Saturday, January 03, 2009

Chinese democracy

(I am not the Devil's Kitchen)

A mere three weeks after the government's "public" consultation on the future of tobacco policy was shown here and elsewhere to have been a sham orchestrated by state-funded fake charities, one solitary newspaper has finally picked up on the story.

The story, you may recall, involved the government deciding to ban all tobacco products from view in every shop in Britain. They were "persuaded' to do so after a public consultation showed overwhelming support for this retarded and desperate idea.

From The Daily Telegraph:
The Government has been accused of fixing the outcome of public consultations on health policy after it emerged that reviews were flooded with block votes from groups funded entirely by the taxpayer. 

Earlier this month the Health Secretary, Alan Johnson, announced that the display of cigarettes and tobacco in shops would be banned in England and Wales from 2011.

He added that people wanting to buy cigarettes from vending machines would in future have to show proof of age to obtain a token to activate the machine, and machines could be banned altogether in the future.

Mr Johnson boasted that the display ban was favoured by an "overwhelming majority" of 96,000 responses to a six-month public consultation on the subject.

Yet only a handful of those 96,000 respondents came from individuals submitting their personal views. Almost 70,000 came from those collected by pressure groups entirely funded by the Department for Health.

And The Telegraph provides a handy reminder that other consultations are carried out in the same dubious manner by our mendacious government:

The Government also published responses to a consultation on alcohol consumption earlier this month, in advance of a Policing and Crime Bill currently passing through Parliament, which proposes giving the Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, sweeping powers to control licensing in pubs and clubs.

The consultation attracted 2,336 responses. Almost 2,000 of these came either from a survey by Alcohol Concern, a charity which last year was given almost £400,000 by the Department for Health and raised nothing through fundraising, or postcards distributed by the Department itself, which posed the question:
"Fed up with alcohol problems where you live?"

Nothing leading, emotive or arm-twisting about that question then. I look forward to the next consultation when the question will be "Do you want terrorists to burn your fucking house down or do you want an ID card?"

But what The Torygraph fails to mention - perhaps because it does not know - is that the pretend tobacco consultation went beyond being a big dodgy and entered the realms of fuck-me-is-this-a-banana-republic corruption. As Dick Puddlecote pointed out at the time, the DoH did not merely use taxpayers money to solicit a mass-response in favour of its own proposals, it also completely ignored the 25,000 members of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance:

In a report on the Future of Tobacco Control consultation published on Tuesday 9th December 2008, the Department of Health appears to have deliberately omitted evidence offered by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance.

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."

'Tis true. The Tobacco Retailers Alliance - a coalition of shopkeepers funded by the tobacco industry (yes I know, boo, hiss etc.) - is not even mentioned in the consultation document despite their having spent a year gathering together its response. And as much as the DoH are a bunch of illiberal quack bastards, surely they would not stoop so low as to ignore the views of the thousands of shopkeepers who would be most adversely affected by this spastic piece of legislation?

Perhaps the Tobacco Retailers Alliance forgot to send off their petition?

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."

What possible reason could this bunch of medico bureaucrat twats have for silencing the views of all these people?

Evidence offered by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance which was suppressed in the report includes:

Evidence that a display ban would disproportionately hit smaller shops

An econometric study which found that 2,600 UK shops would cease to be profitable if forced to operate in these conditions

Evidence that a display ban could double transaction times in shops, halving retail efficiency

Fears for shop security and staff safety as retailers have to take their eyes off the shop when retrieving tobacco products

A study by the Centre for Economic and Business Research found that 2,600 shops would cease to be profitable, causing a potential loss of 8,000 jobs, if shops were forced to hide tobacco products out of sight.

If what this organisation is alleging is true - and I have no reason to believe otherwise - it is deeply disconcerting. Regardless of what you think about smoking or this stupid fucking proposal, here is a major government department actively inviting a response from the public, and specifically saying that...

We are particularly interested in hearing from small retailers and in receiving information on the potential cost impact of further restrictions on display

And after all that, they not only solicit and accept thousands of postcard responses from people who - let's face it - didn't have a clue what they're supporting, but they consciously and deliberately suppressed the views of 25,000 people when they gave logical and rational reasons why the proposal was a piece-of-shit idea. The barrel of motherfuckers. The lousy, corrupt, cheating, corrupt, lying, corrupt set of corrupt bastards.

Seriously, what in the name of Greek buggery is going on? The shocking thing is not that these unelected skivvies have the balls to sink so low, nor even that they have the power to dictate the law of the land, but that they have the sheer arrogance to believe they can get away with it. 

