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Thursday 28 June 2012

Consumers Launch Tobacco Control Tactics Wiki

How angry have smokers become over being marginalised in debates that affect their lives, and by constantly being denigrated by the Tobacco Control Industry? Angry enough to start a wiki war?  You bet.  So today we see that unfunded, grass-roots consumers have launched their own wiki called Tobacco Control Tactics.

From the beginning of the press release:

No, The Debate is NOT Over. No, The Science is NOT Settled.

Adult consumers are fighting back against the actions of and the unfounded allegations made by the Tobacco Control Industry which are ruining lives, damaging health and trashing the economy.

Unfunded and unsupported grassroots members of consumer organisations across the world have cooperated in creating the Tobacco Control Tactics Wiki which challenges the claims and tactics used by the recently unveiled University of Bath’s Tobacco Tactics website.
This is an excellent response to UBath's wiki, which was partly funded by taxpayer money and from donations from so-called charities.  I would have liked to have contributed to TC Tactics wiki, but unfortunately I had to spend time doing other things and before I knew it the wiki was done. So I would really like to thank those people who devoted hours and hours and hours of their free time to make it possible.

Also for more background info you may wish to read Pat's take on it

Monday 25 June 2012

How Plain Packs Attacks Consumers

Throughout this so-called public consultation for plain packaging of tobacco products, we have seen a relentless campaign by the anti-smoker tobacco control industry to portray this as something that must be done to protect children.  "Give millions of kids one less reason to start smoking" is the oft-repeated phrase. If anyone truly believes that children may take up smoking because of a pack design then they must be utterly deluded. The truth is that plain packs will no more protect children than banning toys with Happy Meals at McDonald's will prevent child obesity. Yet by colouring the banners of this crusade as a children's health issue, and by insidiously recruiting children to beat the marching drums, the tobacco control industry attempts to persuade guilt both smokers and non-smokers into supporting their cause, because to do otherwise implies that you do not care about children.  The "protect the children" argument is the only argument they have, and it is used to great effect.

On the other hand, those who oppose plain packs (including me) have argued that it violates intellectual property rights, business rights to brand their goods distinctively, freedom of speech and expression, international trade laws, and that it will burden retailers and increase the illicit and counterfeit tobacco markets. Whether you believe any of these are valid arguments is your choice to make. But there is another aspect of plain packaging that is rarely addressed, so I aim to do so here.

That aspect is the standardisation of pack size. At first glance this may not seem like a big issue to anyone including many smokers. Many brands share an identical packaging format and therefore are already the same size. The format, the shape of a box of machine-made cigarettes, is at its heart a functional design. Packets are ultimately designed to store and prevent damage to the cigarettes before and after they are purchased by the consumer.  Plain packs legislation won't change the format of king size packets holding 20 cigarettes, but plain packs will greatly affect other formats that perhaps you had not considered. By the changing the format of extra-long and slim-sized cigarettes, plain packs seeks to eradicate those brands from the market.

Take a box of Dunhill International for example. Perhaps due to the length of the filter, they come in slightly larger than typical king size cigarettes in comparison.  Although the packet holds 20 cigarettes, the design is nothing like a standard king size box -- the cigarettes are contained in two discrete sections of 10, each with a separate foil for freshness. As you can see from the image below, there is nothing about this pack that is standard, nor could you say there is anything about the design that appeals to children. Indeed, you could say that the pack design is a bit old-fashioned or perhaps nostalgic.

Image Via Flickr
Plain packaging laws will force the manufacturer of Dunhill International to reformat the box design as well as the cigarette itself if they wish to continue selling it as a brand in the UK, but then the product won't be the same as it was. Would consumers who buy Dunhill International be pleased about the format change? Would they stop buying it because it is no longer the same? Alternatively, the manufacturer also could choose to stop selling this particular brand within the UK due to manufacturing costs reasons, or because they know that those who enjoy the brand would be unhappy about the changes. Whatever the reason, the chances of this brand disappearing from the market are pretty good. The consumer who has enjoyed this brand will no longer be able to do so.

And that is the real point of plain packs. It may look like it's an attack on the tobacco industry, which it certainly is, but it is also an attack on adult consumers. By forcing all cigarette brands into a standard size, consumers will be forced to abandon brands that they have long enjoyed. To the average non-smoker who has never smoked (and to a good many smokers who say they don't care about the pack design, they just want their fags) pack size is an irrelevance hardly worthy of consideration. Plain packs legislation exploits the indifference of the majority to inflict change on a minority who truly do care.

So what will happen to superslim cigarettes that many people enjoy smoking?  Obviously, these could never fit into a standard king size box, so plain packs seeks to force change on the cigarette design itself, so there will no longer be a superslim size. Nor will there be extra-long cigarettes (such as 100s), nor packs of 10 or 25 cigarettes. There will only be one size of cigarettes regardless of brand. It cannot be denied that this in itself is incredibly communistic. Communism by design abhors freedom of choice for its citizens -- what is deemed good for one is deemed good enough for all. That of course goes entirely against human nature.

The aim of plain packs legislation is not about protecting health, for even the tobacco control industry admits this. It is not about protecting children from taking up smoking no matter how often they claim it to be that. It is about attacking adult tobacco consumers by taking away their ability to choose products that suit their desires and tastes. Plain packs is truly about punishing consumers (along with retailers and tobacco companies) by making it increasingly difficult to enjoy a legal and excessively-taxed product, forcing you to change your brand to the government-sanctioned variety.  For the fanatics who seek to enforce their will on to others, it is always about denormalising adult human beings who do not conform to their quasi-religious tobacco control movement.

If we allow plain packs legislation to be enacted in the United Kingdom, there will be nothing to stop anyone from dictating how your food will be packaged including the size of a hamburger, or the shape of a bottle of whiskey. If this precedent is set in the UK, the government can then use this to decide what designs and brands may appear on your clothing such as T-shirts -- because if the cigarette pack design is considered an advertisement, then so must any brand that appears on a T-shirt be a tempting advertisement designed to ensnare the gullible and helpless children who need protection from harmful logos and trade marks.

Sunday 24 June 2012

Sunday Sheep Silliness

Wow. We've been calling them sheep for ages and at last we have photographic confirmation:

And doesn't it seem that the only groups truly targeting children are the antis?

Saturday 23 June 2012

What Moans May Come

In reference to Simon Clark's latest post, I've known about The House Magazine's cover advertisement for a few days now since I saw it on Twitter.  I saw relatively few tweets about it.  I did see CRUK wasn't best pleased with it after someone complained to them about it. I have no idea who paid for and commissioned this advertisement, but this was an enormous coup for the opponents of plain packs, particularly if it rankled Stephen Williams MP as Simon suggests it may have.

