Monday 2 May 2011

From Democracy To Dictatorship, Pharma Controls Them All

Via Belinda, a truly 'couldn't make it up' moment.

The World Health Organization (WHO) on Thursday announced that Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou is to receive a World No Tobacco Day Award for his steadfast campaign and tough anti-smoking legislation in Greece.

[...] part of the reasoning used for presenting the award to Papandreou was the "political courage" he displayed in passing potentially unpopular measures at a time when the Greek government was also adopting strict austerity measures to exit the economic crisis.
Belinda expands quite astutely on this.

Mr Papandreou is accredited with 'political courage' for his insistence that the smoking ban will be a comprehensive law in spite of other austerity measures the government is taking, and in spite of opposition from Greek people. I am not sure that 'political courage' are words that describe the actions of a leader who follows a global health agenda at the expense of his people's livelihoods and against their wishes.

So let's get this straight. Greece hasn't got a pot to piss in at the moment. They have stolen nearly £100bn of European taxpayer cash to prop up their appalling economy, yet the Greek PM is being honoured - by the World Health Organisation - for degrading the lives of his citizens and ensuring that many of them are denied custom as a result of his cowardly capitulation.

I suppose Greece - being the historic root of democracy - is always going to be subject to more scrutiny than other countries in that respect, but hey, we don't make the rules. And they have gloried in that tag for a long time, so I make no apology for calling Papandreou out as a weapons-grade dickhead.

Let's look at the evidence. There are approximately 12 million people in Greece, a fair few million of whom vote. How many of those, exactly, do you think voted for any appointment to the World Health Organisation?

Go on, just one guess. I promise you won't be far away (if you said nil, of course).

So what this boils down to is a premier of a country renowned for respecting its people via democratic process, ignoring them all and instead acting on the say-so of a bunch of unelected office wallahs who just happen to be hugely funded by pharmaceutical interests. And being rewarded for it?

To think we used to laud Greece for its democratic lead, eh?

Meanwhile, in China, the WHO mafia strike again. And it opens up a rich new vein of smoker hatred to catalogue (check out 'hate' and 'filthy' references from 1:40 onward).

{There was originally an English-speaking Chinese news video here but, as it self-played, it right got on my tits. You can view it here instead}

It would appear that in our post-democratic world, no leader can claim to wield unrivalled control even in his own country anymore.

The President of the US - you know, the one who is terrified of pharma-led opprobium - the most powerful man on the planet? Don't make me laugh. He's not even on the board.


Lysistrata said...

Ive said this before but:

George Papandreou, Greece's Prime Minister, was raised in America. He studied sociology, and studied and worked at Harvard, (as did his father, a previous Prime Minister). George is known to be a fervent anti-smoker.

Harvard/ nepotism/EU links: Panagiotis Behrakis is the Chairman of Greece’s National Co-ordinating Committee Against Smoking, the Chairman of the EU-funded European Network for Prevention of Smoking and Tobacco Control, and Adjunct Associate Professor at Harvard University.

George Behrakis, the American pharmaceutical (portfolio includes smoking cessation products) entrepreneur who has donated millions to Harvard, and to arts, and the Orthodox Church, is his cousin.

And the Greek and Cypriot bans have been brought in on the basis of junk science and promotional seminars funded by...the Harvard School of Public Health.

Just saying.

Oh, and here in Greece outside Athens, the ashtrays are still out, and everyone has completely enclosed outside-inside smoking areas. And we are still smoking. The government is not the people.

Anonymous said...

Great to hear that, Lys..

The people cannot be overcome, if they stand together. But there is a need to persevere. The situation in Greece is totally different from the UK. We are afflicted with Pubcos and chancers whereas the Greek people have bars which are their livelihood - as is the case in Spain and France.

Stand together and persevere!

nisakiman said...

Lysistrata has the right of it. Papandreou is following a personal agenda, and like all politicians has no empathy for or understanding of the real world outside his stratified circle.

And yes, as soon as you move away from the urban areas, it's business as usual.

However, I see this as something of a problem insofar as there has been no real incentive for the people to rebel against an unfair and arbitrary law. As a bar owner friend of mine said to me when we were talking about it, "it doesn't really affect us much, as we are normally sitting outside anyway".

This is a dangerous attitude, as UK smokers well know. Once the concept of not smoking inside bars is accepted, the antis will ratchet it up another notch, and try to ban outdoor smoking also. And by then the moment will have been lost.

I've been trying to rally a bit of rebellion here, but for the above reasons the Greeks tend to be somewhat laissez-faire about it. But I'll keep on doing my bit to make people aware that they are at the top of a slippery slope.

Anonymous said...

He's not the only one.

Tony Blair's 10 Years Of Tobacco Control

"John Britton, co-author of the Comment, states: "Labour has achieved more in terms of tobacco control than any other UK government, establishing the UK as a world leader in this respect, and deserves credit for doing so.

However, it has taken 10 years to deliver results that could have been achieved in 5 or even 3, indicating that Blair's government has lacked either the courage or the commitment to implement its policies"

"The Comment concludes: "Blair promised much for tobacco control but required considerable pressure before he delivered"

"The Editorial concludes: "The Bloomberg initiative helps to translate the principles of the FCTC into action, with particular focus on the 15 countries where two-thirds of the world's smokers live (which include China, India, Indonesia, and Russia).

But as the sorry delays in the UK illustrate, signing up to the FCTC was the easy bit.

Implementation of all effective tobacco control policies requires sustained unwavering governmental commitment.

The short-term political costs may seem substantial, but the potential health gains are huge."

Medical News Today - 29 Jun 2007

DaveA said...

From Dave Atherton. I was interviewed by CCTV and article here foor some semblnace of balance, Website interview TV video