Sunday 4 December 2016

How Dare Members Of The Public Respond To A Public Consultation!

Regular readers here will know that I often describe the tobacco control industry as 'extremists', and there is a good reason for that. You see, their methods are remarkably similar to those of totalitarian dictatorships.

Their policies consist entirely of lies, intimidation and suppression of debate and - rather like ISIS - they demand that what they say goes and for any dissent or opposing view to be silenced and/or ignored.

So this document which has just come to light won't come as much of a surprise. I've embedded it at the bottom of the page, and you can see that it is a letter from Florence Berteletti-Kemp demanding that EU President Jose Manuel Barroso ignore tens of thousands of responses from members of the public to the public consultation on the Tobacco Products Directive. Incredibly, one of the justifications she gives is that there are too many objections, because such consultations only usually attract about 20 responses, and she complains that there are organisations encouraging people to make their voice heard! I mean, how disgraceful is it that people should be urged to engage with the democratic process (such as it is in the EU), eh?

The pre-consultation report is here and, as you can see, included sections not only on conventional tobacco, but also snus and e-cigs. Considering the huge number of people across the EU who use such products, it should have been welcomed that so many wished to express their thoughts on early proposals, however briefly. I wrote about the consultation at the time in order to drive responses their way, as did former influential blogger and now LBC radio presenter Iain Dale and many others. But tobacco control has never been in the business of debating and will always try to silence any opposition to their insane self-enriching policy-chasing, so there's no way they want to hear from the ghastly public.

There is evidence that these vile anti-democratic and transparency-phobic creeps - including Debs Arnott in the days when she was still honest about her intention to medicalise all e-cigs, along with Anna 'Rent-a-junk-study' Gilmore, CRUK head Jean King, Monika Kosinska, Luk Joossens, Luke Clancy and other well-known fanatical prohibitionists -  got their way too, as we can see from this article in 2011.
The EU Commission, however, dismisses a significant portion of the responses from the 82,000 citizens on the grounds that two-thirds are from Italy and Poland, where tobacco merchants organised petitions.
This isn't an unusual tactic either. We saw the same with the tobacco display ban in the UK in 2008.
Ken Patel, Leicester retailer and National Spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, said: "First the Minister refused to meet with retailers, now they have censored our formal response to a public consultation." 
Campaign Manager Katherine Graham said; "We are not listed as one of the respondents although our response was submitted by email and also sent by post, so we can be certain it was received. For some reason the views of 25,000 shopkeepers just seem to have been air-brushed out of the consultation report."
And it was also attempted during the plain packs campaign in 2013, again sneakily involving letters to politicians to demand the public is ignored.
It piqued my interest as I was rather intrigued as to what had been discussed at this meeting, so I submitted a freedom of information request. The response was a brief note which you can read in Scribd here, but this is the part which I found most interesting.
"On plain packaging, the APPG expressed concerns that results of any consultation could be skewed if consumer/retail groups were used to inflate responses. They also wanted to know when decisions were likely to be made."
Now, I don't know about you, but that does seem to suggest that the delegation of MPs Stephen Williams, Kevin Barron and Bob Blackman (not Paul as in the document) - along with Deborah Arnott their ASH secretary - were urging Anne Milton to ignore responses from groups such as Hands Off Our Packs, the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, The Association of Convenience Stores etc. In fact, any organised group who are opposed to plain packaging. 
Note that they were not concerned about organised groups of any stripe collecting signatures which, of course, would have ruled out CRUK responses as well as SmokeFree South West's government-funded campaign. No, they were only addressing campaigns organised in opposition. 
Of course, there were no questions whatsoever about the signatures raised in support of the policy by state-funded fake charities, Cancer Research UK, and even the plain packs campaign itself, even though they were gathered using exactly the same methods. The stark hypocrisy of these odious creatures is stunning. 

All of which goes to prove that tobacco controllers are not just enemies of tolerance and freedom of choice, but also of the right of the public to have their views counted and, therefore, an enemy of the democratic process itself.

You can read their grubby letters demanding public responses be ignored at this Scribd link or scroll through it below. 

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