Tuesday, 28 July 2015

How @Tesco Just Removed Itself From My Shopping List

Dear Tesco

I live in an area where there is one of your stores, a Sainsbury's, an Asda and a Morrissons. Aldi is a bit futher away but I have that option too.

I tend to be a canny shopper and look for deals to decide which I will shop at. It may only save me a few pounds here and there but that's how free markets work, isn't it? You make the offer, I respond to it by either buying or not from your store.

However, I'd like to thank you very much for removing yourself from that purchasing equation by employing a tit like David Beardmore. You see, he has apparently decided to make choices on behalf of every parent who shops in your stores, because we are all obviously so much thicker than him.
"This is part of our 10-point plan against obesity and we have decided that from September we will only sell no-added-sugar drinks in the kids’ juice category."
Absolutely spiffing, Tesco, well done.

Now, while I admit to being astonished at your incredibly crass capitulation to a tiny handful of health fascists waving junk science about sugar, I find it very odd that you employ someone so very dense as to not understand that he is favouring shroud-waving trouser-fillers who effectively call you corporate murderers over and above people who actually give you their cash for products that they like to buy.

You remember us customers, don't you? You know, the ones who don't take every opportunity to slate you for fulfilling your customers' preferences?

In case you weren't aware of how stunning an own goal this policy is, may I remind you that Beardmore has all but ushered in an new era of pain for your organisation according to Professor Graham MacGregor of the self-enriching bunch of liars at Action on Sugar.
“Children should not be drinking sweet, soft drinks and parents should make sure they switch to water instead.”
I think you sell a lot more than water, don't you, Tesco? I believe you also sell salt, ready meals & cereals (which MacGregor also hates you for supplying) along with tobacco, alcohol, and crisps.

Every one of these products is purchased from your shops by customers exercising their own free choice. Once you eliminate that choice, you effectively tell your customers they are too stupid to decide for themselves. Personally, I find that a pretty ridiculous way to do business.

Still, it's your (or prissy David's) choice, so who am I to argue if you want to blitz your sales by telling millions of customers that they are less important that a tiny handful of self-installed health extremists with a fantasy axe to grind in order to keep their personal bank balances healthy?

When the news broke via an article in The Grocer, your Twitter staff seemed completely unaware of it! But I take it you are happy to follow this lunacy through because two days later long-term British staple Ribena has been disappearing from heavily discounted shelves as if it was some form of cancer.

I suppose what I'm saying is that I wish you the very best of luck running a business which is happy to appease people who hate you - thereby admitting that you are pedlars of unhealthy products who force people to buy crap with your wiley sales tactics - while simultaneously calling your customers idiots for making their own choices. It's a courageous business move, and no mistake.

In Mr Beardmore you have a star employeee, I will watch your future declining fortunes with an eager eye from now on ... while I shop at Sainsbury's where my choices are more respected.

Best regards

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Ulster Farming Union Gets It Wrong

A story on Tuesday about the smoking ban in work vehicles is so bizarre that even the state lapdog BBC is amused enough to cover it.
A farmer who lit up a cigarette in his tractor could face a fine of up to £1,000 after he was deemed to be smoking in his workplace. 
The quiet smoke break while parked at the side of a road in County Antrim was stubbed out when a tobacco control officer intervened. 
The tractor was deemed by the officer to be a commercial vehicle capable of "carrying more than one person".
Well, yes. Under the terms of the law, an offence has been committed because it can carry more than one person ... just not at the same time. The farmer is not the first to be penalised for not harming anyone, nor will he be the last.

You see, according to the lunatics of tobacco control, smoke hangs around forever. It cannot be blown away by open windows, by storm winds, or by the passing of time. Tony Benn may well have been dead for over a year, but somewhere his pipe smoke is still killing people to this day. We know this because tobacco control 'experts' tell us that the laws of economics, physics and dose/response don't apply to tobacco smoke.
Barclay Bell, deputy president of the Ulster Farmers' Union (UFU), said the case was an example of officials taking smoking legislation to extreme lengths. 
"At one level this is a bizarre and even funny example of excessive red tape, defining a tractor as capable of carrying more than one person," he said.
No, Barclay, your understanding of the law - and the BBC's evidently - is flawed. You see, it's not about whether someone can be harmed by being in the vehicle at the same time - nor has it ever been - it is simply a rule designed to inconvenience and bully smokers into quitting. It was never about health, which is why they now call it "denormalisation" and why plainly absurd claims about smoking being harmful on beaches are de rigeur.

The law is working against this farmer exactly as it was planned to do. It was designed specifically to interrupt his freely chosen choice to have a smoke break, that's how vile bullies work. D'you see?

The farming guy did get one thing right though.
But he added that it raised more serious issues. "Regardless of where you stand on smoking, in tough financial times it is justifiable to ask whether this is the best possible use of time and money?"
A question we've been asking ourselves here too. We're supposed to be in a period of austerity, so why the blithering fuck are government still handing our cash to vile, anti-social, economy-harming tax drains like ASH who drove such a repulsive law through parliament in the first place?

