Friday 6 July 2012

Not going very well, then?

"I smeared my opponents, bribed the press to be on my side, and threatened to torture the electorate if we lost. I fail to see what more a decent politician could have done. "
— Pitt the Even Younger (Blackadder III)

The government has spent a fortune on billboards trying to persuade us. The Department of Health has engaged in a year-long crusade to push the policy in every corner of the media. Its sock puppets have been out on the street trying to sign people up.

And yet the plain packaging consultation has still not provided the mandate the government wants. So what next?

Over to Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister...

"The Government has been asked to provide more time for people to respond to the consultation. We want to maximise the opportunity that people have to provide their views and evidence. The Government is, therefore, extending the consultation period for an extra month. The new closing date of the consultation is Friday, 10 August 2012."

If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

Who has "asked"the government to give them more time? Not the Hands Off Our Packs lobby, that's for sure. I wonder if this hasty decision has anything to do with 30,000 retailers putting their names to the NO campaign? Or 34 Conservative MPs writing to Andrew Lansley to express their concerns about the policy? Or 90 per cent of policemen saying that plain packaging would help the illicit trade?

"The Government has an entirely open mind on standardised packaging"

Excuse me while spill my pint, but if the government had an open mind it wouldn't be spending many hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money promoting the policy, would it?

What a Mickey Mouse country this is. Still, it gives you all the more time to tell them to swivel.


Anonymous said...

Freedom is not about cosultations,
enquiries,polls and other
prefabricated machinations.
There are no rules in the quest for Liberty,there is no pre ordained convention.
If plain packaging comes in, it will prove at long last,talking
to the deaf is pointless
Discussing freedom with the current crop of Politicians is only justifying there next restriction.
Talking is over

Anonymous said...

My hunch would be that they are waiting for a decision from Australia and they think such a decision might come before the extended deadline expires.

Anonymous said...

I can only repeat the comment I left on Simon Clark's blog:

"The government is extending the consultation period."


The social authoritarian scumbags on both sides of the political divide have not gotten the answer they wanted.

Anonymous said...

A Bit like the Gov working group in Northampton who are currently trying to find a way to rig the question needed to ask on the european referendum.

( Just to make sure the vote goes they way they want of course )

Devil's Kitchen said...

I reminded Simon on his blog that, as I pointed out in 2009, neither consultation nor Parliamentary approval is required for plain packaging—the provisions were handed to the Health Secretary alone in one of the mini-Enabling Acts passed by NuLabour.

So, regardless of any result, the government can just impose plain packaging: the consultation is simply an economic fig-leaf.


Dick Puddlecote said...

DK: There's one person, and one person only, in Whitehall who is ensuring that daft plans like plain packaging keep coming back ... and he ain't an MP.

Anonymous said...

Entirely predicable, but most curious, why have they got cold feet at this point in the "consultation"?

The other phoney "consultation" in Scotland regarding the smoking ban was welcomed with open arms even after 76% of respondents favoured smoking and non-smoking venues or areas, all they did was twist the stats in their favour.

I guess they can't find a statistician that can conjour up a result they want with the responses they have, even The Govt can't find one single patsy to agree to do it!

Curiouser and curiouser, eh?

Anonymous said...

Plain packaging would definitely put smokers and the public's health at much greater risk. Smokers would be unlikely to be able to tell the difference, between real and the much more dangerous counterfeit cigarettes.