Sunday 21 November 2010

Tory Lansley Provides Acres Of Tory-Baiting Fun

You just know it's a Sunday (because for the righteous, weekends are nag time) when you wake up and read cockwaffle like this at the BBC.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said it was time to try a new approach.

"The evidence is clear that packaging helps to recruit smokers, so it makes sense to consider having less attractive packaging. It's wrong that children are being attracted to smoke by glitzy designs on packets.

"We would prefer it if people did not smoke and adults will still be able to buy cigarettes, but children should be protected from the start.

"The levels of poor health and deaths from smoking are still far too high, and the cost to the NHS and the economy is vast. That money could be used to educate our children and treat cancer," Mr Lansley said.

"We will shortly set out a radical new approach to public health in a White Paper."
There some were holding very high hopes for Mr Lansley ... and then he goes and shows himself up as a monumental dickhead.

Of course, I couldn't wait to rub it in.

I made a call to the Tory afficionado who is continually telling me how the new government are "making the right noises" on removing unnecessary state interference. Having revealed the 'good' news, I was initially worried when he failed to answer for about 5 to 10 seconds. He did though, eventually, to ask where I read such rubbish. "Err, on the front page of the BBC website, mate", replied I, with a suppressed snigger which desperately struggled to sneak out.


A few e-mail exchanges and a couple more phone calls later, and the comedy was rolling along nicely. All the Tories who had assured me that their party were going to put things right; that they weren't the same as the last lot as I'd stubbornly claimed; that all this nonsense was now over, never to darken our doors again unless Labour managed to get back into power; all of them squarely kicked in their ideological nuts by this quite absurd nonsense from Lansley.

Lastly, kids in tow, I just had to actually visit the most true blue of them all. The one who I always envisage close to placing a picture of Cameron on his wall, complete with halo.

He gave me a very nicely-chilled bottle of Nastro Azzuri once we sat down, so I asked him for some brown paper to wrap it in.

"Why?", he asked, laughing.
"For the children, of course. They'll be gagging to start drinking if the pretty colours aren't hidden", I replied, desperately trying to hold my straight face.
"Hahahahahaha, don't be so ridiculous! Where did you get that stupid idea from?", he roared, whilst his belly rippled with hilarity at the sheer stupidity of such a notion.
"Where? From your party's Health Secretary, of course", before showing him the BBC article on his PC.

The sight of him reading it through his fingers was priceless, and an image which will live with me for a long time. Betrayal can be a bitch, but is extremely useful for illustrating how very treacherous this coalition is.

So Lansley has not only informed us today that a tobacco display ban will go ahead as planned (despite the Tories and the Lib Dumbs being against the idea in opposition), but also decided that government is now able to steal any company's logo and brand awareness whenever they so choose.

And this, from a Tory!

Now, I've mentioned before that most MPs are so dense that they could bend light, but this is quite the most intensely stupid idea I've ever heard.

There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but centuries of proof that making anything taboo is a huge incentive to the young.

There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but only a simpleton would deny that more bland packaging is a gift to cigarette counterfeiters.

There is precisely nil evidence that any kid will be tempted to start smoking because of packaging, but plenty of scope for big businesses to be very worried about their long-established brand marketing.

By Lansley's reasoning, we could soon see McDonald's being forced by a Tory-led government (in fact, any government by precedent) to ditch their bright red/yellow imagery and hide the golden arches from kids to counter obesity; Coca-cola will be forced to package in brown and lose the wavy line trademark in favour of a bland arial font; Burger King won't be allowed the jolly king; 7up's green bottles will have to go, as will KFC's Colonel.

Think that's a bit of a reach? Not really, since health nutters are already talking about it.

This is without mentioning anything from Carlsberg's nightclubs to Famous Grouse's, err, grouse. Because they're already in the righteous cross hair, of course.

Lansley has now opened the gate on billions of pounds being wiped off the balance sheets of British companies, and others who provide jobs here, at the stroke of a legislative pen.

One can only hope he was suffering the mother of all weekend hangovers when he uttered that astoundingly naïve and ill-informed garbage, as it's far preferable to the potential reality of someone so dull-witted wielding a position of such national influence.

Still, if he truly intended to scare away future corporate party donors, while simultaneously setting in train a precedent with the capacity to unilaterally disable the nation's economy, the boy done good.

If this is an example of what will be in the coalition's upcoming white paper, I can see we're going to have some fun here in the spring.

UPDATE: The Appalling Strangeness today posted a good piece about this subject - Nudge Off!


