Monday, 16 March 2009

G20 Summit Smoking Lounge: Jury Still Out

That official rebuttal of the existence of smoking lounges at the G20 summit in full. Err ... there isn't one.

Kerry McCarthy appears very certain though, she reckons it's all water under the bridge, and fabricated by Freedom2Choose.

F2C's cheap attempt to grab publicity by - how shall I put it? making things up? - has already been well and truly rubbished in the press.

She was referring to this piece by Hugh Muir, who no doubt describes himself as a journalist but is, in truth, nothing of the sort.

"Labour 'double standards' as smoking ban is lifted for G20 world leaders," thundered yesterday's Daily Mail. Cue outrage. Not unexpected. Oh, and not true. The smoke trails show there was an item in the Sun suggesting smoking rooms at the summit venue, which was picked up and enhanced by the pressure group Freedom2Choose and fed, with all its flaws, to the Mail. "Just because it doesn't make any sense doesn't mean the government won't do it," Freedom2Choose told us, on being asked for substantiation. Behold, a house on sand.

One might reasonably ask Muir why he was asking Freedom2Choose for a substantiation at all. The story didn't emanate from F2C, it was an article in The Sun to which F2C responded, perfectly reasonably, by way of a press release. Why not ask The Sun? Perhaps he was too scared, or maybe they told him to go fuck himself. Next stop, one would assume, would be the Foreign & Commonwealth Office who are organising the whole shebang. A simple "it's rubbish" would suffice, don't you think, Hugh?

Not likely, seeing as they have shut up shop on the matter. Not only that, so have the Excel Centre, Newham Council, and everyone else involved. How hard can it be to deny something that doesn't exist?

No printable quote to agree with Hugh Muir's personal point of view then, the objective (or should that be objectionable) journalist that he is.

So there was no other option but to target an unfunded grass roots organisation who legitimately used the path of a general press release to ask a valid question. It wasn't 'fed' to the Mail (although I can think of plenty of fake charities, including ASH, that do exactly that without challenge from illiberal idiots like Muir). After a 10 minute phone call which provided no angle whatsoever, despite bolshy and intimidatory questioning, he picked a tiny portion to 'prove' that it was all nonsense.

The Daily Mail haven't felt the need to pull their article yet, nor have The Sun, and The Times have also mentioned it. Google is awash with reports from all over the world.

... but because Hugh Muir says so, Kerry McCarthy concludes that it "has been well and truly rubbished in the press". What's more, she has banned any dissent on the matter of her mendacious and inaccurate reporting of the issue. I know, as I've tried.

How very Labour.

So, still no laughing and rolling around on the floor from government about this allegation, which would be the easiest thing in the world to do. And a search of the G20 facilities still pops up with a match for 'smoking lounge'. Apparently, it's in the red zone. We'd like to read about the "facilities available for heads of delegation" ... but it's protected from us proles, natch.

Kerry, please stop deluding yourself. F2C made nothing up, as your 'source' admitted, why not direct your accusations at The Sun? And Hugh Muir, you're such a dickhead, I'm surprised they aren't selling miniatures of you in Ann Summers.


banned said...

Keep up the good work Dick.

DaveA said...

On the G20 Summit I phoned up the FCO press office 3 times and could not get a straight answer out of them. I currently understand that the FCO are saying that smoking “will be within UK laws.”

However in the Health Act 12/7/06 the Home Secretary can grant exemptions. My simple maths says that 20 countries x 50 delegates = 1,000 of whom 20% may smoke. So we have 200 people standing out in the cold and the rain, perhaps not?

I think the wriggling by the FCO is tacit admission. Here is the wording of the Health Act.

“Chapter 1 of Part 1 of the Act makes provision for enclosed and substantially enclosed public places and shared workplaces to be smoke-free….”

“The Act will also give the appropriate national authority (Secretary of State in the case of England and the National Assembly for Wales in the case of Wales) powers to make regulations to exempt premises or parts of premises from smoke-free legislation”

Spartan said...


How simple can this be?

Question:- Are there smoking room facilities at the G20 at the Excel Centre?

Answer:- Yes or No

But FCO, Excel Centre and Newham Council refuse to commit themselves to a definitive simple answer???

Why do l picture 3 wriggly worms on a hook?

Reminds me of Mary Honeyball on her smoking article ... she resorted to deleting all the difficult questions and bringing in moderation ;-)

This story won't be kept quiet ... you'd have more chance of keeping a fully grown tiger in a large thin paper bag!