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Saturday, 3 November 2012

The Paranoia of Stephen Williams MP

I'm just a blogger. I don't work for a tobacco company. I'm not paid to write this blog. I am no different or better than any of you who come to read this blog -- however you got here, either accidentally or regularly, whether you followed a link from another's blogroll or clicked a link on someone's page. I'm just a guy who gets by, like you, but perhaps with a little more time than you have to sit down and write about the insanity we all see every day.

So it's always hilarious to see someone accuse me of being a paid campaigner for Big Tobacco. It's even more funny when it's an elected member of Parliament that accuses me of this. I mean, seriously, this is a guy who was elected to represent his constituents, somebody who should be able to see things for what they are and take a reasoned stance on behalf of those he represents.

The story begins a bit earlier.  Bear with me.

Yesterday, the gloriously paranoid Stephen Williams MP representing Bristol West tweeted thusly:

Now stop to think about this for a moment.  Here's a supposedly respected and supposedly honourable member of Parliament tweeting a conspiracy that anyone who disagrees with plain packs is under the employ or guidance of Big Tobacco. Remember: THIS IS AN ELECTED MEMBER OF PARLIAMENT. So much for the honourable and respected bits.

Does Stephen Williams have any evidence that the Rural Shops Alliance is a front for Big Tobacco?

No, he does not. So, lacking any proper evidence and being a petty and sad bastard , it seems because someone would dare to do a proper study on the effects that plain packs will have on British shopkeepers, retailers and consumers, and declare that the tobacco company who funded the study had no influence at all on how it was carried out nor the results, then the only logical conclusion in Stephen Williams's petty, tiny, anti-smoker brain is: Big Tobacco rigged the study; that the Rural Shops Alliance is being used by Big Tobacco.

Seriously.  This near-brainless stooge of the tobacco control industry, who gets paid with your money it must be said, tweets a rubbish conspiracy theory like this just because real people who don't sponge off of the taxpayer say plain packs will hurt businesses...?  Really?  C'mon, really?  Is this what we pay our elected politicians to do? Tweet shite like this?  Apparently. How sad is our government?  (You don't have to answer that, it's rhetorical.)

One must suppose that only Big Pharma or the Department of Health is allowed to fund research, because yeah there's no conflict of interest there. Ahem. One must also suppose that the real employers and businesses out there (not the people who work in the public sector), you know the ones who actually pay taxes and contribute real jobs to the economy ... well, one supposes that their research and opinions do not count in this country, and that every last one of them is being played by Big Tobacco.

Right now, there must be thousands of Big Tobacco execs sitting outside every rural shop in Britain and telling the owners how to run their businesses. Yep. That's how big the conspiracy is.  Indeed, look outside your windows now, and Big T execs are there, telling you to read this blog.  They are! They've tapped into the hard line and are sending these words to your screen!  Just look! It's those guys hiding in the shadows and wearing the fedoras. Don't you see them? Stephen Williams MP must clearly believe in them. 

These guys are right outside your door!

You know, I've written about Stephen Williams before.  He is this blog's inaugural Super Twat of the Month. I don't desire to rehash old matters, though. Let's focus on the now.

After Stephen Williams MP tweeted his rubbish conspiracy theory to his adoring and faithful 2000+ followers, the lovely and erudite Angela Harbutt responded as follows:

This is true. The public, police and a host of others have said plain packaging is stupid and will cause a great deal of problems without actually addressing the issue of whether anyone on the planet (or even in the universe) smokes because of a shiny trade mark on a packet of cigarettes.

This is where I come in.  I saw Angela's tweet and replied to her with this:

Did you note who retweeted it?  Blog favourite Stephen Williams MP.  Why would he do that?  Are there really such things as passive aggressive retweets on Twitter?  Did Stephen Williams MP hope that his legions of adoring followers would rise up and attack me for my views?  Is that the reason why Stephen Williams MP of Bristol West retweeted my response to him, or was he -- and this is being generous I admit -- hoping to engage a fellow citizen in a rational debate?

I think we all know the answers to those questions.

Turns out, there are no legions for Stephen Williams MP.  No. Stephen Williams has only one (just one) fan in Britain who would even mention my tweet, and this guy called me a simpleton and didn't even have the courage to say it directly to me.  OK. I can live with that. Most of us, myself included, don't wish to engage in petty goings-on via Twitter.  Still, I admit, it entertained me for 34.7 seconds (a generous estimate that includes the amount of time it took me to read the tweet and write my own.)

I told you that Stephen Williams is a member of Parliament. Didn't I?  I hope so. I just wanted to ensure everyone remembers that he's supposed to be a grown-up.

Right. So where was I?

Ah, yes.  This gormless MP, who believes that everything on the planet that he doesn't like is a Big Tobacco conspiracy, had a little more to say on the matter.  Except, Stephen Williams, like his one true fan in all of Britain, lacks the courage to say it to me directly. Indeed, this elected, respected, honourable member of Parliament insinuates that this blog's author and what I write is paid for by Big Tobacco companies.

So, there you have it. Stephen Williams MP has falsely accused me, without evidence -- and let's remember that this guy is a grown-up Minister of Parliament who should be above such unfounded accusations (ahem, ahem)  -- that I'm am a paid campaigner for the tobacco industry. 

Stephen Williams MP is wrong.  I'm not paid to write this blog. I'm not paid to have the views I hold, by anyone, and certainly not any tobacco companies.  I am just an ordinary person like any of you. No better than you, not special, not working for anybody ... just a guy who makes time to research and write about ignorant, petty bastards like Stephen Williams MP who represent Bristol West.

Because I want to do it.

Since Stephen Williams is the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, which is administered to by hate groups such as ASH, I can only logically conclude that, given the evidence, Stephen Williams is a delusional, paranoid, anti-smoker stooge of the tobacco control industry.

How about you prove me wrong, sir? Do you have the courage for that?  What say you? 

. . .

. . .

Yeah, that's what I thought.

** UPDATE:  Angela Harbutt has more on this at the Hands Off Our Packs blog. **