"The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary."
- H. L. Mencken
This year, like every year, has been a miserable one for personal freedom and an excellent one for charlatans, authoritarians and wowsers. Here are some of the lowlights.
After an international survey found that people don't want the nanny state, Action on Salt suddenly becomes Action on Sugar. Launched by the inept, camera-hogging Croydon cardiologist Aseem Malhotra, the pressure group capitalises on the latest fad from the diet/public health industry. Credulous journalists lined up to declare sugar the new tobacco.
The British Medical Journal publishes a pisspoor hatchet job on opponents of minimum pricing. Initially funded by the European Commission, Eurocrats cancelled the cheque when they discovered it was nothing more than a fact-free ad hominem attack.
Despite obesity rates failing to reach the heights predicted by the soothsayers of 'public health', the National Obesity Forum pulls some numbers out of the air in an effort to portray obesity as being "much worse than feared". They later admitted on More or Less that they had "no actual figures or statistics" but said that "a little exaggeration forces the message home".
ASH's humourless harridans create a Streisland Effect when they try to shut down a parody account on Twitter.
A six year old boy is suspended for bringing some Mini Cheddars to school. He is later expelled.
Fizzy drink prohibitionists in New Zealand hold a batshit crazy conference about making the Pacific 'sugary drink free by 2030'.
Corpulent tax-sponger Martin McKee develops a sudden interest in e-cigarettes.
MPs give their latest and most expensive sock puppet, Public Health England, a bollocking for not doing enough political campaigning.
In a striking example of mission creep, socialist weekly The Lancet invents the concept of 'planetary health' in its bid for world domination.
More evidence shows that soda taxes don't work.
Another record-breaking seizure of illicit tobacco takes place in the land of plain packs.
Compelling evidence shows that tobacco control policies don't work.
The swine flu con unravels.
Prohibitionists can't decide whether e-cigarettes are tobacco products or medicines.
The temperance lobby tries to take the credit for a fall in violent crime.
If Breaking Bad was really set in Britain.
Despite scare-mongering from the fixed-odds betting terminal prohibitionists, the Lib Dems, The Independent and The Daily Mail, official statistics show no rise in problem gambling.
Public Health England back-tracks on its call to ban vaping in 'public' places.
Gerard Hastings has an emotional meltdown live on stage and leaves little doubt that 'public health' is a nutty left-wing cult.
Anti-sugar fruitcakes fall victim to anti-tobacco fruitcakes when their movie gets a PG rating because "it contains images of cigarette smoking that are used to compare Big Tobacco with Big Food."
Ireland's dimmest politician wants to ban sweets.
As the evidence that plain packaging has been a damp squib mounts, the calls to regulate food like tobacco grow louder. Especially sugar. And soft drinks.
The BBC broadcasts two hours of shameless propaganda in favour of plain packaging.
Simon Chapman continues to struggle with sums.
Cigarette counterfeiter comes out in support of David Cameron.
Ireland's dimmest politician calls for a ban on ice cream van chimes.
Supporters of plain packs spin like crazy as tobacco sales data show that their pet policy has been a flop.
Channel 4 broadcasts a 30 minute commercial for minimum pricing which contains one of the most ridiculous 'experiments' you'll ever see.
A silly study involving shaved mice is used as evidence that "sunshine is the new heroin".
Disgraced former EU Commissioner concocts a conspiracy that involves everybody except the Freemasons.
“Pupils don’t want to be sold the drinks even though they’re buying them"
The pharmaceutical industry starts openly attacking e-cigarettes.
ASH just can't stop lying.
Simon Chapman's obsession with a particular Monty Python sketch gets out of hand.
Every e-cigarette user should be a free market libertarian.
To the surprise of absolutely nobody, the medical temperance lobby wants graphic warnings on wine bottles.
Aseem Malhotra's latest cock-up gives us an insight into how useless peer review is at the BMJ.
As demanded by various MPs (see above), Public Health England turns into a blatant lobby group.
Professor John Ashton reveals his dark soul on Twitter.
One of many moronic articles written about e-cigarettes by know-nothing columnists in 2014.
As Ed Miliband decides to loot tobacco companies, the rest of the 'public health' vultures begin to circle.
Anti-soda wingnuts in San Francisco campaign like 'public health' wingnuts usually do—with taxpayers' money.
Simon Chapman writes the kind of idiotic drivel that only Simon Chapman can.
Alcohol Concern's new patrons in the pharmaceutical industry invent 'mild alcoholism'. Their drug might work slightly better than a placebo if you're lucky.
Australian wowsers get an opera cancelled because one of its characters smokes.
Healthy food is not more expensive than unhealthy food.
Corrupt organisation holds secret conference in corrupt country. Journalists banned. Leader lies about her whereabouts.
The old lie about cigarettes being more affordable today than in the 1960s bites the dist.
BBC broadcasts a laughable 'debate' between two members of Action on Sugar.
The ghastly Lord Dharzi calls for smoking to be banned in 20,000 acres of outdoor space.
British drinkers pay 40 per cent of all the alcohol taxes paid in the EU.
Silly study about dead rock stars makes the news despite having an obvious flaw.
Framework Convention on Tobacco Control predictably inspires a Framework Convention on Food Control.
The Campaign for Real Ale, Britain's most self-defeating pressure group, celebrates another "historic victory".
Office for National Statistics figures make a mockery of vaping's 'gateway effect'.
After the latest trumped up guesstimates are announced, the media announces that obesity 'costs £47 billion'.
State-funded prohibitionists in American town are forced to withdraw after public outrage.
Plain packaging campaigner put in charge of Australia's plain packaging review. Seems legit.
Jonathan Gruber gets his comeuppance.
Children's Food Campaign (state-funded, natch) pretends that raising taxes will lower the tax burden.
A ban on smoking in cars that carry children is announced. ASH immediately starts campaigning for the ban to be extended and so another 'myth' becomes reality.
Perennial grant junkies Alcohol Concern get half a million pounds from the taxpayer thanks to Public Health England.