Wednesday 18 December 2013

Remote Control Government

In the week that the Ashes were surrendered to Australia, it's perhaps fitting that responsibility for UK policy appears to have been meekly delegated to the Aussies too.

In January, The Times reported that some are more equal than others when it comes to British government public consultations. Y'see, if you're Australian, you even get to tinker with the timeframes.
Anne Milton, then Health Minister, said on July 5 that the Department of Health’s three-month consultation was to be extended until August 10 to “make sure everyone who wants to contribute can”.

That same day an Australian official in the Department of Health and Ageing wrote to the Department of Health requesting a two-week extension to the July 10 deadline so that Australia’s Minister for Health could sign off the submission. 
“We are currently going through the clearance process for the submission at a time when several of our key ministers are absent on leave or work-related travel, during a break in the parliamentary sitting period,” correspondence released under the Freedom of Information Act reveals. “I am sure that our Health Minister, the Hon Tanya Plibersek, MP, would welcome the opportunity to personally sign off the submission, if at all possible. To achieve this, we will require an extension, due to her short absence. 
“Accordingly, would you or the relevant area responsible for the consultation, be willing to approve a two-week extension until Tuesday 24 July? Alternatively, can you suggest a timeframe that would be acceptable?” 
Later that day, an e-mail was sent by the Department of Health’s tobacco programme manager to the Australian Government, and others, explaining that the deadline had been extended.
Fast forward to the present day, and we see from Sir Cyril Chantler's method statement of how he is running the newly-announced stitch-up review of plain packs, that he's donning a cork-rimmed hat and popping down to the sandpit personally.
“My review is not concerned with legal issues, such as competition, trade-marking and freedom of choice” 
“Nor will it consider issues such as the overall economic impact of standardised packaging on tobacco producers, retailers or associated industries.”
But ...
“I intend to undertake a visit to Australia and to take account of the experience of standardised packaging in that country.”
Now, we've experienced the public consultation becoming the public sector consultation before, many times, including the suppression of the wrong kind of responses. However, I don't think we've yet come across a consultation which cuts out the UK altogether!

All these responses are to be ignored ...

... as are - to be fair - all rigged studies produced by tobacco control industry tax spongers during the consultation.

But, yet again, Australia gets top seat at the table.

Who is this plain packs charade being run by, and on behalf of again? The British people, or vainglorious empire builders in Canberra and Sydney?

For more, I highly recommend you read "Does the government understand the meaning of "independent"?" at The Free Society.


Ivan D said...

It's a less than scientific observation but Australia's sporting resurgence seems to have coincided with much needed regime change.

truckerlyn said...

I hope he enjoys his jaunt down under at our expense! Pity the money couldn't be better spent on those who are struggling to eat AND stay warm this winter!
Governments today really do not have a bloody clue! They sit in their ivory towers, snug, warm and well fed and watered, having never had to concern themselves about where the money will come from for the next bill or weekly shop. Their self serving, self righteous, smuggery makes me sick!

The sooner we get rid of all of this ilk the better for ALL normal hard working, or want to be hard working, in this country and then, maybe, just maybe, we can look at putting the Great back in Britain.

Sam Duncan said...

If the review isn't considering competition, trade-marking, freedom of choice, the economic impact, or, on the quiet, the actual, stated, opinion of the public, that doesn't really leave much left for it to consider, does it? Except for a nice couple of weeks in Australia during the southern summer. It's a tough job, but someone has to do it.

Oh, wait...