Snowolf said...

The advertising and marketing companies will be crying into their ryegrass and cucumber smoothies.

The tobacco companies will be delighted, all that money saved in trying to out do each other. As you say, it will make no difference to levels of smoking, but the government at a stroke will remove one of their largest overheads.

Watch the share value of 'bacco firms shoot up when the stock exchange realises this. Invest now.

Mark Wadsworth said...

What a bunch of wankers.

Here's an idea: let's reduce heroin use by only allowing pushers to sell it in plain brown wrappers... ah, I see.

Also, what Snowolf says. The government has already relieved them of their largest overhead, all that expensive advertising nonsense.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Spot on, Snowolf. Post Labour ad ban, tobacco companies became awash with cash. Instead of investing it into other industries, they just sat on it.

Tobacco inc. gained, everyone else lost.

With this measure, tobacco inc. will still not lose. Their sales may lose out to increased counterfeiting, but they will have saved on packaging design. The designers will lose though, as will the exchequor. No kid will be stopped from smoking, but some will start out of pure curiosity.

And, err, isn't it already illegal to buy cigs if under 18? Doesn't that kinda say that government initiatives are a roaring failure already?

Lansley is a grade A arse.

Anonymous said...

The goods in plain brown paper bags are always the most enticing to open !!

What a prat this Lansley is ??

Are the 'children' that he is trying to 'protect' the over 19 year old 'children' who are the only ones able to buy cigarettes in a shop ?
Those over 18 year old 'children' that are in the army, married, parents etc. need protection from a humble cigarette.

Anonymous said...

The WHO tell the feeble emascilated governments we have now
which policy to persue.
Being good communists they obey.

Anonymous said...

A good time to buy shares in a company making attractive cigarette 'wallets' or pack holders

Anonymous said...

Let us be a bit more precise. Who are the 'children' who are going to be impressed by fancy fag packets? Are they the one year olds, the two year olds, the ten year olds? Or is it that the 'children' envisaged in the Health Sec's statement are not 'children', but 'teenagers'? Is the word 'children' meant to encompass all young people from about the age of twelve up to eighteen? Are these young people correctly described as 'children'? I would say not, but that is the nature of propaganda, isn't it?

I am going to write to Health Sec Lansley (again!) to point out his errors. I will include in my letter the stuff about criminal children and the stuff about Cost Benefits (have you forgotten that? Ha, Ha!) and the lack of evidence re SHS.

Do you know, Dick, I have a little project that I am currently immersed in, to do with the Theory of Relativity. I should be doing that rather than smoking stuff. I really should stop the smoking stuff and finish my Einstein stuff. But I am troubled. I cannot accept in any way at all that I injured my children by smoking in their presence. ABSOLUTELY NO WAY! I have loved my three daughters to bits from day one.

permanentexpat said...

Colourful photos of deseased lungs on NZ ciggie packs & no-one cares a dump....Rauchertendenz, steigend!
What a sorry bunch of control freaks...we may laugh now; it'll bevdifferent later.

Anonymous said...

This makes me think of Alex Cox's movie Repo Man where the man goes to visit his parents and they're sat watching a telethon and eating with spoons from tins marked "FOOD".

This is all a bit too "Yes Minister" - life imitating art....

Anonymous said...

Yep, just who are 'the children'? I haven't heard teenagers called such for a long time - they're now referred to as 'young people'.

But 'children' is so much more emotive a term, isn't it?


Anonymous said...

re anon & "Repo Man", reminds me of the first episode of "The Prisoner" where No.6 looks through his kitchen cupboards and finds all the tins marked "Village" peas, carrots etc.

Of course nobody smoked in "The Village", you think McGoohan was trying to tell us something?

J Bonington Jagworth said...

When packaging was simpler, there were things called 'cigarette cases'.

Good news for whoever still makes those - Dunhill?

SadButMadLad said...

Topic was raised on BBC breakfast this morning. Surprisingly the conclusion was that plain packaging wouldn't work. It had Linda Robson and "reformed" smoker saying that packaging was the last thing on her mind when buying. The progreamme also had a marketing expert who said that if bad things had to have plain packages then chocolate should have them too because diabetes is such a scourge in the UK.

Dick the Prick said...

Lansley is widely regarded as the thickest cunt in the cabinet which is quite an achievement.

However, politically speaking and being a bit of a twat - you can see the value in having a useless chump in charge. The life span of health secretaries is extrodinarily time-limited. This aresewip of a GP commissioning scheme will never work but the daft cunt is tasked with squirreling cash away to the boys.