Despite this coup, I don't need a crystal ball to tell me how the story will go after this.  Every anti-smoker group (CRUK, ASH, FRESH, etc.) will issue press releases or do interviews claiming that tobacco companies or those naughty groups funded by tobacco companies are attempting to influence public health policy by lobbying and advertising directly to politicians. They will claim it is outrageous, and that it's lies. They will deny that their policies could increase the illicit tobacco market. They will claim the magazine cover is somehow in violation of the FCTC. They will complain to the magazine publisher. They will cry and moan and say how unfair it is. The usual tobacco control lackeys (aka health columnists) working in the press will run the story (and if we're really lucky we'll see a rerun of the Big Tobacco intimidation tactics story and that this cover is evidence of Big T's intimidation of politicians).  It will all be tweeted on Twitter as further evidence that we need plain packs mostly by CRUK's volunteer ambassador morons wearing paper bags.

Or maybe not. I could be wrong. Perhaps I am this time. I can live with that.

Friday 22 June 2012

Yes, He is Still a Petty Hateful Bastard

It's been a while since I've last written about the Root of All Evil.  If you were wondering, yes it's true that he remains a hateful, petty bastard.  I suppose the question that often comes to my mind is why do people willingly associate themselves with this tyrant? Have a look at this latest tweet:

The video's premise (whether it is real or staged I cannot say) has very young children in Thailand asking smokers if they have a light. In all cases, the smokers tell the kids no, and that these kids shouldn't smoke, lecturing the kids about how bad smoking is.  Then the kids give the smokers a brochure that suggests that if they care about the kids not smoking, maybe the smokers should think of themselves first.  All of this is well and good, but the Root of All Evil cannot be satisfied by merely promoting the video.  No, no, no. He has to attack Snowdon and the HOOPs campaigners by implying that they would want the children to smoke.  What a dickhead.

Now, Snowdon and HOOPs can defend themselves if they feel it is necessary.  I have never seen them suggest any such thing.

The reason I'm blogging about this is because I feel it's necessary to point out how much the tobacco control industry reveres hateful, petty fuckwits like Simon Chapman.  They have been following his lead for decades, and they all believe like he does that you smokers are out to make every child become a smoker.  This isn't about attacking Big Tobacco. This is about attacking you for disagreeing with their fascist nannying belief systems. This is about attacking you for using a legal product.  This is about denormalisation. This is about vilification. This is what hate campaigns look like.

In a comment made on the previous post, Henry said that "Twitter is just haiku for morons."  That's often very true. But Twitter is also a platform for malicious hate campaigns. The Root of All Evil is a master of hate, and anyone who would agree with him and his Nazi-like tactics deserves endless scorn.

Wednesday 20 June 2012

Morons in Paper Bags

In what I can only describe as sheer twattery of the highest magnitude, the latest Twitter craze for the packet racket sheep minions is to upload a photo of yourself wearing a paper sack.  For some this might be viewed as a cosmetic improvement.  We can only hope this craze catches on and we can't wait to see what you sheep come up with next. It's almost as good as kids wearing khaki shirts.

Here are the first three I've seen, and may we suggest that you wear them all the time, please? No, seriously...

Saturday 16 June 2012

Wacky E-Petitions - Protect the Children Edition

It may seem to you that throughout all of history your children have never been at greater risk of harm than they are right now.  In the minds of panicked, over-protective parents, educators and politicians, it is an undeniable fact that everything great or small in the world can and will harm your precious little ones.  Something must be done to PROTECT THE CHILDREN!  And who better than government to protect your children?  So in honour of those who incessantly worry about what dangers may come to your children and want someone else to protect them, we give you the Wacky E-Petitions - Protect The Children Edition:

Our first entry this week comes under the "Every baby is a miracle, unless you're too young to have one" category:

Stop Kids Having Kids

I call for the introduction of mandatory Contraceptive Implant's (sic) for all girls age (sic) 15 to 18. This is with the aim of preventing those still considered children having children. This is a problem in today's society with those not capable or responsible enough to have children, having them at an age at which they are not fully educated and socialized. I propose the introduction a of system in which only those of proper age, or of a proven level of maturity, can reproduce. This is a measure to curb the rise of undisciplined youth with parents that do not have control.

Well, at least the 12 to 14-year-old girls can still have a go at reproduction, should they desire.

* * *

In the "It sounds quite specific and we still don't know what you want to ban" category:

Ban Children's advertising with children with cameras watching testing products in bathrooms.

Ban the use of children in adverts aimed at selling nappies or shampoo for example that show children in bathrooms using these products. It is wrong as they lack the understanding to know why they are filmed, which is then broadcast on TV. It is a form of abuse even with the parents (sic) consent it should be banned as companies use this for pester-power & money making.

Is it only the filming in bathrooms that you find so offensive? Or should we show nappies on adults instead?  No doubt that will appeal to some.

* * *

Our third entry this week falls under the classic and popular category of "Your children are stupid and gullible."

Ban all advertising aimed at children

We the undersigned call for a ban on ALL forms of product advertising aimed at children under the age of 12. We find the corporate corruption of developing, credulous, vulnerable minds to be an unacceptable practice. A ban would help to combat the worrying dominance of materialism and greed as the guiding principles of British society.

Perhaps you have already signed the plain packs petition, sir? Because, as everybody knows, every cigarette pack design is clearly aimed at all children. Right?  Am I right?

* * *

In the "Nothing beats hands-on training" category:

Make educating children about knife crime compulsory

I think that the government should educate children about the dangers of knife crime in schools and it should be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum. The explicity (sic) of images and texts should not be a problem as children need to be taught what knife crime really is.

No doubt with this training our kids will become proficient experts at gutting their classmates. If the "explicity" of images and texts is no problem, why not a practical exam where the kids stab each other in class? Then they'll really understand knife crime, mate.

* * *

Finally, it's not always about the live kiddies. In the "An excessive use of exclamation marks is necessary to protect the parents of dead children" category:

get rid of dead baby jokes !!!!

i (sic) made this petition for facebook !!! to get dead baby jokes shut down for good !!!! please sign this petition !! to stop it once and for all !!! its (sic) sickening that facebook have let this continue for 2yrs (sic) now no matter how many times reported its affending (sic) so many people who have lost babies and who are pregnant or who are already parents !! i recieved (sic) a threat from that page it was sickening facebook need to come together and fight to stop such discusting (sic) sickening heartless pages !!! and who ever creates them should be delt (sic) with by the law !!!

To which we feel obliged to ask: "What's the difference between a truckload of dead babies and a truckload of bowling balls?"  Answer: "You cannot use a pitchfork on the bowling balls."

Of course, the simplest solution to the Facebook jokes page is not to view it. But for the panicked and over-protective, it's always so much easier to ban, ban, ban it all.

* * *

For more wacky e-petitions, see our previous blog posts.

Image via

Friday 15 June 2012

Further Fuelling the Hate

It had to happen eventually.  Hell, it's probably happened many times before. The Jerusalem Post reports that [someday] "cigarette merchants will be tried for crimes against humanity."  In one stunning piece, Amos Hausner compares "the tobacco epidemic" to the holocaust, Nazis, Hitler and slavery:
A 2011 book with the title comparing tobacco to "a holocaust" called for its abolition, a term that was used in mid-19th century America, when slavery was legal, regarded as economically beneficial and widely supported in the South. But just a few years later, slavery was completely abolished – as if it never happened. The same, said Hausner to much applause, can happen with smoking.

