Saturday, 18 September 2010

Public consultation backfires on ASH

From The Scotsman:

Figures seen by The Scotsman show almost 90 per cent of respondents who replied to a Scottish Government consultation request oppose the measure.

Hardly surprising, since there is no evidence that display bans work and ample evidence that they put an unnecessary burden on shopkeepers.

Public consultations of this kind are not necessarily accurate barometers of public opinion (to put it mildly). As we saw in England, the only thing they measure is how well organised ASH and the NHS are in getting their staff and supporters to click on a website or return a generic postcard. In this particular instance, it seems they were not at all well organised.

Out of the 305 respondents to the Scottish Government consultation, 269 - 88.2 per cent - opposed the measure with support mostly coming from NHS trusts and anti-smoking charities.

Which means only 36 people responded positively to the proposal. Considering ASH Scotland alone employs 16 people, that is pretty feeble.

The opposition compares to 84 per cent support for the same measure in England...

Quite a disparity, no? And if you have read The Dark Market (free download), you will know why that is. It's because...

...75 per cent of respondents to that consultation came from Department of Health funded bodies.

So why couldn't DH-funded bodies in Scotland manufacture consent so effectively? Probably because they know that the Scottish government does what it wants regardless of public opinion. Back in 2005, a survey showed that two-thirds of Scots believed that pubs should be allowed to accommodate smokers. Then Health Minister, Andy Kerr, responded with these timeless words:

"We are not running government by opinion poll."

And the display ban was passed in Scotland with cross-party support long before the result of this consultation was published. So, really, what was the point?


subrosa said...

VGIF, the link given by the Scottish Government to hear this doesn't play on a Mac. :(

Seems like I'll have to crank up the old PC laptop.

Eddie Douthwaite said...

There is no need for a Tobacco Display Ban just as there was NEVER a need for the Smoking Ban.

MSPs of all parties put fingers in their ears, stick their heads in the sand and deny Freedom To Choose(Scotland) the opportunity to present their evidence. What are they afraid of, maybe it is because they will be exposed as having been conned by the Anti-Smoking lobby in 2005.

Belinda said...

As expected Sheila Duffy discounts everything because this was a consultation on regulations re the legislation That means many in the health lobby couldn't understand the implications while those in the trade, of course, could.

timbone said...

Nobody in power likes democracy. Democracy has become a game, where those in power devise cunning plans to make public consultations go in their favour. It may sound morbid, but I am glad that I am 59. What an increasingly totalitarian world we live in with three democracies like the USA, Israel and Europe.

Chris Oakley said...

Unfortunately Eddie is correct. The "progressive” parties like the awful SNP fall over themselves to ban things. Not because the likes of Nicola Sturgeon give one iota about the health of anyone in particular but because they want to give meaning to their miserable pointless lives by “making a difference” through some obscure statistical definition of success.

The bigger problem lies in those more numerous who know that what is happening is deeply wrong and undemocratic but do not have the courage to stand up and oppose it. Cowed by the apparent power of the health lobby, these gutless drones refuse to even acknowledge their complicity in the erosion of freedom, rationality and science by what is actually a tiny but highly organised minority.

I would love an answer from anyone who can explain how the SNP came to power in Scotland? I know that many Scots do not love the English but surely that is not a good enough reason.