Since posting that, some of you have kindly shared your responses and they were - as usual - impassioned and well written. It was also a nice surprise that someone from UKIP shared their party's detailed response with me too. The Grocer has picked out a few interesting snippets, but here are my personal favourites.
Firstly, the intro is a delight as UKIP contemptuously scolds the government for forgetting what their role is meant to be in a supposedly liberal country.
UKIP opposes Her Majesty’s Government’s intention to introduce plain packaging of tobacco products, as it infringes the principle of personal choice. Not that the government should need reminding, that’s how free societies work. Free people make free choices.Quite. Perhaps this is why UKIP have been hoovering up votes recently, they seem to be the only party who can comprehend the concept of the state being subservient to the public which pays for it.
The response goes on to note how Jane Ellison (amongst other lies) claimed the Chantler review presented a "compelling case" in favour of plain packaging when it didn't, instead describing any possible effect as merely "modest".
UKIP also highlight that the government's Impact Assessment - which itself was rated as unfit by the Regulatory Policy Committee (RPC), remember - clearly stipulated that "a policy to introduce standardised tobacco packaging would need to be justified and be based on expected benefits over and above existing tobacco control measures", something that Australian evidence collected so far has comprehensively failed to provide.
What we have instead seen is a continuation of a long term decline in overall prevalence (masking a rise in teen smoking), and even that was most likely caused by a huge increase in tobacco duties, not plain packaging. There is, quite simply, no honest way that any government can possibly claim plain packs to be "justified" by "expected benefits over and above existing tobacco control measures" as the IA demands.
And finally, the denouement from UKIP reminds the government of one of their key promises in the early days of this coalition, something we can look back on now and confidently conclude has either turned out to be a catastrophic failure; or was a massive lie to begin with.
The proposed introduction of plain packaging for tobacco may be taken as a further example of the relentless interference of the state in the private lives of the British People. As recently as 1 July 2010, the Deputy Prime Minister stated: ‘For too long new laws have taken away your freedom, interfered in everyday life and made it difficult for businesses to get on…’ - How soon those who acquire power change their tune.Indeed.
Every real indicator - as opposed to those imagined by what UKIP accurately call the "public health community and its quangocracy" - points to the upheaval and costs of plain packaging not being justified by any rational and objective observer ... which is why the government, being the bloody government, will probably ignore rationality and go for the stupid idea anyway.
I've uploaded UKIP's response here if you'd like to read the whole thing. If you'd like to tell the government what you think, as many fellow jewel robbers have already done, just click here and let rip before a quarter to midnight.