Fortunately, Dick Puddlecote has a very good account of the whole thing so I needn't keep you. One thing that caught my eye was a quote from some Australian lobby group which also wants to ban those evil colours and fonts that lure in the chiiiildren:
If we act quickly, Australia can overtake the British Government and become the ﬁrst country in the world to mandate that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging.
That sounded so much like a parody of the prohibition-as-sport mentality that I had to follow Dick's link to check these people actually existed. They do and they did say that. It really is just a game to these people, isn't it? A pissing contest for rent-seeking professional half-wits to decide who buys the champagne at the next international public health conference.
Not only that, they want the graphic warning to cover 95% of the packet. And, having challenged the Aussie government to be the first country in the world to pass this legislation, they say in the very next line:
There is good evidence that this would have a profound effect on young image-conscious teenagers.
Pray, where does the evidence for this world-first come from? The Martian Health Organisation? Venusians for Nonsmokers' Rights? How pathetic that it has come to this. How sad and risible that countries with the standing of Britain and Australia have been deceived and intimidated into tolerating stupid, senseless and illiberal measures for no other reason that a few well-funded and well-organised obsessives are saying "go on, give it a try."
The only silver lining to this particular cloud is that it has inspired the best blog post of the year thus far from the marvellous Ian B at Counting Cats:
The tide is eternally flowing in the opposite direction to that in which I wish it were flowing. I cannot think of a single new law, or new initiative, or economic policy, which I have approved of in more years than I care to remember. I feel as if I am living in a nation of aliens; or rather, that I am alone alien teleported into 21st century Britain and trying to understand and survive it. I increasingly feel like I’ve nothing in common with everyone around me. How can I be so out of step with public opinion? Is everyone else mad, or is it me?
I can see the world I grew up in being dismantled, bit by bit. There are times I wish they’d just get it over with. In a sense, it is the gradualism that is unbearable. There are times I wish they’d just ban everything - baccy and beer, burgers and bangers, and all the rest - once and for all. Instead, they creep forward one apparently tiny step at a time. It’s like being executed with a bacon slicer.
There's much more of this. Please do go read the whole sublime thing.