Mind blowing laws

They are talking about decriminalising cannabis here.

This is possibly the most vague pronouncement yet from our Glorious Gubmint, which is famous for its hot air, lies and spin.

They say they are going to decriminalise, not legalise the stuff.  Now in theory, that means they are to remove all laws relating to cannabis, rather than introduce new ones.  I can't see that happening.

And what are they going to decriminalise?  Growing the stuff?  Supplying?  Using?  Knowing our lot, they'll decriminalise the use, but keep a ban in place for growing and supplying so you are free to smoke your spliff but you can't get one to smoke in the first place.

Our new Minister for Drugs says that he tried drugs [presumably cannabis] when he was a student but had not taken any illegal drugs.  He slides around this by saying he was in Amsterdam at the time, which shows just how daft the legal system is.  Smoke in Amsterdam and you're fine, but do the same thing here and you're a criminal.

He also says that he believes that "someone who has an addiction issue should be dealt with through the health system and not the criminal justice system".  I completely agree, but how does he reconcile this with our current anti-smoking laws?  They are forever spouting that Nicotine is so fucking addictive [more addictive than Heroin!] so why are smokers treated like criminals?

All in all, a lot of hot air and confusion.  I more than suspect that this is just a new minister trying to get his name  the papers.

I wish he'd make his plans clear though.

Us horticulturalists have to plan ahead.

 

The overlooked Isle

I have been doing a little light reading.

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.

The Isle of Man Tynwald has been holding a "consultation" with a view to tightening its anti-tobacco laws.

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.

The full result makes interesting reading.

Take a look for yourself.

How to make a fortune

I came across an article in The Guardian yesterday.

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.

Suckers!

Anthropomorphism

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.

Ultrasounds capture unborn baby grimacing in womb as mother smokes

I really don't know where to start with this one.

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.

This surely is a new low for junk science?

Scans