Tuesday 11 November 2014

A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To Boisdales

I did say that I was going to write about the night of Forest's 35th anniversary party last week but - thanks to Puddlecote Inc still bogging me down at the moment - I've only now managed to get around to it a week later.

I was accompanied by vaping consumer advocate Twigolet (read her account of the evening here) and the genial Mr Snowdon but we didn't go straight there. Instead we'd arranged to meet up at an event chaired by Martin "Bubblegum" McPhee, a man so devoid of features you'd associate with good health that - naturally - he wants to tell you what to eat, drink and not vape or smoke.

It was a very amusing event, delivered in monotone by whey-faced drones and - customary for any public health "debate" - devoid of even a soupçon of differing opinion. It was clear from the outset that the only answer to the question of Can The War on Tobacco Be Won was going to be yes. The long history of disastrously failed prohibitions was put to one side in this particular echo chamber as they congratulated themselves on how fantastic the FCTC has been in destroying the tobacco industry since its inception in 1997.

It matters not to these people that - according to their own sources and those of others - tobacco sales globally have never been higher. They will continue to talk up their own self-importance because the event was held in front of about 100 aspiring young bansturbators who need to to be trained in how to earn money from the taxpayer by talking bollocks. One in particular seemed especially eager to be seen handing a metaphorical (toffee?) apple to his portly far left wing host.

McKee's colleague at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine - and member of ASH's editorial board - Joy Townsend was then called upon to give her opinion on the tropical medicine required to defeat the Ebola crisis. Oh silly me, course not, she was banging her anti-smoking drum again instead.

Perhaps that's a bit harsh. I did feel for her somewhat because she was billed as an 'economist' despite her previous burblings proving that if she has ever learned any economics, she has abandoned it in favour of blind allegiance to pathetic anti-smoking dogma.

There seemed to be a genuine person in there somewhere when she spoke of how the tobacco industry in the 1960s recognised harm from tobacco and tried to research a "safe cigarette". She also sailed dangerously close to heresy by describing e-cigs as "looking like a safe cigarette" ... before blowing it all by claiming that "all the good people" in the tobacco industry - yes, every one of them, without exception - left when young girls still screamed at sight of the Beatles. I don't know how old Joy was when BAT set up its harm reduction labs at around that time but you'd think someone who considers themselves an "expert" would have been aware that they'd just celebrated their golden anniversary?

Shame really, because if she ditched her ideological nonsense she could actually make a difference.

Next up in this incestuous charade was another McKee sidekick and co-author of the now legendary "nicotine is a chemical weapon" paper. The capacity to shamefully exploit the atrocities of Anders Breivik to push anti-smoking extremism tells you all you need to know about Pascal Diethelm, but it was still a surprise when - after being billed by McKee as about to reveal "the truth" about the tobacco industry - he simply trundled out the codswallop that must rattle around his one-track obsessive head in quiet moments.

Apparently, anti-smoking NGOs do it all for the love and don't get paid a penny {splutter}, while those working in the tobacco industry earn a fortune and "have no morals whatsoever". None of them.

But Diethelm has a cunning plan, you see. All that is need for the "endgame" to succeed is to get those tobacco industry profits down so that people don't buy their shares any more. It's a doddle and the FCTC has been terrorising the tobacco industry since 1997 so it's only a matter of time. Allegedly.

Presumably, this is why BAT's share price - along with their competitors' which follow a similar graphic trajectory - has been dying on its arse since then, huh?

So let's see what a real 'expert' thinks about the link between successful tobacco control and tobacco share prices, shall we? How about, I dunno, Nanny McPhee?

Hmm, doesn't say much to the success of the FCTC in the past 17 years, does it?

All that was left was for McKee to round off proceedings by reminding everyone present that e-cigs don't work - despite no-one really broaching the subject in any depth - and for him to remind us, with a cheeky chuckle, that the next debate was about Ebola so would "obviously not be as well attended as tonight". Of course not. Why would anyone at the London School of Tropical Medicine be interested in a potential global pandemic, eh?

After witnessing such scintillating wisdom from people I'd not trust to run a car boot stall, myself and my companions parked the bubble gum we had been chewing in the nearest bin and travelled a couple of stops on the tube to an entirely different world where reality still exists and where choices of the public are still respected.

Arriving slightly late, we joined a throng of decidedly un-monotone guests and fantastic people bearing glorious trays like this.

It was then just the, err, simple task of finding the others we had heard were attending.

There we are by the bar, can you see?
Those we caught up with are too numerous to mention, but having a long overdue chat with good friend Tom Paine was a particular highlight of the evening for me, as was meeting Joe Jackson for the first time - someone whose music I used to buy as a teen and who now impresses me even more with his catalogue of resistance to deniers of freedom of choice.  I also had the pleasure of a lengthy chinwag with DK while Twigolet met up with the subject of an article from August, Peter Thurgood, and engaged him in good-natured banter.

The evening also saw an unofficial launch of new campaign group Action on Consumer Choice, as announced on the night by Simon Clark.
Consumers who want choice, are prepared to defend personal responsibility and act with consideration for others now have another voice they can call their own.
Who could argue with that? Personal freedom of choice is surely as basic a freedom as you can imagine.

