Tuesday 8 March 2011

Plain stupidity

The UK government (you know, the new one that's against the nanny state) has apparently decided to legislate for the plain packaging of tobacco products. I wasn't going to blog about it. When things like this actually happen I try to distract myself with other things and pretend that the creeping nightmare of British idiocy is too preposterous to be real.

Fortunately, Dick Puddlecote has a very good account of the whole thing so I needn't keep you. One thing that caught my eye was a quote from some Australian lobby group which also wants to ban those evil colours and fonts that lure in the chiiiildren:

If we act quickly, Australia can overtake the British Government and become the first country in the world to mandate that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging. 

That sounded so much like a parody of the prohibition-as-sport mentality that I had to follow Dick's link to check these people actually existed. They do and they did say that. It really is just a game to these people, isn't it? A pissing contest for rent-seeking professional half-wits to decide who buys the champagne at the next international public health conference.

Not only that, they want the graphic warning to cover 95% of the packet. And, having challenged the Aussie government to be the first country in the world to pass this legislation, they say in the very next line:

There is good evidence that this would have a profound effect on young image-conscious teenagers.

Pray, where does the evidence for this world-first come from? The Martian Health Organisation? Venusians for Nonsmokers' Rights? How pathetic that it has come to this. How sad and risible that countries with the standing of Britain and Australia have been deceived and intimidated into tolerating stupid, senseless and illiberal measures for no other reason that a few well-funded and well-organised obsessives are saying "go on, give it a try."

The only silver lining to this particular cloud is that it has inspired the best blog post of the year thus far from the marvellous Ian B at Counting Cats:

The tide is eternally flowing in the opposite direction to that in which I wish it were flowing. I cannot think of a single new law, or new initiative, or economic policy, which I have approved of in more years than I care to remember. I feel as if I am living in a nation of aliens; or rather, that I am alone alien teleported into 21st century Britain and trying to understand and survive it. I increasingly feel like I’ve nothing in common with everyone around me. How can I be so out of step with public opinion? Is everyone else mad, or is it me?

I can see the world I grew up in being dismantled, bit by bit. There are times I wish they’d just get it over with. In a sense, it is the gradualism that is unbearable. There are times I wish they’d just ban everything - baccy and beer, burgers and bangers, and all the rest - once and for all. Instead, they creep forward one apparently tiny step at a time. It’s like being executed with a bacon slicer.

There's much more of this. Please do go read the whole sublime thing.


subrosa said...

When I read this at Dick's place, I scambled around in my cupboards and came up with a well-loved cigarette case. Beautiful item and it will be brought back into service as soon as this idiocy appears on the statute book.

Much prefer it to the Silk Cut packet.

Anonymous said...

I wonder if eBay will take their anti-tobacco policy which excludes any and all things tobacco related, with the exception of tobacco antique items that they will permit as collectibles. They even banned the sell of non-tobacco e-cigs last year, but not nicotine gum and lozenges.

But if they would permit it, then it is an excellent online store to setup and would gather customers worldwide soon.

Tobacco companies would also be wise to sell their logo'd items separate from the tobacco so the consumer can bring them together, as you suggest.

eBay is headquartered in Silcon Valley, 55 miles south of San Francisco, alongside Google and Yahoo, so it's no wonder they have this kind of anti-tobacco policy.

Tolerance is a one-way street among the liberal-progressive class controlling Northern California these days.

Curmudgeon said...

I suppose the consolation is that a lot of things that you can buy that are supplied in the market by private businesses (electronic goods in particular) are vastly better than they used to be, so up to a point you can cocoon yourself away from the malign influence of government.

Anonymous said...

It doesn't make any sense. I think the real purpose is somehow to give Customs more excuses to confiscate tobacco bought abroad - not that they seem to need any.

Anonymous said...

I fail to understand why the government/doctors are targeting the smokers - we pay our own taxes on ciggies (9 billion) to cover the NHS bill, I haven't yet needed the NHS for a smoking related desease and am now 67 yrs of age. We are being told that there will be no pensions in the future as we are all living to 100 + who wants to live to this age when likely we will be suffering from dimensia, chucked into care homes where no one cares one way or the other if we live or die and costing hundreds per week - let us die naturally with our vices (there are a lot worse vices than smoking). I am getting really sick of all this nanny state - we have only one life - LET US ENJOY WHILE WE ARE HERE !!!!! I will probably die of stress hearing about things that are happening in our lovely country than lung cancer.

Anonymous said...

Thieves broke into our local Co-Op convenience store last night and stole nothing but the cigarettes and tobacco. Just some filter tips and a colourful tray of lighters left in the display cabinet. They'd almost surgically removed them; nothing else touched, even all the expensive bottles of spirits were left perfectly in order right next to the cigarette cabinet.

Anonymous said...

what next banning Asbestos? or putting lead into bread to make it white. When I was a kid you could earn a decent penny cleaning chimmneys by climbing in them, then some stupid expert said you can't do that it harms children. Experts what do they know?