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Thursday
May092013

Read our lips - there was no promise so no government u-turn

Shameless.

Labour has issued a press release with the headline 'Diane Abbott: Cameron must explain plain packaging broken promise'.

Diane Abbott MP, Labour's Shadow Public Health Minister, urges David Cameron to explain plain packaging broken promise:

"This is deeply concerning, because behind all the chaos, confusion and dither, it's clear that Lynton Crosby and the government's friends in big business are pulling the strings, and public health is being quietly ditched by this government.

"David Cameron needs to get out of the bunker and explain why the government is breaking yet another promise, and whether he was aware of his main campaign strategist's business interests when he offered him the job."

ASH, needless to say, has tweeted the press release to its followers.

Others have been equally active accusing the PM of a u-turn and goodness knows what.

It's all spin and lies, of course. As anyone who has followed the plain packaging debate knows, David Cameron has not broken any promise nor done a u-turn.

The Coalition Government, bless 'em, never promised to introduced standardised packaging.

They promised a public consultation and they delivered.

Abbott knows that, Labour knows that - the entire tobacco control industry knows that.

Everything else is politics.

Update: More bleating, this time on a Cancer Research blog, but at least the writer doesn't accuse the PM of breaking a non-existent promise.

Instead Chris Woodhall has a pop at the tobacco industry, Forest, Hands Off Our Packs and more.

He mentions that 220,000 people supported standard packs campaigns but omits to mention that more than twice as many (500,000) supported campaigns against plain packaging.

He attacks the tobacco lobby but fails to mention the packaging and design companies that oppose plain packaging; or the retired and serving police officers who fear it will lead to an increase in illicit trade.

He writes that 'Forest has ... used their own single-issue front-group Hands Off Our Packs (HOOPS) to oppose standard packs: they receive the same veiled support from BAT, JTI and Imperial tobacco'.

Veiled support? It's there in black and white on both the HOOPS and Forest websites. We've never hidden it.

Compare our transparency with that of our opponents. It took a Freedom of Information request to find out how much public money Plain Packs Protect had received. (Over £450,000, thanks for asking.)

Woodhall urges readers to write to MPs and "ask them to do the right thing: introduce standardised cigarette packs".

They never give up, do they?

See: A sad day for public health (Cancer Research Science Update blog)

PS. Needless to say you can't comment on the CRUK blog. That would be too much to expect.

Update: My mistake. You can comment. Over to you ...

Update: I have just posted this comment:

This article isn't science, it's propaganda. Sad day indeed for CRUK and anyone who values both sides of a debate.

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Reader Comments (11)

Actually you can comment on the CRUK blog; someone from the packaging industry already has, pointing out the fallacy of the campaign for 'plain packs'.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 13:52 | Unregistered CommenterUkipper

Maybe they've been misled on account that in private, Lansley, Milton and Soubry probably did promise it . After all, they were determined to push it through no matter what the public thought which is why the public decided UKIP deserved their vote and Cameron being a pragmatist who knew no official Govt promise was made decided, at last, to listen to public concern on this matter from tobacco consumers and non consumers who can see now what the real agenda is and it isn't about health.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 14:43 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

If ASH and their acolytes believe the government are in the hands of tobacco companies then it beggars the question ... when will ASH etc will stop accepting money from the government?

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 16:36 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Congratulations to everybody who was involved in the campaign against "Plain Packs" and yes the Goverment seems to be listening.

Maybe now they will listen to an amending the smoking ban in pubs & clubs?

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 16:41 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Davies

"They never give up, do they?"

Well, no. Their mortgages depend on it.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 17:25 | Unregistered CommenterSpingo

You can comment, can you? I can't see a way in.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 at 19:06 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

i" ... when will ASH etc will stop accepting money from the government?"


Or, more to the point, when will the Government stop giving it to them? If you think that the absence of plain packs from the Queen's speech has caused whining, just imagine how much there'd be if their taxpayer funding suddenly and completely stopped ...

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:11 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

01.15am 10th May.
I have just commented.
I looked for Simon's comment, but could not see it. Has it been deleted?
I have this theory (laugh if you wish). I suspect that CRUK and many others have been lent upon. I suspect that CRUK have been forced, one way or another, to have a Tobacco Control Industry Department. It is the only thing that makes sense. It way well be that CRUK's TCI Dept is just as much a pain the ar*e to the genuine CRUK people as is it to us. Genuine CRUK people want to find the root causes of cancers and find solutions. They do not want to see cancer as similar to 'bad air' as the cause of malaria. I cannot help but think that the Heart Foundation and Lung Foundation are in a similar plight.

By the way. Has anyone seen any comments on the failure of PP from the Chief Medical Officer or the CEO of Public Health England?

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 1:32 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

"when will ASH etc will stop accepting money from the government?" - smoking hot

The big anomaly here is that the government is the biggest profiteer from and stakeholder in tobacco. What is it now? 85% of the cost of a pack of cigarettes goes in tax? That means everyone else -tobacco industry, retailers distributors etc share 15% only.

I find it irritating and unwittingly hypocritical of people that they will sanctimoniously state that they would not accept tobacco industry grants or buy tobacco shares, but are then happy to take money from the big profiteer, namely, government.

If we are going to go along with the hysterical propaganda of CASH, sorry ASH, CRUK and co, that the tobacco industry profits from people's death, then so does the government and in more ways than just tobacco (arms sales etc). Therefore, following the same logic to its conclusion, just as we must destroy the tobacco industry, let's destroy the government too.

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 9:16 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

My comment didn't even get published :)

A welcome accolade in my opinion, I would feel terrible if my comments became so insipid as to pass a puritan imprimatur.

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 19:54 | Unregistered CommenterTheBlocked Dwarf

It wouldn't let me comment either - perhaps I'm banned from expressing my opinion!

Hey - ho

Friday, May 10, 2013 at 23:49 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

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