Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Duffy in print

Sheila Duffy has excelled herself today by producing a leader column in the Scotsman entitled 'Restricting tobacco industry will improve health' (this was not published online), and another in the Herald: 'Health levy will bring huge benefits to public health and the economy'.

Does tobacco control have some special status for our national media that ASH Scotland's opinion gets placed next to the editorials at the centre of the Scotsman?

In her column, Duffy applauds the Australian effort to bring in plain packaging and makes her support for this legislation very clear. She refers to the recent UN summit on non-communicable diseases and the 'fundamental conflict between the tobacco industry and public health. She promotes plain packaging as a global strategy endorsed by the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control – an undemocratic measure that seeks to over-ride national democratic processes.

In the Herald she writes about the proposed health levy on major supermarkets, in reference to a previous article in which the Scottish Retail Consortium warned that the levy could fall on an increasing number of retailers with time. She huffs, 'well, they would say that, wouldn't they?' because they are 'keen to protect their members' interests'. Well – it takes one to know one.  This is the old story –  there is a dispute and both sides lobby. One does it out of sheer altruism and the other out of sheer self-interest. Sheila wants this levy because it is destined for 'preventive work': in more prosaic terms, to sustain the health promotion business.

The 'denormalisation' process is also at work here. Duffy echoes the words of Margaret Chan of the World Health Organisation who criticises the tobacco industry's efforts to gain support against plain packaging legislation, especially for the effrontery of employing lawsuits to challenge tobacco control legislation. God forbid that tobacco companies, having been marginalised from the policy-making process, should be allowed to make the public aware of their view of the situation.

Sheila clearly has a vested interest in the health levy. No doubt she will point to all the benefits of smokeless pubs such as a 17 per cent drop in heart attacks, a 13 per cent drop in childhood asthma admissions, better respiratory health in bar staff (based on a comparison of their health between February and June) and other fantasies. Her stock figures are 13,500 – the annual Scottish death rate from tobacco – and one in four, which is the proportion of Scots that are killed by tobacco. These figures are used in 2009,  but if we go back to 2005 we see very little change (in fact the rate for smoking-related deaths is only 13,000, but they have probably changed their method of counting). It rather looks as if the money spent on ASH Scotland has got very little result over the last six years.

Edit: Scotsman piece now online.


Bill Gibson said...

This is what happens when one employs a former Director of Amnesty International as your Communications Director. Virtually all of those involved in Amnesty International are also involved in the Common Purpose Movement which no doubt includes media contacts within national newspapers.

It is also interesting to note that the said Communications Director is also listed within Simon Chapman's new "Closed Chapter" on Facebook as reported earlier. So much for protecting Human Rights for all those years on behalf of Amnesty International considering that ASH is an organisation that could not care less about the subject when they continue to push the subject of denormalisation !!

Bill Gibson said...

Common Purpose Exposed


Anonymous said...

The levy on retailers who sell tobacco is probably intended to decrease earnings and eventually make it an unprofitable loss to sell tobacco, thus forcing retailers to stop carrying it in their stores altogether. In San Francisco they flat out banned retail tobacco selling in any store that has a pharmacy and the retailers rolled over along with the tobacco industry and accepted it. In Scotland the retailers might not be so easy a push-over yet, thus the levy is being tried as a way to force it out of business. And if you can't buy it because it's not being sold - and if you can't smoke it because it's banned indoors and out - then it pretty much gets them what their ultimate aim is all along, which is destroy the industry anyway they can, including terrorizing and demonizing smokers and retailers alike. It's totally unethical and outside any form of acceptable democratic and humane treatment to operate in that manner, yet they do and in broad daylight, under the false guise of "goodness". Lucifer, an angel of light - satanic, demonic - that's what the anti-smoking industry represents - evil in broad daylight under the false disguise of "goodness". Like satan.

Belinda said...

The tactic in Scotland is divide and rule ... they are imposing the levy only on the big boys and have thereby gained the support of smaller shops who are beguiled into feeling protected. In future there will be nothing to stop them from extending the levy to smaller shops.

Bill Gibson said...

Common Purpose USA

Common Purpose Project USA- Common Purpose Project Washington DC uniting top left-leaning Obama officials (03/09/2009)
Politicians and Civil Servants
Finally evidence emerges of Common purpose at work in USA: the Common Purpose Project Washington DC uniting top left-leaning Obama officials. The Common Purpose Project meets "every Tuesday afternoon at the Capitol Hilton" in Washington, DC, and "brings together the top officials from a range of left-leaning organizations, from labor groups like Change to Win to activists like, all in support of the White House's agenda. The group has an overlapping membership with a daily 8:45 a.m. call run by the Center for American Progress' and Media Matters' political arms; with the new field-oriented coalition Unity '09; and with the groups that allied to back the budget as the Campaign to Rebuild and Renew America Now. Unlike those other groups, however, the Common Purpose meeting has involved a White House official, communications director Ellen Moran, two sources familiar with the meeting said. It's aimed, said one, at 'providing a way for the White House to manage its relationships with some of these independent groups.' The group's founder, political consultant and former Gephardt aide Erik Smith, described it in general terms after others had confirmed its existence.