Sunday, 7 September 2014

The Public Health Mask Slips

Around 18 months ago I attended a panel debate in London where the audience was populated by both consumer and public health industry reps, as well as mere interested observers like myself. The venue had kindly laid on refreshments afterwards and, while circulating, I found myself at one point chatting to a public health professional.

During the conversation I expressed my view that the public health movement had morphed from a position of benevolent concern for the public into one where coercion and bullying appeared to be central tactics; that in the past, public health had offered advice and support for those who wished to change their lifestyles, but generally left alone those who were content with taking ubiquitously-known risks. The occasion sticks in my mind because - to my surprise - the guy nodded and seemed to agree with me!

"Where's the empathy?", he rhetorically questioned as I necked my wine and he sipped his orange juice, "It is true that there are some who have forgotten that their first priority should be to engage and persuade".

One of the "some" revealed himself last night in an astonishing performance on Twitter.

Last week, the BBC rolled out their latest e-cig 'expert' to regurgitate the fantasies of Big Pharma and the irrational prejudices of rent-seekers - you can listen to his bizarre claims here and here. Said expert - the head of the Faculty of Public Health, no less - was naturally challenged with facts and proper evidence to counter his stark scaremongery such as that e-cigs cause blindness, amongst others.

He wasn't impressed on Wednesday.


This "abuse" was something of a surprise to vapers on Twitter seeing as the tweets were merely ones questioning his evidence and offering opposing views. It was even more bizarre considering he had pre-blocked a slew of prominent vaping tweeters so couldn't have seen what they said anyway.

Some discussion ensued but it had moved on by the following day and Ashton was largely forgotten. However, last night, sober thoughtful public health industry spokesman Prof John Ashton unfathomably decided to trawl some of the accounts he had blocked and offer contemptuous replies. It must have taken him a while since he went back six months to find this one!

And nearly three weeks to find this innocent tweet to attack.

But that was just a small indicator of the astonishing meltdown to come. About the time it takes to down a bottle of Merlot later, the unhinged insults began ...

... and continued for a further hour.



In a riveting Saturday night tour de force, Ashton toggled between the astounding ...


... and the truly surreal.


One of his own side tried to get him to tone it down, but to no avail.

Now, it appears that Ashton has since deleted a lot of this stuff from his timeline, but the episode is quite telling for a number of reasons.

Firstly, for someone who claims to be a wise, unimpeachable guardian of our well-being - and a self-professed thinker of the children, public health's greatest human shield - Ashton has no clue whatsoever how to handle social media responsibly. While the rest of us always warn kids that anything placed online is instantly published to the world and therefore irretrievable, Professor Ashton - someone who has installed himself as a consummate expert in human behaviour - understands this less than the vast majority of teens posting duck faces on Facebook.

Secondly, as someone whose tweets reveal him to be an archetypal public health socialist who believes that big industry uses advertising as a mendacious weapon, his use of media to disseminate flawed opinions while actively censoring every right of reply (yes, he blocked me too because I referenced him) is the height of hypocrisy. But it's something we have come to expect from the public health Mafia.

Additionally, there is the widespread public health annoyance that anyone is allowed to be anonymous online and that - as such - they must surely be paid shills. This not only further emphasises that they really don't understand how this internet thing has naturally developed since the 90s but also reveals the underlying tyrannical modern public health mindset.

It's a facet of the tyrant for centuries that anonymity unnerves the dictatorial. If you have a solid case that can be backed up with unshakeable evidence, anonymity is nothing to be scared of, but public health haven't enjoyed that position for over a decade now.

Instead, as Ashton has shown, the modus operandum for public health now solely consists of attacking the man not the ball (they've been lamely doing exactly that again today). How on Earth can they do that if those opposing them can't be investigated and intimidated, eh? Best just ignore the debate entirely or, in Ashton's case, spit out venomous bile.

Most importantly though, as discussed with my public health professional acquaintance 18 months ago, Ashton proved comprehensively last night that he despises the public. There is no empathy in him - in fact, he'd very much prefer it if the public would just shut the hell up and allow him to get on with his career unhindered.

He knows what he thinks; he's not bothered if it is bunkum; and he doesn't want anyone to get in the way of his highly-paid faux concern for the public's health. Even when the public have quite clearly sorted it all out for themselves and could do without his uninvited interference.

