Wednesday 17 October 2012

Plain pack campaigners tried to corrupt public consultation

Dick Puddlecote has found himself a cracking scoop thanks to the Freedom of Information Act. On August 10th this year, Deborah Arnott, director of ASH, wrote to Tabitha Brufal (Department of Health) about a round robin e-mail from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies. This e-mail explicitly encouraged people to sign all the pro-plain pack petitions that were doing the rounds because "I would seriously doubt that there will be cross checking between charity petitions".

Click to enlarge:

This is serious stuff. As Dick says...

So a tobacco control industry employee was actively encouraging fraudulent submissions of signatures... this wasn't a couple of rogue part-time signature-gatherers perverting evidence, it was someone working on behalf of the campaign itself.

Do go read the whole post. I will just add two things. Firstly, this incitement to pervert a government consultation came from the (state-funded) UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies, a body which masquerades as a scientific institution. It should be clear to anyone who is familiar with the UKCTCS's output that it is no more than a glorified lobby group. This e-mail confirms it.

Secondly, it could be argued that Arnott's e-mail demonstrates some degree of integrity within tobacco control. She rightly says that the UKCTCS e-mail was "inappropriate and ill-advised". It might therefore be said that Arnott acted to prevent the consultation being corrupted with multiple signatures. But let me remind you of the date of the e-mail: August 10th 2012. The same day that the consultation ended. Too little, too late.

Once again, the plain pack campaigners have shown themselves to be unscrupulous and corrupt. Why are paying for this mob?


Ivan D said...

And why has CRUK allowed its reputation to be dragged through the mud by giving more prominence to this tawdry campaign than to cancer research?

Rarely has an organization so large and so important to basic research in the UK been run so badly. To all intents and purposes CRUK and ASH are now the same entity. Well meaning CRUK donors are paying Deborah Arnott's salary.

Unknown said...

I am curious to know why it was ASH responding to the dept of health not Smokefree South West (who purportedly "ran" the plain packs campaign) regarding this attempt to fix the consultation? Looks to me like ASH is in charge here - just hiding behind/using a taxpayer funded front group because their reputation too tarnished to be the lead group. Pretty shocking all round.