Wednesday 21 January 2009

A Lying Bastard Nailed

You may have seen a previous article of mine about a lying ASH bastard, Martin Dockrell.

By cherry-picking statistics, as ASH are wont to do, lying bastard Dockrell asserted that there was little damage to numbers of pub workers from the smoking ban, and almost no effect on job losses to the hospitality industry as a whole. He's wrong of course, but then he is paid to be a lying bastard by the anti-tobacco industry so it's understandable.

He also has no grounding in hospitality himself. Just a highly-paid job, paid for by your taxes, designed to sell nicotine replacement therapy on behalf of the pharmaceutical industry.

Quite fitting then, that his ill-informed figures should be destroyed by someone very well-versed with the issues faced by pubs post-smoking ban. And destroyed it has been, quite comprehensively, by a leading publican, and a non-smoking one at that.

Dear Sir

I have been asked to respond to the letter penned by Martin Dockrell the Director of Policy Research for ASH which itself was a response to Michael J McFadden's letter in the Financial Times dealing with deaths in the pub sector as a result of the smoking ban.

Let me say at the outset, that I will not be commenting on the death statistics as outlined by Mr McFadden, as I have not looked into the methodology of his claims, however, I would just point out that Mr MacFadden is internationally known for his meticulous research and evaluation of the whole smoking ban debate, so I have no reason to doubt his conclusions.

However, that sadly cannot be said of ASH who historically have been shown to have no scientific basis for their claims about deaths from Passive Smoking or indeed about the effects of passive smoking in a wider context.

When I first read Mr Dockrell's response and then his role within ASH, I have to say I was quite shocked that a person whose role would appear to be research based, clearly has made no attempt at it in relation to pub closures.

A simple 'Google’ search using the term 'pub closures UK', even without adding smoking ban, will reveal thousands of articles and stories. The one consistent element of these articles and stories are the recorded pub closure figures, and almost without exception these mention the smoking ban as a major factor.

Dealing specifically with Mr Dockrell's false claims with Camra as his source (who now are in line with all other organisations on closures), let me inform readers of the true position. In 2005 the number of recorded pub closures was 102 or 2 a week. In 2006 the year before the ban there were 216 closures or 4 a week. In 2007 there were 1409 reported for the first nine months of the smoking ban, meaning an estimated 1878 for the 12 month period, or 156 a month. These are the official closure figures reported by the British Beer and Pub Association, and reported widely by both the television media and most national newspapers in March and April 2008.

It has to be said that the actual number of closures could well be
substantially higher, as it has to be said, like the Government, the BBPA and Camra, have always been in denial about the consequences of the smoking ban, having sided with the stance taken by the Department of Health mainly advised by ASH, for a total ban.

As for the Nielson research, beer volumes have been in decline at a similar rate for 10 years, and pubs have adapted to counter these volume drops (as the figures of closures above for 2006 show) and have coped extremely well. The difference on this occasion is that the decline has resulted from the dramatic fall amongst the most heavily consuming group, the smoker. To deny that, is simply distorting the reality.

Mr Dockrell may hold the title ‘Director of Policy Research’, but he has clearly shown he is either incapable of the fundamental requirements of his job, or as we have come to expect, he has deliberately ‘spun’ by omission, and 'cherry picked' his information, something once again ASH are renowned for.

Robert Feal-Martinez

Just to recap, Dockrell (who, I remind you, is paid to lie by ASH, using money directly from your taxes) surmised that only 60 bar staff have lost their jobs as a result of the smoking ban that Labour didn't get voted in on (see Witterings from Witney for proof via the wording of the Labour manifesto 2005).

My my, this sets a different background on things doesn't it? By my calculations, this means that instead of the 60 job losses proposed laughably by the professional liar Dockrell, we are actually talking about 91,000 job losses over the next 5 years just in the UK, not including Ireland, as the original letter had done, and which the liar Dockrell failed to take into account.

Since even Dockrell can't lie his way past the British Medical Journal, I'd say that the 1,000 deaths caused by the smoking ban is a quite legitimate concern. The best Dockrell can claim is that it might only be 500.


Deaths from job losses attributed by the BMJ - at least 500
Deaths proven by the anti-smoking industry from passive smoking - Nil
Donations to ASH - £16,000
The salary of a lying bastard - a lot more
Registered electors who voted for a blanket smoking ban - about 400
Registered electors - 44 million

Still to be continued ...


Sue said...

I'm pretty furious about the lying. I have lots of non smoking friends in the UK. They all agree that the smoking ban has done untold damage to their usual drinking haunts.

You could also argue that it may exacerbate the bad behaviour outside pubs. People tend to get tetchy when they can't have a ciggie whilst sitting comfortably in their locals.

It pushes them outside in the UK weather where their minds have no other distraction except to look for a way to fill that disgruntled feeling inside.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Was that in the FT?

Dick Puddlecote said...

It was sent to the FT, Mark, but not thus far published.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Pity, I looked this morning it wasn't in yet.