Dick Puddlecote has the detail here:
The trouble is that the ‘consultation’ is nothing of the sort. Well, not as we understand the word ‘consultation’. As we understand that word with reference to Government decision making, we understand it to mean that anyone with an interest, however minute in importance, can state his/her case. Who knows? Perhaps some individual somewhere might produce an argument which is important, and which no one else has thought of. These things happen. But the ‘consultation’ in OZ, about ecigs, is a stitch-up. The people who have been put in charge of ‘consulting’ are out and out anti-ecig zealots.
It is all a bit weird. We are used to consultations being rigged, as was the case with Plain Packaging, where the opinions of ordinary people who were against it, were ignored. But we are seeing a new phenomenon. Rather than a two stage consultation, we are seeing a three stage one. It used to be that Government put out an invitation to comment on various aspects of a proposed policy initiative. That was two staged. Now, in Oz, the Gov has set up an organisation, with money and power, which does the inviting. That organisation can invite who it wants to invite, and can exclude the general population. That organisation is stacked with anti-ecig zealots. Oh …. it will go through the motions, but it will inevitably condemn ecigs. That is, condemn easy availability and hand ecigs over to ‘The Tobacco Control Industry’, to be converted into just another medicinalised (Big Pharma exclusive) ‘nicotine delivery system’.
What is important about this?
It is that politicians, once again, have derelicted their duty. They are doing the precise opposite. They are not able to decide who should be on these committees because they are ignorant, and so they off-load that duty to someone else. Who? It can only be to health department officials, who are biased. For politicians, that is lovely because it relieves them of personal responsibility. It is a blatant abdication of power.
Politicians have brought this upon themselves by permitting micro-management inside Government. Now, they are lost. Tory and Labour are essentially the same. Well, that was the case before the rise of Corbyn. Will he make any difference? Probably not. Why? Because he does not have the imagination. At least, he seems not to have it. Some European countries have a flat level of income tax – say, above a minimum ‘living’ income, 25%. They seem to have done all right, since there is less incentive to avoid the excess tax. And, it reduces the burden on taxpayers of tax collectors. Why could that principle not also apply to ‘purchase tax’, for that, essentially, is what VAT is. It is a ‘purchase tax’. Why should certain ‘luxuries’, such as motor car fuel, be picked out for excessive tax over VAT? What is the rationalisation? There is none. Fuel tax reduces out competitive advantage in the world. It reduces our advantage of compact location of trade and industry. The USA is under-populated in the sense that its population is no where near as ‘compact’ as the UK, for example. The distance between Manchester and Liverpool is some 50 miles, whereas the distance between Washington and New York is some 2000 miles. Words can fly back and forth between those places in an instant, but goods and people cannot. Thus, the UK economy is very different from the USA.
What happened to “Made In England”? That used to be a mark of quality. Now it seems that we need a 10,000 page EU report to decide upon quality.
New Zealand seems to be going the same way. You might like to read this:
It is about the economics of life-style interference. No need to talk about it in detail. Essentially, it says that people decide for themselves what is best for them, and that The State cannot make such decisions for people since the number of decisions and the type of decisions are too varied and too complex. It seems that NZ is determined to have a ‘smoke-free’ NZ by 2025. The definition of ‘smoke-free’ is less that 5% tobacco smokers. And yet the Gov wants to outlaw ecigs. Weird or what? Are they mad? Or have they calculated how tobacco tax income will be re-distributed over non-smokers in the next ten years? How will that re-distribution take place? Will those taxes go to sugar, salt and alcohol? Something like that will have to happen.
But it never works and never will. For example, smokers can be divided into three groups – 1) those who are well-off enough not to be bothered about the cost; 2) those who smoke only a little, so that the cost is trivial, despite taxes; 3) those who can afford to buy their tobacco products elsewhere than the UK. Only 1) and 2) pay the exorbitant taxes. I suspect that 2) is the main contributor over the whole population. Even the poorest of people tend to be able to afford ten cigs per day at a cost of some £3.50 per day. It is those folk who maintain tobacco control. Are they stupid? Perhaps, but they have worked out what is the easiest way for themselves. I have a decent sized garden and can grow plants. I remember watching a video of a guy who grew tobacco plants on the balcony of his flat. Right, except that he could only grow half a dozen plants. The produce from those plants is negligible and hardly worth the effort. I have sixty plantlets ready to go outside in May, but they will still not produce enough, nor will they be of a sufficient quality. I grow the plants as a hobby.
It is going to be difficult to persuade our politicians to that it is more important and more cost effective to vastly simplify tax laws than persecute smokers. Cameron et al do not seem to understand that.
But there is another argument. Tobacco Companies have the financial clout to intervene, and not just by going to court. The FCTC denunciation of tobacco companies is old hat. And it was biased. Tobacco Company research is genuine since it looks for, and seeks to eradicate, toxins from tobacco smoke. Also, it seeks to reduce the pong. Maybe those companies are waiting for their time, which is not yet. But they still fail to protect their customers here and now. In fact, they have never attempted to do so.
We smokers have a perfect right, individually, to enjoy tobacco if we wish to do so. There is no such thing as ‘A State’ right to persecute us. Politicians who take the easy way and promote Academics who wish to persecute smokers, even indirectly, are tyrants. Only politicians can be tyrants.