Thursday 2 February 2017

The Wild West Of Public Health

Tobacco controllers do love sound bites. If you've ever read an article by any one of them you know that generally you can skip the first paragraph of anything they write because it will be sound bite after sound bite and you'll have read it before, many times.

When e-cigs started to threaten the cosy existence of some of the more extreme tobacco control grandees, one of their favourite sound bites - repeated regularly - was that vaping was unregulated (it wasn't) and that the vaping market is "like the Wild West!".

I'm sure that portraying themselves as valiant Davids fighting industry Goliaths (and the public astroturfs who object too) helps ease their consciences, but it's a fairy tale, isn't it. While they restrict freedoms, brutalise communities and bully people making free choices to consume legal products, they can kid themselves that they're not utter bastards by accusing others of being unregulated.

The truth is entirely different. Who, for example, effectively regulates them?

Take Public Health England, for example. They have just released a report on alcohol which is an insult to science, 'public health' and the taxpayer. They don't apologise for cherry-picking research, lying by omission, ignoring evidence which disagrees with their pre-determined conclusions, and prioritising their prohibitionist agenda over the health of the public.

We know they are lying; they know they are lying. But they do it anyway. Who regulates them? Who can we complain to when they do? Who pulls them into an office and gives them the hairdryer treatment for misleading the public, advancing policies which are misguided and evidence-free, making decisions which are arguably bad for public health, and flagrantly abusing the taxes they are funnelled to produce their nonsense?

It's not just here, this is a global problem. Australia today displayed exactly the same idiotic and harmful ideology by reinforcing a ban on nicotine in e-cigs, effectively criminalising people who vape instead of smoke. They did so by completely ignoring any studies which didn't agree with their prohibitionist mindset and by unquestioningly citing easily-debunked guff from career extremists in the US with conflicts of interests as extensive as the Channel Tunnel.

Likewise in New Zealand today, heat not burn technology was deemed illegal without even a cursory glance at possible unintended consequences and with barely a nod to the science.

Groups like ASH, PHE, Action on Sugar, Alcohol Concern, Alcohol Health Alliance, Healthy Stadia, the BMA, and many many more are lying literally on a daily basis. The only control on their regular faux science bullshit is peer review which is utterly meaningless considering the Gatling Gun regularity of provable falsehoods they produce.

No-one ever pulls them up on it though. They shoot their mouths off, lie as a matter of course, safe in the knowledge that there is no sanction or threat when they are routinely caught having spread lies and falsehoods. When businesses are caught lying they are fined or their executives prosecuted.

Yet where is the Sheriff in the Wild West of 'public health' and tobacco control industry propaganda to throw them in jail where they belong and deter others in their profession from doing the same?

They like to submit scatter-gun complaints to the ASA all the time about vague messages that could perhaps be misconstrued if looked at through a kaleidoscope by the kind of prissy prick who considers a role in public health a worthy career instead of the arrogant, snobby, deceitful assault on free choices that it really is. But where do you complain when public health and tobacco control deliberately mislead the public?

They squeal that industry is not transparent but considering groups like ASH have been in receipt of taxpayer funding for over 40 years, why are they excluded from Freedom of Information legislation? Seeing as they take billions of our taxes and play fast and loose with the truth regularly, who regulates their output? Why can't we request to see minutes of their meetings? Who do you complain to when they lie? There's the Charity Commission but they only look into compliance, who looks at whether their pronouncements are factually correct instead of the customary blizzard of half-truths and cleverly-worded mendacity?

ASH, and others like them, bang on about organisations like the IEA not disclosing their funders but they are voluntary donations from businesses and private individuals, ASH - and hundreds of other NGO which have followed their lead - uses OUR money and uses it to manipulate the government that handed it to them, but they are effectively accountable to no-one. They are also immune to the usual rules of competitive tendering for public contracts.

In short, the entire 'public health' movement - both nationally and globally - is a gargantuan deceitful tax-sucking gravy train. Firing off wilfully mendacious research, reports and studies on a whim; entirely unaccountable; and completely unregulated.

They accuse industry of lying when they themselves do so on on a daily basis (here is an example today); they accuse industry of "marking their own homework" when the only control on 'public health' is peer review by mates who think the same way as they do; they ridicule, insult and ultimately ignore the public when the public challenges or objects to their dogma; if you try to engage on social media they block you; if you try to email them they don't reply; and none of them ever get fired because there is no-one to pull them up on any of it. Now that's what I call the Wild West, that is the very definition of unregulated.

When 'public health' talks dismissively about how industry is 'unregulated' or not regulated enough, they should look in the fucking mirror. 

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