Thursday 27 February 2014

Government Of The People, By The People, For Ignoring The People

And so it came to pass, as predicted here on Tuesday, that the EU Tobacco Products Directive - corrupt and disingenuous as it is - was approved overwhelmingly yesterday.

I'll get round to writing more on that (I hope) when unusually demanding recent Puddlecote Inc pressures have eased, but for now it's pertinent to say that the whole fiasco was a bastardisation of democratic process. Bypassing proper debate and objective consultation, the EU just steamrollered it through anyway. The snus ban was maintained despite being harmful to European health, and after ignoring overwhelming public disapproval; bans on tobacco flavours, smaller tobacco pouches and packs of ten were promoted on the back of utter piffle; and effective e-cigs banned from 2016 despite huge evidence of their benefits but only innuendo and lies in favour of the ridiculous regulations now inflicted on them.

The last of those, of course, also entailed the EU machine cocking a deaf 'un to a cacophony of protests from thousands of EU citizens while instead listening intently to a tiny minority of mostly state-funded career prohibitionists. If two million vapers had descended on Brussels, each accompanied by their happy GP, it wouldn't have made a monkey's fart of a difference.

The whole thing was a stitch-up from start to finish.

Now, thanks to the transparency afforded by the internet they would dearly love to restrict, we can shine a light on these political lobbyist cockroaches and their next planned distortions of democracy, this time in Westminster.

Yesterday, the House of Commons Health Select Committee unveiled their report on the new quango, Public Health England (PHE). It's enlightening stuff.
The Committee is concerned that there is inadequate clarity about how the organisation will approach crucial policy issues such as obesity, minimum unit pricing of alcohol, and standardised packaging of tobacco products. The public expects PHE to be an independent and forthright organisation that will campaign on behalf of those public health objectives and policies which it believes can improve the nation’s health. We note that PHE focused in the first instance on achieving a smooth transition to the new arrangements and the Committee believes that PHE has so far failed to set out a clear policy agenda.

So it doesn't matter that the UK public is deeply opposed to bashing the poor via minimum alcohol pricing and that half a million people objected to plain (standardised) packaging of tobacco - a thumping majority - when consulted?

Nor, it seems, would it matter if PHE reviewed the evidence in favour of these measures and found it wanting. They are expected to campaign FOR them anyway.

Elsewhere, we find:
PHE staff do not have freedom to contradict Government policy
Hmm, if so, that would surely mean that PHE's submission to Cyril Chantler's review of plain packaging is indeed government policy?
"Public Health England believes there is substantial and compelling evidence to support the introduction of standardised packaging, and this is the right policy for the country." 
"This paper restates PHE’s support for the introduction of standardised packaging at the earliest opportunity"
It very much looks like it, I'd say.

And yet politicians still seem baffled as to why we despise every man jack of them. Bizarre.


MarkWadsworth said...

Do you think William Hills take bets on which things the EU Parliament will approve and which they'll reject?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I expect they'll do that only after they start offering odds on WWE wrestling. ;)

dodderer1 said...

PHE explained themselves at last year's UKNSSCC

They seem to be the liaison between govt,the NHS and the '3rd' sector.

No human input at all

nisakiman said...

I see BAT is threatening legal action if plain packs are pushed through:

How successful they would be depends entirely on how brainwashed the courts are, I suppose. The legal system does seem to favour the 'health'

lobby in these matters generally. The Australian court upheld the legality of mandated plain packs, I believe. It would seem that property rights are a thing of the past.

Michael J. McFadden said...

Are e-cigs actually banned though? I saw "The compromise agreed with national governments in December, backed by MEPs today, will see e-cigarettes regulated for general sale at EU level, "

Now it's possible that the regulations might result in a ban on the practical level, but do they?


truckerlyn said...

Good for BAT. I hope they give it a darn good go AND spare no expense on the best legal team they can get hold of!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Yes, I saw that. Was tempted to write something about how momentous the TPD must be when BAT's CEO could barely give a toss and when their share price rose on the news. Tobacco control really stuck it to 'em, huh? ;)