Standardised Packaging of Tobacco===Germination===Toasting (again)===The Overriding Authority of Parliament

Yesterday, 9th March, a discussion took place in the Legislation Committee of the House of Commons about the:

DRAFT STANDARDISED PACKAGING OF TOBACCO PRODUCTS REGULATIONS 2015.

H/T Liberal Vision, here are the minutes of that meeting:

http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201415/cmgeneral/deleg12/150309/150309s01.pdf

For a smoker, it is painful reading. There were contributions from some members of the committee which I simply could not bear to read – Luciana Berger, Kevin Barron, Alex Cunningham, Sarah Wollaston, to name but four.

There will be no debate in the HoC on these regulations. This committee meeting took the place of a debate. The committee meeting started at 4.30 pm  and ended at 5.50 pm. Thus, the regulations were discussed for a period of one hour and twenty minutes.

Did I say that the regulations were discussed? Erm…. As far as I could see, they were hardly mentioned. The Zealots mainly spouted their sound-bites about death and destruction and the few people there who were against PP tried their best to make their points about the failure in Australia, etc. Jane Allison produced her own version of the statistics or ignored them. Fears about illicit trade? Oh, no, she said, there will be none. Customs have said so in a report. Failure in Australia? Oh no, she said, Chantler said that the measure would be successful. The wriggling, bending and twisting is a joy to behold.

All done and dusted in an hour and twenty minutes, ending with the sentence, “Resolved:
That the Committee has considered the draft Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015.”

It seems that the vote will be held tomorrow. I understand that MPs will be issued with slips of paper to write their votes down on. No debate, no proper discussion of the regulations in any detail, and a vote on a massively important matter – the ownership of private property – is decided using scraps of paper to vote.

There were some gems. Either Allison or Berger said that ‘tobacco is like no other product. There will be no slippery slope’ (or words to that effect).

A quote:

A point was made about why we need standard packaging if the display ban already covers packs in shops. Sir Cyril considered that in his report, noting that the ending of open display of tobacco in shops will not affect the exposure of young people to cigarette brand imagery at other times, such as when friends and family members who smoke take out their cigarette packets and leave them lying around.” 

Pathetic, but that does bring me to my point.

Tobacco Control have repeatedly said that the packet is the last place available to tobacco companies to advertise. Now, if we accept that point (which we don’t), with PP, what will have happened? It is that Tobacco Control has stolen the tobacco companies’ advertising space and claimed ownership of it for themselves. Further, they do not even have to pay for their adverts – tobacco companies and smokers will pay for Tobacco Control’s adverts.

I have often wondered what the enormous pressure for PP was all about. I think we see that reason in the last paragraph. Tobacco Control want the packets for advertising purposes. The packets were never an advertising vehicle for tobacco companies but will be so for Tobacco Control. THAT IS THE WHOLE POINT.

I do not want to pay for Tobacco Control’s advertising. It is lousy advertising. It uses pictures which are supposed to be of the effects of smoking which are not from real life. They are lies. Most of their slogans are lies via exaggeration.

—–

What will tobacco companies do?

I have a feeling that they will ignore the Irish perspective and go for the UK. If they had any sense (and if they could) they would form a grand coalition with alcohol, sugar, food, any any other industry which might be threatened in the future and demand a judicial review, both in the UK and the EU to clarify the whole matter of intellectual and private property. I vaguely read about the court case in Australia where tobacco company arguments that the state had stolen their property were turned down on the grounds that the state gained nothing from it. Well, it is obvious that the state expects to gain a great deal from PP in the form of free advertising. And I mean entirely free – smokers pay for the making of the packets, the printing of the packets, the distribution of the packets. Smokers pay for all of the advertising. Thus, in a way, because we pay eventually, Tobacco Control is stealing OUR property to advertise to OUR children:

“…..noting that the ending of open display of tobacco in shops will not affect the exposure of young people to cigarette brand imagery at other times, such as when friends and family members who smoke take out their cigarette packets and leave them lying around.” 

What is the difference between that and commandeering the side of your house and making you pay for it to be decorated with statements which say, “This house has a gas supply. Gas causes explosions and deaths”? What is to stop them?

—–

There is a case to be made that this is not just about intellectual property. It is also about the ownership of the whole property. A reasonably discrete, truthful and agreed warning on the packet is one thing, wholesale take over to advertise Tobacco Control lies is a different thing altogether.

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Busy, busy today organising the ‘germination plan’. The ordinary propagator (unheated) which I have been using because it had forty little cells into which I could sow the seeds, has finally become decrepit. The cell dividers fell apart. But I have used the base of that propagator to hold compost and I have sown the seeds wholesale over the surface of the compost. The clever bit, I suppose, is that I have put that container into my heated propagator. Here is a pic:

2015-03-11 00.38.11

I made holes in the bottom of the green base for drainage purposes and put a tea towel underneath to absorb surplus water. Here is a pic of the final set up:

2015-03-11 00.38.43

You can see the condensation.