“Today, we are in the midst of an irreversible process that will lead to the termination of organized tobacco,” he said.

“The environment will be completely tobacco-free. This is what people all over the world want.”

So tell us again the reason why can't we use Nazi references if the tobacco control industry can use them against smokers and tobacco companies?  Just remember this article the next time someone says that we are or have offended anyone's religious and cultural sensitivities by comparing tobacco control to Nazis.

Do read the whole article and be wondrously dumbfounded.

LunchGate: Argyll and Bute Council Bullies 9-Year-Old Girl

I'm calling this LunchGate.

(UPDATE - 13:54 - 15 June 2012:  Well that did not take long. According to the BBC (same link as above), the council has lifted the ban. So this blog thanks Roddy McCuish and Mike Russell for their common sense. Chalk one up for the good guys!  I am leaving the original post intact as a reminder of how not to go about responding to criticism.)

(UPDATE 2 - 15:16 - 15 June 2012:  The original pathetic justification linked below has been wiped from the council's page and replaced with a statement from Roddy McCuish.  Fortunately, while I didn't screen capture it, I have the original text saved and have added it to the end of this post.)

I have previously mentioned the NeverSeconds blog, where a bright nine-year-old girl has been posting up images of her school's lunches.  The blog went viral.  So what does Argyll and Bute council do?  They bully the girl and ban her taking any more photos, essentially banning her from blogging

Here is the council's pathetic justification:

Argyll and Bute Council wholly refutes the unwarranted attacks on its schools catering service which culminated in national press headlines which have led catering staff to fear for their jobs. The Council has directly avoided any criticism of anyone involved in the ‘never seconds’ blog for obvious reasons despite a strongly held view that the information presented in it misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils however this escalation means we had to act to protect staff from the distress and harm it was causing. In particular, the photographic images uploaded appear to only represent a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision has been made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen.

There have been discussions between senior council staff and Martha’s father however, despite an acknowledgement that the media coverage has produced these unwarranted attacks, he intimated that he would continue with the blog.

So, catering staff were in fear for their jobs because a little girl took photos of the paltry lunches they served to their students?  I think they were embarrassed by all the media attention and when the father wouldn't capitulate to their demands, they ban the girl from taking photos.  Rather than address the problem, let's blame it all on a nine-year-old girl with a camera. That's good council planning. Tossers. And I suppose it's easy for a council to bully a nine-year-old girl to silence her.

I must add that the school, to their credit, fully supported the girl.

This is a fucking disgrace to the free speech rights of everyone, but more importantly it's government attacking a nine-year-old which is even more disgraceful.  If this is your council, please make a complaint.

Argyll and Bute Council Almost Bullied This Little Girl!
Fortunately, they have now lifted their ban. We thank them for supporting free speech.
The original statement was:
“Statement on school meals from Argyll and Bute Council
Published Date:
15 Jun 2012 – 10:53
Argyll and Bute Council wholly refutes the unwarranted attacks on its schools catering service which culminated in national press headlines which have led catering staff to fear for their jobs. The Council has directly avoided any criticism of anyone involved in the ‘never seconds’ blog for obvious reasons despite a strongly held view that the information presented in it misrepresented the options and choices available to pupils however this escalation means we had to act to protect staff from the distress and harm it was causing. In particular, the photographic images uploaded appear to only represent a fraction of the choices available to pupils, so a decision has been made by the council to stop photos being taken in the school canteen.
There have been discussions between senior council staff and Martha’s father however, despite an acknowledgement that the media coverage has produced these unwarranted attacks, he intimated that he would continue with the blog.

The council has had no complaints for the last two years about the quality of school meals other than one from the Payne family received on 6 June and there have been no changes to the service on offer since the introduction of the blog.

Pupils have a daily choice of two meals from a menu which is designed with pupils, parents and teachers. Our summer menu is about to be launched and includes main course choices like meat or vegetarian lasagne served with carrots and garlic bread or chicken pie with puff pastry, mashed potato and mixed vegetables.
Pupils can choose from at least two meals every day. They pay £2 for two courses and this could be a starter and a main or a main and a desert. Each meal comes with milk or water. Pupils can have as much salad and bread as they want. Salad, vegetables, fruit, yoghurt and cheese options are available every day. These are standing options and are not a result of any changes in response to the blog site.

As part of the curriculum for excellence, pupils in all our schools are regularly taught about healthy eating and at lunch breaks staff encourage pupils to make good choices from what is on offer. We use a system called ‘Nutmeg’ to make sure everything is nutritionally balanced. Our staff also get nutrition awareness training so they know how to provide a good healthy meal. There is portion sized guidance which we adhere to and it is matched to the age of the child so they get the right amount of food. Second portions would mean too many calories for pupils.

In Lochgilphead Primary School we are piloting a new pre-ordering scheme which is designed to encourage class discussion around meal choices and also improves the accuracy of meal choices. The pupils use a touch screen to select their lunch option and the data is downloaded in the kitchen so they know how many portions of each meal are required. As they place their order, the pupils are given a coloured band which relates to their meal choice that day. They wear it during the morning, and at lunchtime they hand it to the catering assistant, who will give them the corresponding meal.

The council’s focus is now on supporting the school in the education of young people in Argyll and Bute.”

Thursday 14 June 2012

Super Twat of the Month - June 2012


Each month this blog will choose one person or an organisation to be our Super Twat of the Month.  Our STOTM will normally be a public figure who is an anti-smoker activist and/or someone who is trashing (or attempting to trash) our civil liberties in support of a Nanny or Surveillance State.  If this blog had to have only one motto, it would be "Educate, Don't Legislate."  STOTMs want to legislate your lifestyles away. The people we choose to be STOTMs often claim to be in support of civil liberties, but in reality they only want liberties to be applied to the causes or groups of people they identify with.  Here we call them out for their hypocrisy.  We are not so naive that we believe this blog will have any impact on their decisions, but we can hope.

Super Twat of the Month - June 2012

June's Super Twat is none other than Andrew David Lansley, CBE, MP, representing South Cambridgeshire.

Health Secretary Andrew Lansley - STOTM for June 2012

Houston, We Have A Problem

When we choose to write about our STOTM, we have rule that, in the interest of fairness, we should always include some good things about that person. No one is all bad;' no one is all good. For the last few weeks we have scoured the Internet looking for any good things Mr Lansley has done. And you know what? We couldn't find anything. Google was not much help to us either:

So we visited his home page to see what he thought of his life's achievements.  There he writes that his "proudest career achievements thus far include; running the Conservative campaign for the 1992 General Election (for which he was awarded a CBE), and transforming the public’s view of the Conservative Party’s commitment to the NHS."  That's it, in his words.  He got a CBE for running an election campaign?!!! Are you fucking kidding us? There is something terribly wrong with this country if you get a CBE for helping to elect corrupt motherfuckers into public office. As for the NHS thing, we hate to burst your bubble Mr Lansley, but the vast majority of the British public believe that you and the Tories are destroying the NHS. So nice going with those personal achievements.

