Resident Evil 4

So why am I so annoyed at this Plain Packs charade?

On a day to day basis it doesn't affect me as I always transfer my tobacco to a nice calfskin pouch, so lurid pictures and propaganda messages are consigned to the bin.

Buying tobacco will be a lot more difficult however.  The shops around here all have cigarette dispensing machines so provided the packs are placed in the their correct slots, it's just a matter of pressing the correct button to get the correct brand.  Pipe tobacco though is usually stored in a drawer and the only way of distinguishing one from another is by the packaging.  When the new packs come in, it will be a case of rummaging through a drawer full of packs, trying to find the right brand which will be frustrating and time consuming for myself, the shopkeeper and presumably any other customers who are waiting to be served.

My main objection though is to the principle of the whole charade.

Plain packs will have no effect whatsoever on smoking rates, as the Australian experiment has shown.  It is a measure designed purely to annoy and inconvenience smokers, and is akin to the small child pulling the wings off flies simply because he can.

This stupid law has been brought in because of pressure from a tiny cabal of anti-smoker fanatics.  There has been no demand from the public and in fact a quick search through today's papers [the day after the law was passed] you will find it hard to find a mention.  The public never asked for this and have greeted it with complete indifference [though just wait until the demands come in for plain packaging for their little guilty pleasures!].

Basically the law was driven in by just four people.

Fatso reilly with cheeeldren

Fatso introducing the cheeeeldren to the concept of smoking

First there is Fatso Reilly.  Failed Minister for Health and well known bully, he is just trying to redeem his abysmal career from the bottom of the toilet bowl.  His aim was to be the first in the World to introduce plain packs, but is now having to content himself with being the first in Europe.   He is best known for parroting the old clichés – 5,200 people die every year in Ireland blah blah, kills one in every two blah blah, the only industry that kills its own customers blah blah.


Luke Clancy is a smarmy character.  Ex-ASH and now leading the "Tobacco Free Research Institute" [whatever that is]. He is a professional anti-smoker and doubtless makes a handsome living out of it.  Went into a paroxysm of orgasms while talking about the new law.


Kathleen O'Meara is more of a smug religious zealot.  Head of Advocacy in the Irish Cancer Society, she also makes a nice living out of being an anti-smoker.


John Crown is a devout disciple of the Ant-Smoker Religion.  An irrational fanatic, the only thing that can be said in his favour is that he doesn't stand to gain financially [unless there are back-handers from Big Pharma].

I would seriously contend that without these four, there would be no plain packs law.  Between the four of them, they have introduced something that will be a boon to counterfeiters, a nightmare for shopkeepers and will in all likelihood cost the country billions in lawsuits and compensation.

If this new law were dropped, I doubt that anyone in the country would turn a hair apart from the four above.

There will be no argument

There is a strange phenomenon in modern day politics.

Those of us who have been following the Tobacco Control Industry will be familiar with it.  I refer of course to the practice of excluding any dissenting voices from any meeting.

We have seen Tobacco Control openly asserting that gubmints and other organisations should never ever allow a representative of Big Tobacco into any discussion which involves Big Tobacco.  The only conclusion I can draw from this is that Tobacco Control know damn well that all their assertions, "facts" and figures will be challenged and cracks will rapidly appear in all their arguments.  With the use of this tactic they are guaranteed 100% support in all their actions and demands.  It works for Robert Mugabe so why not for them?

Now we have a new tactic where not only is Big Tobacco excluded from everything but anyone who has had anything to do with them is persona non grata.  Fatso Reilly, our Minister for Cheeeeeldren is now seeking to exclude any company that has had dealings with Big Tobacco form applying for gubmint contracts.  How this is supposed to reduce smoking rates and "protect cheeeeldren" is way beyond me.  It smacks more of a little boy stamping his foot in anger and telling Johnny he cant come to the party because he once went to Billy's party.  The move is childish, hysterical and doubtless illegal but when you're dealing with the insane then I suppose rationality goes out the window?

I see the phenomenon is creeping beyond Tobacco.  There is a move here in Ireland to provide free doctor's visits to all kids under six.  Naturally there has to be some discussion about this and talks are continuing.  However the group that represents the doctors has been excluded from the talks.

The Department remains willing to engage with the NAGP but given (the NAGP’s) stated position that government’s policy on extending GP care without fees is immoral, and their call for a boycott. It is hard to see any real basis for partnership at this time.

In other words, the doctors say the scheme is unworkable so they are simply excluded from the discussions even though they are the group most directly affected by the outcome.  They are the ones who wil have to implement this scheme yet they are excluded from the talks?

I can't help but wonder what's next coming down the line. 

Will we have unanimous support in the Dáil in every vote as the opposition will be excluded from the chambers?

General Election ballot papers will only be issued to those who will vote for the current gubmint?

All dissenters will be shot?

This puts me in mind of something, if only I could remember the word……

Oh yes!



Lurid image

Ireland yesterday became the first European Union member state to pass a law introducing mandatory plain packaging for tobacco products.

By May 2017 all cigarettes must be sold in standardised packaging consisting of plain drab colouring, standard fonts and displaying a lurid, graphic image designed to disgust and nauseate the consumer.

