Monday, 31 May 2010

ASH: Scared, Desperate, And Running Out Of Ideas

I don't know who turned off ASH's power supply, but they seem to have been rebooted. Right back to square one and their desperate fallback defence when seriously challenged.

All those successes, all those flowery reports filled with clever distortions of the truth, yet their latest is anti-smoking 101 - also known as 'what to do when faced with defeat'.

Why, smear everyone as tobacco industry stooges, of course.

I'll let someone who is well aware of their methods explain. Here's prominent anti-tobacco campaigner, Dr Michael Siegel, in November last year.

If you take part in secondhand smoke policy training in the tobacco control movement, chances are that you will be taught that all opposition to smoking bans is orchestrated by the tobacco industry, that anyone who challenges the science connecting secondhand smoke exposure and severe health effects is a paid lackey of Big Tobacco, and that any group which disseminates information challenging these health effects is a tobacco industry front group. Consequently, the chief strategy of tobacco control is to smear the opposition by accusing them of being tobacco industry moles. And in no situation should one say anything positive about an opponent, even if true.

How do I know this?

Because for many years, I was one of the main trainers of tobacco control advocates in the United States. And this is what I taught, because this was what I was led to believe. I attended many conferences and trainings and this is precisely what I was taught. I accepted it for the truth, and passed it along to others.
ASH are now facing one of their biggest challenges for years.

The state of the country's finances are so dire that their 'services' are quite simply unaffordable. The coalition government has stated that they are cutting the supply of funds to serially failed policies such as those promoted by the likes of ASH.

Their tobacco display ban is in tatters. The Tories have vowed to overturn it, while the Lib Dems, if Norman Lamb is to be taken as a guide, won't be insisting it stays.

Commenting on today’s ban on the open display of tobacco in shops, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said: “This is the nanny state going too far.

“This will hit small businesses with added costs while there is no clear evidence that it will actually reduce the number of young people smoking."
Gone are the days when ASH lies were published automatically, too. The usually eagerly gullible BBC steered well clear of this steaming effluence from their plant at Policy Exchange, for example. And even celebrities are sticking two fingers up.

So, with nowhere left to run, they revert to the hard-wired scare tactic. Accusing everyone of being a tobacco-paid baby-eater.

"Dirty tricks used by cigarette companies to derail UK health policies that could save the lives of thousands of Britons every year are laid bare in a report, The Smoke Filled Room, published by ASH today.

Big Tobacco hoodwinked MPs into signing an Early Day Motion against point-of-sale displays by bombarding them with postcards purporting to be from worried shopkeepers ..."
It's a bare-faced lie, of course - what else would one expect from ASH - but it's also a bit rich considering the 'smokefree coalition' (of which ASH was a member) used just such a tactic [pdf p.15] in the run up to the smoking ban vote.

Cancer Research UK, the biggest cancer charity in the UK in particular substantially increased its campaigning activity. It involved its 1,000 fundraising committees, volunteers in its 620 shops and 3,000 staff and scientists in letter-writing and Christmas card campaigns to MPs. In the run up to the vote on the legislation both Cancer Research UK and the British Heart Foundation ran advertising campaigns to urge the public to lobby their MPs on the issue and succeeded in mobilising 25,000 people to do so.
ASH's hypocrisy isn't going down too well, as you can imagine, with businessmen and women who, unlike ASH, earn their living without having to beg civil servants for state handouts.

ASH claim that the Tobacco Retailers Alliance is a ‘mere subsidiary’ of the TMA (the Tobacco Manufacturers Association) and a ‘front organisation’ for the tobacco industry, but fail to mention the Alliance’s 26,000 members, all of whom are independent retailers.

Ken Patel, National Spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance and a newsagent from Leicester, said: “ASH have always been bullies but this report is stooping to a new low."

[TRA South East spokesperson] Debbie Corris said: “This is typical of ASH – they want to discredit the masses of support retailers have from the public and in particular from our customers. How dare they?! As an independent business we are perfectly entitled to campaign against proposals like the display ban that would directly impact on our businesses.”

“I have to question whether it is appropriate for a so-called ‘charity’ that receives so much Government funding to discriminate against legitimate, hard-working businesses in this way.”

It really is desperate stuff from ASH.

An organisation worried about its future funding, facing the humiliation of their tobacco display ban - gained on the back of misleading parliament - being overturned, is fighting back the way they have been programmed to do. With tantrums and unsubstantiated smears.

But we've seen it all before. Even the dullards in the House of Commons aren't going to be fooled with this one.

Falling back on the 'big bad tobacco' defence may have worked before, but ASH's tactics are now recognised to be as manipulative, selfish, and repugnant as those employed in the past by their arch-enemies. They are the anti-smoking pigs morphed into tobacco's Farmer Jones.

ASH are out of ideas and scared.

Reason enough I'd say, to celebrate World No Tobacco Day today with a nice cigar and a satisfied smile.


Anonymous said...

I was gobsmacked the other day when the winner of a celebrity "The weakest Link" announced at the end of the show that he was giving his several thousand pounds winnings to ASH.

What a f*cking dickhead

Anonymous said...

If ASH want to destroy more pubs, and corner shops .
If ASH want to vilify and demonise smokers.
If ASH want to further their funding and increase their influence job oportunities etc.
Their second biggest contributor PFIZER should bloody well pay for it .
Not me.

JJ said...

You must admit that for an organisation that began life as a simple charity...ASH has certainly morphed into a highly slick and politically savvy pressure group - of which any political party would be intensely proud.

For them to call themselves a 'charity' is deeply offensive to all the charities who work tirelessly on behalf of others...and who have never soiled their integrity with the foul stench of political agendas.

ASH now - is nothing more than an intolerant, money grabbing and politically tainted little piss-pot.

Spartan said...

Ironically, ASH (144-145 Shoreditch High St, E1 6JE) and the harpy Arnott are above a pub/nightclub called The Last Days of Decadence(145 Shoreditch High St E1 6JE)

However looking at Google Street view l can see nothing that advertises their existence. Are they hiding? ls Google out of date? ... even more interesting is that you can see the first floor is advertised to let above the nightclub.

Anonymous said...

ASH are like playground bullies,
they bully people untill a bigger
bully gives them a severe slapping
about the head. Bullies understand
discomfort , not twittering.
Point them out and lets have a
little chat with them before they do anymore damage.
Let us us all get some meaningfull
one to one ,in depth, confrontational discussion on the
the issue. Lets see if ASH can
stand some reality.

Back to June 07

Mark Wadsworth said...

Bashing ASH = missing the point

Pat Nurse MA said...

Lighting up with a cuppa in celebration now, Mr P - oh joy - what great news... and yes Mark Wadsworth. I entirely agree. The EU does need taking to hand also. That is where a lot of this tripe comes from and why trash groups like ASH get a listening ear. If ASH doesn't charm our new masters in the ConDem party with their lies and manipulation, then they will just go sulking to the antis in the EU parlt. The same Parlt that banned a democratic conference on prohibition involving ordinary EU citizens after getting one call from an unelected smoke free org in Europe who objected that we dared to talk about tobacco and our right to enjoy it.
Nick and Dave won't be able to do anything about ASH's power because they too, like us, are ruled by the EU after Bliar, Gordy and 13 years of NuLabour gave away the last vestige of control of our country.