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Freedom To Choose Newsletters

February 2013

Sent: 27 February 2013

In this month's issue:

  • Message from the Chairman
  • Sir Humphrey is now in Drag: Plain Packaging
  • E-Cigs: Rhetoric and Propaganda?
  • ASH reprimanded for Lobbying by Parliament
  • News in brief
  • F2C Articles and official Blog
  • Round the Blogs - two bits of serious reading for cold days
  • The Last Word:  RIP Kevin Ayers


The Department of Health (DH) is keeping very quiet on plain packaging at the moment. 

As we know they got a sound spanking in the vox pop with 500,000 against and 235,000 for. It does seem that the plain packs protagonists were guilty of some underhand tricks, like dodgy multiple filling in of forms which even Deborah Arnott had to castigate the DH over. What appears to have been collusion with the Australian Department of Health has done little to allay fears either. Also ,73 MPs have now written to Jeremy Hunt the Health Secretary saying it will only increase smuggling.

The evidence from Australia is that sales there are business as usual, despite the best spin to suggest the contrary and Dame Sally Davies' pitiful presentation to Parliament "after having dinner" with her Australian counter part just made her look an ass.

My feeling is that the DH cannot find a good reason to bring in plain packaging and are just putting off the day that they have to admit to wasting the tax payer's money.

If so it will be a welcome victory, and the first for a number of years.

Once again, can I say thank you to all members and supporters.

Dave Atherton
Chairman Freedom To Choose


Dave Atherton continues the sorry story of plain packaging in his recent article in The Commentator.

The civil service's actions on the plain cigarette packs consultation have been nothing short of a disgrace.

Sir Humphrey Appleby of the hit TV series ‘Yes, Prime Minister’ has put on a dress and a pair of sling-back shoes and morphed into Dame Sally Davies, the Chief Medical Officer and head paper pusher at the Department of Health (DH).

Supposedly neutral on policy, Davies and Andrew Black (Programme Manager of Tobacco Control) have in fact failed to display a shred of impartiality on the impending plain cigarette packs “consultation.” For those of you who have just resurfaced from your coma, the consultation is effectively another way of putting the banning of branded cigarette packets with the addition of some medical pornography so extreme that sitting in church on Sunday morning reading Asian Babes would seem more appropriate.

In what has been a dirty campaign (mainly on the part of Dame Sally Davies’s department and allies, who have never really recovered from being whitewashed in the public response – 500,000 versus 235,000), the latest reveals more evidence of closed, clandestine meetings in smoke-filled free rooms.

You see, it turns out the DH commissioned two anti-smoking zealots, Professors Gerald Hastings and Linda Bauld, from the UK Centre for Tobacco Control Studies to review the “proof.”  They may as well have just commissioned Lord Rennard to write a paper on keeping your hands on the table at Lib Dem HQ.

(To read more, go to the full article here.)


The situation over E-Cigs is becoming more complicated by the day, and the pro-choice movement is not exempt from some confusion.

Jay, of the Nannying Tyrants blog, commented the other day that he was:

...extremely at odds -- nay, extremely livid at a large number of vaping companies using the same bullshit rhetoric and propaganda that the anti-smokers have used to denormalise tobacco use in order to sway potential customers.

Commenting further on the BMA's pursed lips stance, he continued:

Th(e) sentiment against what "looks like smoking" so it should be banned is repeated by the BMA's Richard Jarvis, who said about e-cigarettes:
"These devices directly undermine the effects and intentions of existing legislation including the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces."

Now wait a second.  Wasn't the public smoking ban sold as a measure to protect workers from second-hand smoke?  Why, yes, it was presented as such, but we know now that it was really about denormalising smoking by forcing smokers to stand outside and make us third-class citizens. The smoking ban had nothing to do with workers' health.

(To read his full article, go here.)


In 1990, this is how ASH and Tobacco Control Industry lobbyists used to be treated by politicians if they even dared to solicit private meetings and/or attempt to subvert the democratic process. It makes wonderful viewing.

(see this delicious YouTube Video courtesy of John Baker, who uploaded it in January 2010.)

Dick Puddlecote also wrote about this in his blog: 'Following on from Monday's news that ASH and the APPG (All-Party Parliamentary Group) on Smoking and Health had held a private meeting with Anne Milton; that it was hidden from public record until The Times discovered it; and that it appears that the delegation attempted to persuade the Minister to ignore objections to the plain packaging consultation. Additionally, considering that it looks like they may have done exactly the same thing during (or after) the consultation prior to the tobacco display ban, I think it's a good time to view again this illustration of what Milton should have said.'


Inside the Coalition's controversial 'Nudge Unit'. Deep inside Whitehall, psychologists are finding ways to make you insulate your loft, pay your taxes, and even quit smoking. Is the Coalition's controversial 'Nudge Unit' finally paying off?

