Tuesday 12 October 2010

Squeezing Every Last Drop

Jeez. If only the anti-smoking nutters would shut their fucking traps for five minutes, I could write about other matters!

But the shrieking is incessant. Almost like ... I dunno ... like they're working double shifts for fear of their tax tap being turned off, or something.

Here's the latest via the British Heart Foundation political lobby group charity.

A new report by the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health sheds light on the clear benefits of tobacco control measures.

It recommends the ban on vending machines and point-of-sale tobacco displays goes ahead and says without measures like these, smoking rates could increase".
Increase? Have you any evidence for that?

Course not.

“It adds to the evidence that without these measures, smoking rates could rocket leaving the country with a health headache it could do without."
Err, rocket? Again, any evidence? No, seriously. Is there any evidence - anywhere in the world - that smoking prevalence has 'rocketed' in the vast majority of countries who don't ban tobacco displays and/or vending machines, solely because they don't do so?

Course not.

“The report from the parliamentary group is a healthy dose of common sense and the Coalition Government should take note – tobacco control measures work."
They work, do they?

Like the smoking ban, you mean? Which the BHF said, err, didn't? No, really, they did say that. I distinctly remember it.

New figures from the NHS show that the proportion of adult smokers has not diminished.

A separate 2008 report showed 21 per cent of adults were smokers, the same as in 2007 but lower than the 39 per cent in 1980.
And a load of people rode from London to Brighton to finance the wages of these jaw-droppingly failure-addicted fantasists?

Anyway, enough of that. Let's look at the report from the 'All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health' since they have provided it. It'll be hosted at Hansard or other official source, yes?

No. It's publised on the ASH website.

The Secretariat of the group is provided by Action on Smoking and Health, which is funded by the British Heart Foundation and Cancer Research UK for carrying out this work.
So, not only do people ride a bike to pay lobbyist wages, but women also run round fields to bung their £65 towards the salaries of those who are employed at Westminster producing political propaganda. I wonder if the ones responsible for this report are among the 8 who earn over £100k per annum at the BHF (PDF page 27), or the 23 who earn over a hundred grand at CRUK (PDF page 37)?

Crikey, I keep digressing. Must stay on topic.

Right, let's look at the report properly. It's a parliamentary one, so I'm sure it's balanced and fair.

Participants in oral evidence sessions and written evidence

- Deborah Arnott, Chief Executive, Action on Smoking and Health
- Professor Linda Bauld, Professor of Social Policy, University of Bath
- Dr Henry Featherstone, Head of Health and Social Care, Policy Exchange
- Professor Anna Gilmore, Professor of Public Health, University of Bath
- Professor Martin Jarvis, Professor Emeritus of Health Psychology at the Department of Epidemiology and Public Health, University College London
- Professor Susan Michie, Professor of Health Psychology, University College London
- Howard Reed, Economist, Landman Economics
- Dr Gabriel Scally Regional Director of Public Health for the South West
- Professor Robert West, Director of Tobacco Studies, Cancer Research UK Health Behaviour Research Centre, University College London
And that's it.

A who's who of anti-smoker junk scientists and rent seekers, two members of the charities (and one fake charity) which wrote the report (reckon West is on £100k plus?), a union lapdog, and some guy from scrumpy land's public health division.

No view from anyone who may disagree. No corner shop representatives, no consumer organisations, no vending machine suppliers to give evidence of alternatives being used in Europe.

No-one, in fact, who will stray from the 'consensus'.

Quick! Call a journalist! Our politicians are being misled ... again!

No, forget journalists, they're less than useless, let's go straight to the Chair of the All Parliamentary Group - he'll be incensed at being led up the proverbial path, so he will.

But then again, maybe not seeing as we've seen him before here, too. Remember this donkey cock last month on - entirely coincidentally of course - exactly the same subject?

Now, I'm being serious here. What was the fucking point in dragging all these people down to wherever this circle jerk was held, with their associated hourly rates, expenses, and other charges to the taxpayer, when they could have all stayed at home and presented the same pile of one-sided, unproven, nannying bullshit but with less cost to the people who they quite obviously hold in contempt.

Those people being ... us. And that is ALL of us, whether you smoke or not; whether you believe in tobacco displays being hidden or not; whether you believe in vending machines being banned or not; or whether you really don't care one way or another.

This 'report' had written itself before they had even sat down.

These hideous prodnoses are just running a scam - and being paid handsomely for it from your taxes - to push their own agenda, without even bothering to be transparent or accountable anymore.

