THE cigarette companies, public health activists believe, will slowly bleed to death thanks to tobacco plain packaging. Now they are going in search of other beasts to slay. [...] Alcohol -- and food -- are in their sights. And they are moving.Ain't they just?
In May 2011 the Cancer Council released a position statement that warned "any level of alcohol consumption increases the risk of developing an alcohol-related cancer." Last March chief executive Ian Olver baldly stated "the risks from alcohol start from zero consumption upwards". Just days ago the council, Diabetes Australia and the Heart Foundation launched an advertising campaign pushing for a tax on soft drinks and advertising restrictions.
"They're deliberately replicating the tobacco campaign," one source says.Indeed. ASH and their worldwide counterparts can bleat their "tobacco is unique" sound bite as much as they like, but - like the majority of their pronouncements - they know very well that their weasel words are merely a tool to blind legislators to future dangerous unintended consequences.
ASH Scotland are particularly aware of how others are following their template ... because they are hiring themselves out to train other tax-funded harridans in the methods of doing just that.
"Their latest target is alcohol, with their secondary target obesity. They're trying to do so in a way to keep the alcohol industry out of the debate by trying to say anything that the alcohol industry touches is corrupt."Exactly as the tobacco control industry has already done with article 5.3 of the FCTC.
The source is not a lobbyist for the liquor companies. Instead, this individual is a former senior Labor Party figure who helped develop some of the most influential anti-smoking and other public health campaigns Australia has seen.It is rather encouraging to see that alarm bells may be starting to ring about these self-enriching, social vandals.
Why do the activists play this game? There is considerable public funding and academic prestige at stake. Small and often overlapping teams of researchers at the University of Sydney received well over $2 million for projects beginning between 2009 and last year looking at smoking, "What is influential public health research" and "Corporate influences on media reporting of health".Which buys quite a few Koi cap, I should imagine.
"The Australian preventative health industry regards itself as the medical wing of the progressive left movement," one long-serving industry figure says.This is certainly not news to anyone following public health advocates on Twitter, where their 140 characters regularly resemble the rantings of a student twerp, constrained by finance to eat lentil casserole for months on end while jealously coveting the comfort of those who have made good by hard work, enterprise and - most disgustingly to their inner snob - a product which is incredibly popular.
George Monbiot is regarded almost as a demi-God; Obama's every word brings on an unstimulated orgasm; Thatcher is a swear word; and a public health employee admitting to believing in a free market would be akin to declaring an interest in dogging with necrophiliacs of a weekend.
"The more radical loathe what they regard as unchecked markets and neo-liberalism. They take a hard line on trade agreements. And they white-ant the careers of anyone in health research who does not take the same hardcore line."See Siegel, Enstrom, Kabat, Goerlitz etc etc etc.
The industry figure says the activists' ideological starting position is a belief that individuals are helpless in the face of corporations and so individuals' decision-making must be disregarded.You are but weak and unthinking piss-ants to be controlled and farmed for your taxes. Freedom of choice? Pah!
The source also says the activists have far too much influence on governments. "They occasionally try to persuade government and the World Health Organisation to exclude all industry involvement from government discussions. DOHA has to talk to the preventative health advocates and the industries separately on different days because of the hostility.
"Preventative health industry thinking is that because some people make very poor decisions, all of us must be restricted because we just can't be trusted to make the 'correct' decisions."Precisely the thinking behind the ultra-regressive and utterly pointless - unless you have an anti-big business agenda - minimum alcohol pricing.
The public health lobby reject the charge. Sydney University's Simon Chapman, a semiotician and one of the country's most prominent tobacco control advocates, has jokingly dismissed the idea of "some kind of intricately connected Masonic plot" orchestrated by the public health lobby.Of course he has. Because such a preposterous idea would require global conferences designed to compare notes where any observer not of the hive public health mind is booted out, and where police and journalists are also excluded lest they expose the cult's dirty secrets. As if that could ever happen.
Kerr has so accurately described the public health industry that it's not difficult to understand why he is in such demand from media outlets worldwide. He further goes on to explain something that politicians the world over are either too cowardly, or too stupid, to understand.
That the policies advanced by bansturbators, prohibitionists, smoke-haters, temperance nuts and out-of-the-closet fatty-bashing bullies are - despite the incessant state-funded propaganda - not popular and firmly in the minority interest.
Monitoring of calls to talkback radio, letters to the editor and comments on news websites shows ordinary people reacted overwhelmingly against the taskforce's recommendations. Seventy-seven per cent of recorded comments were negative. Further quantitative research found 60 per cent of Australians regarded the report's recommendations as attacks on their lifestyles, civil liberties and the way they operated businesses, while 57 per cent were concerned about its implications for social engineering.
Fifty-four per cent of respondents said there were problems with obesity, smoking and alcohol, but added "this report is not about targeting them". Instead, more than half were concerned that the report was a political document "intent on overturning much of the way we choose to live".Which, funnily enough, is precisely the agenda being driven. Populations throughout the western world are starting to work out that, blow me down, it's never been about health after all.
Do go read the entire article, and please share it widely if you're feeling saucy.
H/T Offsetting Behaviour