The country would be a far more relaxed, happier and richer place without them.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Allez Les Buralistes Français!

This Monday in Paris, the French health minister hosted her counterparts from 9 other countries - including, to our shame, the UK - to discuss how to implement utterly pointless plain packaging.
Ministers discussed the effect of advertising and promotion of tobacco products, especially concerning the design of tobacco packages and products.They acknowledged that significant scientific evidence exists to justify the introduction of standardized packaging.
That's rot, of course, there is no evidence worthy of the name, let alone anything 'significant'. It is, however, pretty clear that French retailers - who, as is always the case with tyrannical governments, have been ignored - will be affected by the measure in a free trading bloc like the EU.

The attitude of 'public health' is quite disgraceful when it comes to plain packs, especially. They declare openly that no economic factor should ever be taken into account; that only health should ever be considered, however flimsy their cock-eyed junk science is. And, with plain packs, cock-eyed junk science is about all they've got (see here, here, here, here and here).

So French tobacconists have today caused one hell of a scene in Paris, as the Guardian reports.
Angry French tobacconists have dumped four tonnes of carrots outside the ruling Socialist party’s headquarters in Paris in protest at plans to force the introduction of plain cigarette packets.
And they filmed it.

This is after a week of general civil disobedience throughout France.
France’s tobacconists are protesting against plans to force cigarette companies to use plain, unbranded packaging by disabling traffic speed cameras. 
The radar “hooding” – by covering them with bin liners – is symbolic: a “cover up” that deprives the government of money in the same way that the anti-smoking legislation will reduce tobacco sales and tax revenue, the protesters say. 
The first hooding took place over a month ago and, by this week, speed trap cameras in as many as 20 of 97 districts had been affected, said the group representing France’s tabac bars, the Buralistes Confederation. 
“It’s a sign that anger is mounting,” a spokesman said.
They weren't finished after the carrot stunt either ...
After dumping the vegetables against the gates of the party headquarters at Rue de Solférino at 6.30am, the tobacconists marched to the health ministry en route to the Sénat.
Indeed they did, making a real fuss, and mess, with a 4 million signature petition against plain packaging.

It has certainly got their concerns noticed. The French Senate has discussed the idea and decided to reject it, preferring to stick to the EU TPD proposals for larger health warnings instead. Unlike, sadly, our allegedly EU-suspicious Tory government which has gold-plated the demands from Brussels instead of treating them with healthy disdain.

I'm sure that's not the end of the matter, puritans never like losing and will certainly never listen to the people whose lives they destroy, but today is a good day for common sense and decency in France.

As the demands from insane public health lobbyists become ever more absurd - not just over tobacco, either - we're hopefully going to see a lot more of this type of direct action. Good, I'm all for it.

Les buralistes Français, vous avez bien fait aujourd'hui. Bravo!

Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Erm, Because It Looks Like Smoking

In the global catalogue of scientific literature, there is no poorer an illegitimate runt than the integrity-free BMJ's Tobacco Control Journal. 

Its 'research' is always almost exclusively policy-based garbage (see here and here for recent examples) which is hardly surprising considering the editorial board comprises a global who's who of tobacco control industry junk 'scientists'. However, an item in their July 2015 rag lowers that bar by some margin.

Four of the tobacco control field's finest dullards researchers surveyed 723 flight attendants to find out if they had ever seen someone using an e-cig on a plane or in an airport. Unsurprisingly, quite a few had. Not much of a revelation considering many airports have vaping lounges or don't have a policy and - even if ignorance has got the better of the airport's managers - using e-cigs where bans are in place is incredibly easy. Vanishingly few sane people give a stuff enough to report it, you see, even if they are aware vaping is banned and can be bothered to remember such a pointless rule. In fact, the only really surprising stat was that a majority (53.6%) hadn't seen an e-cig being used.

It was an interesting survey of e-cig prevalence in airports and planes, though, except that it was then followed by conclusions which had nothing whatsoever to do with the research!
"Allowing e-cigarette use in smoke-free places undermines the denormalisation of cigarette smoking ..."
No it doesn't. If anything it normalises vaping instead of smoking.
"... particularly with respect to the milestone ban on in-flight smoking that flight attendant unions and smoke-free advocates fought incredibly hard to pass."
They could make this claim if they had studied prevalence of smoking on planes and concluded it is increasing. But they didn't, and it isn't. E-cigs have made absolutely no difference.
"The use of e-cigarettes in air transit—both on aeroplanes and in airports—must be addressed in the current policy and regulatory deliberations in the US and around the world."
Erm, why? Because some flight attendants saw them being used? Seriously, this is the level of execrable junk Tobacco Control publishes!
"Given the growing evidence around passive vaping and air quality associated with e-cigarette use ..."
Yes, they are actually trying to pretend that passive vaping is a thing. Growing evidence? No, the fantasy concept is swiftly and effortlessly debunked every time some lying crank tries to suggest it is a threat.
"... banning e-cigarettes on aeroplanes and in airports is a needed step-forward for the protection of both passengers and crew."
We are so far down the rabbit hole here, aren't we? Vaping must be banned because some flight attendants saw it going on, so their eyes must be protected from being sprained at the sight. Well, I can only assume that's what they mean because no credible study has ever concluded that there is even a hint of harm to bystanders from e-cig vapour in any concentration.

