Wednesday, 27 February 2013

Tobacco control and supranational government: EU revision of tobacco directive 'debate'

Tobacco control and its policies are described in this video as an instrument of supranational government: of the United Nations millenium goals and Agenda 21. In both these areas my knowledge is limited but they both seem to be at odds with nationally based democratic politics. The video is UK Column's news broadcast of 25 February 2013, reproduced below, and the discussion is about Vladimir Putin's recent introduction of legislation restricting smoking in Russia, 25.50 minutes in:

The presenter Mike Robinson sounds almost apologetic about discussing the smoking ban in the context of this programme, which deals with news and current affairs in the context of UK sovereignty (and the sovereignties of other states) being undermined. (I personally found it quite difficult to find the various parts of the piece 'Lifting the veil of secrecy' that were recommended, and did not actually succeed, but will post links if I can get hold of them.)

The revision of the EU tobacco directive came up for debate yesterday (BBC report here). If you have time to see this video (almost 90 minutes) it will give you a fresh view of what is meant by 'debate'. There is more to come but it seems doubtful whether opponents to the directive will manage to make any impact.

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The fact that tobacco control is pushed by authorities at the supra-government level makes opposing it very difficult – it is also a good reason to oppose it, because it claims to over-ride national democratic government and accountability. This is not a simplistic issue (it was not intended to be a long post!) but at the basis it means that people have to negotiate with each other on many issues through the medium of an authority who sets the rules, where they should be able to deal with each other directly. And our governments accept this: because they lack power over policy it reassures them to gain authority over personal interactions and habits.

1 comment:

Dick Puddlecote said...

"The fact that tobacco control is pushed by authorities at the supra-government level makes opposing it very difficult"

Indeed. Yet Florence Berteletti-Kemp described Monday's disgraceful abuse of democracy as David beating the Goliath of tobacco.

EU budget = £130bn pa
Tobacco lobby budget = £5m pa

Only in the perverse world of tobacco control can the EU be termed David. Especially when tobacco has one arm tied behind its back due to article 5.3 of the FCTC.

Liars, crooks and thieves, the lot of 'em.