Monday, 20 September 2010

Freedom to Choose (Scotland) press release, tobacco strategy, Sheila Duffy and the voluntary sector

Sheila Duffy is never out of the news these days. Today it's the Evening News (again), and another 'call' for the Scottish Government to pull the strings to stop everyone from smoking. Free will doesn't come into this it all ('no, of course, it doesn't', I hear the cry, 'you're all addicts'!). The 'right' policies will create the 'right' results, and people's thoughts, feelings, hopes and desires are quite irrelevant.

None of this has worked, as the latest press release from Freedom to Choose (Scotland) points out. The number of smokers has not fallen below one million where it was in 2005. But still the demands from ASH Scotland come thick and fast: what is the Scottish Government doing about the smoking rate?

Sheila appears to be in the middle of a plan funded by Cancer Research UK, due to wind up in February 2011. Calling itself an 'ambitious strategy' it demands an ambitious strategy on tobacco control from government, to be implemented by the voluntary sector (in what sense voluntary? need to look into this!). Someone had the bright idea of calling non-governmental organisations (i.e. charities, the third sector) para-governmental organisations. I wish I could remember who it was and it seems that they had a very good point. No doubt some of them do very good work but they are clearly in danger of undermining democratic processes.

That's it really. If Scottish people don't want money spent on this, they really must shout about it, because Cancer Research UK appears to be paying the client groups hovering around ASH Scotland to shout about it : money that could be spent on clinical research.

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