Firstly, the Department of Health ensured that the people who would be tasked with assessing the impact of any proposed legislation will solely be those with a particular interest in ensuring that it goes through without hindrance.
The second addressed the curious decision by the DoH to commission supporting evidence for the consultation which was written by the very same people campaigning for plain packaging, complete with references to their own 'studies'.
Both were in contravention of established rules laid down to ensure democratic transparency and open government.
The thinking behind these two slimy departures from process is now made crystal clear on reading the plain packs consultation response from the National Federation of Retail Newsagents [pdf].
While the lead Department is listed as Health under the Impact Assessment, there are none listed as ‘other’ Departments being consulted on this policy. This is a huge concern for us as the concessions made for small shops within the Tobacco Display Ban legislation (specifically the 3 year delay for small shops and the 10-fold increase in permissible display) only came about through rigorous debate with the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills.Somewhere, a penny drops.
You see, the Department of Health were mighty pissed off in 2009 that the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (DBIS) had the temerity to raise concerns about the damage the display ban would have on retail shops. They were forced to water down the proposals as a result, and that just won't do.
So, this time, they have excluded the DBIS entirely to ensure that no-one can raise a silly objection like, you know, 58,000 small businesses - which are overwhelmingly against the idea for good reason - being shafted on the whim of the lucratively tax-funded tobacco control industry.
As far as these hideous people are concerned, every newsagent, corner shop, convenience store and kiosk in the country can go to the wall as long as a tiny few tobacco controllers can add another line on their CV and keep the tax receipts coming.
They not only want to rig the evidence for the consultation, they also wish to shut out a hugely relevant fellow government department for fear that it might raise valid concerns.
Thanks to the level of responses against plain packaging, this approach - well, let's call a spade a spade here, it's civil service corruption - may be exposed, and the methods employed by the pro-stupid lobby and their Whitehall cockroach chums can feel the uncomfortable warmth of a spotlight on their perversion of democratic process.
This is why if this plain packs consultation is a sham - as many have concluded - and it turns out that the legislation is tabled regardless of the overwhelming tide of objection, it's by far the end of the matter.
Instead, it will finally prove beyond any vague hint of doubt that government is broken; consultations officially not worth the cyber-bytes they are written on; and the civil service - in every single area - fit only for mass sackings and re-briefing to focus arrogant minds.
And with the newly-protected Freedom of Information Act at our disposal, that's when the fun will really start.