It is not often that you see Tobacco Control actually being criticised in the MSM, but the Express had a lot to say:
I have no doubt that the Express has been riled by the exclusion of the press, but why did that not happen in Moscow? Why did only one journalist in Delhi attempt to defy the ban? Why were there not hundreds, or at least dozens, of protesting journalists? Why did it take an obscure news website called ‘The Rebel’ to push delegates hard for an explanation? ‘The Rebel’ is a Canadian site and its reporters chased the Canadian delegates for an explanation, who came up with excuses and not reasons. But I have seen other explanations which could be reasonable. EG, that they did not want tobacco companies knowing what they were discussing. But that does not hold water as you will see.
A delegate said that tobacco companies had come up with a clever ruse. They have persuaded the delegations of some countries to put obstacles in the way of consensus by proposing multiple wording amendments and the like, in order to delay decisions. I don’t know if that delegate has evidence of such corruption – probably not, since no one is going to admit to such behaviour. But that delegate himself has shown that tobacco companies could be privy to discussions by bribing only ONE delegate from some obscure nation to record the happenings. Are the pockets and handbags of delegates searched? Do they have to pass through airport-like whole body scanners? Perhaps they do, for, otherwise, a tobacco company terrorist could get in and blow them all up. Even simpler would be for tobacco companies to meet bribed delegates after each session and go through the events of the session.
Another apparently reasonable reason trotted out was that some delegates were from states which were totalitarian and who would be ‘compromised’ if their speeches and opinions were recorded. That does not hold water either. Such delegates would be placemen and already have been told what to do and say, and they would obey those instructions.
So why are the FCTC discussions held in secret?
I think that it is a symptom of what is wrong with the UN, EU, etc. Unaccountability. All of those organisations are, in effect, private political clubs. The WHO is supposed to provide help to countries with ‘public heath’ problems in the nature of malaria, etc, and it does. But it also, separately, has a political agenda.
Perhaps the WHO should not have a political agenda, but that may not be the important thing. Perhaps the important question is, “Who decides what the political agenda should be?” We do not know, and perhaps that is the underlying reason for the press being banned from COP 7.
Having researched, to a limited extent, the origins of the FCTC, I have little doubt that people like Richard Doll were very active in committees of the WHO. Health Ministers came and went; WHO delegates from all the countries of the world came and went. Meanwhile, people like Doll persisted and, very gradually, promoted anti-tobacco COMPANY sentiment. That is very important – there had to be a demon.
I have read many economic essays, and the one thing that comes over loud and clear is that supply can only exist if there is a demand. Advertising might promote a product, but that only proves the rule. There must be a demand. Ads promote demand, but they only work if people see value in the product.
I was reading something today, I forget where (the IEA?), about the ‘double thank-you’. When you go to a shop and buy something, you hand over your money and receive the goods. You say, “Thank you” to the shopkeeper. Why? Because the shopkeeper stocks what you want, and you gladly hand over your money to get what you want. The shopkeeper says, “Thank you” because you gave him the money that he wants. The author contrasted that situation with a typical airport situation where, for whatever reason, an officer insists upon taking all the stuff out of your hand luggage. The fact that he/she wears gloves, handles your goods carefully and puts them back in your bag is irrelevant. We tend to say, “Thank you” when we get our bag back. Why? Because we are relieved. It is as though we have taken an examination and got a ‘pass’. We should not say, “Thank you”. It is for the officer to apologise by saying something like, “Sorry for that but we have to be sure”, to which you might reply, “That’s OK”. You do not thank someone who does not give you some sort of benefit. All the worse if that person inconveniences you.
So we think about COP 7, and we ask how that vastly expensive (and dangerous because of the smog) jamboree could receive a “Thank you”. It seems that the delegates want to ban ecigs. Should we thank them? It seems that the delegates want higher and higher tobacco taxes. Should we thank them for that?
What should we thank them for? What service have they provided?