Well, ASH can, of course.
Deborah Arnott, chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), said she doubted whether the ACC would be able to attract anything other than tobacco companies. “It would be crazy for food or drinks companies to jump into bed with the tobacco industry. It would wreck their reputations and completely undermine any arguments they want to make against future regulation.”
From her pre-emptive reaction we can assume that Arnott - you know, the one who claims her organisation doesn't attack smokers - doesn't believe there should be a campaign to defend freedom of choice to consume tobacco, alcohol, fast food and vaping. Or perhaps it's just the usual psychotic hatred of the tobacco industry blinding her to a perfectly reasonable concept.

Not only was her contribution to the Guardian's smear article an implicit acceptance that the 'domino theory' - which she publicly denies, remember - does, indeed, exist. It also read like a warning to other popular industries not to get involved or else they'll be treated poorly when PH comes for them too. It's like an organised criminal protection racket except it's being communicated by a state-funded fake charity against legal businesses - actually, it's not like a protection racket at all, it is one. You do what we say and we won't come for you next. a veiled threat that her and the like-minded bores we'd seen earlier at the LSHTM cannot wait to destroy any other popular industry which dares to defend the freedom of choice of its customers.

I digress, but I think you get the picture and I've already gone on too long. I can only finish by referring you to Twigolet's summation of the night, because it's nigh on perfect.
The comparison between the two events I attended yesterday could not be more extreme. At the first there were the ideological rantings of those who think it their place to control how we all live, what risks we take, how we balance risk against pleasure, and who are conceited enough to believe that their own war on the tobacco industry trumps all other interests. At the second were people who were happy to enjoy life to the full, and just want to be left alone to do so. I know whose company I prefer.
Quite. Never forget we're on the side of the angels here.


Peem Birrell said...

>>You do what we say and we won't come for you next.
How big a mug would you have to be to believe that?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

A mug who runs a pub. ;)

Entropy said...

I cant help but feel this was a lost opportunity to use the headline "A date with Dick".

Ivan D said...

I wish I had not been otherwise engaged that evening as the second part of your trip looks like it was a lot of fun.

I am not sure that I could inhabit the same space as Diethelm and McKee and behave myself. I had hoped that Diethelm had retired and it would certainly be in the interests of the UK for McKee to be "retired" and his much needed tenure offered to someone who did not oppose free speech. It is a shame that UK universities continue to be safe havens for political extremists with authoritarian tendencies.

Edgar said...

'I can't help but feel ...'. Take care, your words are being monitored and recorded.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Is that you, Mrs P? ;)

Jax said...

" ... the codswallop that must rattle around his one-track obsessive head in quiet moments ... "
Love your turn of phrase, DP! Made oi larf, that did! I fully intend to steal that one to use at appropriate moments, if I may ... :)

What the.... said...


What the.... said...

Marty McHee-Hee & Stantonitis Glands, two heavyweights –
literally – of Public Health. This duo is inspiring as “health exemplars”.

What the.... said...

One of these is Diethelm.

What the.... said...

A rare public photo of Joyless Townsend.

Norbert Zillatron said...

I'm really curious how these shining examples will promote the oncoming "War on Obesity."
Will they sacrifice their vices and go skeletal for the "Good Cause"?
Somehow I doubt it ...

truckerlyn said...

I guess it comes down to the old saying "Do as I say, not as I do" usually put forth by those who believe themselves superior and invincible!

Tom Paine said...

You shame me by continuing to expose yourself to the secondary smugness of these authoritarians, while I have retired from the fray to dedicate myself to pleasure. Keep up the good work Mr P. It was a pleasure to see you and have a chat in a room full of decent humans.

StatGeek said...

Maybe of interest to the Belgravia set who may be considering an atlantic cruise on the Cunard Queen Mary II
A TOTAL smoking ban looms large allthough not confirmed
Sadly the ban does not include the smoke stacks(oil ffired) which ,in ONE
3 DAY transatlantic crossing cough out the equivilent of
......................4,016,000,000 cigarettes
Or in simple terms for the less educated

theprog said...

They're lard arses working for 'Public Health', which makes them hypocritic oafs.

(I'll go find my coat)

Tom said...

It is a very good thing you remained incognito and did not ask any difficult questions or express any opposing opinions or venture forth anything logical - or like at the Anti-Smoking-Hate-Industry meeting just concluded in Moscow, at its poshest hotels amid luxury, the speakers and organizers of the hate-fest would have had you grabbed by armed goons and dragged, forcibly, to the door and shoved, literally, out into the streets - as was already the case with their last meeting in Russia where they excluded the press and allowed no dissent, logic or questioning, with armed guards to enforce their intolerance.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

{groan} And I'll open the door for you ;)

Dick_Puddlecote said...

That's the guy, complete with a continental drawl which could send an excited kitten to sleep.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Saw them on the underground just last week


gregCall said...

As an American I can tell you even American liberals think he's insane. Even with all his money he could never get elected to public office outside insane New York City and possibly a few of the crazier cities in California, And even then California is questionable.

JonathanBagley said...

Makes a change from "role models".

Norbert Zillatron said...

-> "roll models"

Norbert Zillatron said...

Reminds me of: http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xf1o6_weird-al-yankovic-fat_news