They use charities to convey the message (because arguing with them is taboo); they use the illusion of parliamentary impartiality - courtesy of useful idiots like Williams - to imply wisdom and authority; then they use an incompetent and inherently lazy press to spread the word.

And the real point of this artful deception - apart from bullying smokers yet again - is what, exactly? Well, we only have look at page 8 for that, don't we?

Government funding for tobacco control should be held at 2009-10 levels and sustained for the future in real terms.
No matter how large the deficit, they just can't bear the thought of the till being shut before they've comprehensively rifled it, can they?


J Bonington Jagworth said...

"What was the fucking point in dragging all these people down to wherever this circle jerk was held, with their associated hourly rates, expenses, and other charges to the taxpayer, when they could have all stayed at home"

I think the clue's in the phrase "charges to the taxpayer". The ability to work from home really doesn't have the same appeal when you can't claim for expenses, does it?

One can only hope that Philip Green will lift the rock under which these goons are hiding and make with a large broom, although I'm sure they'll find a reason why he can't...

Mr A said...

Brilliant post, Dick.

I live for the day when I hear the funding to these parasites has been cut. Honestly, it'll be like VE Day - there'll be a picture in the paper of me sweeping a local lovely off her feet as ticker tape falls to the ground behind me.

Eddie Douthwaite said...

If you want to read more about the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies and the people involved then have a look at this link.


I suggest that you also look at the categories on the left hand side as well under the headings.

Research Fellows.



Those who gave evidence to the committee hide under the "Name of a University" when they are in fact Tobacco Control.

This is where the money for the UKCTC came from:-

What is UKCTCS?
The Centre is a strategic partnership of nine UK universities in England and Scotland (Nottingham, Bath, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Stirling, Queen Mary, UCL, York and Bristol) involving leading tobacco control researchers from a range of disciplines.

Each institution will work together to deliver a programme of original research, policy development, advocacy, teaching and training.

UKCTCS is part of a £20 million investment into public health research, funded by the UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) comprising the Economic & Social Research Council, The British Heart Foundation, Cancer Research UK, the National Institute for Health Research and the Medical Research Council.

The other recently established Public Health Research Centres of Excellence are:

North East Centre of Excellence for Translational Research in Public Health,
Newcastle University
Centre for the Development and Evaluation of Complex Interventions for Public Health Improvement,

Cardiff University (in collaboration with Swansea University and Bristol University)

UKCRC Northern Ireland Public Health Research Centre of Excellence, Queens University Belfast

JuliaM said...

"...like they're working double shifts for fear of their tax tap being turned off, or something."

Sadly, I don't think they've got much to worry about on that score. I can't see any signs of the coalition being any more libertarian on this score than the last bunch.

Anon1 said...

“The European Commission is preparing to introduce legislation in 2011 to ban smoking in public places right across the union.

While partial or total smoking bans have been introduced in many European countries ending patrons' ability to smoke in bars, cafes and other public venues, it is still relatively easy in some states to find a bolt-hole where smokers are welcome, whether due to exceptions to such laws or owners flouting the bans.

Health commissioner John Dalli has said he wants to put a stop to this. "We need a complete ban on smoking in all public spaces, transport and the workplace," he said in an interview on Monday (11 October) with German daily Die Welt.

Announcing that Brussels is currently preparing a bill to be brought forward next year, he said that exceptions should no longer be tolerated, as the matter "is not only about the health of visitors, but also the employees."

…..The commission will furthermore try to win agreement on rules making tobacco products no longer visible to customers and make packaging as unattractive as possible. The packets are to be made identical in appearance and to bear colourful warning pictures, such as of diseased lungs, as well as more information on the toxins the product contains.”


The same issues, wording and intolerance can be found in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, etc. The wording is provided by the WHO in its Framework Convention on Tobacco Control which most countries have signed up to. When countries (governments) are not “pulling their weight” in terms of the restrictions and denormalization expected at this time, the WHO reps let those countries know that they need to lift their game.

DaveA said...

Just written to the Chair Stephen WIlliams asking to offer my oral evidence. Let's see what happens.

J Bonington Jagworth said...

I'm sure you will have covered it elsewhere, but has anyone compared the revenue from smokers with the cost of caring for the ones who burden the health service later on?

If, as I suspect, they contribute more than they cost, wouldn't it make more sense to encourage it..?

Billy Blofeld said...

Here is an image that might interest you.