In short, this absurd article could have saved a lot of words (and a lot of taxpayers' money) by just saying "we don't like e-cigs because they look a little bit like smoking". That's it, they have nothing else.

We know very well that this is why tobacco controllers hate e-cigs because this cartoon in the same Tobacco Control edition illustrates it perfectly.

Michael Siegel described the revealed attitudes of this cartoon very well today.
Sadly, this is an accurate reflection of how so many tobacco control groups and advocates see vapers. While the nicotine patch is an acceptable way to quit smoking, the e-cigarette is not. Why? For one reason: it looks like smoking. And smoking is idiotic. And people who smoke are therefore idiots. Apparently, smokers who sincerely try to quit smoking using e-cigarettes are even worse idiots because they aren't even really smoking. 
While that logic might sound stupid, it is precisely the thinking that characterizes the bulk of the "anti-smoking" movement today. That Tobacco Control saw fit to publish this cartoon demonstrates that they apparently see things in this way.
Well, with Simple Simon and Mad Stan on their editorial board, why would they not publish it?

The fact is that, yet again, e-cigs are showing up the tobacco control movement for what it has always been. A spiteful, intolerant crusade against the choices of others, captained by cranks, shills, vile bullies and arrogant crooks.

They have never cared about health, they just make up any old crap because they don't like smoking. It's perfectly natural that they are now turning their pathetically inept guns on e-cigs, because they also don't like anything that looks like smoking.

The Tobacco Control Journal is not science, it is merely moral ranting, and only marginally more sophisticated than the demented craziness which emanated from certifiably insane puritan mouth-frothers in 19th century Britain and 1920s USA.

So next time you hear about someone being described as a tobacco control 'expert', remember the flight attendants 'study' above. Because, that being the standard of transparent bullshit their bible publishes, they're no more an expert than you or I.

Monday, 20 July 2015

Beach Bullshit

Desperate to prolong her lucratively-remunerated tax-sponging existence for a few more years, Deborah Arnott has been commenting on the absurd Brighton beach smoking ban. As justification goes, it's pretty desperate.
"A growing number of local authorities and other organisations are exploring ways of providing more smoke-free public places in response to public demand. Football grounds and railway stations are already smoke-free, and increasingly children's play areas are going smoke-free too."
Yes, do you remember those huge popular movements calling for smoking to be banned at the far end of platform 2 at Preston railway station? The huge flags football fans waved - in between hurling foul-mouthed abuse at the opposition goalie - to force the Football League to make grounds smokefree? And the national letter-writing campaign by Mumsnet to the government over playground smoking? What's that? You didn't?

Well of course not, because the railways ban was snuck in around the time of the smoking ban under a byelaw inserted by Network Rail or whoever, no public were involved. Brian Mawhinney caved in to anti-smoking lunatics to enforce an unnecessary ban at football matches which is so 'popular' that it's still causing problems in every stadium toilet in the Premiership and Football League. No-one asked for it except lobby groups like ASH and their health fascist friends. And 'voluntary' playground bans are always introduced by dickhead local councillors trying to get their daft legislation - along with a pic of their dozy mug and sad comb-over - into the local rag.

There has been no 'public demand' for any of it, unless you count the public's money that ASH uses to 'demand' bans which have fuck all to do with health.
"Smoke-free beaches could provide a safe and pleasant environment, particularly for children ..."
Beaches are already a safe and pleasant environment, Debs, this ban won't change that one iota, and you know that. Oh yeah, and no prohibitionist tobacco control industry diktat is ever complete without mentioning the children, now is it?
"... but also for adults who want to avoid exposure to second-hand smoke ..."
Which is, of course, not dangerous inside, let alone on a beach surrounded by billions of litres of constantly moving air. Again, she is well aware of this, but likes to mention it knowing that the stupid, the hideously intolerant, and the certifiably insane in society will lap it up and - respectively - believe they are about to die, make plans for beating up a smoker, or scream and rant next time they think they see anything that looks like it might be smoking. Most probably an e-cig which will inevitably also be banned to save confusion amongst the knuckle-scrapers in our midst.

Nice work, Debs, you're a huge ally to vapers and no mistake.
"... as well as reducing the amount of cigarette butt litter on beaches, which doesn't degrade quickly and is harmful to wildlife."
This, incredibly, is about the only argument which holds water. However, it is a litter problem, not a smoker problem. The answer would be to encourage smokers to dispose of butts responsibly, maybe hand out portable ashtrays or provide more bins. People leave cans, bottles and food packaging on beaches too, is Arnott really so thick and rancidly anti-enjoyment that her answer would be to ban picnics for everyone? On this evidence, apparently so. Finding solutions which preserve liberties - if that is even a consideration for ASH, that is - is difficult, you see, whereas demanding bans is simple.

Having said that, I'm glad we have yet more proof that nothing ASH does has ever had anything to do with health.