The often fraudulent abuses of process, democracy and common decency are too numerous to list in full, but just to remind you of a few highlights:
Attempting to rig the consultation; producing literature containing bald-faced lies to MPs; enthusiastically encouraging corrupt multiple signatures; and attempting to influence government to exclude any consultation responses they disagreed with and then trying to hide the evidence. Along with inviting two zealous supporters of plain packaging to review the evidence, including a far-left lunatic who simply despises marketing of any product, before producing an impact assessment document which the Regulatory Policy Committee rightly considered shoddy. This without mentioning shovelling taxpayer cash to vested interests to lobby government with, making demonstrably false claims, and blatantly misrepresenting the results of their own research.
Like I say, this is by no means an exhaustive list, far from it.
So it is interesting to see the same grubby techniques of truth-avoidance and disinformation being played out in Ireland as they embark on their own fraudulent exercise in anti-democratic ideology. In early skirmishes, we've already seen loopy anti-smoking minister James Reilly threatening to ban small boxes, John Crown preferring to make an arse of himself than engage in debate, and an Irish GP glorying in how wonderful it will be to copy the Soviet Union!
However, Forest Eirann's John Mallon today describes how the Irish procedure is not going to be like the corrupt procession we saw in the UK ... if anything, it promises to be even worse.
The day I addressed the Oireachtas Health and Children Committee in Leinster House
Pumped up by their own self-importance and sniffing a chance to attract the media spotlight, members of the Committee rattled off ASH-style propaganda followed by their own vitriol and phobic hatred of smoking. That the tobacco gents behind me didn't just get up and march off was amazing in itself.
It was, according to members of the Committee, all about our precious children (and not re-election at all). Strangely, though, several of our esteemed democrats got their digs in and then left so when, finally, there was a chance to reply we were talking to a largely empty room.
And what of the outcome? Well, that had been decided before the whole charade began. The Health and Children Committee will no doubt support the bill to introduce standardised packaging and the process will continue to its natural conclusion.So, not so much an evidence-gathering exercise than a show trial, then. At least the UK government had the decency to properly gather evidence from tobacco interests in camera, not that the usual lefties were happy with their playing by the rules, of course.
But we also saw today that the Irish debate - even at such an early stage - has already descended into farce.
Law Society president John Shaw yesterday insisted it was “not in the pocket of anyone”.
The Irish Cancer Society had hit out at the group for adopting the same position and language on the legislation as the tobacco industry.
Mr Shaw told the Oireachtas Health Committee that the Law Society had concerns about the legal implications of the General Scheme of the Public Health (Standardised Packaging of Tobacco) Bill 2003 in terms of its effect on intellectual property rights.
The Law Society was criticised by senator Jillian van Turnhout for failing to show the “clear links” between the members of its intellectual property committee and the tobacco industry in a declaration of interest sent to the Oireachtas committee. “The tentacles of the tobacco industry are everywhere,” Ms van Turnhout said.This is the Irish Law Society, for Chrissakes, but because they raise a valid debating point which doesn't agree with an obviously pre-conceived outcome, they are now apparently a bunch of vile tobacco industry stooges? Good grief!
So outraged by this ridiculous smear are the Law Society, they have taken the step of publishing a rebuttal on their website.
The Society is concerned at the coverage in certain newspapers of the Society's contribution to the Joint Oireachtas Committee on Health & Children's (the Health Committee) consultation on 'plain packaging' for tobacco products.
By no means has all of the newspaper coverage accurately reported the Society's position. In particular, some coverage has falsely suggested that the Society's contribution on this matter has been influenced by, or indeed even supportive of, the tobacco industry. This is completely untrue.
For emphasis, the Society's representatives:-
1. Made perfectly clear to the Committee that the Society was not representing anyone but its solicitor members and the public interest which the profession serves;Quite bizarre!
2. Were only highlighting intellectual property law issues to which the plain packaging proposal gave effect;
3. Were not claiming any expertise on health policy matters other than to recognise that "tobacco has had a disastrous impact on health";
4. Agreed with the objective of the Bill and said as much;
5. Were well received by the Committee and thanked for the Society's contribution.
So we have a collection of politicians who walk out of an evidence-gathering session without hearing the evidence, followed by a stakeholder to the evidence-gathering process being defamed for telling the truth as they see it. How much more pathetic can anti-smoking morons get?
Good luck, Ireland, but I fear your government seems to be comprised of a bunch of feckin' eejits.
Footnote: As such, if you're cursed to be living over there and ruled by these hideous, venal numbskulls, do consider signing up to fight them at the Plain Packs Plain Stupid campaign site.