If all this is proven - and I hope the Tobacco Retailers Alliance pursues it with all their vigour - heads have to roll. It is inconceivable that this can have been an oversight or the fault of some junior bean-counter. The number of people involved in this scam must number at least into the dozens and every one of the twats should be sacked immediately.

The swine.


Prodicus said...

Appalling. Immoral. Abuse of power. The retailers should go for judicial review if they can afford it.

Shug Niggurath said...

The country is already fucked. This will slip through unchallenged because people don't really give enough of a fuck.

Indeed, whether you agree or not, I think there's a majority in this country now who are so cowed that they would probably think this type of behaviour by government is both normal and acceptable.

Trixy said...

Ask them if they received it: and copy it in to

And then also ask them why, if they did receive it, they chose to ignore it.

Katabasis said...

Good idea Trixy.... FOI request in the post on Monday...

DavidNcl said...

Oh come on. Did you expect anything else?

My current love is this lot NEF

Basically this is a government funded front organization set up to argue that free markets are bad. There's some surrounding "social/green" rhetoric - all bullshit of course.

There are hundreds of these organizations - I particularly despise the NSPCC but look in almost any direction.

I just took a wild punt (no, honestly! oh - you twats!) and Googled "food council" - first link was food council

I didn't even look to see if what they were advocating so confident am I that it was scientist, statist drivel.

Try your own experiments. Food, Health Alcohol, Road Safety, Drugs, Speed, Environment, Ethics, Peace, Bla fucking bla.

I haven't googled any of these words - but pair them with social, justice, council, commission etc bloody etc.

Government lie-tanks.

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Fred said...

As a life long anti-smoker, I suppose I should be pleased by this. Am I heck!!

This proposal has damn all to do with smoking, and everything to do with criminalising the whole of the UK population (except the favoured groups, of course), thereby delivering a docile, subservient people to our new rulers in Brussels.

By the way, having the Executive pay "independent" groups to lobby the Executive (Commission), so that legislation can then be introduced "as a result of public demand" is an EU tactic of some maturity now.

Anonymous said...

I wonder which commercial sector they will decide to play dirty tricks on next. The fast food sector looks ripe for picking off to me. But I reckon they will try to do it by applying extra taxes to our fish and chips, after pretending to "consult widely". However they go about it it will be dishonest and destroy thousands of small businesses.


Ian B said...

It wasn't arrogance to think they could get away with it. It was simply the awareness that they could.

The only time politicians don't get away with things is when the gossip society- that is, the halo of political journalists and media around the governent- decide they won't. The government know that there will be no media witchhunt over lying about tobacco. The work of demonisation is long complete. No newspaper, let alone a critical mass of them, are going to come out guns blazing on behalf of smokers. Just ain't gunna happen.

Ian B said...

Anonymous, the Bastards have just mulcted £200M from the food, advertising and other big companies to pay for a propaganda blitz against their own products. If we resist, they're going to take our food away.

Ben Bradshaw, the Health Minister, warned that obesity was rising so fast that by 2050 four out of 10 children and nine out of 10 adults will be overweight or obese.

This is bullshit, by the way.

He promised that the Government would not shy away from bringing in new rules to force food companies to play a part in changing the country's eating habits. Limits could be imposed on the amount of fat and salt in certain products.

Welcome to grey, grey Britain, where progress has made tasty food a thing of the past. Feel free to wash it down with your statutorily permitted shot glass of shandy.

My two nearest retail businesses are Mr Patel's booze, ciggie and cake shop, and the chip shop. I doubt they'll be there much longer. They're both run by immigrant families. I imagine this is part of the policy of discouraging economic migration, by ensuring that anyone who arrives here with any entrepreneurial spirit is utterly crushed.

Shug Niggurath said...

We're kind of preaching to the choir now eh?

Perhaps it's time to invade the comments section on the friendly blogs and MSM sites.

Although I work alongside a lot of journalists and they are all trendy lefties to be honest. Some of them even express disgust on the amount of advertising in the rags (and that is what pays for them, the cost of the actual paper is less than 10% of the turnover).

Ian B said...

I'm not sure there's anyone to preach to besides the choir.

What about a write-in campaign to these major corporations who are supporting government "initiatives"?

"Dear MacDonalds CEO,

As a regular customer of your fine eateries, I was appalled to read today that you have contributed to the UK government's "healthy eating" iniative. Are you barking fucking mad? How the fuck did you get to be head of a major corporation if you can't see which way the wind is blowing? You think they'll leave you alone if you give them a bit of money? Don't you realise that by helping them, you're accepting that your products are toxic and deserve to be restricted and banned? Haven't you seen what's happened to the tobacco companies? You're next, sunshine.

Please grow some balls. Next time the minister asks you round for a chat, tell them to fuck off. People out here buy your burgers because we like salty, fatty food.