About five days should see the seedlings poking through, provided that the seeds are viable. They should be. They are the fourth generation of seeds produced from my own plants. Good, innit? It appears that the plants take on the characteristics of your soil and the seeds adapt appropriately. Would that! We shall see.

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I’ve been toasting my home-grown again and making a blend with Virginia. Toasting has made an enormous difference. The foul smell has almost completely gone, and the taste is as ‘natural’ as one can reasonably expect. Do you know what? I couldn’t be more pleased. I am more pleased than I would be if Parliament rejected PP.

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What is the role of Parliament?

One of the best loved tricks of agitprop is to sow confusion and uncertainty among the people. In that way, the people can be induced to ASK FOR help. Nay, with the right sort of rhetoric, the people will DEMAND help and prostrate themselves.

Parliament exists precisely to stop such nonsense, and Parliament is the key to the protection of our civil liberties. In my (very humble) opinion, Parliament was never designed, nor intended to be, “The Government”. When a person is ‘elected/chosen’ to be Prime Minister, he/she, effectively, while remaining an MP, leaves Parliament. The same applies to all Ministers. Why? Because they have entered the realm of ‘King’. Thus, the whole apparatus of Government is separate from Parliament.

But it is Parliament which approves laws. Without that approval, there would be no laws enacted. But it is not Parliament which suggests the laws – it is the Government which does so. It follows therefore that there are two ‘sides’ – on one side is ‘The Government’, including government departments and elected people described as ‘Minsters’ and such; on the other hand, there is Parliament, which has the ultimate power. But that power has been eroded to the extent that it no longer exists for all intents and purposes since there are about 100 MPs of the majority party who are Ministers.

Thus, the persecution of the people, expenses scandals, MPs for sale, follow naturally. As does the abuse of process outlined above regarding the PP thing.

It is called ‘corruption’, but I do not mean theft etc. I mean the unintended deterioration of a body close to death. I mean rotting.

Despite all the confusion created by Tobacco Control and its allies and ‘Harm Reduction’ (albeit unintended), the simple fact is that ONLY Parliament is responsible for the persecution of People who Enjoy Tobacco. That is important. The confusion created by the Zealots must not distract attention that it is ONLY MPs who have created the pogrom. No people other than MPs have created the massive taxation of smokers, the vilification of smokers, the exclusion of smokers, the persecution of smokers. Only MPs are to blame. Do not accept the obfuscation put about by all sorts of groups. Only MPs have passed the laws. Parliament is to blame, and ONLY Parliament is to blame.

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6 Responses to “Standardised Packaging of Tobacco===Germination===Toasting (again)===The Overriding Authority of Parliament”

  1. Smoking Lamp Says:

    It is a travesty that Parliament appears to be adopting this measure without debate while ignoring significant evidence. The tobacco control machine has subverted democratic process.

    • junican Says:

      Absolutely right. Why has Parliament allowed it? That is the whole point. ALL MPs should have demanded a debate.

  2. cherie79 Says:

    If the tobacco companies don’t take legal action it will almost make you feel like giving up! If even they won’t stick up for us who will?

    • junican Says:

      Tobacco Companies have never defended their customers, as far as I know. I wonder what would happen if a group tobacco companies financially supported a group of consumers who claimed in court that PP violated their rights to consumer protection and consumer information? Health messages do not protect consumers against trickery.

  3. michaeljmcfadden Says:

    ” Tobacco Control has stolen the tobacco companies’ advertising space and claimed ownership of it for themselves. Further, they do not even have to pay for their adverts – tobacco companies and smokers will pay for Tobacco Control’s adverts.”

    WOW!!! **EXCELLENT INSIGHT JUNICAN!!!**

    I’d never, ever thought of it that way — but it’s true. We need to find some marketing/advertising experts out there who can work up a valid estimate of just what such an advertising vehicle would have cost if a private business had gone for it!

    It would be a difficult estimate to make because while some companies (e.g. the makers of Zyban etc) might be willing to pay a lot for such space if it was open for auction, most companies (e.g. breakfast cereal companies) probably would want their name nowhere near the packs.

    You might be able to develop a model based around something like ads on soda bottles — a product with somewhat similar mass visibility but without a lot of stigma.

    Perhaps branding on ALL products should be eliminated and the product space given over to constructive conditioning messages for the population? Eventually of course all the sodas and cereals and cigarettes would cut their quality standards to save money and people would, just like in Orwell’s 1984, simply buy the product without any real reference to who manufactured it … since they’d all taste roughly the same.

    Didn’t East Germany do something like that?

    Interesting.

    – MJM

    • junican Says:

      Yes. We talk so much about what is immediately involved that we rarely think ‘outside the box’. Suppose that, for years and years, tobacco companies had ‘sold’ the space on the back of their packets to, say, holiday companies? You know – “Visit sunny California – Smokers welcome everywhere”.
      When this matter goes to court, which it will, will tobacco companies demand repossession of their property to advertise other things?

      “Didn’t East Germany do something like that?”

      I don’t think that it was only East Germany. State shops were everywhere, and were always crap.

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