The PP Debate in the Commons

There is a transcript.

According to Simon Clark at ‘Taking Liberties’, there was much confusion about when exactly the Government would make a statement about the Chantler report. Various times and dates were conjectured. In the event, the announcement was made on Wednesday at 11.30 am:

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-04-03a.1018.0

In my own mind, I suspect that much organising was going on behind the scenes. I can certainly see that certain MPs were briefed about the timing of the announcement since the actual announcement was poorly attended – and yet the Zealots were well represented and had a lot to say in support of PP.

But we are used to this sort of trickery. The ‘debate’ was only for show, since the decision to allow the Health Dept to bring in PP, if it wishes to, has already been taken (as has the decision about the introduction of a law which forbids smoking in cars when children (aka ‘kids’ under the age of 18) are present.

We should observe straight away that, if PP is passed ‘to protect children’, then there is nothing to stop the extension of ‘protection of children’ to smoking in cars.

But let me link to the transcript (H/T Dick P):

http://www.theyworkforyou.com/debates/?id=2014-04-03a.1018.0

I read the whole thing, of course. And I was astonished. There are so many things in the announcement which are childishly simplistic that I found it difficult to believe that grown-up, intelligent MPs could accept the logic. For example, Chantler said that 200,000 ‘kids’ per year started to smoke. He said that PP had the potential, maybe perhaps, to stop 4,000 of these ‘kids’ starting to smoke. As I understand it, that figure came from the academics in the Sheffield Uni, or somewhere similar. It was the product of a computer simulation.

Right.

But how do these people know that PP would not cause AN INCREASE in ‘illicit whites’, which might be sold be unscrupulous persons to ‘kids’ cheap? How do they know that the number of ‘kids’ who start smoking, would not increase by 4,000 as an unintended consequence of PP? How do they know?

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But what is perhaps even more worrying is that the whole thing about PP is being directed by a novice minister. Where is the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt? He is a multi-millionaire in his own right, and so he need not be concerned about his political career in the sense that he is protected by his wealth from repercussions, and yet he seems to believe that a massive change in intellectual property rights is of no significance. If that change is of no interest to the Sec of State for Health, which ‘Sec of State’ IS IT of interest to?

But the question also arises about EU (or even, international) rules about competition. Which Sec of State is responsible for those considerations? Are vague ‘health benefits’ and ‘protection of children’ sufficient to overturn the whole common market hegemony on competition and standards? You see, the only consideration that I know of which can overturn EU rules on competition are health considerations. Are the proposed, vague, uncertain health benefits of PP sufficient?

Perhaps we should note how Cameron, Clegg and Milliband have kept their head well below the parapet, and left it to an inexperienced girl, just like Milton and Soubry, to do the dirty work of the Health Zealots.

Why are Cameron, Clegg and Milliband terrified of the Medical Establishment? I find it unutterably crazy that the three of them, after the last election, and after the coalition had been formed, didn’t get their heads together and make it their business to decapitate the Medical Establishment. How can they hope to improve the economy when they are at the mercy of a wasteful and destructive force which comes from the demands of the unproductive academics? And the FCTC Zealots and Charlatans?

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There is one redeeming feature about the PP fiasco, which is that, in theory, it completes the FCTC demands (I think!). PP is supposed to be the final nail in the coffin of tobacco advertising. Fine – but unintended consequence entail. For example, Philip Morris have determined to withdraw their production from Holland, and they have decided to terminate their production in Australia. No doubt they will be replaced by imports, but how will the collection of duty taxes be arranged? Tobacco Product Manufacturers have collected the duty. Who will collect it when Philip Morris has moved it production to South Korea?

Further, car manufacturers have been moving out of Australia for some time. Thousands of jobs have been lost. The last motor manufacturer, Mitsubishi, is due to close next year.  The Ausie PM has appealed to them not to do so, of course, but it is too late. The previous government was too busy wasting the country’s resources on people like Chapman. If Abbott had the courage, he would eliminate all the hangers-on and charlatans, and make them earn their crust. Academics must teach, and shut the f*ck up about government.

I am not sure where the FCTC demands end, although I am pretty sure that PP is the ultimate as described in the ‘convention’. PP is supposed to be the final nail in tobacco advertising. Well, maybe, but people will still find their own ‘favourite’ brand. The same would apply if whisky was delivered in ‘plain, brown’ bottles. Word would get around.

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The persecution of tobacco must end sooner or later. Note that I use the phrase ‘persecution of tobacco’ deliberately. There must come a point where the demonisation of tobacco ceases to have any relevance. That is, further demonisation serves no purpose when it has gone as far as possible. At a certain point, it ceases to be effective. Will the reaching of that point result in prohibition?