Nevertheless, we must be fair. We pored over his voting record only to find that he abstained from all of the contentious votes. We read interviews. We asked on Twitter.  Nothing. We had to find at least one good thing, else we would be tempted to invent something along the lines of: "Did not conspire with hostile extraterrestrial beings to take over the world."  To be honest, we could not be certain he has not done so. Perhaps the whole of Parliament is in on that particular conspiracy. We don't know. Fortunately, after weeks of tireless searching, we found something good.

The Good

  • Mr Lansley is "always pleased to arrange for constituents who are visiting London to have a tour of the Houses of Parliament or to climb the Clock Tower, Big Ben."
That's very kind of you, sir. He also has tickets for you to watch the live parliamentary debates right there in the House of Commons. Fantastic.

The Bad

  • Mr Lansley was caught up in the UK parliamentary expenses scandal for re-designating or "flipping" his second home and claiming for lavish furnishings.
  • His views on the recession are pathetic and wholly typical of the technocratic privileged class: "Interestingly on many counts, recession can be good for us. People tend to smoke less, drink less alcohol, eat less rich food and spend time at home with their families."
  • Seeks to implement plain packs for cigarettes and tobacco products despite that this will lead to the loss of over 80,000 jobs.  Indeed, he has said that "We don't want to work in partnership with the tobacco companies because we are trying to arrive at a point where they have no business in this country."
  • Mr Lansley is responsible for producing a rigged and evidence-lacking plain packs public consultation written by tobacco control advocates.
  • Under his watch, the NHS has begun "lifestyle rationing" in refusing to treat smokers or the obese.
  • Lansley's proposals for reforming the NHS are misguided and will likely lead to further lifestyle rationing and quite possibly the destruction of the NHS.
  • He is a hypocrite, saying that government should not lecture its citizens about lifestyle choices as it would be counter-productive, but then decides to completely abandon the Conservatives' "responsibility deal."
  • The health secretary lacks integrity on his own beliefs by first speaking out against minimum pricing for alcohol then changing his mind and supporting it after he was forced to do so by his party.

(Undoubtedly, we have left off a great many things due to space constraints, and we encourage you to include your own in the comments, while you still can.)

Please Stop Electing This Man

If our Vote Them All Out campaign needed a mascot or figurehead, we would choose Andrew Lansley in a heartbeat. He is a career politician and civil servant who depends on taxpayer money to support himself and the causes he believes in. He has spent his entire life ingratiating himself into politics without ever having achieved anything worthwhile.  As the Health Secretary, he has become the worst kind of technocratic nannying tyrant, insisting that smokers have no place in Britain. He has had numerous conflicts of interest with big businesses and lobbying groups.  So why does he keep getting re-elected? It wouldn't have anything to do with spending millions of taxpayer money in his own constituency, would it?
Please Vote This Big-Headed Man Out of Office 
Artwork courtesy of Mark Wadsworth

Mi Casa, Mi Casa

Much has been said already about Lansley's involvement in the parliamentary expenses scandal. He admits that he worked the system to his benefit, but at the same time places the blame on the system itself.  But let us get this straight. He spent thousands of taxpayer money renovating Tudor-era cottage and just as he's selling that cottage he flipped his expenses to his London flat where he claimed thousands of pounds for expensive furniture. His punishment reward for ripping off the taxpayer? He becomes Cameron's health secretary after the 2010 general election. Well, Lansley said he was sorry for his part in it. We suppose that is all that really matters. Yes, an apology, and paying it back after you've been caught always helps.

Plain Packs

There is no doubt in our minds that Andrew Lansley believes that you and your children are complete fucking imbeciles. You are so stupid that you will be tempted to start smoking by just looking at a shiny cigarette pack. Never mind the huge health warnings, the pictures of rotting teeth and cancerous tumours that grace all tobacco products sold in the United Kingdom. Never mind that there is not a single shred of evidence that supports the premise that anyone began smoking because of the design on a packet.  Never mind that plain packs will make it much easier for counterfeiters to flood the illicit market with even more brands of dodgy fags that could seriously harm children, women and men.  Never mind any of that. No, instead, Andrew Lansley and his puppet masters of tobacco control will stop at nothing to ensure that you and your stupid, gullible children are protected from dangerous trade marks on a box.

And they will stop at nothing. The whole public consultation on plain packs is rigged. There are questions which you can only answer affirmatively in support of plain packs.  The evidence is also rigged.  The impact assessment is rigged. It's all fucking rigged to provide the result that the tobacco control industry wants to receive.

If Andrew Lansley had even the tiniest mote of integrity, he would abandon the consultation now.  But he will not do so.  He wants to ensure tobacco companies have no business here in the UK, perhaps because that supports his interests in Big Pharma. He doesn't care that retailers will struggle and lose business; he doesn't care that 80,000+ jobs depend on the tobacco industry; he doesn't care for the rule of law and trade agreements. Smokers and tobacco companies are an easy target for politicians seeking to look as if they are doing something good.  By supporting plain packs and deliberately or tacitly rigging the whole process, Lansley has proven that he has no integrity whatsoever, which is sadly true for far too many career politicians.

Plain packs will not sound the death knell of tobacco use in the United Kingdom. It will not decrease the number of new smokers. It will not decrease the number of current smokers.  It will not protect one child or any adult.  It will, however, rush in a prohibition-era style of criminality in the illicit market that the UK is ill-prepared to deal with. This will lead to even more laws, such as limiting the non-EU duty free allowances to a few packets like Australia has done, and it will further enhance the unofficial mandate for UKBA to confiscate even more legally-purchased tobacco products in other EU countries.  We foresee the likely possibility that anyone caught in possession of colourful, branded cigarette pack bought outside of the UK will be fined and treated as a criminal for displaying a tobacco advertisement. We foresee greater numbers of people harmed from counterfeit tobacco products. We foresee plain packaging being extended to other "harmful" products until nearly everything is plain and ugly-looking to protect you from yourself.  And Andrew Lansley, along with every sheep minion MP who votes for that legislation will be to blame for it.

Reforming the NHS

We were going to write a lengthy treatment on Lansley's NHS proposals, but then we stumbled upon this rap video by MC Nxt Gen (aka Sean Donnelly):

This blog is no fan of the NHS's decision to waste its money on denormalising human beings who smoke. While we do not wish to see the demise of the NHS and we agree that some reformation is necessary, it is incredibly hard for us to feel any sympathy for the NHS with doctors going on strike over pensions, and let us not forget lifestyle rationing against smokers and chubby folk.  Lansley's NHS reform proposals may be misguided indeed, as is everything he has done lately, but until the NHS changes course and starts treating everyone equally, we will not stand up for the NHS.  That said, to borrow from the rap video above, Lansley really is a grey-haired tosser.

In Closing

This blog calls on Prime Minister Cameron to sack Andrew Lansley from the cabinet immediately. We humble citizens and residents of the United Kingdom would like to arrive at a place where we are no longer tortured by hypocritical nannying tyrants like Lansley. So much for that Big Society, eh Cameron?

