Thursday 18 December 2014

How The Public Are Elbowed Out Of 'Public Consultations'

"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 2010
Having 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 opinion
This 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?


TomO said...

Indeed - about 15 years ago the BBC held a "major regional public consultation" down near Bath. The event was not advertised and reported on only after it had happened and everybody agreed with the BBC - funny that.

The BS government lobbying government spawns multi agency pressure groups like the crowd of Climate SW , Climate NW etc. that steal public funds get budgets from multiple agencies and actually work fro EA offices to copy'n paste ape FoE , Greenpeace and WWF BS press releases.

Jack Listerio said...

In simple terms ass-sassinations aren't out of the question any longer.

Jack Listerio said...

Treason and the raping of the public treasury by thieves...........

Tony said...

These fuckers are insane. I bet the police are really looking forward to enforcing this one. And how long before the wankers add vaping to that law because it "looks like smoking."

And all the idiots calling for the ban do not realise it but very soon the bansturbators will come for something that they enjoy, that is why everyone should oppose these crazy bastards.

JonathanBagley said...

Couldn't see any desire in the responses to the consultation that the ban should cover all all cars, which surprised me.

TomO said...

erm... like the smoking ban - it worked before - it'll work again. These people have proved :

1) They're liars
2) They cannot be trusted to keep their promises
Rinse and repeat.

truckerlyn said...

Yet another stupid law which will inevitably cause more deaths on the road, more frustration and road rage and more children being abused by stressed out parents who are trying to drive their little darlings to school or wherever, while the said little darlings are creating a riot on the back seat! The ultimate end being injuries, if not death, to all in the car because of an accident! Sorry, not allowed to call them that nowadays - we must call them Road Traffic Collision! Like it makes any difference to the outcome!

Truckers still smoke in their cabs because it stops them falling asleep at the wheel and helps to maintain concentration. Car drivers will do the same.

The police no longer, it seems, police motorways, that is now done by HATO's and VOSA. IF the law only applies to cars with children on board, are they going to stop every car with someone smoking in it to check for children? I don't think so, there simply are not enough police, VOSA agents or HATO's!

I really do wish that these agencies were allowed to get on with their REAL JOB instead of having to pander to the whims of a pathetic government who still seem to think their austerity measures are working when, quite clearly they are not! Perhaps they are making a difference to their hoorah henry pals, but things continue to get worse for the ordinary man on the street, who makes up the majority of the population in this country!

If we want to see fairness and equality, then look at UKIP and consider placing your vote with them at the next election. The more UKIP MP's we get the more chance of a little more balance in politics!

dodderer1 said...

Perhaps 'before your time' but the 2010 MHRA consultation on ecigs resulted in an overwhelming majority for 'no action'

ASH presented this as

MHRA consultation result

• Clear support for regulation

Just sayin'

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Nope, not before my time, I wrote about the consultation and also the result of it (see here).

Reader said...

I don't think a consultation is the same as a referendum...