Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Mascot Watch #31: ASH In The Trough Edition

There have been many stories in the press about MPs getting their noses in the trough, but this is one about a Lib Dem MP using his influence to get someone else's nose into a very lucrative trough indeed.

Paul Burstow is a particularly oleaginous, one-track minded anti-smoker who is Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Smoking and Health. This group is secretaried by ASH and acts as the political arm of their lobbying operation.

With this in mind, here is what Burstow presented to Westminster yesterday on the subject of George Osborne's proposed annual levy on tobacco companies (which he stole from Labour).
The potential benefits to public health can be fully realised only if the levy is used to fund tobacco control action, which is designed to increase the rate of quitting tobacco use over and above what might otherwise be expected as a result of price rises. 
If the programme of research proposed in this Bill were carried out, it would show that the recurring cost of tobacco control activity at every level - local, regional and national - could be met from the proceeds of the levy.
Or, to put it another way, the government should steal money from legal businesses and hand it to Burstow's pals at ASH and other already state-funded fake charities and lobbying quangos. You know, just in case anyone were to make a case that we shouldn't be paying for their huge salaries when the country is struggling with a deficit.

Now, we know all about government lobbying government - whereby tax receipts are transferred to the likes of ASH etc who then use it to influence MPs - but have you ever heard of an MP using his position to lobby government himself for state receipts to be handed over wholesale to single issue trouser stuffers?

Of course, lobbying by organisations which receive public money is not permitted, so it's staggering that Burstow should be using his influence - also paid for by us - to beg for more cash on ASH's behalf. Because that's exactly what is going on here, as our esteemed mascot pointed out in reply.
I see that the right hon. Gentleman is putting himself up as the spokesman for ASH, as it is its campaign that he is advocating
Yes. ASH are lobbying advocating for this policy which could benefit their bottom line, and Burstow is simply their pimp parliamentary mouthpiece. In fact, when the levy was first announced in Osborne's Autumn Statement, Deborah Arnott described it as “like Christmas come early” - Burstow is just trying to make sure that the proposed ill-gotten gifts go to his tobacco control industry friends instead of the treasury and country as a whole.

However, our Phil was in great form, and came out with one of his most contemptuous responses to ideological anti-smoking nonsense yet. Read and enjoy.
I particularly wanted to oppose the Bill because the right hon. Gentleman has done us all a great service. He has let the cat out of the bag. Of course, the Government have already accepted ASH’s campaigning on banning smoking in cars where there are children, which is completely unenforceable. They have also accepted the plain packaging of tobacco, which is completely idiotic. Of course, the Government accepted those policies because ASH told them that if they did so the amount of smoking in the country would plummet. We were told that if we introduced plain packaging it would be absolutely fantastic because all of a sudden cigarettes would not appeal to young people and children and that would close the gateway into tobacco use. The whole policy was based on that premise. 
That policy has not even been implemented and already the right hon. Gentleman is saying, “Actually, that was all a load of tripe. It won’t make any difference whatsoever. What we need now is a levy on the tobacco industry so that we can do some research to find out why young people smoke and then try to stop them smoking.” Well, what on earth was the plain packaging campaign about, if not that? I am grateful to him for letting the cat out of the bag by telling us that the whole premise behind plain packaging was a complete load of old codswallop. Unfortunately, the Government idiotically accepted that codswallop in a mindless fashion without even thinking it through, because they, too, are in the pocket of ASH and, rather than making up their own policies based on evidence, just want gleefully to accept anything ASH tells them. 
The point is that this is just the latest campaign from ASH. Every time it advocates the introduction of another measure, it tells us that that is what the Government need to do to tackle tobacco, but as soon as it is implemented we are told that actually it was a load of old cobblers and now we need something else. It is like those companies that tell us their washing powder is absolutely magnificent, only to bring out a new one a couple of years later and tell us that the previous one was actually terrible and that really we need to buy the new one. ASH cannot now hand over the keys to the company car; it has to keep going and justifying its role. It will keep coming up with new, innovative solutions to try to keep its jobs, which no doubt the Government will accept, because they do not have a mind of their own and just have to do what ASH tells them to do.
Yep, that just about sums it up. Respect.


Mr A said...

Yes!!!! Damn well said, that man!

The Filthy Engineer said...

I would most certainly vote for him if he were my MP. He uses common sense.

What the.... said...

Paulie Turdstow

Junican said...