As for you, Mr Lansley, we would like to welcome you into the dubious ranks of Super Twattery.  Congratulations, sir, you are our Super Twat of the Month.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Et Tu, Madame?

I am unsure what to make of this:

Seriously? We can't even get hookers the world's oldest profession to take our side?  This does not bode well at all.

Anyway, I suppose we'll now need to boycott escort agencies, too.  Sorry, gents.

Tuesday 12 June 2012

Defamation Bill 2012-13

The Justice Secretary Ken Clarke's Defamation Bill will have its second reading in Parliament today.  Even if you are not a web site operator, you should be extremely concerned about what this bill could do to your on-line privacy if it is enacted.  The bill is perhaps intended to effectively kill free speech and opinion on-line under the guise of protecting people's reputations.  The BBC reports that web site operators will be forced to reveal the IP addresses of those who comment on sites they visit if someone makes a defamation or libel claim against that comment (emphasis added):
"Website operators are in principle liable as publishers for everything that appears on their sites, even though the content is often determined by users," said Justice Secretary Ken Clarke.

 "But most operators are not in a position to know whether the material posted is defamatory or not and very often - faced with a complaint - they will immediately remove material.

"Our proposed approach will mean that website operators have a defence against libel as long as they identify the authors of allegedly defamatory material when requested to do so by a complainant."
Did you see that? In essence, comments that are only alleged to be defamatory will require that bloggers or web site operators pass on the IP addresses of the users making those comments.  Otherwise, the operator will be liable and prosecuted. Amnesty only if you comply with Big Government it seems.

So while this whole thing is dressed up as protection against on-line bullies and smear campaigns, is its true purpose meant to stifle free speech and opinion in the long run? If enough people are outed and prosecuted, then perhaps people will think twice before leaving an opinion on a blog or news site?

The United Kingdom has some of the worst free speech protections of any western democracy as it is. This bill could further reduce our free speech protections.  Well, we will have to see what is in the revised bill. The previous draft bill removed your right to a trial by jury.  Let us hope they amended that bit at the very least.

Saturday 9 June 2012

Big Soda is the New Big Tobacco

I have said it before, and so have others far more often than I have, but it's always worth repeating:  "Of course tobacco is unique. There is nothing else like it."  Except for Big Soda. Yes, Big Soda they are calling it now.  Does that sound familiar?  There is another war afoot and it's against sugar. Sugar is the new tobacco. Fresh off the heels of Bloomberg's latest insanity, we see the freshly-oiled gears of the health racket machine whirring into action in Washington DC with the National Soda Summit (PDF) on 7th and 8th June.  And although you probably missed it and didn't even know about it, Twitter was thrumming with endless tweets about how Big Soda was killing everybody. 

Michele Simon, a health lawyer and food activist advocate who has a book and corresponding web site called Appetite for Profit, tweeted:

Here is the link to that USA Today article Michele had tweeted, where Coca-Cola President and General Manager of Sparkling Beverages, Katie Bayne, attempts to defend her brand.  Poor Katie. They will vilify you.  We welcome you into the fold nevertheless.

Katie Bayne - Image via Coca-Cola

Here is one more tweet from Michele to for good measure:
Note the responses in the above tweet. Do these at all sound familiar?  They should to those familiar with the attacks against smokers and tobacco companies.  The web site tweeted is and there the American Beverage Association attempts to separate myth from fact. They will of course fail because they and Katie Bayne have learnt nothing from the fight against Big Tobacco.  Evidence does not matter.  In the exclusive interview with USA Today, Katie was asked if sugar is addictive. Here's the exchange:

Q: What do you say to those who believe that sugar — particularly in soft drinks — works on the brain like an addictive substance?
A: There is no scientific evidence. 

See? There is no scientific evidence. This is the same argument that Big Tobacco and its proponents have used for decades, and yet we know (or should know by now!) that this response does not work even if it is true.  If there is no true scientific evidence, then someone in the health racket industry will invent and publish a peer-reviewed study that claims sugar added to carbonated water is a gazillion times more addictive than it otherwise would be, thereby making everyone helplessly obese and diabetic. There is no safe level of sugar intake. That study will be cited endlessly by other studies and in the media until it becomes fact. Because the truth is only what we choose to believe. If someone debunks the gospel against sugar in soft drinks study, then the zealots of health control will attack the scientist as a stooge for Big Soda.

Some others you are likely to be familiar with who have jumped on the bandwagon are Gabriel Scally and Simon Chapman - Root of All Evil. There is always room for another cause. Right, guys?  Of course there is.

Gabriel Scally
Simon Chapman - Root of All Evil
Lastly, here is someone you should keep an eye on, if you are not already aware of her. Her name is Megan. Do not be fooled by her sweetly innocent looks - she is a true believer . She's not only a anti-soda health activist, she's also quite active in anti-tobacco campaigns, where I think she started her career in health zealotry. She's young and will be around for years to come probably, long after the Root of All Evil retires and fades into obscurity. Indeed, she is very likely to become the Spawn of Root of All Evil. We shall see. Here's a retweet with reply in respect of Big Soda being the same as Big Tobacco.

Megan Yarbrough

Friday 8 June 2012

Even More Wacky E-Petitions

Continuing on from our previous two forays into the wild and zany world of e-petitions, we offer the following to bedazzle you this Friday afternoon:

In the "Is there no one safe from discrimination?" category, we find that people who are not vertically-challenged are most displeased with travelling these days:

Travel Rights for Tall People

This is a petition to ask the Government to bring into effect a badge or pass (similar to that (sic) disabled person might have in their car for parking) that people over a certain height can use for their travel needs

I constantly find that when I travel, especially by air, to enjoy my flight/trip I have to pay an extra fee (quite often substanial (sic) compared to the cost of the flight) to sit in a "extra leg room" seat that can actually accomodate (sic) me.

I have been on numerous planes which simply do not accomodate (sic) for people exceeding a certain height and have had some extremely uncomfortable flights because someone else has already bought the "extra leg room" seats, which I feel I have a right to sit in, FREE OF CHARGE

Please sign up to this petition to ask to (sic) Government to issue passes to tall individuals so that they can travel in the same comfort for the same cost as every other citizen.

Thank you.

You're welcome, sir.  It's great that you feel your height automatically grants you certain rights to sit wherever the hell you want to sit. Since airlines are privately-owned, maybe you ought to petition them instead of giving our inept government more control over businesses. Next thing you know people will be demanding special treatment for dead people -- zombies are so misunderstood these days.

* * *

Our second entry falls under the "People will exploit anything these days" category:

Stop the exploitation of parent and child parking spaces

Im (sic) absolutely sick and tired of seeing parent and child parking spaces been (sic) explioted (sic) by people without children! I want the givernment (sic) to bring in tougher sanctions on these spaces, and possibly with the view of giving the job to someone to check said spaces, ad (sic) fine for misuse. In the time ive (sic) been driving i (sic) have NEVER seen anyone check these spaces, i (sic) have however seen ALOT (sic) of misuse.

