People tend to forget that Great Britain extends a little beyond England, Wales, Scotland and Norn Iron. The likes of the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man tend to be overlooked in the rush and people overlook the fact that each has its Legislature Assembly.
I say a "consultation" but it appears to be the usual whip around between the usual suspects, though they have included businesses on their consultation list so either this was a mistake, or they are considerably more liberal than the countries that surround them. Apart from the odd brewery, the rest seem to be the usual suspects of "charities", vested interests and QANGOs.
The questions they pose have the standard yes/no/don't know options which nicely reflects the black and white mindset of governments everywhere. This allows for considerable leeway on the interpretation of the responses, which again is fairly typical.
For example they ask "Do you believe that there should be further restrictions on the advertising and promotion of tobacco and related products?". This is nicely vague and can mean anything from not having the word "tobacconist" on the front of the shop through to forcing the retailer to sell tobacco down in the basement behind steel doors, where no one can see the transaction.
The results of the consultation surprised me, I confess. I thought they would get the usual "overwhelming support", but in fact the answers seem remarkably honest. For example when it came to the "further controls" questions, they barely got a majority of 55% which would tend to indicate that people have become somewhat weary of the constant push for further legislation.
The question on plain packaging was interesting –
Do you believe that plain packaging of tobacco products (e.g. cigarettes and bagged tobacco) would help reduce the uptake of smoking by young people?
The response of No – 61.6% against Yes – 27.3% does seem to reflect the general public apathy to this notion. What is more remarkable is that this result came despite a declaration in their original documentation that –
"There is good evidence that tobacco advertisements and ‘cool, fun and attractive’ displays do influence young people to take up smoking, and studies have shown that impulse buying of tobacco products as a result of seeing a display remains high, especially amongst young people."
As an aside – I would love to see their "studies" on impulse buying, and surely "young people" can't impulse buy if they are underage?
Some of the questions give an insight into the probable future "salami slices" legislation that will come down the line – banning smoking in all private vehicles, and banning smoking in private homes.
No doubt the results of the "consultation" will have little or no impact on the final laws that are introduced. I get the impression that these procedures are in place merely to judge the level of backlash when the Draconian measures are introduced, and to give them a chance to spin their response in advance.
What led me to it was that there were a couple of references to this humble site in the comments, and I was wondering why so many Guardian readers were suddenly arriving. However that's not the point of this post.
Reading through the comments, what struck me was the appalling repetition of all the old propaganda clichés put out by the Tobacco Control Industry. There were the eight million deaths worldwide, the "smokers cost the NHS", "Big Tobacco is The Evil Empire" and all the other tired sound bites so beloved of the smoking Nazis. What all these people miss is the core foundation of the whole Anti-Smoker lark. What is it that makes smoking so unpopular? Why is Big Tobacco the evil empire?
Let me explain.
Suppose I decide that I want to make a fortune. The first thing I do is pick a target. For the purpose of this exercise let's say I choose diesel.
Having chosen my target I then set up a charity to "protect" people from diesel fumes. Now protection and health are seen as very laudable objectives so no one will complain. The charity can have a nice catchy title such as Diesel Emissions Are Terminating Health, or DEATH for short.
My next step is to produce "facts". These facts need not be true, but they must be good headline material, and the more lurid the better. "Diesel fumes account for 20 million deaths worldwide every year", or "diesel fumes are killing our children [mention of children is essential] at the rate of ten thousand a day". Naturally diesel fumes will be the cause of nearly all fatal ailments and even a few that I haven't invented yet. As diesel fumes are a known carcinogen, the public will suck up my imaginary figures and with a bit of luck will use them as a basis for their arguments.
I then apply for government funding. Again, as I am fighting to save the children, this should be no problem. I then use this money to lobby the government [after I have taken a very handsome salary for myself, of course].
I persuade the government to introduce new laws. First of all, all diesel vehicles must be painted red with a large skull and crossbones on the side. I will then produce fancy graphs and statistics that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that a hundred children are being saved every week as a result. I demand more money to build upon my success.
Naturally I tell the government that they must impose punitive taxes on diesel fuel. This money, I tell them is to be put into the battle against Big Diesel and should be used by charities [mine, in other words] to fight the pernicious evil.
The fuel manufacturers will naturally complain, but that's no problem – they are Big Diesel and are killing our children, They must therefore be excluded from all discussions and any facts and figures they provide have to be labeled as Big Diesel lies.
I then persuade the government to gradually introduce a raft of new measures such as banning diesel vehicles from residential areas and motorways, limiting engine capacity and forcing passenger restrictions [no child under 18 allowed in such a vehicle]. I tell the government that they can be "world leaders" in the fight against Big Diesel, and of course produce startling figures proving how more and more lives are being saved.
Throughout this period I produce tons of "research" proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that all the measures are saving countless lives and that they must pump even more cash into my charity so that we may save those unfortunates who are still dying.
Suppose though that someone comes up with some kind of catalytic converter for diesel exhausts [as electrofags came on the scene to thwart the Anti Smokers]? The simple answer is to invent further new research into the converters which not only proves they are just as bad as diesel fumes [if not a lot worse] but they are actually normalising the use of diesel engines.
One thing I have to watch though is that my efforts aren't too successful. After all, should I succeed in banning all diesel powered vehicles then there is no further use for my charity and my enormous golden goose is dead.
Of course my biggest success wil be in brain washing the gullible public into supporting my cause. They are my greatest advocates and will do most of my job for me.
I have seen some pretty whacky off the wall research in my time.
This one should surely take the biscuit . In fact if a student of mine presented this "research" as a thesis, not only would I give a resounding "Fail" but would boot the student clear into the shelf-stacking areas of Tesco.