I dunno - obviously this comes across as authoritarian and pointless and as has been mentioned, a bit of a potential boon to fag makers but in the whole - proper small beer.

I give the lad 18 months max and then we'll never hear of the cunt again. Hmm...

Anonymous said...

Tobacco Manufacturers WORLDWIDE should hit back by a selective campaign of targetting specific countries(start with Ireland)and selling a pack of 20 cigarettes for half a euro.

This could be for a limited period of time (3 or 6 months) and will hit the Government tax revenue.

Cigarette sales could well soar as smokers stock up for the future.

This could be followed by similar action in the UK.


Neal Asher said...

Still love these (Penn & Teller):

Anonymous said...

JBJ - I got a perfectly presentable cigarette case in the local pound shop (together with a portable ashtray - complete with cig rest - and a cigarette holder)!


Anonymous said...

Will be asking Justice Secretary, Ken Clarke, about alcohol and crime in Commons tomorrow.

Yea I bet their a real handfull when they all turn up pissed.
Judging by the decisions they make they might as well be.

Neal Asher said...

Who buys cigarettes from a shop now anyway? The only smoking related goods I buy from a shop are cigarette papers, filters and lighter fuel.

Incidentally, are you aware that it is not illegal to grow your own tobacco?

Ciaran said...

A bit of a slip of the mask there, amongst all the bullshit.

"We would prefer it if people did not smoke"

I want to know to whom the "we" refers.

Certainly not the people of the country, who pay him to serve and represent them.

Not even the imaginary shareholders of the loathsome "UK plc", which would suffer crippling (if it's possible to cripple a crippled thing) financial losses if nobody smoked, what with loss of tax revenue, increased NHS costs caring for elderly non-smokers who refuse to die, and pension costs for the same reason.

So who?

FrankC said...

"glitzy designs on packets."
Does not compute. Suggest that Lansley go and buy (or send a minion to buy) a packet of cigs and then point out the glitz.
Unless he means the pictures on the back.

Junican said...

@ Anon 13.24

Re Tobacco companies fighting back.

I had this lovely idea only yesterday (more of a dream, I suppose, really).

I suppose that you have heard that California (or a city in California) is intent on banning smoking altogether in the open. I have just read it somewhere, but cannot find it. Apparently, the motion was passed 13-0.

This thought occurred to me:

Why don't tobacco companies, alcohol companies and 'unhealthy' food companies join forces and say that, with effect from the date on which this law is introduced, they will no longer supply suppliers of these commodities in California? In which case people will organise trips outside the State to get supplies and NO TAX WILL BE PAID TO THE STATE OF CALIFORNIA!

What would be even lovelier would be if they (all of them) decided to terminate supplies to Ireland!

the idea being to expedite 'the final solution', and not allow tobacco control to dictate the timeframe - Terminate taxes now!

Smoking Hot said...

I go away for a few days and we have Lansley popping up with this crap.

As Bugs Bunny would say "What a maroon"

Won't make a blind bit of difference to smokers except those who get it from abroad ... we'll be able to spot each other a mile off ... all them pretty colours and designs :)

Pogo said...

@Anonymous, 22 November 2010 13:24

Tobacco Manufacturers WORLDWIDE should hit back by a selective campaign of targetting specific countries(start with Ireland)and selling a pack of 20 cigarettes for half a euro.

They almost do that anyway... The vast majority of the price in the UK is tax. That's why ciggies are much cheaper in other countries - a less rapacious tax regime.

Anonymous said...

For those wanting info on cigarette cases:

1/ Leather ones for the ladies are often sold (or used to be) in smaller gift shops in Spain and Greece. Have bought them there before.

2/ Silver cases (ones you'll probably want to use at home -- they're too expensive to lose) are available at:

Silvergroves (I have ordered from them before)

(go to 'Silver General Gifts' in left-hand column, then 'Silver Smoking Accessories' in submenu)

They have two kinds -- I think you can check how many they hold or ring Silvergroves to find out.

My cigarette case was a gift 10+ years ago, ordered from Goldsmiths (had to be arranged in person -- this may still be the case, as nothing of that nature is listed on their website).

A final thought is that, if you know a jeweller really well who has an interest in things silver, they may be able to pick one up for you, repair it and sell it to you at a decent price. Ours has found a few hard-to-locate items for us, restoring them beautifully.

Happy shopping!