"Government agencies and councils in England that spend public money on lobbying ministers face a crackdown. Communities Secretary Eric Pickles said it was wrong that taxpayers' money was being spent on political lobbying." - Eric Pickles, August 2010Having been very busy, I'm late to the subject of the all-too-predictable rubber-stamping of an upcoming ban on smoking in all cars - because, yes, that's what it will very soon morph into - and a lot (not all) of what I would have wanted to say has already been said elsewhere.
However, it has been a textbook example of how government routinely makes damned sure the public is not listened to in any meaningful way - On any issue - but the people they hand our taxes to are. As you can see for yourself from the government's consultation response published earlier this month in the section entitled ...
Limitations to elicit representative samples of public opinionThis is where the state machine makes it crystal clear that allowing the public to advance their opinions really isn't the point of a 'public consultation'.
2.15. The consultation process was not intended or designed to elicit representative samples of public opinion, instead it sought information, comments and views on the draft regulation, impact assessment and equality analysis.Yes, you can comment on what they intend to do, but not whether they should do it. For why? Well, you might say the wrong thing.
2.16. It is in the nature of open consultation exercises that, generally, it is only those who already have an interest in the subject respond to the questions. The nature of consultation exercises means that respondents are self-selecting, and cannot therefore be considered to be a representative sample of public opinion.God forbid smokers themselves might respond, eh? They, or people who may have read blogs about the subject, perhaps, or those who believe the state should not be setting a sinister precedent by poking their nose into private property. You know, that type of pesky ne'er-do-well who doesn't believe an omnipotent state is a perfectly brilliant thing.
Because, you see, they can be so tiresome, can't they?
The responses from members of the public displayed mixed views on the draft regulations in general terms.For 'mixed views', read raising of many valid objections to a particularly stupid and pointless law. But despite 30% of the 201 responses being from switched-on and alert individuals, without exception all were summarily ignored.
By strange contrast, the same caution about the "self-selecting" views of state-paid organisations specifically set up precisely to demand such laws is not even considered. Of course.
Over 90% of the responses from organisations supported the proposed approach set out in the draft regulations. Local authorities and local tobacco control alliances made up the biggest proportion of organisations who responded.Now that's what the state calls a "representative sample"! If you want to see what the poor impoverished David against the tobacco industry's Goliath looks like, you can see the 'representative sample' - including the perfectly impartial and representative of UK opinion smokefree cars advocacy campaign group of New Zealand - listed on page 18 here.
In the face of so very many highly-paid professional lobbyists, and with an adjudicator intent on suppressing any and all dissent, the public doesn't stand a chance. A situation which government, its politicians and the tax spongers they lob our hard-earned to are very happy about.
I mean, why should the people who have to live under these laws to have any input, eh?