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ASH…We Really Must Do This More Often

June 24th, 2011 Posted in Personal Freedom by

A couple of days ago I wrote a small wee post on ASH . I thought it might be of  interest to those who read our blog and care about personal freedom and the nannying (and now “nudge”) state in which we live.  I was somewhat taken aback by the response (positive and negative). When Big ASH piles into the comments you know you have touched a nerve.

Anybody who thought that the debate on smoking was over, must surely think again.

Some of the comments were so astonishing that I was going to write a whole new post about them. Then I saw that Dick Puddlecote had done something already… “We Really Must Do This More Often” . To be honest, it wasn’t quite the post I had in mind, but it is really very funny and thought you might enjoy. And I will leave my  musings for another day. My thanks to Mr Puddlecote.

12 Responses to “ASH…We Really Must Do This More Often”

  1. Leslie K. Clark Says:


    110 comments (so far) for that post on ASH. Is that a record for LV?

  2. Mr A Says:

    Don’t underestimate how much people loathe that organisation and resent being forced to pay for it.

  3. Angela Harbutt Says:

    Its 120 comments now and yes that is a record for LV.. We got 105 comments on a Gavin Webb article a couple of years ago (on education) and 88 comments on the Humilation of the Yes Campaign back in May this year. We are nothing if not eclectic!

  4. JJ Says:

    Angela – Perhaps the ASHites would like this

  5. Junican Says:

    @ AH

    I trust that you have seen the comment recently posted by Iro Cyr? Read his link.

    I think that it is important to continue to pursue the persecutors. There seems to be a certain unhealthy collusion surrounding the groups associated with ASH et al. A sort of protective bubble which excludes proper accountability. This breeds contempt and arrogance, which we see in articles published in newspapers such as the claim that pubs and clubs have not been harmed by the smoking ban “…because the hospitality industry in general is thriving” (words to that effect). Another has been the escalation in claims of ‘premature deaths by smoking’. A few months ago, Lansley, in a TV interview claimed a total of 80,000. I have to hand a letter from the DOH claiming 100.000. And, only a few days ago, in a video promoted by the Brit Heart Foundation (or was it Lung – can’t remember!) the figure of 114000. Is my last sentence some sort of ‘conspiracy theory? No! It is fact! Lastly, there is the survey by NICE on Mumsnet. I cannot be sure exactly, but as I recall, one of the questions was (something like): “Do you agree that children in cars should be protect from the harm of second hand smoke” What Mum could possibly say no? There are many more.

    I think that the whole unaccountability problem stems from the WHO – funded by member states and in many respects by Big Pharm, along with the Framework Convention…..which gave carte blanche to that organisation to say and do anything it likes.

    Do I have to say that I have no connection with…..?

  6. JJ Says:

    Sorry link didn’t work.

    Go to December post and scroll down to ASH tribute.


  7. Angela Harbutt Says:


    I read the comments from Iro Cyr with great interest and considerable concern. Very measured and quite chilling.
    I do not dissent from your view… Here is a comment I posted on Dick Puddlecotes blog earlier today….

    ” If NATO allies can be guilty of “mission creep” then, by jove, so can ASH.

    Surely their stated remit :- to “work towards eliminating the harm caused by tobacco” has now turned practically into “work towards eliminating tobacco” – which is the language now used by Bauld et al constantly.

    The omitted words ” the harm caused by” are vital.

    This of course explains why ASH are so set against any Government dialogue with the tobacco industry – no matter how useful/productive that dialogue might be. They have no interest in elimination of harm any more – they are now focussed entirely on the eradication of all tobacco.

    That Government has been infiltrated by ASH so utterly explains why the Government appear to be proceeding blindly down the same path.

    How and why ASH have altered course so fundamentally and why Government is being led down the same path needs further thought/investigation. But the fact that ASH has extended itself far beyond its own remit is a serious concern since it is undeniably preventing genuine harm-prevention discussions/ideas/activity from taking place.

    This needs to be addressed.”

    And no you don’t need to say whether you have a connection with…. or not. As you can see – I am a liberal – I believe in free speech. I actually want tobacco engaged in the whole conversation.

    My email inbox is chock a block with emails from people from all sides of the debate wanting to talk – including i might add one from inside ASH that thinks their attitudes and actions are hogwash. I need to reflect on what to do next. But the correspondence received has certainly made me pause to consider what might best be done next.

    I am contactable on if you (or anyone else) has an opinion.

  8. Martin Says:


    I emailed you my opinion on Thursday – that smoking in public places has nothing to do with ‘personal freedom’ (as you insist on categorising all your pro-smoking blog posts) – and you ignored it.

    When J.S. Mill wrote about liberty, he did so on the basis that liberty can only be enjoyed on the basis that it should not harm others. And there are an overwhelming number of scientific studies over a number of decades that show secondary smoking does harm the health of others, so the Harm Principle indicates a very clear boundary in this instance.

    So there are a number of conclusions to be drawn here:

    1) Contrary to your claims in your last post, you are not a Liberal.
    2) Your flippant approach to public health in this post also indicates you are not a Liberal.
    3) This site – or at least the parts containing your postings on ‘Personal Freedom’ – could well be powered by John Stuart Mill spinning in his grave.
    4) Are ‘Liberal Vision’ actually people of a liberal democratic nature? They certainly don’t resemble anyone in my local party. I am starting to suspect entryism.