Plain Pack


Seven minutes of insanity

Last week Christopher Snowdon posed the question "James Reilly: liar or simpleton?"

I would suggest that there is a third alternative – the man is insane.

In the following clip he quite deliberately and calculatedly presents a lie as a fact to the committee on plain packaging.

I must assume that Reilly is a reasonably intelligent person, seeing as he somehow managed to qualify as a doctor, so the explanation for this lie must either be that he failed to do any research and just went along with Tobacco Control's propaganda or else he sincerely believes that lying to his own parliament is perfectly acceptable as a weapon against the tobacco industry.

Reilly's obsessional hatred for the tobacco industry is patently obvious.  He all but says that those poor Swedes are slashing their gums because the industry forces them to.  They are hapless puppets in the face of the Evil Industry who will try anything to force people to consume tobacco. 

Reilly was interviewed on the radio yesterday.  I would urge you to have a listen.

He really does seem to believe that the tobacco industry is the epitome of all that is evil.  Apparently their sole aim is to corrupt "our cheeeldren" and the health of our nation?  If you are not 100% against them then you must be on their side.  If you have any dealings with them whatsoever then you are as evil as them.  He can barely bring himself to mention them by name and spits the words out as if to prevent himself from becoming contaminated.

One of his criticisms of the industry is "their inability to come out and tell the truth" which is somewhat bizarre after seeing the video above?

"We are fighting for the right for people to live their lives to their full potential here in Ireland, in Europe and across the World"?  Does this man seriously believe that he is on a crusade to save the world?

Note that the tobacco industry does not have customers – they are "addicted people"!

The part that worries me the most is his assertion that "we" will fight Big Tobacco to the very end in the courts regardless of cost.  Big Tobacco has "billions and billions and billions" but we have the Irish People and The Truth.  Somehow the latter is a winning combination and is going to defeat the finest legal minds?

The man is clearly out of touch with reality.  He is letting his obsessional hatred for an industry cloud his judgment and is going to cost this country billions to defend the "plain packs" idea that has proven to have little or no effect.

The man is not only insane but is dangerous.

A slap on the wrist from Big Health

Arthur Cox is a leading legal firm here in Ireland.

By my understanding, a legal firm deals with the law.  It doesn't matter a damn what the firm believes is right and wrong, as it's function is solely to interpret the law in any situation and to present a case based on that interpretation.  Because they may represent a murderer in court does not mean they are murderers themselves, that they practice murder in private or even that they condone murder.  They simply deal with the law in the best interests of their client.

Apparently the HSE doesn't realise this.  You see Arthur Cox provides legal advise to the HSE but it also represents JTI Ireland which is the tobacco company threatening to sue the gubmint.  The HSE is therefore hauling Arthur Cox over the coals for being in bed with Big Tobacco.

One of the more puerile arguments put forward by the Tobacco Control Industry is that anyone who has any dealing whatsoever with Big Tobacco is therefore inherently evil.  Big Tobacco is seen as the Devil incarnate and therefore anyone who has the remotest connections with them must de facto be evil also.  Presumably by this argument we must at all costs avoid any grocery shop and every supermarket chain as they all sell cigarettes and are therefore shills of Big Tobacco?

What we are witnessing here is the true passionate and completely irrational hatred for the tobacco industry.  In practice the tobacco industry and the pharmaceutical industry are almost identical – both are in business to sell products for which there is a demand [and which have physiological and psychological effects on the body] and to return a profit.  Their sole motive is profit and provided they make a profit, the use of their product is of no concern to them.  It could be argued that Pig Pharma probably causes far more damage with their products, taking into account wrong doses, side effects, unknown long term effects and overdoses but propaganda has made them the Good Guys and Big Tobacco the Bad Guys.

Big Tobacco is singled out and has its produce taxed at exorbitant rates which it accepts without a murmur yet Big Pharma charges €85,000 a year for a life saving cancer drug and nobody questions the fact they they are placing massive profits before lives?

We only have to witness the outburst from Crown yesterday where he demands a 99% tax on tobacco profits and cigarettes taxed at a rate of €1,000 for twenty to see the level of pathological and irrational hatred the man has for the industry.  The man is clearly insane yet he is one of the main drivers of the Irish Anti Smoker movement.  Equally, Reilly is forging ahead with his plans despite warnings and objections from US Industries, ten EU countries, our own police and customs, the retailers and the complete lack of any proof whatsoever that his plans will have any effect. 

I see today that Benson & Hedges increased its profits by €100 million in the UK just by changing the design on one of its packs.  I would love to know if they changed the design here in Ireland and what effect it may have had on sales, seeing as all branding is effectively removed by hiding cigarettes from view.  It illustrates two things though. 

It illustrate3 the huge importance of branding where changing a design can lead to an increase in sales, which is precisely why the industry is objecting to standard packaging.  This wasn't a sudden influx of new smokers but rather existing smokers switching brands, which is the whole aim of branding.

It also illustrates the scale of compensation Ireland can be expected to face if this insanity forges ahead.