Wednesday, 8 May 2013

The Final Throw Of The Dice For Plain Packs Is So Predictable

There has been more desperate activity at the start of this week by those in favour of plain packs.

They've thrown insults, cast aspersions about MPs, issued threats, occupied Twitter with predictions of Armageddon, and are now saying it must be because the Tories' campaign strategist once worked on a tobacco campaign that reports are suggesting the coalition might not include legislation in today's Queen's speech.

The one possibility they refuse to consider is that their case was quite simply shite.

Like cats avoiding looking in a mirror, they are incapable of viewing their own possible failure without seeing a non-existent ferocious beast poised to usurp their authority.

For example, yesterday ASH tweeted this link to a press briefing they published a few days ago.

Y'see, they are still ignoring those half a million signatures in opposition as if they were an aberration rather than the biggest rejection of any public consultation in the history of British politics.

ASH's briefing is probably the source of the Mirror's speculation about Lynton Crosby, due to this standard tobacco control industry slur.
4. The source for this story is not known, but we speculate that it may well have been Lynton Crosby. His lobbying company’s involvement in the plain packaging debate in Australia is detailed in this brief at paragraphs 27-28. 
27. In Australia, while Lynton Crosby was Federal Director of the Liberal Party, the Party accepted major donations from the tobacco industry. It has been reported that between 2000 and 2010 the Party received $AUS 2.5 million from PMI and BAT. 
28. The UK Conservative Party has hired Mr Crosby through his lobbying firm Crosby Textor Fulbrook, which has represented tobacco industry clients, including PMI, since the 1980s. In Australia, Mark Textor, co-founder of the company with Mr Crosby, was an adviser to the industry in its campaign against standardised packaging. CTF now has an office in London.
It says the usual stuff {yawn}. In effect "they were paid for a tobacco campaign once so are now forever making the case for tobacco, in this life and probably the next" despite now being paid to get the Tories back in power with popular policies (which bossy infantilising of the public is clearly not). Playing the man not the ball is usually a signal that the debater has lost the argument, but the tobacco control industry have traded on it for decades.

The plain fact is that they might have bitten off more than they can chew with this one. They got greedy and moved before their last nonsense of banning tobacco displays had even been fully implemented. The public - and politicians who aren't entirely vacant broom handles - are getting tired of their constant shrill, apocalyptic whining.

In such circumstances, it would be advantageous to have cast-iron evidence but - as we have seen - there is nothing but dodgy polls, state-funded claptrap, bastardised evidence, dick-waggling exercises, and attempts at rigging the system to their advantage. It's hardly surprising, then, that when all that made no impression they should seek to throw their last crap and bandy about speculative character assassinations.

What I find very encouraging about ASH's May 3rd document is that they are still - even at this late stage of the game - spinning wildly to disprove valid issues raised by the Hands Off Our Packs campaign. They are obviously well aware that the threat of an increase in counterfeiting is real, and that government will be concerned at a time when illicit trade is already rising rapidly due to previous tobacco control industry meddling.

So, even now, ASH are still doing what seasoned political campaigners call 'playing in the other side's playground' by constantly reminding us all how dangerous an increase in counterfeiting might be.
21. The tobacco industry claims that standardised packs will increase illicit trade. There have been a series of recent media reports based on industry funded studies suggesting that the UK faces a growing level of illicit trade. However, all independent studies (including HMRC’s “Measuring Tax Gaps” publications) show that the illicit tobacco trade is falling in the UK. The most recent HMRC figure for the proportion of cigarettes consumed in the UK that are illicit was 9% in 2010/11 (mid range estimate, down from 21% in 2000/1). The most recent independent study is a survey by the market research firm NEMS in the North of England in January and February 2013 (sample size 1500), showing the level of illicit trade down to a record low for the region of 10%.
As is their custom, they are again using two years out of date figures with only a small cherry-picked regional study to try to hide the worrying current rise that politicians will already know all about.

They are almost doing the Hands Off Our Packs campaign's job for them, cementing in the minds of the government how threatening the effect of more counterfeiting could be and all but admitting that plain packs will facilitate it.

Because, rather than some small survey in the North East, real up-to-date UK and Europe wide stats show conclusively that illicit is growing alarmingly however much state-funded front groups try to deny it, as The Times reported last week.
The most startling statistic to emerge from first-half figures from Imperial Tobacco Group is the 10 per cent fall in the number of cigarettes the company sold in the UK. This has to be down to the illicit or quasi-legal trade, because basic consumption across Britain is flat and there are no indications that Imps is losing share to its legal competitors.
In Spain, the total was down by 12 per cent; in the rest of the European Union, excluding Germany, sales were off by 7 per cent. Across the EU as a whole, though, total consumption was down by at most a couple of per cent.
The rise in the black market is hardly surprising. A legal pack can cost you £8 or so; illicit ones may change hands at £3. Clearly, a large chunk of Imps’ market in the developed world is disappearing in a puff of smoke. The question is how much further this can go. The UK illicit market is about 25 per cent of the total; indications from other countries are that when it gets much above 30 per cent, governments take action to protect their tax revenues. We shall see.
That is real time, one week old, startling 2013 evidence instead of more encouraging data from 2010 before tobacco control ballsed it all up with stupid, spiteful, and ultimately pointless tobacco industry-bashing legislation.

If plain packaging does somehow squirrel its way into the Queen's speech today, it won't be based on compelling justification provided by the tobacco control industry. Instead, it will be a result of flimsy 'evidence' produced to order, government lobbying government, attempts to bypass the democratic process, emotional hysterics, interference from other countries, corrupt practice, lies and - in the final few days - pathetic bullying.

Just the usual modus operandi, then.


Lysistrata Eleftheria said...

We won. We bloody won! A bit too early for a celebratory tipple but, hey...

c777 said...

Not according to the scum at the BBC, like this Nazi little progressive twat.......

Dr Evil said...

Crosby has been dumping trivia and politically disasterous policies. Plai packs has been dumped, minimum alcholo pricing and gay marriage. He sees these as eitherdistractions from the main economic messages or simply deleterious to the Tory chance of re-election. Perhaps ASH cannot face it as being a trivial and silly nonsense. Plus a load of jobs would have been destroyed. A guarantee of loads of votes for Labour.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

For now a win, but they won't stop their miserable screaming. It does, however, show that their state-funded bullshit can be counteracted if enough are willing to stand up to them.

Let's do it again when they try anything like this in the future. Write, email, FOI, or just basically be a pain in the arse. Either that or stand back, expect others to do it and see stupid ideas become reality.

I have to say that fellow jewel robbers here have been superb, and definitely a part of why plain packs didnt proceed this time. It will be something we need to do again, though, and often. That's the way it is when government think you're all incapable of living your life without state approval, sadly.

John Munyard said...

Of course ASH are ignoring the public petition. According to thier own "research" everyone who signed it must be a smoker, and ergo they all have mental health problems.

I mean who else except a "mental" would smoke. You are retarded and your opinion therefore doesn't count does it? Got that?

Pavo said...

Love plain packaging! Very amusing to see the gaspers guiltily get their packets of ugly brown cancer sticks from the Coles ciggy counter and slyly slip them into their bags. Plain packaging is clearly working at reducing smoking, both in terms of number of people who smoke and the amount they smoke. In Western Australian we're down to about 15% of adults and plummeting towards a critical mass where it will be as rare as seeing a pipe smoker. Thanks Mike Daube - legend!