Yours etc etc"

Maybe if they got a few hundred thousand such letters, they might grow some balls.

timbone said...

According to the 'church of smokefree', if anything has been touched by the tobacco industry, then it can only be evil, whatever is said must be influenced by the devil himself, so is not true. This is their justification for ignoring it. The Tobacco Retailers Alliance are funded by the tobacco industry, which of course means that the tobacco industry give them a website and fund meetings for them and so on. These are shopkeepers, not puppets, they make individual choices because they are in business and want their businesses to continue.

As for the rest of the public, you go out tomorrow, speak to anybody, ask them about tobacco products going under the counter. I guarantee that few if any will even know about it. I only know because I happen to visit sites online which mention it. Public consultation?

The Filthy Smoker said...

@ Ian B.

"[Ben Bradshaw] said: "We have already made progress on things like labelling and fat and salt content working with the industry. But if this three-year campaign does not succeed, we don't rule out regulating in future."

Three years? These fuckers are getting pretty confident about winning the next election, aren't they?

@ David

The New Economics site is a favourite of mine whenever I need a good giggle. They have some connection with economic and scientific genius Caroline Lucas I think? After a quick sesh on the charities commission website, I see that they (naturally) have charitable status. They get their cash from the Joseph Rowntree foundation but where *they* get their bunce from I can't tell (although they get plenty).

The food council is chaired by one of the Soil Association nutters and is, of course, a charity. I can't tell who funds them either. Any information would be welcome.

Charity begins at home. And that where it stays with this government.

Ian B said...

Filthy Smoker-

The Joe Rowntree Foundation is a money source; they have investments which they invest and make a profit from which they hand out in grants. According to their website last year they had about £280M invested. I can't find it stated there, but presumably they were kicked off by a lump sum of investments in Joe's will.

So they aren't getting money from the guv. It's their money and they can do what they like with it. What they like to do with it, as with all these types of funds left by supercapitalists, is to fund things that move us towards the hive society, same with the foundations left behind by Rockerfeller, Carnegie, Ford, R W Johnson (of Johnson and Johnson fame). They're a major funding source of the collectivist/social reform/progressive/prohibitionist movement and, being independent of government, basically beyond reproach, since it's no more corrupt than if I were super-rich and left behind a fund "for the furtherance of the libertarian cause".

The most we can do against them is to stand outside their offices throwing stale buns.

Or somehow use propaganda to drag their name through the dirt as funders of fascism. One or the other.

Ian B said...

Oh, and Rowntree was a longtime active member of the Temperance Society and wrote Temperance tracts. Quelle surprise.

The Filthy Smoker said...

So long as they're not doing it with my money they can witter on all they like. I've just spent a few minutes on the Rowntree Foundation site, including a quick listen to some of their boring, navel gazing, middle-class, anti-consumerist, pseudo-intellectual conferences or lectures or whatever the fuck they are (about social evils).

Christ on a bike, there really are a lot of people paid to do nothing on other people's money in this world.

Ian B said...

Well, I do care what they're up regardless of whether they're paid out of taxes, trust funds, collecting tins or selling their bodies in Whitechapel. They have enormous effect. These types of groups are major drivers of the temperance movement (and the rest of progressivism).

Besides all else, they're getting a favour from the state with charitable status, which not only gets them tax freeness, it also provides a halo of goodness they don't deserve.

They aren't doing nothing on other peoples' money, they're doing a great deal, and all of it is very bad indeed. If you like a little of what you fancy in life it is, anyway.

Frank Davis said...

Ian B wrote: The government know that there will be no media witchhunt over lying about tobacco. The work of demonisation is long complete. No newspaper, let alone a critical mass of them, are going to come out guns blazing on behalf of smokers. Just ain't gunna happen.

Unfortunately I think this is exactly how it is. After all, "everybody knows" that smoking kills, and it's almost impossible for anyone to think otherwise. That's what 60 years of carefully framing tobacco has achieved. And now that "everybody knows" that passive smoking kills as well, they're moving on to third hand smoke.

Looking on the bright side, I'm amazed how rapidly the conditioning wears off once you actually start questioning this crap. And if I can do it, anyone can. It's going to be a long, long drop for these lying cunts when that happens.

DavidNcl said...

NEF is at least partly funded by the state:

"Principal funding sources
Our funding sources are diverse and we receive funding from trusts and foundations, local, regional
and national government and through consultancy contracts."

Shug Niggurath said...

local, regional and national government

So what is 'regional' government? Probably Scots and Welsh assemblies?

Still it's good to know that our taxes go there. After all the only places that cuts could be made would be schools'n'ospitals.