 

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5 Responses to “The PP Debate in the Commons”

  1. garyk30 Says:

    “Chantler said that 200,000 ‘kids’ per year started to smoke. He said that PP had the potential, maybe perhaps, to stop 4,000 of these ‘kids’ starting to smoke.”

    Wow, a whole 2% and will not have no effect on the other 98%.

    A useless program.

    However, it is even worse than that.

    With a total population of 60 million, the UK has about 15 million kids under the age of 18.

    Those 4,000 are just 3/100ths of 1% of the kids.

    That program will have no effect on 99.97% of the kids.

    That program will effect just 1 out of 3,750 kids.

    Politicians are paid to produce such useless nonsense?????

  2. Junican Says:

    Note that Chantler said “MAY” have such an effect. If “illicit whites” come in pretty packets, like these ‘Manchester’ packets in Australia, then is it not likely, applying the logic of tobacco control, that these cigs will be very attractive to ‘kids’? Will therefore kids start smoking these illicit whites in greater numbers?
    Nothing will have been achieved health-wise.
    Kids will be smoking more.
    Several legitimate industries will have been damaged.
    The Exchequer will have lost billions of pounds in tax.

  3. Frank J Says:

    I wouldn’t be too optimistic about the ‘end’ of FCTC being reached. No doubt they’ll claim that anybody seen smoking in public is advertising. As our dear and glorious leaders seem petrified of being associated with the “murder of innocent children” they’ll rush to queue behind it.

    Secondly, there’s the third and fourth hand smoke issues building up. Nonsensical tripe it is but, again, we have that association that frightens the intestines out of our deep thinking legislators.

    The stutterings and stammerings over e-cigs gives indication of both the above. One day soon, they’ll wake up and realise just how they’ve allowed themselves to be manipulated by that small group of Sociologists and social managers happily leeching off the taxpayer thanks to Blair’s insidious tactics – the now infamous and expensive third sector.

  4. beobrigitte Says:

    I, too, am not optimistic with respect to the end of FCTC being reached.

    Usually it is the case that the anti-smoking virtues are knocked back, which prompts the anti-smokers to wait a while and then to try again. Just like pestering children do when they want something.
    Rather than knocking them back each time there is a simpler way of dealing with them. Knock them back ONCE only. If they persist, ignore them and carry on as you did before.

    It has crossed my mind that vapers are not used to tobacco control tactics. Currently tobacco control has gone quiet about e-cigs. There are several reasons for this:

    1. they are busy lobbying the law makers.

    2. they are busy making up research.

    3. they are busy lobbying the law makers.

    4. they are busy lobbying the law makers.

    5. they are busy making up research.

    6. they are busy lobbying the law makers.

    7. they proudly announce health scares via the BBC.

    And after that, they are back attacking vapers again.

  5. Junican Says:

    I was thinking of the specific requirements of the FCTC. Here is a statement of sorts from Wikipeia:

    Topic…… Measure……… Articles
    Lobbying: Call for a limitation in the interactions between lawmakers and the tobacco industry……. Article 5.3.
    Demand reduction: Tax and other measures to reduce tobacco demand………. Article 6 & 7.
    Passive smoking: Obligation to protect all people from exposure to tobacco smoke in indoor workplaces, public transport and indoor public places….. Article 8.
    Regulation: The contents and emissions of tobacco products are to be regulated and ingredients are to be disclosed. Article 10.
    Packaging and labeling: Large health warning (at least 30% of the packet cover, 50% or more recommended); deceptive labels (“mild”, “light”, etc.) are prohibited……… Article 9 & 11.
    Awareness: Public awareness for the consequences of smoking….. Article 12.
    Tobacco advertising: Comprehensive ban, unless the national constitution forbids it…… Article 13.
    Addiction: Addiction and cessation programs…….. Article 14.
    Smuggling: Action is required to eliminate illicit trade of tobacco products……… Article 15.
    Minors: Restricted sales to minors….. Article 16.
    Research: Tobacco-related research and information sharing among the parties…… Articles 20, 21, & 22.

    I’m not saying that the Zealots cannot stretch these requirements out!

    If you look at the list of requirements, there is not a lot more than can be done in the UK. Very briefly:

    Tobacco companies are excluded as far as is possible while still hearing what they have to say.
    Taxation is already running into ‘laffe curve’ problems and illicit problems.
    Passive smoking is being gradually debunked, but has already been effectively covered.
    Awareness cannot really be extended further.
    Addiction is a personal matter whatever they might say.
    Minors have already been covered.

    Plain packaging is the final act in the ‘control’ of the promotion, packaging and advertising of tobacco.

    What I am saying is that, as far as the UK specifically is concerned, there is not much of any size left. Yes, they can get at cars where children are present, but I doubt that even the Labour Party will attempt to enter peoples’ homes. The Zealots will try it on, but I cannot see the politicians going that far.

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