Indeed, bang on the nail. Good for him.
But something in my mind tells me that this has been obvious for ages, in fact, ever since the first "We only want smoking banned on short-haul flights".
And it is that which has bewildered me for a long time, culminating in PP. Why have successive Cabinets agreed to rubber-stamp legislation proposed by small propaganda groups? It makes no sense. Can they not see that each small, controlling step is itself a prohibition? Even PP is a prohibition in the sense that tobacco companies cannot package their lawful wares in a way that helps smokers to identify their favourites.
One of the (many) problems with the way our laws are enacted is that Parliament has become 'the Borg', with an 'Emperor' instructing them. 'Experts' have become the Emperor's advisers and he must do as they say, otherwise they will over-throw him. The EU is even worse, in that the collective of Emperors has handed over control to a bunch of 'experts' totally.
Further, there seems to be no end to it. It just gets worse and worse.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It's a political tool they have picked up from Prohibition in the USA. The temperance coalition targeted any politician who opposed them and accused them of being anti-family and contemptuous of children, they unseated quite a few too by way of flash mob pressure protests. When politicians are scared, they pass stupid laws.

Philip Davies obviously possesses more of a spine than most.

grizewald said...

Or maybe even 'trough' not 'tough'.


I always enjoy your blog Dick, even though I need to remember to drink my morning coffee before reading it.

Anyone want to open a book on John Dalli actually getting prosecuted and convicted?

nisakiman said...

Mr Davies MP is indeed most deserving of your 'Blog Knight' accolade. I sometimes wonder if he ever pops in here to read your blog, DP, since his commonsense approach is most un-politician like, and he also seems uniquely (in terms of the Westminster bubble) aware of what ASH et al are up to. Where does he get that information? Certainly not from his advisers in the civil service, nor from the MSM.

I suspect he avails himself of the untainted information on the web, including from blogs like this.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Corrected, thanks, and ta for the kind remarks. :)

Dalli is well practiced at avoiding recriminations over many previous scrapes so the chances are slim IMO. It's funny that all those who were slinging smears towards tobacco companies at the time have gone very quiet now it looks clear that he's a wrong 'un.

Lollylulubes said...

Phil Davies hitting the nail squarely on its head! It's about time Ash's track record over the last few years was scrutinised closely by the Government. If any normal company employees performed as badly as Ash, they'd be out on their ears. Even the Stop Smoking Service's figures are based on a lie, in that you only have to stop smoking for 4 weeks for it to be a win, completely ignoring the fact that a high percentage then revert to smoking again.

Smoking is very much seen as a pc issue and lazy politicians with no guts must agree to whatever Ash, backed up by the WHO and the UN, come up with. Whether they even care about the subject, smokers and vapers themselves, or not, few individuals will bother to look below the surface at their business practices, connections to pharma and what's really going on, because letting these groups have their way is by far the easy option and may even be rewarded. What Government absolutely should be interested in, is the amount of tax payers' money being thrown at all these overpaid grant whoring idiots for little or no results! However, both Government and Ash are compromised and would be happy with these poor results because it means more tobacco taxes, less pension payouts and more grants. Pharma, who I believe want the whole nicotine market, would not be so happy and 'encourage' Ash to do better. So who are Ash working for ..... pharma or government ..... or both? Only those at the top know the real truth; the vast majority of the rest are just akin to cuckolds.

Caligula said...

This raucous yodel from Galt Gulch has one obvious flaw: ASH's proposal for a levy explicitly rules out the organisation getting any of the money. Doh. Don't be a dick, Dick: do your research!

Jack Listerio said...

Its always been obvious and especially since the sock puppets were exposed a few years back..........non profits paid for by government cronies with tax money to lobby the same government.........Its like buying your own junk scientists...........

Jack Listerio said...

In Alabama recently the Nazis were crying about having to do fund raisers to get money after their free ride came to an end.........
The obvious happened they closed down as nobody donated.

Lollylulubes said...

Edwin Gray and the judge who issued the restraining order should know the truth about the dangers of second hand smoke ..... that it is yet another Tobacco Control lie .... one of many in their decades long social engineering efforts. The Air, According To OSHA http://www.nycclash.com/CaseAgainstBans/OSHA.html

Jack Listerio said...

Reference Manual on Scientific Evidence: Third Edition


This sorta says it all

These limits generally are based on assessments of health risk and calculations of concentrations that are associated with what the regulators believe to be negligibly small risks. The calculations are made after first identifying the total dose of a chemical that is safe (poses a negligible risk) and then determining the concentration of that chemical in the medium of concern that should not be exceeded if exposed individuals (typically those at the high end of media contact) are not to incur a dose greater than the safe one.

gray said...

Why do politicians think of themselves as electable when tax is spent on these fake anti-smoking quangos? Are they that stupid?