    I don’t expect a reply – after all, you couldn’t be bothered replying last time – but I thought I’d get back in touch to know that I now have a measure of you, this site and what threatens the Party.

  9. Junican Says:

    Boo Hoo! Martin is upset!

    “”And there are an overwhelming number of scientific studies over a number of decades that show secondary smoking does harm the health of others, so the Harm Principle indicates a very clear boundary in this instance.””

    How cleverly worded is that sentence! Notice the use of the word ‘overwhelming’. Notice its position in the sentence. It is attached to and qualifies the word number, but is that its real purpose? I think not. I think that there is an attempt to associate the word ‘overwhelming’ to the words ‘harm the health of others’ by transference.

    No, Mr Martin, there is not an ‘overwhelming number’. It is hard to imagine in what circumstances a number can be ‘overwhelming’. There are about 100 or so such studies, many being rehashes of the same stuff commissioned by a variety of different health professionals – carefully integrated.

    Some of these studies show a protective effect, more show no effect, most show a minuscule potential effect – note the word ‘potential’.

    I can illustrate the position in this way:

    Out of a population of 60 million, a minuscule number are killed by lightening strikes each year. The risk to any individual is as near as damnit, 1 sixty millionth each. But I play golf, and I know that in a thunderstorm with lightening it would be foolish to wave a steel golf club around in the air. I therefore shelter and position my clubs some distance away from me. Similarly, in connection with SHS, I would be foolish to extract the air from a room and fill it with smoke (of any kind) and sit in that room watching TV. On the other hand, I would be foolish to imagine that a very low concentration of SHS would harm me.

    This tricky use of words is manifest throughout ASH literature. For example, “The ban is not closing pubs because statistics show that the hospitality trade in general is thriving”

    Do zealots start to believe their own word tricks and their own propaganda after a while? I fear so.

  10. Junican Says:

    An afterthought.

    So Martin writes an email to Angela in which he expounds his views, no doubt at some length. He then expects her to waste her time replying to his email. Maybe several other zealots do the same. All with the intention of creating confusion and attacking the source and wasting the source’s time reading the propaganda and then claiming that the source ignores emails. Why should the source respond to propaganda emails? In fact, why should A-shites expect anything at all when their own site is incommunicado?

    If I was Angela, I would read the first sentence and then delete. In fact, I would probably get my computer savvy grandson to read them and then press ‘delete’, and then click ’empty deletion box’ (or whatever). Propaganda is very easily recognised. Any email which says ‘SHS has been proven to be harmful’ is propaganda. Delete it.

    And so, Angela, if you want to see blatant non-sequiturs in abundance, read these two articles by Arnott and Duffy which somehow got published recently in newspapers:

    The first is from ASH Scotland (Duffy). The second is from ASH England (Arnott). Both are absolutely tripe. In fact, I complained to the Press Commission about them, on the grounds that newspapers should not be printing unproven propaganda.

  11. Chris Says:

    Ah the return of Martin, the person who believes that Godwin wrote rules for the internet and misquotes him in an attempt to suppress any reference to a major historical figure who is clearly relevant in any debate that encompasses the history of smoking and propaganda.

    Martin you are almost correct but what Mill actually says is that self protection is the only purpose for which power can be rightly exercised over any member of a civilised community. You seem to have changed his emphasis somewhat in your post.

    Mill adds “His own good, either physical or moral, is not a sufficient warrant. He cannot rightfully be compelled to do or forbear because it will make him happier, because in the opinion of others, to do so would be wise or right.”

    As anti-tobacco advocates and existing legislation go significantly beyond self-protection into the realms of coercion, they are by Mill’s definition in opposition to the principles of liberty. .

    Temporarily ignoring the science or lack of it surrounding SHS, as a non-smoker I have some sympathy with the view that those who for whatever reason prefer not be discomforted by the pleasure of others should not be. However, I do fail to see why, in a civilised liberal society, we cannot achieve that objective without ostracising and “denormalising” those who choose to smoke.

    I do feel the need to congratulate you on eliciting a response from the usually taciturn Martin Dockrell, even if his was only an act of self preservation inspired by fear of being mistaken for you.

  12. Gareth Says:

    I appreciate the need to care about people’s health and the costs involved with regards the united kingdoms unique NHS. But and there is always going to be a but, where does this madness stop? Can I sue the local council for the pollution created by cars and lorries and the linked health implications, supermarkets for the cheap meats the government allow to be sold to the public and the linked health implications, alcohol, drugs and sexual transmitted diseases, when would it be that the goverment have overstepped the line.
    I am allowed to make my own decisions with regards all the above that have equally if not worse health implications and costs as a tax paying adult in the uk. The more the government get involved surely the more they are going to imply themselves for not taking care of my health as I am obviously not capable of making an adult choice myself!!!!!
    I am a smoker, I choose to smoke, and I like to think that the 85 percent tax collected on each packet goes to a fund that does some good somewhere inside the government funds. I look forward to the day when all the do good ers will pay this taxation through no choice of theirs on everyday products and regret not looking at the bigger picture.