This, sadly, is the modern and true face of the public health industry. They quite simply despise the public they used to care for and have empathy with. Last night, Ashton's astonishing behaviour gave us yet another glimpse behind the mask.

See also: The Random Vaper, VapeMeStoopid and the Redhead.


31 comments:

woodsy42 said...

I would suggest his outburst could indicate a psychological illness of some sort

Entropy said...

I would suggest it is bottle shaped.

SteveW said...

We should leave him to his previous onanymity [I'll leave you to decide whether or not that was a typo]...

Entropy said...

My favourite tweet of the night was from David Colquhoon from UCL. Sadly Ashton deleted the rest of his side of the convo.
https://twitter.com/david_colquhoun/status/508386919957684225

Dick_Puddlecote said...

A right to reply? He had the undivided attention of the BBC World Service and Jeremy Vine's lunchtime Radio 2 show. He denied right of reply to anyone who disagreed with him!


Delightfully understated reply from Colquhoun though. :)

Geoff Cliff said...

When society has what might be (and has been) described as "a huge tobacco disease burden", and someone comes along offering a simple, low-risk solution, at no cost to the public purse, what are those in "public health" to do? Embrace it as a solution? No, that's too simple, and there's no profit in it. Attack it! But on what grounds? Science points to its efficacy. So attack the people who advocate it! Call them obscene names, accuse them of masturbation, accuse them of anything, for they are only the people who provide you with your funding; they do not matter, nor does their health - that precious commodity that you are supposed to be protecting. But style yourself 'Professor', and people must listen to you. But a professor who stands in public massaging his own ego, his own prejudices, his own ideology (especially without the screen of a bicycle shed) brings the whole "public health" charade into question. Well done, John Ashton, keep up the good work. We need more like you and, thank heaven, we have them in abundance!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

As Random Vaper said, In vino veritas. If he was drunk, he was just revealing the contempt public health industry execs hold for the public.

Dragonmum said...

I would suggest he's given us the reason why he thinks we'll all go blind!
Remember all the old dire warnings on "self-abuse"? The man is obsessed with the trouser department - pity he came across as the real wxxker in that exchange of pleasantries!

Entropy said...

It also shows the extent of the ivory towers that these "experts" operate in, and the echo chambers they are used to addressing. At no point in any of this has he stopped and considered that we may be just what we say - members of the public with no industry ties.

This is the reason he has spent so long trawling through peoples twitter history - to find the smoking gun (excuse the pun) that will finally justify his behaviour by showing a link to Big Tobacco. The fact that no such link exists is, in his mind, simply demonstrating how devious and sophisticated BT's infiltration is. Twisted, torturous logic in an effort to justify the unjustifiable.

Just my opinion of course, but as I cant ask him, this is the only option I have to effect *my* right to reply.

trashbunny said...

Interesting that John Ashton, Martin McKee and Anna Gilmore have all at one time been at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I make you spot on. This is why I said that they long since ceased trying to debate rationally, instead they only now search for reasons to ignore the person or group who disagrees with them by attacking the source of the objection. This is true for all aspects of public health now.

Your theory is well drawn. I can quite imagine him desperately searching Twitter feeds for incriminating evidence, only to be enraged that it really was only the hideous public impudently disobeying his diktats. Hence the fury that his arrogant world view had been called into question.

Remember that tobacco control has an entire website solely dedicated to empowering their troughers to ignore what anyone has to say by casting libellous smears.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Indeed. Interesting also that the Faculty of Public Health provided more than just Ashton to spout unsubstantiated crap on the airwaves this week.

Threthny said...

I'm surprised he hasn't come out saying that his account got hacked or something.

ChrisPrice4 said...

It's OK for pharma pimps to call the public masturbating cunts, they are protected. Luckily the public don't normally stoop to that level.

Jax said...

" ... stark scaremongery such as that e-cigs cause blindness ...
Aww, cut the poor guy some slack. He's probably been scraping the barrel to find something that hasn't already been blamed on real smoking. To my knowledge, blindness hasn't yet been "claimed" by the anti-smoking wagonners (though some bright spark on here might now prove me wrong!). It'll be "e-cigs cause deafness" next - just you watch!
But in a way, it's a good thing that anti-vapers like him are showing their true colours relatively early in the game, because it makes it glaringly clear to anyone who isn't either pro or anti vapers (who are the real ones that these zealots need to persuade) who the real bad guys here are. Shame anti-smokers didn't reveal their true swivel-eyed looniness so early in the game instead of presenting themselves as genuinely kindly, well-intentioned people who just wanted to "educate" people. Perhaps if they had, they would have stayed firmly in the "resentful ex-smokers" box in the minds of the general public, and we wouldn't now be having to endure people like Ashton's vile, childish tantrums. But I bet his fellow anti-vapers wish he would just put a sock in it and stop giving the game away!

moonrakin said...