Madam, your accidental typo and inability to spell check has given us this great new word: "givernment."  That is exactly what we have. A "givernment." They take our money and they give it to special interest groups and pressure charities. In this case, a local "givernment" hath given parents with children special parking privileges, and the people hath taken it away. Also, children are not allowed to drive, so they should not be allowed their very own parking spaces. Life is so unfair.

* * *

Next up is the "Maybe we should try plain packaging for the Internet" entry:

Stop kids from watching internet pornography

I want every ISP and major search engine to make watching soft internet pornography harder for any persons under the age of 18 years because this kind of material shouldn't of (sic) been heard of by a for an example, an (sic) 9.5 year old (sic). And by so doing this, reduces numbers of cyberbullying victims to do with bad links.

Together, we can stop soft porn reaching the hands of under-18s!!!

So I suppose hardcore porn is all right then?  I won't be too harsh on this one, it may have been written by a "9.5 year old" and I would not wish to be accused of cyberbullying.

* * *

The fourth e-petition to grace your screen today, falling under the "We should tax everything" category,  illuminates the growing problem of "Obeasty" in the United Kingdom:

Tax fatty foods and lower prices on fruit,veg,meat, cereals and nuts

Obeasty (sic) rates are increasing so are health problems, I'm proposing that we tax unhealthy foods, fizzy sweet drinks, sweets, crisps, biscuits,frozen junk food, super tax for chain fast food companies and ban children during school hours visiting fast food chains etc (sic)

In return make fruit,veg, meat, cereals and nuts lower in price and therefore affordable to everyone. (currently its (sic) cheaper for low income families to take the unhealthy options) In turn this will save the Heath service millions as people will opt for the affordable option and you may just see reduction in obesity and a healthier nation with less sick days and Heath Problems.

Phew. I'm so glad you aren't taxing my nuts, lady.  Anyway, don't you worry. These will all be plain-packaged in due course and at least 340,000 people will no longer be tempted to try fatty foods.

* * *

Our final e-petition comes under the classic "It might be parody, it might not be parody" heading, where this kind and considerate gentlemen actually suggests lowering VAT on a product:

VAT to be lifted on Piles cream

There is only one thing that hurts more than Piles. Paying VAT to cure it. Should your bum grapes be earning the government a pretty penny? I think not. Let's lessen the pain of haemorroids (sic), buy (sic) lessening the cost of haemorrhoids.

Let Preparation H be prepared at an affordable price. Let families be able to budget for Germalots of Germaloids.

No to VAT on Piles cream.

Dude, we could not agree more. Bum grapes suck. While we're at it, why the hell are feminine hygiene products taxed with VAT? Are these really a luxury item deserving of VAT or are they are a necessity for nearly half of the population? Will someone please create a petition to ask the government to stop financially burdening those unfortunate women who menstruate due to no fault of their own?  It's bloody outrageous, innit?

Ouch! Do not tax our arses!

Thursday 7 June 2012

Rejected Plain Packs Campaign Slogans

Perhaps you've seen the slogan "The Answer is Plain" when it comes to the tobacco control industry's latest attempt to denormalise human beings.  But did you know there were other campaign slogans that were considered and rejected?  This blog received an anonymous e-mail from someone claiming to be an insider at a marketing agency in central London.  We cannot confirm the authenticity of the below slogans, and we have no evidence that the insider is genuine.
  • Your kids are gullible and so are you.

  • Good enough for communism, good enough for us.

  • Protect Children by Supporting Plain Packs. Because we can't kill people who smoke . . . yet.

  • Your children don't listen to you, but we'll make them listen to us.

  • One way or another, this is going to happen. Deal with it.

  • We spend your tax, you get Plain Packs. Bargain.

  • This one time, at band camp . . .

  • You believed in Global Warming, so you'll believe this!

  • Shiny cigarette packs can cause blindness.

  • If you can't teach your kids, we will.

  • What would Jesus do?

  • There are worse things than smoking, but who cares?

  • Would we lie to you?

  • We don't want women and children to smoke. Screw men.

  • The only thing scarier than that creepy guy at the park is a cigarette pack.

  • Give us your children, we'll give you compliance.

  • Cannabis would be better than tobacco.

  • We tried to do plain automobiles, we settled for this instead.

Promoting Violence Against Smokers Is Cool

I posted this on Twitter and Facebook last night, but it's worth preserving it here.  If the Guardian had any integrity whatsoever, it would write an article about how anti-smoker nutjobs would like to shoot us in the face.  To wit, we have this gem from a blog called Smoking Blows:

Click to view original page
It's run by an anti-smoker health professional named Cole Durkee, who is on a mission to stop you from smoking.  Let us see his own words on the subject (emphasis in original):
I'm also a healthcare professional, someone who's often seen the devastating terminal effects of nicotine addiction first hand, and someone who's also sick and tired of being exposed to secondhand smoke. I want the world to fully realize the terrible consequences of this easily preventable affliction, and I'm doing something about it.

While it's been said that using non-judgmental, non-confrontational, and other namby-pamby, ball-stroking actions helps better convince smokers to attempt quitting, those actions could also be considered enabling. Nothing is worse than enabling an addict.

I believe that what's sometimes needed in order to convince smokers to attempt quitting is a slap in the face, a wake-up call, and simple stark reality. Fear and anger are both powerful emotional motivations for change, and smokers need to be motivated in order to quit.
Here is another from his blog:

Click to view original page
And here is a tweet he made in response to this article reporting on a woman who was assaulted and robbed by a 16-year-old boy who asked the woman for a cigarette:

Karma. Well, isn't that pleasant. Cole Durkee clearly supports violence against those who smoke or would give a cigarette to a teen boy who probably looked older, or perhaps the woman was frightened and didn't want a confrontation with the kid. In any case, she gets smacked and robbed and that's perfectly acceptable in Cole's world.

So even though Cole Durkee has seemingly good intentions to help people quit smoking, he seems to lack a moral compass. Vile dickhead?  You decide. The Guardian sure as hell won't bother telling you this.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

We, Bloggers

If you were wondering why I haven't posted anything since Sunday, it is because I haven't needed to do so. My blog traffic has been off the charts these past few days (comparably to what I usually get), with the intimidation tactics post's hits now greatly exceeding any other post on this blog.  So huge thanks and kudos to all of those who have linked to this blog lately.  But the main reason I haven't posted is because everyone else has been really active over this bank holiday weekend, and I have been preoccupied with reading those posts on the latest attempts by Big Tobacco Control to smear individuals rather than the tobacco industry.

Pat Nurse writes about why she distrusts Big TC here:
This is why I don't trust Tobacco Control nor believe they are working for the greater good. No such illustration of violence is justified especially when there are Smokerphobic nutters out there who could be incited to violence because of this irresponsible [video] campaign.

