Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

Fun, facts and fag-packets at Forest event

By Editor
February 27th, 2015 at 11:21 am | Comments Off on Fun, facts and fag-packets at Forest event | Posted in Personal Freedom, Uncategorized

The Hands Off Our Packs “Stop the Nonsense: Plain Speaking on Plain Packaging” event was held on Tuesday night. What a joy it was.MArk Littlewood southampton FC

All Forest shindigs are must-go-to events as far as we are concerned. They are lively and fun; the speakers are invariably excellent value; the alcohol flows; and the pavements/terraces/balconies are alive with smokers and non-smokers alike celebrating life, the universe and everything else.

This event was no less fun, informative and innovative than we have come to expect. We had intended to write up the event in  more detail, but Dick Puddlecote has pretty much said it all – so just go read his post.

[PS his added note was an eye-rolling moment..

“*An interesting note on David Cameron and his view of plain packs. He came out with a quip during yesterday’s PMQs which went something like this – “Now we are committed to plain paper packaging of cigarettes, it will give more space for the opposition to write their policies on”. Yep, it looks like David Cameron doesn’t have a first clue about the policy he is legislating on! “

Let us just add our salute to Simon Clark (Forest Director) for coming up with such an innovative format (8 or so quick fire speeches- each lasting no more than 2 or 3 minutes).

Hats off to our very own Angela Harbutt who kicked of the formal speeches delivering the plain facts from Australia and ending up with an ask that MPs “consider the facts – not the wishful fiction of state-funded lobby groups and self-serving Whitehall bureaucrats”.

We should also salute Mark Littlewood, formerly of this Parish, and now Director General of the free-market Institute of Economic Affairs. Not only did he deliver a suitably rousing finish to the formal part of the evening, he managed to namecheck (yet again) his much-beloved Southampton Football Club!

Not without merit…(though he rarely needs an excuse in our experience).  He simply pointed out that he had acquired a (very robust and rather snazzy) “SaintsFC cig box” into which he drops his chosen cigarette pack. Given the interest in the room that evening , we suspect many more will be doing likewise (acquiring their own bespoke cig case – not necessarily creating a Saints FC one.)

Forest has promised to put a video of the speeches up on YouTube in the coming days. But here is a close up pic of the much-discussed cig case.

ML cig case

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

Save Our Pubs & Clubs – join us in Westminster on June 29

By Angela Harbutt
May 23rd, 2011 at 11:20 pm | 27 Comments | Posted in Personal Freedom

Liberal Vision are off to the Houses of Parliament on 29th June. Well… We have certainly signed up to Simon Clark’s genius event. Details from the Taking Liberties website are shown below – you can click here to find out how to get your own invite to the reception.

Special thanks go to Rt Hon Greg Knight MP (Conservative), Roger Godsiff MP (Labour) and John Hemming MP (Liberal Democrat) who are hosting the event.

The fight to amend the smoking ban is going to the heart of Westminster.

On Wednesday June 29, two days before the fourth anniversary of the smoking ban in England, we want supporters of the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign to join us at the Houses of Parliament.

Supporters are invited to attend a special reception hosted by The Rt Hon Greg Knight MP (Conservative), Roger Godsiff MP (Labour) and John Hemming MP (Liberal Democrat).

Location: Terrace Pavilion, House of Commons.

Time: 4.00-6.00pm

In advance of the event you will be asked to contact your local MP so you can arrange to meet them at the reception to discuss the smoking ban and related issues.

The aim of the event is to highlight the impact of the ban and demonstrate the strength of feeling that still exists in many quarters.

This is rare opportunity to lobby your MP in the presence of other like-minded people. We need as many people as possible to take part so please support this initiative and encourage others to do so too.

To attend the reception you MUST register in advance. So visit the Taking Liberties website and get yourself on the list.

Tags: , , ,

Time to bin ASH before it trashes another part of the economy

By Angela Harbutt
October 25th, 2010 at 4:31 pm | 12 Comments | Posted in Uncategorized

Apologies for the delay in spotting this one, but it has just come to my attention that the ludicrously well-funded ASH Scotland (which has somehow reversed the Barnett Formula, receiving copiously more than its (also over-funded) English partner organisation… but more on this later) has just published it’s latest list of anti-smoking proposals for Scotland…

On the day that David Cameron has promised the business world a “forensic, relentless focus on growth”  my attention has been drawn to an excellent analysis of ASH Scotlands’ proposals by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance. You should check out the full article yourself, but to summarise, they identify two of ASH Scotland proposals that are particularly insane (my words not theirs!) as far as business is concerned.