Let's start with the gigantic cross-section of society that was tested. Four? Four smokers and sixteen non-smokers? Wow! Dr Reissland didn't exactly break into a sweat over this one? Extrapolating the results from twenty subjects is going to give a really accurate representation of society, isn't it?
Lets' have a look at her conclusion –
Unborn babies appear to grimace in the womb when their mother lights up, scientists have shown, demonstrating the harmful effects of smoking during pregnancy.
They APPEAR to grimace? What kind of fucking science is this? Could it be that the "researchers" were attributing their own prejudices to the images? Surely not? That would be unscientific, wouldn't it?
Using their methodology, I could examine a field full of cows chewing the cud. But the cows nearest the road APPEAR to be reciting Shakespeare. My ground breaking conclusion is that being near a road increases cows' literacy rates. A load of bollox? Of course it is, but I am using exactly the same criteria.
Equally I could look at those scans, and declare that the fetuses of the smoking mothers are in fact wriggling with joy whenever Mammy lights up? But that would be contrary to the EXPECTED results so that can't be right.
The good doctor wants to show these images to smoking mothers to scare the shit out of them help them quit. We're about to see lurid anti-smoker porn on pregnant bellies now, are we? At least she is against demonising smoking mothers. Yeah Right.
The irony of the whole business is that there is one tangible, demonstrable result –
All the babies in her study were born healthy, and were of normal size and weight.
So, using the good doctors own yardstick, she has proved that smoking has no effect on babies whatsoever.
Once more I find myself in trouble with the authorities.
Try as I might it seems I can't do right for doing wrong. I do my best to be polite, reasonable and even in moments of extreme provocation, good humoured, but all to no avail.
I have been given another lashing by Supershadow.
Once again you have continued to shock and suprise and as usual for all the wrong reasons.
I write this letter as a letter of protest but I will attempt to be both courteous and critical at the same time.
Like myself – courteous and critical.
Last thursday Myself and Lord bruticus organised a jedi training day at the coruscant temple here in Los angeles. A section on health of mind and body was delivered by yours truly to both parents and teenagers present.
Two things confuse me here – I though you were so high up in the ranks that no one knows your true identity, yet you parade yourself in front of the masses? And I thought Bruticus was on the Dark Side? Don't tell me you have turned traitor?
Part of my presentation related to the dangers of smoking and more recently Electronic cigarettes. When showing a video on the subject on youtube I recognised your username on the suggestion. It was with shock and horror that I discovered the following:
Damn! I'd forgotten all about that video. I stuck it up donkey's years ago and forgot all about it. I see it;s had 13,000 visits – is that "viral"?
I see the years haven't been to kind to it. The quality is now crap. Those twats in YouTube must have let it get damp.
bad enough promoting cancer on your web site without PROMOTING YOUR SMOG PORN ON YOUTUBE AS WELL???
I weep for the children who have mislead by your video. I weep for those dying on hospital beds right now because of smoking related illness's. And yours is not the only video.
Smog Porn? I like it!! It has a catchy ring to it.
However, I think it's time for a little lesson here. Listen carefully here, SS and you might learn something.
An electronic pipe produces vapour. OK? Not smoke, but vapour. It is about as likely to damage you [or anyone] as the steam off a mug of coffee. In case you didn’t notice, there was a battery in the bowl, not tobacco. If you are going to go around saying that electronic cigarettes [and pipes] are as bad as smoking then I can only assume you are in the pay of Big Pharma, as they are the only big losers in this game.
I have red flagged your video with you tube. If removing your video will save just one life then it will be worth it.
Either they are very slow, or they have more sense, as the video is still there. And since when did a video kill anyone?
Some day there will be a jedi one world government. I just hope you will live long enough to reach that day so I can personally see that you are brought to justice. Forget about the regional shaaba I will personally see that you are brought before the council of morm-jordil itself.
Funny you should mention my longevity. I posted about my new page only a couple of days ago. Take a read. it's a bit of an eye-opener. Maybe I'll outlive you and the Jedi One World Government? I shall look forward to meeting you though.
What will you do when the Jedi Appropriatti (jedi police) call to the door? There will be no more bravado, no more derogatory remarks about star wars fans or the films.
If they come knocking at my door, I shall be supremely surprised [and that’s putting it mildly]. I suppose I shall offer them tea or coffee. I might even offer them a pipe full of baccy, in the interests of world peace, but that's unlikely. And I never made derogatory remarks about the Star War films apart from saying they were pretty mediocre.
You don't understand the sacrifice. I quote once again from the Journal of the Whill:
"For the Jedi balance of the Force is his very reason for existing. Better that a Jedi abandon family rather than let the Force be unbalanced – be he a father, grandfather, uncle or brother. This is the Jedi discipline"
Some day the name Mickey Suttle will be mentioned with reverence by future generations.
Eventually microsoft, apple, intel and all the other major corporations will all be merged under the umbrella of Suttle Enterpises Incorporated.
Do you want a website for Suttle Enterprises Incorporated? My prices are reasonable.
Then the mood chip will be rolled out to the public.
The time of reckoning is here for you grandad.
Step through before its too late.
Step through what? You keep nagging me to change my ways, but you don't exactly lay out the path you want me to follow. Do you want me to stop having erotic fantasies about Princess Leia? Do you want me to wave my sabre around in public? Just tell me.
Incidentally, not having visited that video in years I see there are a few comments that have appeared from somewhere.
"Sounds Irish to me" Very perspicacious?
"You are the classiest person I've ever seen on Youtube." Aw! How sweet. Maybe I should do some more?