Wednesday 22 August 2012

Plain packaging first, prohibition next

As Australia prepares for plain packaging in December, things are really starting to move towards the endgame that the anti-smoking crusaders always vehemently denied was their true goal. In Tasmania, the Green Party produced a press release saying:

Tobacco Plain Packaging is Only First Step

Isn't it always? And it turns out the Tasmanians aren't kidding...

Move to ban cigarette sales

Tasmania's Health Minister is under pressure to decide whether she will act on an Upper House motion which could result in an eventual ban on tobacco sales.

My, my. Don't things move quickly these days?

The Independent Member for Windermere, Ivan Dean, wants to make it illegal for people born after the year 2000 to buy tobacco once they turn 18.

Hardly seems worth it, really. After all, we know that people only start smoking because of those, ahem, "glitzy" packs. With those out of the way, smoking's finished, right?

Mr Dean says something has to be done.

Behold, the klaxon of every curtain-twitching, authoritarian busybody in history.

"It would be easier for retailers to enforce because when they ask for ID, all they would need to see if the person was born after the year 2000."

Sorry, what?! You mean it would be easier than knowing what year 18 year olds were born in, something that bar staff, newsagents, policemen and many other workers have no trouble at all remembering each and every day of their lives? By God, I've heard some lame justifications for prohibition in my time, but this one takes the jammy dodger.

While the vote was unanimous...


...the Independent Member for Murchison, Ruth Forrest, foresees problems.

Good for Ruth Forrest. It's heartening to know that amongst this crowd of illiberal cretins, at least one Tasmanian politician understands that prohibition creates what we can coyly be described as "problems".

Or so you might think until she opens her mouth. Here's what she sees as one of the main problem:

"These children born post-2000 will still be exposed to passive smoking because the reality is there will still be people who'll continue to smoke and even now the restrictions push people away from doors and buildings like that," she said.

[slams face on keyboard]

This Toytown politician thinks the problem with incrementally outlawing a very widely use consumer product is that older people might still smoke in doorways. In other words, the problem is that this insane proposal does not go far enough.

Seriously, is this a joke? These people cannot really exist, can they?

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne believes a smoking ban is worthy of serious consideration.

But Tasmania has had a smoking ban since 2006. There are no exemptions to it. What can this lady possibly mean? Does she suffer from amnesia? Has she taken a blow to the head?

Oh, I see. 'Smoking ban' now means a ban on the sale of all tobacco products to people born before a certain year. How quickly the goalposts shift.

The Cancer Council's Simon Barnsley welcomes the move and is urging the Tasmanian Government to act.

"We believe it'd be exciting for the Government to explore radical new ideas that might set the pace for the rest of the country," he said.

This is what it really comes down to, isn't it? As with Ireland's smoking ban and Australia's plain packaging law, the real motivation is for undistinguished politicians and lobbyists to make a name for themselves by being "exciting" and bullying a minority in the knowledge that their only financed opposition is a demonised industry.

Nowhere in this article is there any suggestion that grown adults—now or in the future—might have the right to buy and smoke tobacco if they want to. It's a sort of "think of the children even when they are no longer children" argument, which is fitting since Australian politicians clearly see the whole population as children and themselves as—what other word can there be?—nannies.

I have increasingly come to believe that the worst thing about Australia is that it is not far enough away.


GreatScot said...

As was proposed a week or so ago by Leg Iron all the tobacco companies should close down all operations in Australia immediately, no warning, no discussion. Put thousands out of work, put a huge dent in their revenue, put the rent seekers out of work. Let the black market fill the void.

JohnB said...

[slams face on keyboard]

Yeah….. I heard that from half a world away, Chris. You might have heard a series of thuds (hands slapping foreheads in disbelief) coming from “down under”.

It’s very sad…. sad, indeed…. what’s happening in Australia. It’s like someone’s repossessed intelligence on a mass scale, or maybe intelligence has gone out of fashion. There’s a disturbing immaturity in both politicians and public. Asinine recommendations are foisted daily onto a receptive/apathetic public. Where even just a little sensibility would counsel against particular measures, these multiple-challenged nitwits propose them frequently with the excitement of being the first to implement such harebrained ideas.

Seriously, is this a joke? These people cannot really exist, can they?

