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« YouGov sinks to a new low | Main | Minister denied MPs opportunity to scrutinise Tobacco Product Directive »

We need to talk about Anna

Predictable silence from the media on the subject of Anna Soubry, the Department of Health, the European Scrutiny Committee and the Tobacco Products Directive.

One journalist responded by emailing me to say, "The Lords committee was scrutinising the TPD in April when Soubry was before them."


A Commons committee made up of elected representatives is surely more important than a similar committee of unelected peers.

For a minister to deny MPs the opportunity to do their job – in this case scrutinise an important EU Directive – is extraordinary, yet not a single journalist has made an issue of it or reported the fact that Soubry got a serious ticking off (see previous post).

Meanwhile the Lynton Crosby story rumbles on – I've just been listening to Radio 4's The World at One question Boris Johnson about it – with not a shred of evidence that Crosby ever lobbied the PM on plain packaging.

And to think the silly season has not even started.

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Reader Comments (10)

Antismoking has been obscenely funded by the taxpayer and Pharma interests for the last few decades. The great “skill” of activists is in propaganda - how to make headlines, how to maintain a high media profile. There has essentially been no questioning of their conduct. They are used to getting their way. The more fanatics are accommodated, the more hysterical and inflammatory become their claims, and the more deranged, draconian, and inhumane become their demands. On the rare occasion that fanatics don’t get their way, they resort to Plan B which is occurring now concerning “plain packaging” – it’s all a tobacco industry “conspiracy”. “There’s that “evil” tobacco industry thwarting our wonderful work”, screech the fanatics.

This entire “us vs them” framework was also contrived by the fanatics decades ago. This mythological good vs evil drama was suggested by Chapman at the 1983 [antismoking] World Conference on Smoking & Health. It was in the presentation of his paper, a manual on how to do propaganda, “The Lung Goodbye”:
“Such a list could be added to considerably, but most entries would be characterized by being somehow cast in a mythological good versus evil battle in an arena observed by mass numbers of people. The good (health/clean air/children) versus evil (cancer/uncaring, callous industry) dimension is the ineluctable bottom line in the whole issue and a rich reservoir for spawning a great deal of useful social drama, metaphor, and symbolic politics that is the stuff of ‘news value’ and which is almost always to the detriment of the industry.” p.11

It’s all for manipulative, theatrical effect and has been quite successful on an essentially gullible political class, media, and public. The zealots must have regular belly laughs at how all too easy the brainwashing has been.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 14:52 | Unregistered CommenterHope

Surely her signature is invalid without it having the backing of the government? Or have we really gone into the realms of insanity where any minister can sign what they want ... and we stick to it?

Journalism has been virtually dead for a long time now. You, yourself Simon, must know of journalists who have been replaced by interns ... it's becoming the normal practice.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 16:01 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

My concern is that Soubry will get away with a bit of a telling off and be quietly moved at the next reshuffle. That will have no impact whatsoever because Andrew Black will continue to mislead and manipulate the next incumbent. We urgently need reform of the civil service in general and the DoH in particular.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 16:37 | Unregistered CommenterIvan D

"Did they want to talk about Anna Soubry?

Er, no ... Lynton Crosby." journalism.
I'd like to insert the HST quote about journalism- the one involving winos, chimps and acts of self abuse- but it would , heaven forfend, offend someone somewhere.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 19:00 | Unregistered CommenterThe Blocked Dwarf

I haven't watched the whole of the committee video but one thing stood out immediately. There was no talk of 'plain packaging' at all. Instead 'it' was referred to as 'standardised packaging'. Which is of course what the whole (part) DoH funded campaign was really about, despite always being touted as 'plain packaging'.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 19:12 | Unregistered CommenterTony

@Tony - by "standardised packaging" do you mean uniformity of pack graphics or - as Junican has maintained for a while - standardisation of the size of packaging and, thus, the content - ie the real agenda is for the zealots to control the size of cigarettes, the long term plan being to incrementally reduce their size, increasing the tax take to HMG and, therefore, - the zealots' funding.

Friday, July 19, 2013 at 21:37 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Ideal opportunity Simon.

What do we want nanny to do in our nanny state.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 13:16 | Unregistered CommenterSheila

Thanks, Sheila. We have posted link on Facebook and Twitter.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 13:43 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

@Joyce, Yes I believe so.

Saturday, July 20, 2013 at 19:08 | Unregistered CommenterTony

Quite frankly Soubry & Black should be residing in the Tower of London, having been dragged by their feet thru Traitor's Gate, to await their trial.

Sunday, July 21, 2013 at 9:00 | Unregistered Commentercorncrake

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