You may remember the last one - which was picked up by just about no media outlets - for its astonishing stupidity. Listing organisations such as the CBI, the union Unite, the Federation of Small Businesses, the Scottish Grocers Federation, the Leicester Asian Business Association and the UK Travel Retail Forum as big tobacco stooges, it was described by Snowdon as "a Who's Who of everybody who has never received industry funding".
Still, stung by the massive public rejection of plain packaging which led to the daft idea being excluded from the Queen's Speech in May, they might be about to launch some more desperate smears. You see, they refuse to accept that the public have rightly decided that plain packaging is, well, plain stupid.
ASH media advisory: Has the Government Caved in to Tobacco Lobbying? (pdf) bit.ly/YrU9Ur #plainpacks
— ASH (@ASH_LDN) May 7, 2013
Yeah, course they did. It was nothing to do with the biggest ever rejection of a policy in the long sordid history of public consultations. No, not at all.
So, soon after Queen Bessie effectively told ASH to get stuffed, Debs Arnott fired off some terse requests to tobacco companies as evidenced by this offering at the BAT site from May 20th.
Perhaps not happy with the propaganda potential of this response, Debs probed further on June 18th.
Despite the honesty displayed by BAT (they could have just told her to mind her own state-funded, but protected from the Freedom of Information Act, business) this will no doubt be described by Arnott as 'covert' lobbying at some time in the future. Even when some of her imaginary targets came up blank.
Which would be jaw-droppingly hypocritical since her tobacco control industry colleagues get right shirty when they are similarly asked to provide details of their own grubby tactics.
But they seem to think that it is such a winning strategy that they've instructed their Scottish poodle in parliament to tee things up for them.
Alex Cunningham (Stockton North, Labour)
No one could be more aware than the right hon. Gentleman, as a former Health Secretary, that the tobacco industry lobby is one of the most powerful groups around this place, given its direct and covert campaigns to delay legislation to introduce plain packaging for its products, among other things. Will the Government ensure, if and when they get round to registering lobbying organisations, that such organisations will be required to reveal whose payroll they are on, to ensure greater transparency? For example, tobacco companies might finance third-party organisations as a front to promote their causes.Do you sense that ASH are building up to a mendacious press release to pretend the half million people who opposed plain packaging in the consultation are stupid drones and should be ignored? You know, a bit like they tried back in February when their campaign's corrupt attempt to rig the responses failed?
Perhaps we should send a few questions to ASH regarding the tobacco control industry's sponsorship deals with pharmaceutical companies and the millions they have received from state grants over the years, eh?
H/T Simon Chapman