Thursday 9 June 2011

Anne Milton And Her Policy-Based Evidence Gathering

Being a bit of a Philip Davies groupie, I'm always keeping an eye on his activities in parliament (it's not stalking, Phil, honest), and this week he asked a pertinent question of Anne "what am I doing in the Tory party?" Milton. Her reply staggered even a hardened bullshit spotter like me!

Philip Davies (Shipley, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) what peer review was undertaken on (a) the calculations of the cost of treating smoking-related illnesses contained in and (b) the research on the economic burden of tobacco use on society cited in the Tobacco Control Plan for England;

Anne Milton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative)

“Healthy Lives, Healthy People: A Tobacco Control Plan for England” included an appendix providing resources for tobacco control (pages 48-53). The references to the Policy Exchange’s “Cough Up” report and the Action on Smoking and Health website provide further information on the costs of treating smoking related diseases and the economic burden on society of tobacco use
Beg pardon?

Leaving aside the laughable mention of ASH as a reliable and impartial source, does she seriously mean that car crash of a document Henry Featherstone wrote in breaks between snogging Deborah Arnott?

The report which led the IEA to take the extraordinary step of trashing a fellow right of centre think tank? The one hacked to bits by the TPA's Matthew Sinclair on Conservative Home, and pilloried at the Telegraph and the Spectator? The one that even the BBC - usually straining at the leash to publish anti-smoker junk studies - wouldn't touch due to its toxic lack of credibility? That report?

It would appear that, yes, she does indeed mean the one described on these pages as 'That Policy Exchange Nonsense'.

This, remember, is the same Anne Milton who claimed last year that she was "not aware of any evidence that removing tobacco displays will affect the number of retail outlets", despite having been sent a copy of a report - illustrating exactly that - presented to the IEA just half a mile up the road from her office.

Now, I'll be generous and not jump to the conclusion that she is either dreadfully inept at her job or crashingly stupid, which such incompetence would seem to suggest. Instead, let's assume her actions are perfectly in line with the way this government operates. From this, we can accurately map the complex processes involved in drafting rules and regulations within Westminster.

So here, exclusively, is a cut-out-and-keep guide to how modern political policy-making works.

I think, in light of the above, we've discovered why our government makes such a dog's breakfast of everything it meddles with, don't you?


Mr A said...

Good God! I know there's no way that crashing stupidity breaks any laws, but surely the fact that she's rubbing naughty bits with ASH has to break some kind of law or Parliamentary rule? I can't imagine someone who's BFF with BP getting to direct Government policy on energy or someone who is best mates with Nick Griffin being allowed to direct immigration policy. So how does this simpleton get to direct policy on smoking and health when she's basically Deborah Arnott's gimp? SURELY, there is something that can be done about such amazing bias, especially when, as you point out, the "evidence" she is using is pure bullshit? Where are investigative journalists when you need them?

Still, yet another good show from Mr Davies. He needs cloning.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Didn't Ms Milton call for something else to banned recently, like cars on residential roads or something?

Mr A said...

Sorry, off topic but....

Just left a comment on this story

basically just pointing out that 80% of passive smoking studies say 2nd hand smoking has no risk, 10% say it is protective, and that the 3rdhand smoke study was just a phone poll (some ASHite had been saying smokers were toxic and should wash their clothes and hair before even touching babies because of 2nd and 3rd hand smoke) and the Daily Mail have now pulled the comments completely! Was it because the antis were generally getting red arrowed, I highlighted the truth which they don't like, or I accused the poster of being an ASHite? I dunno, but they are a bunch of denormalising c***s over at the Daily Mail, that's for sure.

Anonymous said...

If it wasn't for the lack of integrity in "journalism", if media was instead doing its job, then there'd be no propaganda cover for these loons in government to be hiding behind. Government might be daft, but it's the gullible and stupid in the media guilty of not doing their jobs pointing it out. Eventually shame will come their way when it's all found out.

Anonymous said...

Just been to the Daily M, Mr A. The red arrow/green arrow stuff can give a false impression. EG, the 1st comment ("why take risks?") has 150 greeens, while the 3rd comment ("What a horrible woman") has 81 reds. What that suggests to me is that, unusually, even the nasties can tell the difference between silliness and bigotry.
I have just left a comment pointing out the purpose of the placenta (among other things, to screen out harmful substances). It amazes me how many of the commenters (mostly mothers, I think) seem not know anything about it.