Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Politics and plain packs

I've got an article up at Spiked about what the battle for plain packs says about modern politics.

It is, of course, the opposition’s job to oppose, but the changing tide of party-political opinion on issues of so-called ‘public health’ is risibly and shamelessly opportunistic. Labour rejected plain packaging under Gordon Brown. It now fervently supports it. It rejected minimum pricing for alcohol when it was in government and was largely indifferent when Cameron supported it. Now that the Conservatives have turned against it, however, Labour is firmly in favour - except in Scotland, where the Scottish National Party (SNP) strongly supports it and Labour is against it. The Tories, meanwhile, were happy to bury plain packaging after it was rejected in the public consultation, but they eagerly revived it after Labour scored a few points by dreaming up the Lynton Crosby conspiracy theory. ‘This will nail Labour’s ridiculous smears’, said a Whitehall source at the time. ‘Now the pressure will be on Labour to get behind this amendment to enable the introduction of standardised packaging.’ How principled! How noble!

Go have a shufti.

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