Of course they can get away with it,they have for the last thirteen years and before that,because there is no effective opposition,and there is no effective opposition because,apart from being thick as shit,the sheeple just can not be bothered,and those that should be pulling the whole people together,are too busy bickering with one another about who is or who is not a racist/fascist/nazi/xenophobe,and they all want to be the supreme general and can not for one moment forget thier own inflated egos,this the marxist powers find delightful,this self defeating individualism,the legacy of thatcher,is what keeps us divided and impotent,we have an army full of generals and everyone knows so much better than his fellows that no-one is prepared to simply follow.

Dave said...

The corruption of ASH et al gets worse. I have posted a letter that the then head of ASH, Clive "Belgium Beer" Bates wrote to the Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline trying to get one of the GSK board sacked, and subsequently was successful. ASH are arrogant enough to leave it in the public domain. What is revealng in the letter is that ASH directly state they helped GSK in the marketing of NRT to the Department of Health.

"ASH has worked closely with both Glaxo and SmithKline Beecham staff and always welcomed the
active collaboration. I hope to continue this with the merged company. We have worked with GSK
under the auspices of the WHO-Europe Partnership Project on tobacco dependence and at various
one-off opportunities. ASH was instrumental in securing greater government commitment to
smoking cessation products in the NHS National Plan and we have helped with PR for both Zyban
and Niquitin CQ. Our involvement with GSK staff has, I believe, been mutually beneficial, and we
have gained from exposure to the company's arguments and insights. I have always admired the
commitment and professionalism of the GSK staff involved."

Utter corruption.

Chalcedon said...

Bastards. I really hate this government and they way they have politicised the civil service and police. The population is cowed. Linda Lusardi stupidly rings 999 to ask to be allowed to use the hard shoulder to get out of a traffic jam (which the highways agency should have sorted out PDQ) to get to her panto, instead of just using it anyway and taking any consequences later, should she have been nabbed.

Chalcedon said...

Oh, alcohol concern is angry that JD wetherspoons are slashing the price os a session ale to uner a quid. Bloody great say I. Terrible to have 1989 prices say they. Fuck you, you bastards say I and cheers to everyone else. I just bet alco concern is funded by the taxpayer. But I was never asked if I wanted to fund them, or anti smoking pressure groups or any charities. i give to a selected charity, selected by me. It's not up to governments to support charities. BASTARDS!

Chalcedon said...

I need an edit option. Bloody typos. of a session ale, under a quid

DavidNcl said...

Chalcedon, in 2007 Alcohol Concern has an income of some 815k of which year of which about 655k is from the Dept of Health.

souce (pdf)

cabalamat said...

"Fed up with alcohol problems where you live?"

I have an alcohol problem where I live. My alcohol problem is that local off-licenses have to close at 10 pm due to joyless busybodies who hate the idea of anyone having fun.

mmm said...

I often look at the China Daily website.
Such perusal flags obvious differences in reporting bias.
Strangely, earlier today, I was reading how factions in China are trying to run the same media agenda about passive smoking as are agencies in the UK.
BAT China is accused of trying to distract attention from smoking and rather seeking to promote air filtration technology for entertainment venues.
BAT 'tried to sway' smoking policy

dastardly said...

Much like ASH who received only £11,000 in donations and bequests last year, but over £1000,000 from the Government and pharmaceutical companies. And this bunch of lying, duplicitous shit-bags are also a charidee so they are also exempt from tax as they govern everyone lives and drive 100,000 pub workers onto the dole. Absolute bastards.

Furry Conservative said...

I'm sure Hazel Blears will be along in a minute whining about why no-one trusts MPs anymore.

Roger Thornhill said...

BTW Regional Government exists in all but name. The Regional Development Agencies. I suppose the only thing they truly develop is their own power base.

Druid said...

I find it funny that all this anti bad stuff works well for both sides. The tobacco companies no longer need an advertising budget, as the ban and the use of no smoking signs everywhere ensures that people are reminded of their need to smoke - very clever!

McDonalds will be winning the same way - Junk Food Ad ban just means that there is no need to spend a fortune on advertising, just let the BBC news reports show us burgers and fries nationwide for free!

OK, so maybe they need to spend a few quid on joining the righteous club, but their reward will be tenfold - at least!

One day we will realise it was the diesel fumes of public transport which was the main cause of lung cancer, but by that time, cigarettes will just be a history lesson!

Anonymous said...


'Leading beyond Authority' (or ultra vires as it used to be known.

vincent1 said...

And welcome to the "New World Fu**ing order".
Anyone going the TICAP conferance in Brussels?
mandyv for smokers and non-smokers alike, fighting for choice and TRUTH

I gave up giving to Crooks UK and told them why, after giving for 25 years. Research is research, and propaganda shit, is just that!

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