Leg-Iron has been covering it, too:
Could it be, just maybe, perhaps, that the Mail has realised that we smokers are long past the stage where we have had enough? That we are not going to sit back and take it any more? Did they see, at last, that we have not attacked anyone but have been consistently and increasingly attacked, verbally and physically, with the full encouragement of all those who now claim we are threatening them? With Government approval, people have openly despised us and even attacked us for no other reason than we have a little bit of leaf wrapped in paper.

Handymanphil, over at the Simple Simon Says.....! blog writes:
Yes [bloggers] have been accused of harassing health experts but I don't see where any death threats have been issued-and that is because there haven't been any death threats issued to any one person. I must point out here that this is exactly what tobacco control activists are excellent at-media control. They twist wordage to suit whatever situation they feel they need to control and this is a classic situation.

The inimitable Mr Dick Puddlecote (who is evidently not on the Companies House register) has this to say:
I really couldn't give a monkey's chuff if the University of Bath want to waste their time on wiki adventures which attack free speech with their own cash (or CRUK's), after all it's the kind of thing we have come to expect from these charlatans. However, I'm deeply offended that Smokefree South West - a government-funded organisation who are helping to pay for this nonsense - are spending my substantial taxes on something so pathetically shoddy.

Dave Atherton delves a little deeper into the tobacco tactics wiki:
So we have taxpayer’s money being spent on foreign detective agencies to spy on people who are pro-choice on smoking and anti tobacco control. I think at the very least the public should know how much money is being paid to host this site.

Trooper Thompson at Englands Freedom, Souldiers Rights writes:
But we know, dear readers, who the real extremists are, and where that divide should be demarked - between the vile, insane, puritanical, control-freak nannies from hell of the anti-smoking lobby and most of the rest of the people, who, whether they smoke or not, understand that it is a matter for the individual in a free society.

Frank Davis postulates that the dark side of the Force is responsible for Big TC's latest smear campaign against him and other bloggers :
I guess I’m not too surprised that Tobacco Control were going to do something, sooner or later, about the rising number of pro-smoking blogs like mine. We’ve been multiplying unopposed for a long time. TC was going to have to do something. And now the Empire is Striking Back.

Mark Wadsworth rechristens the tobacco tactics wiki as "The Naughty List" and he offers this gentle reminder:
And may I remind people that doing propaganda against its own citizens is not really something that governments should be doing?

Never one to mince words, Longrider defends our use of intemperate language:
And, yes, they are Nazis. Intemperate language may seem extreme, but is necessary when describing people who have consistently used the tactics of untermensch in attempting to further their cause. This is the result of their behaviour –  this is what they have encouraged. How dare they now complain when people point out the truth –  that they are Nazis. How dare they complain when people merely use their methods to argue against them. They and they alone are responsible for this evil.

Belinda over at Freedom-2-Choose (Scotland) is a little surprised after reading the tobacco tactics wiki's entry on smear campaigns:
I was surprised to read about it as a tactic of the tobacco industry, because it was my impression that tobacco control uses this tactic frequently on us – that is, on what is called by everyone outside tobacco control the 'pro-choice' side – by claiming that we are in the pay of tobacco companies or simply pursue their interests because we have no specific view of our own.

That's probably enough quotes for now. I apologise for leaving out others' posts -- it isn't deliberate.  It's only that this post is large enough I think.  Feel free to link to your own blog posts in the comments. 

One final item of business.  The Daily Mail has also published an article about us wee bloggers intimidating the intimidators.  I left a comment on the article, but no idea if they'll get around to publishing it.  If not, this is what I wrote:
Although not mentioned in the above article, I am one of the bloggers who fights against the tyrannical and hateful tobacco control campaign.  My blog has never threatened anyone, has never encouraged violence against anyone, nor has it remotely suggested that others should harass or attack anyone in tobacco control.  I do not contact anyone in tobacco control, nor do I recommend that anyone should.  I merely comment on their publicly-made statements and reports.  Contrariwise, we bloggers have been subject to actual threats and violence both online and in public.  I have personally been attacked and assaulted by rabid anti-smokers on the street.  We are constantly harassed by the likes of Simon Chapman -- you need only to view his history on Twitter to see how he harasses those who do not agree with his campaign of hate against smokers.  It is funny and sad that people like Arnott all of a sudden claim to be victims, when in reality they are the ones victimising us.

Sunday 3 June 2012

More Wacky E-Petitions

Mark Wadsworth left a comment on the If Only We Could Ban Everything post suggesting that I do a weekly series of hilarious and silly e-petitions.  I think it's a bloody fantastic idea -- I might even do it twice a week. It's good fun.  I'm struggling to come up with a good name for it, so I thought I'd ask you dear readers for your ideas on a good title for the series.  If you think of a good title, please post it in the comments.  In the meantime, let's highlight a few more utterly "brilliant" e-petitions:

First up is the "OMG! You believed the Invisible Smoke campaign?" entry for:

put dye in cigarettes to make the smoke more visable (sic)

Put dye in cigarettes to make the smoke more visible. Doing this will make smokers more aware of the pollution that they are causing to their environment - their home, car, clothes, family, friends and of course themselves. "If you could see the damage that smoking does you wouldn't do it!"

Nice of her to include a tag-line for the campaign. Don't you think? She doesn't mention a colour.  I suggest olive-green, which will be the colour of our packs some day. It would be a nice touch.  Even if you could somehow keep this dye intact while it burned in a cigarette (or I suppose it could be added to the filter, which smokers would then break off), imagine what this dye would do to smokers' teeth and lungs. Imagine the extra chemicals we would inhale and give off in our second-hand smoke. Imagine the utter joy of non-smokers from being covered in dye (they already moan about the smell).  Imagine the unborn foetuses at risk! Are you trying to kill us all off quicker?  Gee, thanks, lady. Are we done imagining how stupid this idea is?  Naturally, this is exactly the kind of thing the Root of All Evil and his sheep minions of hate would support.

* * *

Next, in the "Hey, it didn't work before but let's give Prohibition another shot" category, we have a gentleman who wants to kill two birds with one stone:

criminalise smoking and alcohol althogether (sic)

Smoking and alcohol causes too much harm to any adult that participates in such activity. People die from cancer, heart and liver disease as a result of these actvities. (sic) Also if alcohol was criminalised, then we would see the end of drink driving (and people being killed as a result), a lot of anti-social behaviour in public, and people being a danger to themselves. And children and young people would not take up this habit if they didn't see adults doing so. Making 18 the minumum (sic) age is not good enough - these activities should be criminalised altogether. 
Well, I ... uh... I like being a danger to myself.  I'm not legally allowed to be a danger to anyone else, am I?   And hey, buddy, it's my body!  But he's right. People do die of all kinds of cancers -- most of them non-smokers who typically had very low-exposure to second-hand smoke. Heart disease is most often hereditary -- something your doctor will tell you when she asks for your family's medical history, and your diet and exercise habits could a big factor there as well as the type of work you do (stress).  Liver disease can certainly be caused by excessive drinking (usually because your job sucks, and the government is taxing you to death), but what about those of us who do not drink to excess? Why criminalise us for being moderate?  Thank you very much for caring about the majority of us, you puritan do-gooder nannying ... gah... never mind.