Oh, Chris…… dear Chris…… dearest Christopher…. how I wish I could say that at this point someone jumped out of a cake, screaming that it was all a great hoax, or that someone apologized that they got the April Fool’s date wrong. But it ain’t so; it’s no joke.

As you point out, Chris, questioners of the stupidity are a rarity, and, in Tasmania, the questioners turn out to be even more stupid – even further gone in “fa-la-la land” – than the initial dolts. And then there’s the sequence of useful idiots (e.g., cancer society) interviewed by the media who think the insanity is just dandy. In all of this large land, there has been no-one…… NO ONE…. in the media questioning the sensibility of the proposal or the soundness of mind of those proposing it.

How quickly the goalposts shift.

Indeed. There’s a whole bureaucracy involved in goalpost shifting, i.e., lying; this is their forté. The goalposts….. the storyline…… can shift overnight. And the public and the media don’t notice. Their memory doesn’t serve them to recognize contradictions occurring overnight, let alone a memory for a century ago when similar fanatics wreaked destruction. It’s a very safe bet that the beginnings of the current antismoking crusade…… “we only want non-smoking short-haul flights – that’s all we want”…… is far beyond their remembering.

Does she suffer from amnesia? Has she taken a blow to the head?

Don’t think so. It seems to be “natural”.

Correction: The Australian dimwits didn’t conjure this plan. It was first floated by Singaporean dimwits and discussed pre-World Conference on Tobacco or Health earlier this year. It was reckoned that the more stupid nations/states (e.g., Tasmania) could propose the measure and see how it is received. But let’s not be nationalistic about dimwittery; “educated” dimwits are running the show in most nations.

Ivan D said...

I think that you hit the nail on the head Chris.

It is not about health as we all know, nor is it some grand political scheme. It is all about very sad pointless people wanting to make themselves look big in order to feel good about their miserable unglamorous lives. A good ban does wonders for the egos of low achievers and the fact that the more capable shun politics makes these idiots think that their views are representative.

On the plus side, DP might have a point in that the all new, wimpy, risk averse Australia run by morons does seem to have become rubbish at almost everything including sport. If there does turn out to be a link, I can't wait to see what the forthcoming ban on the amber nectar does for their cricket team

Unknown said...

It's all about power, nothing more. These idiots buzz from it. It is time to reel them in.

Jay said...

Australia. A land full of pussies, a population in total who have rightfully earned Super Twat of the Month on my blog. It's just sad how fall they've fallen in such a short time.

We've always talked about the end game. Hell, the end game has been talked about since at least Victorian times, perhaps earlier. Only Australia and possibly NZ is actually considering it. But it's a disease that seems likely to spread. And four decades of social engineering and brainwashing has the world ready to accept the disease, for the benefit of "public health."

Anonymous said...

I really do not believe that the vast majority of Australians are zombies. I suspect that reasonably intelligent Australians have not yet reached the point where they object. They are a sleeping volcano which will one day erupt.

Let the prohibitionists do their worst. Eventually, the eruption will not be in words but in deeds, and the eruption will start as a result of some minor seeming event - just as the poll tax saw off Thatcher.

What we bloggers have to be aware of is that there is a need to get rid of the current political classes. We do not want a post-Thatcher situation where 'the other side' (being much the same as Thatcher) simply take over.

We need a new politics. I have very little idea how this new politics could be established or what its nature might be. But, at its heart, must be the end of party politics, somehow or other. In my mind, no matter how difficult it may be to organise, I see each candidate for election as an MP having to justify himself before the electorate. We would also require a non-aligned press.

What I have said is very ephemeral, but essential, if we are to make sense of our body politic. Essentially, it means that our MPs must become independant entities, and must justify, in every case, their voting decisions - and do so publicly and in detail. Thus, regarding the smoking ban, for example, each MP should have been required to state (scientifically and specifically) that the closure of pubs and clubs WILL stop individuals succumbing to lung cancer and such. And, the Free Press ought not to be colluding with these people, but rather demanding explanations.


Karl Fasbracke said...

I don't think they will ban cigarettes anywhere in the near future. It would be as illogical as the mafia closing down bars from which they coerce protection money.

This is a drug war. It is not about reducing drug usage, but about who controls the drugs.