1. Govt should increase the cost of smoking by 5% above the rate of inflation every year

2.Govt should look at options for introducing a positive award or incentives scheme for retailers who choose not to sell tobacco.

Both options are likely to result in only one thing – an INCREASE in the amount of tobacco that is sold illicitly – depriving the country of tax revenue (which we desperately need in case ASH had not noticed) whilst putting more money and influence into the hands of criminal gangs.  Do these people learn nothing?

Concerning the second proposal specifically, the Tobacco Retailers Alliance points out that for many small retailers tobacco sales accounts for a third of their trade, so the bill for such a policy to the Scottish Government would be stupendous…. So that, frankly is (almost certainly) a dead duck. At least while the country is broke… But don’t expect the drive to eliminate tobacco retailing to stop,  just because the powers that be have no money right now.  Read this and weep …

“…The idea that retailers should be discouraged from selling tobacco, and encouraged to sell other things in its place, is one that keeps coming up and I expect we’ll hear a lot more of it over the next few years. I once asked an official in the Scottish Government just what exactly retailers could sell in place of tobacco – what product would bring a hundred customers through a newsagent’s door every day, give him a profit equating to four Mars Bars per transaction and drive more add-on purchases than any other product category? After a long pause for thought, she shrugged her shoulders and replied, “Apples?”….

This, my friends, is what we are up against – idiotic dogma and evangelism – with no practical understanding (or just perhaps concern) as to the likely real impact of their insane ideas – all of it funded by taxpayer. And when it comes to ASH Scotland…WHAT FUNDING!!!!!  Simon Clark (Director of the smokers lobby group FOREST) highlighted the cost to the taxpayer of ASH Scotland just last week…

In 2008-09 ASH Scotland received £921,837 from the Scottish Government. In December 2009 they received a further £500,000 grant from the Big Lottery to fund a three-year research project into smoke-free homes in Scotland.

“At a time when governments are reviewing public spending we would seriously question the use of public money to fund a group that employs almost three times as many staff as its sister organisation in England.

“How can that possibly be justified at a time when all taxpayers, smokers and non-smokers alike, are being asked to tighten their belts?”

The Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign will need to become the Save Our Pubs and Clubs and Newsagents campaign if ASH  & Co get their way…

.. I am hoping it won’t come to this. I trust that today’s rhetoric from the Prime Minister about supporting business will prove not to be empty words and that this coalition will get off the backs of SME’s (and “big tobacco” for that matter) trying to keep this country afloat.

I also thought that Mr Cameron had called a halt to government departments spending money to lobby other parts of Government..surely Government funding to ASH is all this is ? and should stop now.

And for those that missed it.. and specifically for ASH and other Government meddlars here is a video we highlighted recently pointing out the issues surrounding the illicit trade in tobacco.

Tags: , , , , ,

Simon Clark – a man with va va voom

By Angela Harbutt
March 24th, 2010 at 4:27 pm | 8 Comments | Posted in Personal Freedom

I like Simon Clark from Forest. He is calm, bright, thoughtful and very polite man who writes entertaining and informative blogs.  When he pops up on TV and radio I listen to his reassuring words and think “yes. That’s the right thing to say” ..”oh good point”..” how does this man know so much?” etc etc.

I am a big fan. I rarely, however, cry out in sheer delight at the passion. Well today I did. Moans of delight could be heard as I listened to Mr Clark show more va va voom than a hot french car with Thierry Henry at the wheel.   Like all great seducers he starts slowly, (the tease) – but builds and builds and builds to a wonderful crescendo that had me crying “yes yes yes” as my fists banged the table in sheer ecstasy.

In case you missed it, I have edited highlights from the programme in question here. Along with Simon you will hear from Ms Crossfield. She is Director of Smokefree Northwest – yet another government funded group. Why is it that all my money is seemingly being spent employing people whose dedicated aim is to stop me indulging in a few simple legal pleasures (to which I have added listening to Simon on the radio by the way!).

You can listen to the full programme on iplayer (Radio Five Live Breakfast Phone in: should smoking be banned in cars? March 24th 2010).

Tags: , , ,