* * *

In the "Let's kill protected anonymous speech, massively increase the size of government, and destroy business at the same time" category:

Ban Digital Anonymity

Online aliases are the virtual equivalent of wearing a face mask and hoodie in the real world. Digital anonymity is a disguise used to perpetrate serious criminal acts and online bullying.

If your online and texting behaviour is appropriate you don’t need an alias!

Sign this petition to call for the following:

1) All devices capable of accessing the internet must be licensed at the point of sale. i.e identity and proof of current address of the purchaser must be supplied to the vendor who passes the data to a government body who verifies the data and licences the device before it can be used online.

2) All websites permitting anonymity should be blocked in the UK.

3) Cellular and landline telecommunications of any nature within the UK must carry a digital signature which clearly identifies the real identity of the sender and recipient(s) of the data.
Wow. Just wow. High marks for grammar and spelling, though. "Virtual equivalent of a face mask and hoodie," you say. Truly? Please. Setting aside that number 3 is already more or less implemented (called ID anyone?) and has been for around over 20 years I guess, and pretty much all digital activities on-line can easily be traced to the source,  this is just wacky, wacky, wacky. Number 2 is practically impossible even for North Korea and China. Number 1 would burden businesses greatly with this regulation and eat into their profit margins, and can we really trust the government with our data?  Me thinks not, given its history and tendency to abuse it for nefarious purposes. Do you really want to be taxed more than you already are?  Oh, and did you think about the children? I bet you didn't. Children are using the Internet and now you want to make it easy for the millions upon millions upon millions* of creepy on-line paedos to track down and stalk the kiddies? Are you mad!  If you don't like the Internet, don't use it!  OK?  OK, then. What an awful idea...

*I might be exaggerating that figure a little...

* * *

In the "Let's make a lot of women (and perhaps all trannies) really fucking angry" category, we have:

Ban high heels

Accidents involving high heels together with operations for bunions and other foot deformities, and days off work for bad backs, must cost the NHS and the economy a fortune! We, the undersigned, propose that wearing of heels more than 1 inch in height should be made an offence subject to on-the-spot fines. Manufacturers of said items should be put out of business. 
No doubt that this petitioner is channelling the Root of All Evil.  Put the manufacturers out of business! Crush them like gnats! Go ahead, see if you can crush the footwear industry like they are gnats. Go on, I dare you. I double dare you. Why does everything always come down to how much things cost the NHS? Did it ever occur to you that the NHS is inefficient, and spending way too much money on hate campaigns? And honestly, buying footwear helps the economy, which is why women's footwear (and clothing) is incredibly expensive. Duh!

On the other hand, if this does go through and we see a ban on high heels, I volunteer to be the guy who is responsible for enforcing it and levying on-the-spot fines.  Ladies, I can easily be talked out of fining you. Yes, even you naughty, repeat-offender minxes could be let off. My mobile number is ...

* * *

Finally, in the category of "I know it's parody, but it's absolutely a cracking idea!"

Ban Small Children From Cars

Small children in cars are dangerous. Their incessant cries of "Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there yet?" are clearly a distraction to drivers who are forced to turn around - thus taking their eyes off the road - in order to slap said children about the knees (if such action is still legal) whilst shouting "Shut up!"

Small children in cars are far more distracting than mobile phones and smoking.

Therefore they should be banned from cars and forced to either walk or get the bus. This will have the added bonus of forcing the little fatties to get some much needed exercise.
Awesome.  Awesome. Awesome. It's my favourite one yet.

And we're out. Huge thanks to Mark for this suggestion! Stay tuned for more wacky petitions, and if you do think of a fab title for this series, let me know in the comments.
High Heels Do Not Ban!

Yeah, Don't Go To Australia

The hate campaign against smokers and retailers continues apace in Australia.  Yes, I know, it's another Australia post.  Didn't you see the title?  If you're a smoker, Australia hates you.  If you're a retailer of tobacco products, Australia hates you. If you're a goose-stepping, hateful, controlling health fascist, Australia needs you.

Here's an article from the Sydney Morning Herald where a duty-free merchant in New South Wales has been fined $400,000 AUD.  What did they do?  They wantonly displayed tobacco products in their duty-free shop.
The NSW Department of Health took the owner of Downtown Duty Free to court after an inspector found more than 250 cartons of cigarettes on display in its ''airside'' outlet [...]
Wait.  The Department of Health is taking people to court?  Crikey.  Nasty little fuckers, eh?  Just the very sight of a carton of cigarettes is dangerous to your health, they believe. So there was this whole argument that the shop shouldn't be subject to the health fascists' laws and instead should be subject to the Commonwealth Tobacco Act, but that failed to impress the judge.  He decided that because the shop was "open to air-side workers" it constituted a public place.  End of.

But no, it is not the end of it.  Here's another article on the same day by the Sydney Morning Herald that reports that duty-free merchants are going to stop selling tobacco products, because the law makes it untenable.  Perhaps you're thinking the law had something to do with health, but you would be wrong:
The [2010 Henry tax] review argued duty-free cigarettes undermined the taxation of tobacco products and cutting the allowance was an easy way for the government to boost revenue. 
Money grab. It has nothing to do with health. So, in its quest to eradicate smokers the world over, Australia also wants to ensure it gets all of smokers' money through insanely high taxes and by lowering the duty-free allotment to two packets of cigarettes. Treasurer Wayne Swan said, ""In a very difficult budget it wasn't fair to continue to subsidise big tax breaks for cartons of cigarettes."  But it's perfectly acceptable to spend waste millions and millions on tobacco control. Priorities...

Speaking of things that are perfectly acceptable.  Here's an artist competition site in Australia called Art Toppling Tobacco that's been around for a few years I believe, and has a mission to "damage tobacco" and pays homage to those "lured and conned" by cigarette ads.  Normally, I wouldn't care and I haven't even looked at any of the artworks made, so I'm not here to judge the quality or value of this site. I don't even take issue with the site's premise. Do what you like. Art harms no one. But some words on the homepage on how the project began caught my eye (emphasis added):
Then I spied the boy on the low wall of the garden indulging in you guessed it - a fag, so off I went in school marm mode to berate this boy.

"You aren't at school today ?" I said in preparation for the attack. I put on my pleasant, approachable voice here.
It has a happy ending in that I don't think the boy was berated.  No idea how old said boy is. Was he 8-years-old or something?  But look at the righteous superiority the anti-smoker crowd displays.  Here's a young person sitting on a wall, smoking a cigarette, minding his own business, not harming anyone in public, and this woman decides it's acceptable to walk up to him and berate or attack him?  No, lady, that's not acceptable.  It's none of your business.  I'm glad you didn't attack him in the end, but that you even considered doing so is dreadful. 

And this is what we deal with on an almost-daily basis. We have been forced to stand outside in plain view of the public, so that any deranged smokerphobic passer-by can attack us either verbally or physically.  We were all safer indoors, out of view.  Tobacco control caused this hate against law-abiding citizens.  We are all of us, smokers and non-smokers alike, worse off for these policies of hate.