Great!


It's fair to say I think that he's going to regret this on oh... so many levels :-)


What a prat. Now if only the toe curling reaction of his employers can be leveraged to rein in his colleagues who see their "dignity" and "status" being made a mockery of.... They can only take so much surely? (Yeah they've seemed fire proof up to now - but eventually most things burn if the temperature is high enough!)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Didn't you know that smoking causes everything? ;)

Chalcedon said...

Wasn't Ashton having a row with someone on the Jeremy Vine show last week.? He was ranting away. It was very hard to follow because of the constant interrupting going on.

truckerlyn said...

This, sadly, is the modern and true face of the public health industry. They quite simply despise the public they used to care for and have empathy with.



Absolutely and I have had first hand experience of this. Mostly it is from higher ups, like consultants, who think they are God and the patients opinion doesn't count for anything.


When they cause immense pain and suffering and the patient dares to complain they naturally close ranks and it is rare that the patient is listened to further.


They are actually petty little hitlers who cannot possible utter the one simple word 'sorry', that would, in some cases, make all the difference.


This attitude is definitely becoming more and more rife within the NHS and is one of the reasons, imho, that it is going down the pan!

Erick said...

Yep. In one of the links above. And this is what followed after that.

Dunkirk Mk2 said...

Oh come on ,please,the time for chattering ,nattering,pleading,begging,discussing ,petitioning and doffing caps to fanatics,,,,,,,,,,,,,IS OVER,,,,,,,,FINISHED,,,,,GONE,,,,,,DEAD AND BURIED
Stop the running, stop the hiding,stop the appeasement,lay aside the cowardice ,dump the fellow travellers,discard the judas goats,
Give the freaks something to keep them awake ,seek and recruit fighters ,from Hell if necessary,
When we see some real action,some visible protest,some escape from the digital vacuum,some flight from the keyboard isolation, then and only then
will we see progress to the freedom we once enjoyed

Jurie Botha said...

I'd love to, but I wasn't raised that way.

Jurie Botha said...

He may be a paranoid schizophrenic who believes Big Tobacco is out to get him. :p

All in all I write it off as the ramblings of a moron.

PatNurse said...

We don't have "a huge tobacco disease burden" and I'm sure most vapers are waking up to the fact that most of what public health says about smoking - and esp SHS - is complete bollocks. After all, they're using the same template on ecigs now if they are more experienced on spoiuting bollox now than when they started on tobacco due to the inbuilt prejudice of some people toewards smoking and smokers.


If vapers accept without question all that is said about alleged "smoking related diseases" then give it a decade and it will become a "truth" that vaping and smoking is exactly the same - a huge addiction related disease burden."


Stand up for smokers, free choice, and the consumption of a legal product like tobacco and it follows that the public health twangos will be so busy fighting to get their hate campaign back on course they'll have little time to focus their attention on ecigs.

Seasick Ricky said...

Perhaps some one can use this link -

http://www.fph.org.uk/complaints_procedure

Tony said...

Thank goodness for people screen grabbing, he's the kind of idiot that thinks once a tweet is deleted it is gone forever, sadly some people are a step ahead of the twat on that one. ;-)

And surely there has to be repercussions for this series of rants?? John Ashton has zero social media skills at all by the looks of it.

Norbert Zillatron said...

Not only social media.
Listen to the triggering radio rant: http://youtu.be/VU-50uQfNRQ

Tony said...

Ah absolutely, he's a nightmare buddy, shouldn't even be in the job at all in my opinion. He has exposed his true colours.

Ivan D said...

David Colquhoun is an interesting and famously blunt man. He used to smoke a pipe back in the 80s and his office in UCL smelt wonderful. I suppose that was put a stop to some time ago

Clive Bates said...

Yes it was me... and he was deranged ... just barking out made up risks, scare stories an spin and shouting over any replies.

Norbert Zillatron said...

I think, this could be the study he's ranting about:
http://www.revophth.com/content/d/retinal_insider/i/1303/c/25086/