Despite never having received a single vote from anyone, anywhere, one of the items on the agenda is to massively ramp up tobacco taxes. Not just in a few countries, but in all of them.
The World Health Organization (WHO) is considering a global excise tax of up to 70 percent on cigarettes at an upcoming November conference, raising concerns among free market tax policy analysts about fiscal sovereignty and bureaucratic mission creep.This initiative was under the radar until just a few months ago, but having now started to leak out in many places the WHO are furiously spinning to convince us that they're just having a laugh, really. It's not going to be mandatory. Oh no, not at all.
[WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarveic said] "implementation of national tax policies remains the full sovereign right of the Parties"Err, so why discuss adding it to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control if you aren't intending to apply pressure on sovereignty of national taxation?
This is how these unelected bastards work. Hold a meeting that no-one knows about (with prawn sarnies and much more provided by pharmaceutical companies); pass a resolution; send it out to heavily-funded tobacco control minions worldwide to bully spineless governments into submission.
That's modern democracy, folks.
Of course, as with all hysterical anti-smoking initiatives, this would smash open the door of national taxation for any number of single issue cocktrumpets to quote as a precedent. It's bad enough that the EU is firing compulsory directives from Brussels which our parliament is only empowered to rubber stamp, without yet more unelected bureaucrats taking their slice of our self-determination.
Fortunately, our esteemed mascot has spotted this and directed a pertinent question to the Treasury.
Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)
To ask the Chancellor of the Exchequer what steps he plans to take to ensure UK sovereignty over the setting of excise duty rates, and use of that revenue, during negotiations on the draft guidelines for the implementation of Article 6 of the World Health Organisation Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, in Seoul in November 2012.
Sajid Javid (Bromsgrove, Conservative)
Article 6 of the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control and the draft text of the guidelines for implementation of that Article make clear that the guidelines currently under negotiation are non-binding and that States Party to the Convention retain full sovereignty over fiscal matters, including how revenues from tobacco taxation are spent. The issue of a threat to UK sovereignty over the setting of excise rates and the use of that revenue does not therefore arise.Duly noted, Sajid. That's firmly in the memory banks, sunshine. "The issue of a threat to UK sovereignty ... does not arise", is something I hope we never have to quote back to you in the future.
If that's the last we hear on the matter, I'll be surprised, though. The time when anyone could trust politicians as far as we can throw them died around the time Giant Haystacks did.