Friday 28 September 2018

The WHO's immortality delusion

Yesterday saw the WHO's High Level Meeting on NCDs (non-communicable diseases) take place in New York. The good news is that the accompanying Political Declaration did not mention sin taxes on soft drinks, alcohol or tobacco. This has annoyed lots of nanny state campaigners who have had to settle for publishing a bunch of glorified advice sheets (like this) which are not remotely binding.

The bad news is that the WHO is off its head. I've written about the patent insanity of pretending that non-communicable diseases can be wiped out before. You may have thought that I was exaggerating or straw-manning. I was not. If anything, it's worse than I thought. The #BeatNCDs wheeze isn't just the latest incarnation of middle class paternalism that puts the whims of first world political activists before the needs of the developing world. It is genuinely delusional.

For example, here is Director-General Tedros calling on the world's governments to eradicate all non-communicable diseases within 12 years. Oh, and 'solve' mental health.

And here he is explicitly stating that every last one of the 41 million deaths from non-communicable disease are preventable. Your granny who died in her sleep at the age of 95? A preventable death. That old boy who kicked the bucket at the age of 88? Preventable.

And here is the President of Zambia suggesting that it is pointless preventing people dying from horrific contagious diseases in childhood or in the prime of life because they'll only die from cancer or heart disease when they're 80.

This is truly bonkers stuff. What do they think people are going to die from if they succeed in preventing death from non-communicable disease? Is Tedros planning to unleash a global plague to end the scourge of NCDs?

This was not a health conference. It was a meeting of an ever-lasting life cult. And once they've finished in New York, many of the cultists will be heading to Geneva for their next religious service: the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control's eighth Conference of the Parties. Those guys really rack up the air miles.

Since the British taxpayer is paying for most of this, I'm going to head over there to see what we get for our money. I won't be allowed in - nobody from outside the tribe is - but Geneva is a small place so I should get to see some of the believers with my own eyes. On the agenda this year is censorship of the arts and banning all e-cigarette advertising, amongst many other things. It will be interesting to see whether the UK representatives, who will doubtless include ASH's Deborah Arnott, take a stand against the WHO's prohibitionist stance on vaping.

I'll be in Geneva from Thursday to Saturday and I know a few vaping activists and libertarians are also going to be showing up. If you're going to be in town, let me know. I have a little event planned for Friday evening. Drinks will be provided. Details to follow next week.

And feel free to use the graphic at the top of this post (lovingly designed by my wife) which I liked so much that I turned them into posters. Could come in handy...

Have a good weekend.

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