So, tying it all together, we seem to have a meeting which was 'inappropriate' during a public consultation; which was hidden from public record until a journalist found it had taken place; and which featured MPs and ASH arguably attempting to hijack a public consultation with a view to excluding dissent.But, guys and gals, might we have seen this corrupting of a government public consultation before?
You see, it does kinda explain what could have happened behind the scenes prior to the tobacco display ban back in 2008.
"We are not listed as one of the respondents although our response was submitted by email and also sent by post, so we can be certain it was received. For some reason the views of 25,000 shopkeepers just seem to have been air-brushed out of the consultation report."
"Part of our response included a very detailed econometric study into the impact a display ban would have on small shops. None of that data was included in the report. Yet this should have been a transparent process where the views of all interested parties were represented - particularly those who will be directly affected by these proposals."
It all makes sense now, doesn't it? And this is without mentioning the wilful misleading of politicians when it came time to the vote, which you can read all about here or, if you have more time, here.
Expect more of the same if government decides to ignore the biggest objection to a public consultation in our country's history and moves to legislate. There'll be so much bullshit being spouted in the back rooms of Westminster that the Environment Agency might have to be called in.