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Thursday, 22 July 2010

The lady doth protest too much!

Sheila Duffy, Chief Executive of ASH Scotland, has started blogging. In her first ever post she gets her knickers in a twist about the tobacco companies taking the (Scottish) legislators to court over the tobacco display ban and a few other harebrained bans she and her cohorts wish to see implemented.

Below regular contributor to this blog, John Watson, sends a letter to Ms Duffy:

Dear Sheila,

I too have been giving thought to industry a great deal lately; I too am angry, angry at the vast swathes of legislation enabled and proposed by your organisation that wilfully sets out to destroy industries, not just the tobacco industry but the leisure industry, the vending industry, the retail industry, and numerous other industries related to smoking. I have some questions that, as a member of the public who subsidises your organisation through taxation, that I believe demand answers.

By what right or legislation do you arbitrarily decide that a company has no right to challenge legislation or policies that are not in that companies best interests?

You clearly object to anyone challenging policy or legislation and then go on to compound that by publically attempting to sway a matter which is, by your own admission, still under legal consideration. Are you not then guilty of attempting to pervert the course of justice in this matter?

You and your organisation have consistently denied any form of negotiation directly with the tobacco industry, you state that the tobacco battle is over and there is no need for you to talk to them. Unless, of course, you demand money from them to pay for your legislation, in which case, it could then be assumed that it is merely an attempt to blackmail those companies. If there is no need to talk to them or the smoking public then you have won, so what possible reason can there be for your continued existence?

What the governments of Canada, Australia or any other sovereign nation choose to do is a matter for their own consciences and it will eventually be the will of the their people that decides if they are right or not, the fact that Canada has an over 50% smuggling rate for tobacco is testament enough to the effects of the work of the anti smoking lobby. Of course since you choose to bring other sovereign nations into a domestic matter of the UK then I am sure you will agree it is not only right, fair and proper that smokers who object to your organisations methods, should join together to fight them, and that includes those citizens who work for the tobacco industry and that industry itself who are trying to protect the continued employment of those citizens, all is fair in love and war is it not?

Going to court is in reality the fundamental right of the tobacco companies or anyone else who believes that your policies are detrimental to their way of life, and their means of earning a living. Are you honestly saying that you believe they have no right to recourse under the law?

Unless you can prove beyond any shadow of doubt that smokers are responsible for these deaths then this statement you have made accuses every government, the tobacco industry and every shopkeeper who retails those products of murder and conspiracy to murder. If, as you claim, you have indisputable evidence then it is your duty under the law, and in fact under the health and safety at work act, to ensure prosecution, why have you not done so?

The key word here is ‘understanding’ which has no basis in law. Would you not agree then that OFT (Office of Fair Trading) recognise this in their decision and that your only objection is that you and your organisation failed to get the desired result?
So that is what those of us trying to work for public health are up against. The vast profits tobacco companies make at the expense of people’s lives and wellbeing are ploughed back into more and more sophisticated marketing and recruiting practices, and into pursuing costly legal action against policies and legislation designed to reduce the deaths, diseases and anguish caused by tobacco.
Wrong Sheila, 100% wrong, it is a question of equality and freedom, there is no reason why smoking and non smoking premises cannot work side by side, you know it, I know it, and the public knows it, what you are fighting is an ideal, one of freedom, one which former servicemen and women fought for, that today’s military fight to maintain, one which more and more civilians are beginning to fight for. An Ideal mankind has fought for and won for millennia, you are in a war that you cannot win, From Xerxes to Attila, from Salamis to Port Stanley. Regimes and Empires like Rome, Greece, even to a degree the British Empire fell because freedoms were impinged upon. The Health Acts imposed on us are no better than the Nuremburg decrees; at least Jews were allowed houses even if they were slums, smokers get shelters not legally fit for swine to inhabit. It is merely a comparison but I am sure you will consider invoking Godwin’s law (which has no legal basis) would you not agree that only a Nazi would require shielding by Godwin’s law?

I too believe that the health of our nation, the future generations, are very worth fighting for but not at the cost of freedom for a quarter of the nation, after all Sheila of what use is health if you are not free to enjoy it?

Unlike your statement Sheila this is posted where the people may express their views freely, they may find that some will disagree with their posts but that is all part of being free is it not?

The link for which this post is based is below:


Curmudgeon said...

I see she's turned comments off. What on earth can she be scared of?

TheBigYin said...

I take it that that was a rhetorical question Curmudgeon. It was the first thing I thought when I first saw it.

Dick Puddlecote said...

It's not blogging if you can't talk back. Cowardly, as always.

Belinda said...

She's obviously concerned that the tobacco companies will orchestrate a mass of comments to her blog, like they did on Your Freedom.

Pat Nurse said...

ooh - I was so looking forward to commenting on there. Cowards and liars. But then what else can we expect from that lot.

Sheila said...

Carry on, love Sheila (no, not that Sheila)

Anonymous said...

What an excellent reply to dearest Sheila.

I do hope that it will be for her perusal as well as the general public.

Smoking Hot said...

Love the blog. ldentical to Sheila Duffy's site on wordpress but comments are open. Love the h/t to her at the end too. Classic!

Indyanhat said...

Excellent letter!!! well put together and covering all the bases, what a cowardly move on her part dis-abling comments!! but what else do we expect from the social contrl /common purpose/health and safety freaks, either come out of the wodwork where we can see you and stamp you out or shut the f... up!!!

Anonymous said...

Thak you all for your comments, when I wrote this piece it was with the knowledge that no official representative of ASH would challenge it, after all it's a bit like a hungry Lioness inviting a Springbok to dinner!

Of course Sheila is welcome to peruse, even comment should she wish to do so, anyone is as long as it is remembered this is a civil liberties arena and if you propose things that are dictatorial then you will naturally get an argument just as you would on neutral ground.

Who would have thought that a simple reply to a statement by ASH would inspire a new blog site, I wish whoever set up the very best of luck with their new blogsite. I think we will see much more from it.

Again thank you all for taking the time to read and comment on the efforts of this blogospheric amateur writer.

John Watson.

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