaign, and - according to a few readers here - professional signature-gatherers bearing iPads.

Just going by that near half a million pounds figure - without factoring in the cost of man hours expended by other PCTs and regional smoker-botherers apart from Smokefree South West - we can see that the Plain Packs Protect campaign effectively paid more than £2.00 per signature!

Not of their own money, of course. It has to be emphasised that this was £2.00 of your taxes they wasted on each and every one.

But it's not hard to understand why they found signatures hard to come by, is it? Their case failed to pass any kind of believability test, probably because no-one - anywhere - knows of any person who was driven to start smoking because of a coloured packet! Just reading through the overwhelmingly negative comments at the BBC and Guardian web pages proves that it was a darn site easier to say no to signing their silly proposal than it was to support it.

They had the ear of government; they were allowed to lobby parliament on at least two occasions whereas their opponents weren't; they were shovelled taxpayer cash to do so, and yet they still weren't able to even vaguely convince the man or woman in the street that banning colours will have any effect on stopping youngsters from smoking.

It's quite clear that, on this issue at least, the public - well, 99.55% of them, anyway - are not as stupid as anti-smokers think they are.


The Filthy Engineer said...

Interestingly, my comment over at the Groan whereupon I used info from the TCT wiki has disappeared. Someone over their doesn't like cold hard facts evidently.

moonrakin said...

I'd bet - with my own money that a significant percentage of those supposedly spontaneous pro plain pack "votes" originates from the tobacco control regional operating divisions and CRC - they all have previous in the net fraud department.

This absolutely stinks and has corrupt paw marks all over it.