Hubris in Lifestyle Control

The dictionary describes ‘hubris’ as an excess of pride. I like this example:

Pride only became hubris when it went to extremes, like any other vice”
In other words, it is perfectly OK to be proud of some accomplishment, but another thing altogether to insist that your accomplishment is better than everyone else’s.
Hubris is not at all uncommon. It proliferates throughout academia. Academics are forever pulling each other’s work to bits, snarling and scoffing.
So it is quite amusing to read that one, ‘Professor SIR Ian Gilmore’, has beaten his breast and torn his academic robes into little pieces because he is displeased:
What is he displeased about?
As ‘The Chair of the Alcohol Health Alliance’, he reckons that his decisions about who the Gov should deal with about alcoholic beverages override any other person’s decisions. That, presumably, is because he is a ‘Professor SIR …’.
He has put his belongings into a black bin-bag, thrown it over his shoulder and departed whilst shouting, “Up yours!!” And what exactly has he resigned from?
…..we feel our respective roles as co-chairmen of the Alcohol Leadership and Tobacco Control Implementation Boards of PHE ….”
Eh? Do such ‘Boards’ actually exist, or are they fabrications? By ‘fabrications’ I mean ‘constructs’ which only exist on paper. It is easy to construct such entities without anyone having the faintest idea whether they have more than two self-appointed members. But they do sound very important, do they not?
The other member of those ‘Boards’ is “Professor John Britton, director, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, University of Nottingham”. 
Why has he not resigned also? It seems like a put-up job to me.
So the Gov has decided to discuss matters relating to ‘harmful drinking’ with the charity ‘Drinkaware’, which is funded by the Industry, but not controlled by it. the ‘Professor SIR’ and the other guy are not happy because they want complete control of advice given to Gov.
Frankly, I do not think that the furore has anything to do with the head of PHE, Duncan Selbie. He has shown himself to be just an apparatchik. He is on a par with Andrew Black, the Ozzie, who advised Soubry in her infamous appearance before a Parliamentary Committee about the Tobacco Products Directive, which included ecigs, which are not tobacco.
People like Black and Selbie are survivors. They go with the flow and cleverly make astronomically expensive plans which are always politically acceptable.
But why should that be so? Why should PHE be deciding upon the level of taxation? It should not be. It is about ‘HEALTH’.
It may well be true that smoking causes lots of ill-health, but it is not for doctors to decide taxation. That is especially true of ‘Professors’ of alcohol and tobacco teaching establishments.
What sort of student wants to study ‘alcohol and tobacco’? I cannot help but feel that THERE ARE NO SUCH UNIVERSITY COURSES, or, if there are, that there are no students. Or, if there are students, they are employees of PHE who are sent on those courses.
That is not unlikely. The Bank I worked for had a College, and it was not unusual for us staff to be sent on courses there. I mean ‘sent’. You were informed that you had been chosen to attend a course as an employee, all expenses paid, and you damn well had to attend. I dare say that people refused, but, like TobCON, no one knew about such refusals.
The likes of ‘Professor SIR Ian Gilmore’ live in a bubble of approval, which is where their hubris comes from.
We need a PM with courage. I mean COURAGE, as per Trump. Someone who has FREEDOM at the top of his/her agenda. The EU has been getting away with destroying freedom by attacking businesses, unless they are multinational businesses, which are easy to negotiate with to their mutual advantage.
PHE is mirroring the worst of monopoly control by its support of nicotine patches and such, which are such an abject failure, and have been for years and year.
PHE is a dead duck, and should be abolished completely. It was always a terrible mistake.
Because it had no affinity with people who were ill. It was always trying to make healthy people mentally ill by promoting fear. Reform of PHE? Maybe, but that would require reform of the whole Dept of Health. I doubt that there are any ‘Professor SIRS’ capable of making recommendations to do so.
The simple fact is that it would be better to channel funding into ‘curing’, if possible. The idea of ‘Prevention’ is hopelessly optimistic. There are far too many things to ‘prevent’. It cannot be done.
So, in very big terms, abolish the FCTC and IPCC and concentrate on releasing the Wealth of Africa and other Nations. Raise standards of living for those people. Sort out ‘Global Warming’ when it becomes important, if it ever does. Defund all the UN except the political.



4 Responses to “Hubris in Lifestyle Control”

  1. Rose Says:

    “…..we feel our respective roles as co-chairmen of the Alcohol Leadership and Tobacco Control Implementation Boards of PHE ….”

    Do such ‘Boards’ actually exist, or are they fabrications?

    They certainly used to exist, but in Germany.

    There was the Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research and the Bureau against the Dangers of Alcohol and Tobacco

    What sort of student wants to study ‘alcohol and tobacco’? I cannot help but feel that THERE ARE NO SUCH UNIVERSITY COURSES

    There certainly were, but for the heads of these establishments it didn’t end well.

    “Karl Astel, head of Jena’s Institute for Tobacco Hazards Research
    (and rector of the University of Jena and an officer in the SS) committed suicide in his office on the night of 3-4 April 1945. Reich Health Fuhrer Leonardo Conti, another anti-tobacco activist, committed suicide on 6 October 1945 in an allied prison while awaiting prosecution for his role in the euthanasia programme.”

    “Gaulteiter Fritz Saukel, the guiding light behind Thuringia’s antismoking campaign and the man who drafted the grant application for Astel’s anti-tobacco institute, was executed on 1 October 1946 for his crimes against humanity.”

    “Dr Leonard Conti, the Reich health führer, established the Bureau against the Dangers of Alcohol and Tobacco in 1939.”

    They had smoking banned in all manner of places, just as our governments were persuaded to do years later, but didn’t go so far as banning smoking in pubs.

    • junican Says:

      Very, very interesting, Rose.
      There is a common factor, is there not? The word ‘board’ is just a way to pretend that there are significant numbers of ‘board members’. The reality is that many such members exist in name only. They are not actually involved.

  2. Philip Neal Says:

    The Gilmore letter nicely illustrates a growing phenomenon. The NGOs increasingly regard mere politicians as being like the Stuart and Hanoverian monarchs, overmighty amateurs who ought to be required to take the advice of their ministers. A related issue is the maxim that “you are not entitled to your own facts” about matters such as climate change, health and so on. Governments ought only to act on the strength of the official facts as purveyed to them by neutral, independent commissions such as Public Health England. Witness today’s renewed threats against the government of Hungary for daring to have policies of its own rather than the apolitical policies devised for it by policy advisers, policy bodies, policy foundations etc etc etc.

    • junican Says:

      Too true. The more complex that politicians permit government to become, the less competent they themselves become.
      I have absolutely no confidence in any Minister whatsoever.

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