Saturday 31 December 2016

Jewel Robbing in 2016

It's been a successful albeit traumatic year for your humble host business-wise, and overall I've quite liked 2016 for having injected some much-required cynicism into public discourse and - just perhaps - made a few politicians realise that they can't just carry on the way they currently do.

Keeping all that mostly separate though, here's a rundown of what we've been talking about here in the past 12 months.


We started 2016 with Dr Stephen Stewart of the Royal College of Physicians making 10 deceptive claims about Minimum Alcohol Pricing, it was also the month that Silly Sally came out with new alcohol guidelines which were anti-scientific and clearly aimed at edging us towards prohibition .. despite what useful idiots might say. Shirley Kramer of the Royal Society of Public Health then advocated plain packaging for fizzy drinks. None of these were the big story of the a month which saw the obscene parasites in 'public health' explode into 2016 though, oh no. That was reserved for Martin McKee, who was caught by FOI with his pants down, privately conspiring with Silly Sally to undermine Public Health England's report on e-cigs and was then revealed to have lied to colleagues in the BMJ. In other areas of research this would be a career-ending revelation, but 'public health' loves liars, so it wasn't.


This month saw a prominent tobacco controller admitting that plain packaging is a failure. We all know that, of course, but it was interesting to see one of their liars breaking ranks for a change. It didn't come as a surprise to we jewel robbers, especially since the Australian government refused to put this 'success' on record during an inquiry on the subject. Fancy that! February was also a month where I detailed how the liars at Health Stadia had encouraged rugby teams to expel vapers from the grounds of Aviva Premiership grounds just a couple of weeks before the National Centre for Smoking Cessation and Training released guidance endorsing their use as a stop smoking aid.


March had a Welsh tinge about it with Mark Drakeford blaming everyone but himself after his Health Bill failed when he refused to drop a ban on vaping from the provisions; meanwhile ASH Wales showed that they were far from being the vaper's friend by saying that they "fully welcome" a beach smoking ban which included e-cigs. It was also the month when the government proposed banning state-funded sock puppet charities lobbying, at which world class sock puppet Anna Gilmore was then outraged at the threat this presented to her future earnings potential. It was additionally when the sugar tax was announced by George Osborne - a triumph for anti-social snobs everywhere - and a smug moron posted the year's most idiotic article by writing about how vapers are all stupid and should let tobacco control walk all over them.


April saw yet another smoking ban which includes e-cigs, and this time it was fully supported by ASH Scotland. It was also the month when Australia decided to evaluate the success of plain packaging and, predictably, appointed Simple Simon Chapman - the guy who advocated for it - to lead the evidence-gathering charade. That's tobacco control 'science', folks. You may also remember that April was memorable for the incessant shrill whining that followed the release of a report by the RCP saying that e-cigs should be promoted widely ... it still hasn't subsided.


The Lords finally woke up to how ridiculous the TPD was in this month, delivering a load of common sense onto the pages of Hansard, albeit belatedly. It was also the month that Brexit: The Movie was released, arguably shifting the debate after being viewed by over 3 million online. Research found that plain packaging could have harmful consequences (not that 'public health' cares) and we dug into emails between ASH and the Department of Health, discovering the extraordinary extent of their (government lobbying) lobbying in favour of the TPD.


In June I delved more into the ASH/DoH emails and found how they tried to destroy vaping and, further, their attempts to grind vaping into the dirt. Meanwhile, 'public health' transnational organisation The Union proposed plain packaging for e-cigs and I reviewed A Billion Lives after a showing in Warsaw, finding that I didn't actually hate it like I thought I might. I also described my Westminster all-nighter on the evening of the Brexit referendum .. a week later once I'd sobered up.


Following the Brexit vote, some political commentators and MPs started to realise that "it's time that we treated the British people more like grown ups", if there's anything that needs cultivating in 2017, it's that! I spent a day with doctors at the Royal Society of Medicine and found that many of them are as sick of over-regulation of our pleasures as we are, and Public Health England's Martin Dickrell made a dogs' breakfast of defending vaping in the workplace on BBC Radio 5 Live.


In August, we saw a hideous bunch of extreme tobacco prohibition fascists actually propose banning smoking in the streets outside their hospital. It didn't seem to occur to them that they have no jurisdiction and that such things must come from primary legislation, but when you're part of a cult, you wouldn't even consider that, now would you? We also saw CAMRA finally realising that the health nutters are after them too, and heard more about how ASH Scotland are doing fuck all about vaping bans.


In September, we discovered that Simon Chapman - who condemned his detractors for not attending his weekday drone-fest at the RSM - had specifically demanded that anyone who dared to do just that be refused entry, pathetic coward that he is. It was also revealed that 'heart attack miracles' were pure fraudulent junk science (as we have always maintained) and a symbol which represents the anti-truth nature of the tobacco control industry scam. Despite being mendacious shysters themselves, tobacco controllers couldn't help themselves in launching a personal smear attack on Chris Russell for daring to attend a conference in Brussels to actually talk about health (which tobacco control is not remotely interested in). And to round off the month, we saw a bunch of vile fascists from the Chartered Institute of Environmental Health and The Faculty of Public Health actually advocate laws to hide smokers from children.


In October, Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt directed his obviously huge intellect towards proposing legislation to restrict the size of restaurant puddings. Yes, I bet you didn't expect to read that this time last year, now did you? Soon after, the WHO's FCTC congratulated mass-murderer President Duterte of The Philippines for his contribution to public health, and ASH - who have never had to sell anything in their lives and live on handouts - told corner shops that they didn't know how to run their businesses. It was a surreal time, it has to be said.


I travelled to India for COP7 in early November and posted a few articles on the subject which you can read at this tag, including a truly bizarre day the conference itself. Landing in the middle of a smog which presented a real life public health crisis, it was odd to watch a load of career tax-spongers agonise about outdoor smoking bans and restrictions on e-cigs while they walked around not seeming to care about the huge levels of carcinogens in the atmosphere around them which led to the closure of 1,800 Delhi schools. We also saw the first of what will be turn out to be hundreds of future attacks on Heat not Burn technology from ASH, with threats of bans already being mooted. Tobacco controllers increasingly claim they are in favour of harm reduction options like this, but regularly revert to type and scream for bans when push comes to shove, this is something worth watching in 2017.


The year ended with tobacco controllers squealing that the public had dared to respond to a public consultation; I had a grand day out in Westminster involving plenty of beer, nicotine, caffeine and unapproved food; and I proposed Dick's Law (see below).

With what we thought would be a final 2016 insult, the newly-installed ditzy and cretinous head of the Royal College of General Practitioners binned her organisation's stated stance on e-cigs by calling for vaping to be banned everywhere, but this woeful year end was thankfully tempered by a very interesting report entitled The Pleasure of Smoking which was released just after Christmas.

And that was the year that was. Pick the bones out of it as you will, but I'd go with Snowdon's assessment.
2016 was the most entertaining year I can remember. I doubt we shall see another one like it. 
If 'post-truth' is the word of the year - and apparently it is - the nanny statists have been ahead of the curve for a long time and they excelled themselves again this year.
Indeed they did; at times astounding, at others clearly insane, but always motivated by self-interest rather than health and long due a slap from above.

Happy New Year to all you liberty-loving fellow jewel robbers who have passed through here in 2016, remember in 2017 - as I beseeched at this time last year too - that it is we who are on the side of the angels, not them. 

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