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Friday, 30 November 2012

The Smack-Down of Stephen Williams MP

The House Magazine is quickly becoming one of my favourites.

First, for having the balls to wrap its magazine with an advert opposing plain packaging (although they did kind of apologise for it afterwards, and I think they should not have done so, but it's their business).

Second, for publishing an exchange of correspondence between Stephen Williams MP and Ian Paisley MP in respect of plain packaging, called "The Dialogue: Plain Cigarette Packaging."

And third, for making that correspondence available on-line for all of us to enjoy Ian Paisley's glorious smack-down of Stephen Williams MP, misrepresenting all of those "gullible women and children" of Bristol West.

I do not have permission to post the entire conversation in full in this post, so with huge thanks to HOOPs for tweeting the original link, here are a few choice, tasty excerpts taken from Ian Paisley MP's replies to Stephen Williams:
I don’t know what you were smoking when you wrote this but really you need to stay off it because misleading information actually diminishes any strength your argument might have.

I want to see a health policy in place that is honest and that works. You have no evidence to suggest standardised packaging would actually decrease consumption. Government ought to introduce policy on the basis of evidence not seek evidence on the back of untested and unproven policy.

I see that you appear to be arguing from the preposterous position that you want to standardise cigarette packs for health purposes yet at the same time legalise class B drugs and encourage an unlawful product to be sold legally in the UK. I think your priorities are at odds!

You have emailed me now three times giving ample opportunity to advance one shred of evidence that standardised packets will 1) Prevent children from smoking 2) Reduce overall consumption and 3) Make a significant change to the health of the nation. Clearly you have no evidence. This is just some whimsical and fanciful notion based more on PR than substance. Stephen, you are in Government, it needs to be better than this.
That's a pretty awesome smack-down, Mr Paisley.  You have earned a gold star!

One of things (actually, almost everything) that Stephen Williams MP said is quite alarming (emphasis added):
The brands have glitzy names like “vogue” [...] Packs and cigarettes would be standardised without appealing shapes, designs or names.
Oh, so is it the tobacco control industry's plan to prevent BAT from even using its brand name Vogue?  Sure looks that way.  Or perhaps Stephen Williams MP is merely confused,  as ever?

I have no idea what you just said, but oh, pardon me whilst I scratch my arse. Ah, that's better.
Image source ASH UK (because you all paid for it, so why not?)