The pro-plain packs campaign came with indecent haste after the lies which heralded the pointless tobacco display ban and the Neanderthal stupidity and stunning lack of impartiality which epitomised the business-shattering ban on vending machines (which both coalition parties had vehemently opposed while in opposition, by the way). Perhaps that's why the tobacco control industry were so blasé about their task and proceeded to conduct a campaign of such astonishing mendacity that I struggled to keep up with their almost daily abuses.
I did try, believe me, but the best summary I could collate from my many posts on the subject was this from last year.
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.The whole thing should have come to a shuddering halt after vehement rejection by the public at consultation stage but still it rolls on like an extra from The Walking Dead.
I've often thought that the plain packs campaign from anti-smokers has the makings of a great book about how very wrong our current political system - and state-funded cronyism - is, but am just not organised in my free time to adequately write it.
Fortunately, though, Forest's Simon Clark was taking notes on the whole campaign from the start and has produced a comprehensive run-down of it by way of isolating blog articles at Taking Liberties which offer us a revealing timeline of events.
There's an accurate taster of highlights at the Free Society review, and I can highly recommend settling down with your favourite brew and reading the book for free at this link. (Tip: I saved the pdf 'to drive' on an iPad and flicked through it as if was a Kindle e-book but if you prefer the hard copy experience, Brian Monteith points out that you can email email@example.com for a freebie).
Do also consider sharing with others as it's a timely account of how debased modern 'career' politics, and its corrupt system of government lobbying government, has grown to systematically defraud the public. Do go have a read here.