I wonder if such a philosophical approach could overturn tobacco control, climate control and all the rest. They cost a lot of money themselves and do a lot of damage to industry. Do they produce something that we could or should thank them for?
In fact, that simple idea should imbue all our thinking.
A recent survey via ‘Freedom of Information’ demands (note, not ‘requests’) has revealed that most local authorities ban the use of ecigs indoors and, often, treat ecigs as though they were tobacco cigarettes. Should The People thank those authorities and councillors for treating vapers in that way?
Again, we come back to language, and that is why COP 7 is a disaster. TC has distorted language to such an extent that we do not know whom to thank or what for. When persecuting smokers becomes ‘helping’ them, then it is reasonable for such persecuted smokers to thank the regulators for ‘helping’ them. The two ideas are contradictory. TC has trapped itself by its language, and the situation can only get worse. Raising taxes on cigs persecutes smokers to the benefit of non-smokers. That is the truth. Raising taxes on cigs does not ‘help’ smokers or deter children. It persecutes smokers and does not affect children at all, since parents decide what their children are permitted to do, or not permitted to do, or the children are wild.
It is often said that politics is the art of the possible (or something like that). Perhaps that explains the actions of Cameron et al re PP. Why did the waste parliamentary time on such a thing? Why did they think that such a thing would be popular, and enhance their chances of being reelected? Why would The People thank them for it?
The only other explanation is that the medical profession has great clout. Perhaps terrible mistakes have been made by the Government either in the recent past or earlier. Perhaps there is a form of blackmail involved. Or it may be just a simple matter of, “Who cares?” After all, smokers are not really inconvenienced, as they are by smoking bans at airports,by PP. So why not get the medical profession off the Government’s back? PP is going to make no difference at all, is it?
What Ms May should realise is that pandering to special interest groups, no matter how seemingly powerful, results in repression, persecution, totalitarianism and, eventually, absolute corruption. Why did Cameron not realise that? One cannot help but wonder who Cameron was answerable to.
Is Theresa May different? We do not know. Will she go for independent power supplies via fracking, and will Trump do the same regarding coal in the USA? Thus, will both of them ignore the calamitous claims of the UN IPCC? China does ignore those claims.
Clearly, Trump intends to ignore the claims of ‘climate experts’. Who can blame him, since such experts have nothing to lose. As was the case with tobacco, prohibitionists have nothing to lose.
The only answer to this issue is to make the prohibitionists responsible. Stop them from hiding in Universities. At the moment, people like Glantz in the USA can say anything they like about ecigs. They can manipulate numbers as they wish. But what they CANNOT do is point to toxins and carcinogens in ecigs. That is why they rely upon, and try to form, public perception. Public perception is their only weapon. But ‘public perception’ is political and not for the likes of Glanz etc to influence. Those ‘professors’ are supposed to deal with ‘facts’ and only ‘facts’.
COP 7 is a disaster in every way possible. No matter how the Zealots try to control events, it takes only a few dissenters to wreck the plans. But they will try to gloss over the dissenters and accuse them of being shills for Big T. What was so simple a decade or two ago is not so simple now.
What has surprised me is that tobacco companies have not funded loads and loads of studies about SHS. We can ignore the plaintiff cries of ‘bias’ from TC. They would, wouldn’t they?
I must to bed. I cannot help but feel that tobacco control is very passé. The Zealots see that ecigs will destroy them, which they cannot countenance. They see that ecigs will supplant their patches and gums, and thus switch off the funding from Big Pharma. Worse still, they cannot ‘own’ ecigs. They are very worried.
They EU is collapsing under its own weight. It has run before it could walk. For a long time, it was a baby, growing slowly and properly, but there were impatient political ‘aristocrats’ who wanted to see their dreams realised before they pegged out. I hope that the whole ‘political aristocracy’ of the EU is swept away as a result of Brexit. In which case, the UK can re-engage with our European friends and relatives.