Politically correct BBC ignoring Harold Wilson's pipe in five hour tribute.

Smoking a shisha pipe for just one hour is equivalent to smoking 1,000 cigarettes,

What fecking super strength tobacco are they smoking in these places? High tobacco levels? what the hell does that mean? No, this is utter and complete bollocks specially invented to scare those who have dared to defy the idiots. (Comment from an F2C member)..

Smoking ban: Doctors say exemption 'won't help film industry'

Is there no limit to Doctors' knowledge and expertise?

Interesting comment made in defence of the industry....The agency's chief executive, Pauline Burt, said that in relation to productions where actors and crew could be exposed to smoke "nobody is forcing them to take that job". The same could be said about pub staff.  (Comments from F2C members.)

I've been smoking for 60 years. What's the point in giving up now?

Van driver fined £200 for not displaying no smoking sign!

Ludicrous. Dundee handyman fined for smoking in his own van.

Charity helper who was smoking told to go home. N.B. This is the BHF which is a major funder of ASH and lobbied for the smoking ban.

Areas and shelters for smokers created at Tunbridge Wells and Staffordshire hospitals.


A Political Smokescreen?  How the Scottish Parliament dealt with the Scottish petition and concealed evidence.

The Smokers are Coming: serious protests by pro-choicers in Brussels, Bulgaria, and Ukraine.

The Spirit of Leonidas: about the Greeks doing what the Greeks do best, fighting for freedom and practising democracy.  And smoking.



Baby, it's cold outside. Time to stay in and keep warm. So here are two serious bits of recommended reading and resources to settle down with and stretch your brain.

First, this is a recent post by Chris Snowden, summarising and giving links to a series of articles written by Carl Phillips.

It's excellent but quite complex - please visit and read as soon as you have the time. Sample:

...When the ANTZ defend policies that make smoking more costly and less pleasant with language like “helping smokers quit”, a standard response is that this is utter crap: Intentionally inflicting pain on someone to try to modify their behavior is called “torture”, not “help”, and it violates all accepted modern Western rules of ethical behavior.
...When the ANTZ claim that torture is help, they are invoking the implicit (and clearly false) claim that everyone affected by the torture has second-order preferences for quitting, and also invoking the implicit (and clearly false) claim that they want someone to use force to align their preferences with their second-order preferences by inflicting torture until quitting is preferable to smoking. In addition, the ANTZ are making the implicit (and clearly false) claim that all of these smokers who want to be forced really understand that when they are abstinent they are likely to be less happy/productive/etc. compared to when they were smoking.

Second, another good essay from Professor John Brignell: "The statistical bludgeon". Sample:

In the dark ages literacy was a secret jealously guarded by the senior clerics. It gave them power in the monopoly of handing down the written and immutable law; and, incidentally, enabled them to conceal their errors (and perversions) of interpretation. The lower clergy were only able to copy documents as arrays of symbols without intrinsic meaning, but God-given, and their errors propagated (such as confusing the Gothic long “s” with “f”).

In these days of almost universal literacy (of sorts) there is an analogy in the case of statistical literacy, though not one to be taken too far. The senior clergy understand statistics (to a patchy extent) and use or abuse them at will. The junior clergy put in numbers and extract them from computer packages, without understanding, and pass them on. The laity know their place, but are impressed.

Uncertainty is not an easy concept to accept. You are accustomed to getting your exercise book back from the teacher, with a tick against the sums that are right and a cross against the ones that are wrong. When someone tells you that there is a ninety percent probability that the answer is A and a ten percent probability that it is B, it is a bridge too far for many. They are grateful when an authority (say the EPA) saves them from crossing this pons asinorum by asserting that 90% = right and 10%=wrong. Therein lies a tale of grand deceit and devilry. The uncertainty has been removed at the cost of understanding.

Just as the mediaeval clergy used their own privileged interpretations of the written laws to bludgeon the laity into conformity, so the modern numerical necromancers use their interpretations of numbers to the same end. In both cases the penalty for indiscipline is the threat of pestilence, hell-fire and damnation; while the cost of conformity is a simple but substantial tithe on your income.


(click on title to hear song and read rest of lyrics)

Stranger in Blue Suede Shoes

I walked into this bar
And the man refused;
He said, we don't serve strangers
In blue suede shoes;

We don't give credit, and
We don't give way--
We have to think about what the people might say..

Uh, you know what I mean...
I said, sure, man.

Oh, he gave me a smile that was sickly and wet,
And I offered him one of my cigarettes.
He took it, afraid that he might appear rude,
Then proceeded to sell me some second class food.

Nice guy - meet 'em everywhere.. .

He said, my oh my, I have suffered too long,
And this cigarette seems to be very strong;
I don't make the rules
I just get what I take
And I guess every rule was made to break...

Kevin Ayers. 16 August 1944 – 18 February 2013



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