Tuesday, 31 May 2011

Alcohol, the Spirit Level and Simon Chapman being wrong again

Bit busy today. There's a new post up at the Spirit Level Delusion site if you're interested in that sort of thing.

As a follow up to some of last week's posts, the head of the NHS Statistics division has replied to the Straight Statistics critique of the alcohol-related hospital admissions. (See the comment section here.)

On behalf of the NHS Information Centre, I’d like to confirm that the figures in the press notice for alcohol related admissions in 2009/10 (1,057,000) and 2002/03 (510,800) are both calculated using the methodology introduced in 2009. They (and the remaining figures) in Table 4.1 of the report are comparable and show a large increase, subject to the various points of detail in the footnotes to that table.

Make of that what you will. The devil is in the "detail in the footnotes". The relevant table is on page 67 of this document.

And, a week after Simon Chapman memorably dismissed the idea of there being any smuggled tobacco in Australia, saying:

Smuggled tobacco is a major issue in nations with high corruption indexes and open borders. It has never been a major problem in Australia.

The Australian Daily Telegraph reports:

Sydney flooded with illegal cigarettes

SYDNEY is flooded with blackmarket cigarettes selling for as little as half the price of a genuine pack, but peddlers are avoiding punishment because it is tobacco companies who catch them.

Lies, all lies! You've got no proof!

The Daily Telegraph was able to purchase Chinese-made counterfeit cigarettes from outlets at Kings Cross and Warwick Farm.

Alright, I'll give you that. But, as Chapman says, there's never been a prosecution, therefore there is no problem.

British American Tobacco (BAT) conducts about 1000 undercover purchases each year and has taken legal action against more than 100 retailers in the past three years, effectively suing them for copyright infringements.

That doesn't count! There's never been a prosecution by the government.

In the year before Project Wickenby began, the Australian Taxation Office completed 53 tobacco prosecutions and had another 24 in progress.



Anonymous said...

Fair enough - coming shortly from Gathered Stats Revisionism (NHS Wing) - how in fact 45% of allied troops and 45% of axis troops killed during the second world war can now be classified as having died from smoking related causes, because whilst they may in fact have died from injuries inflicted by weapons of one sort or another, analysis of their "habits" showed they most certainly would have died from smoking related causes had they not been killed in conflict ...

Anonymous said...

"Make of that what you will."

So Blair and Brown drove us to drink!

And saddled us with enough National Debt and deficit that it now appears to be our national duty to pay as much as we can in duty on alcohol... so we should drink more alcohol?

Junican said...

Wow! So there are 77 prosecutions pending! So most of those will be prosecutions of the 'Capo di Capos' will they? Or will they be small traders, doing a bit of business on the side?

Australia has AN ENORMOUS coastline. 'Drops' here and there of great quantities of 'chop chop' would be extremely difficult to detect. The profits are so great that the small risk of detection is worth enduring. Only the little people will be apprehended.

but note how people who enjoy tobacco are slowly being criminalised. A smoker must not, on grounds of being a patriotic Australian, give in to the temptation to buy 'illicit' tobacco. He must pay the full wack in order to pay for Tobacco Control (and Alcohol Concern and Salt Concern and Fat Concern).

Can anyone blame people for saying, "Sod that for a game of soldiers! I am sick of paying more than my fair share. I will buy from where I can get tobacco cheapest".

If a newspaper can send people out and buy 'chop chop' just like that, then the availability of chop chop must be widespread.

And it is very interesting how the main attack on chop chop has been instigated by Tobacco Companies. Now we understand what the CEO of BAT meant by his statement that Australia would be flooded with chop chop - it is the Tobacco Companies who have been looking for the counterfeiters. If they stop, then the floodgates will be opened.

So here is the plan to halt the persecution coming from Tobacco Control in Australia:

1. Tobacco Companies stop looking for Counterfeits.
2. If the 'plain packages' scheme is passed and put into effect, sue for billions.
3. Withdraw from Australia.

The bluff must be called. The little by little tightening of the screw must be halted.

junican41 said...

I am popping this idea around the sites that I frequent. I am sorry if this post is not 'on topic'.

On 29th May 2011, the Independent published a blatant, propaganda attack on Tobacco Companies. I must say immediately that I have no personal involvement with Tobacco Companies whatsoever other than buying cigarettes.
In the article, it was stated that a study by the Office of National Stats shows that more people are going to pubs. In fact, the study shows nothing of the sort. It shows only that, of the people surveyed, some said that they THINK THAT they go to pubs more often. Also, the same survey showed that women especially feel inclined to go to pubs less, as a result of the smoking ban. It is very obvious, therefore, that the findings of this survey in no way justify the claim that more people are going to pubs, which is what Tobacco Control claimed. In any case, pub closures affect the people in the immediate neighbourhood of that pub. Even if it were true that more pubs are opening than are closing, it does not mean that the opportunities for people to meet together are not, in a large part of our country, being decimated by Tobacco Control. On this basis, I have complained to the Press Commission about the misuse of the Office of Nat Stats statistics in this article published by the Independent. I claim that the Independent should ensure that the facts stated in the article are correct.

When I found out about this article (via....sorry, I do not remember), I made various comments at the Independent - albeit rather late. But what is really important is that I decided to make a complaint to the Press Complaints Commission. I have done so. I have complained about the misuse of the ONS statistics. I have complained that the Independent should check that the ONS statistics are being correctly interpreted. I have complained that the Independent has not checked the facts stated in this article (an article which is promoted by the Independent) before publication.

This thought then popped into my mind: how much more likely to succeed is a complaint to the Press Commission as compared with a comment on a newspaper article in the newspaper's comments section? I asked this question elsewhere, and someone said, " Should we not also be applying this idea to the Charities Commission (words to that effect)?"

I agree.

We must ask ourselves about the efficacy of complaints to the Press Complaints Commission and the Charities Commission. I propose that 100 complaints to those organisations are worth 10 000 comments in newspaper articles. I am therefore proposing that we make as many complaints as possible to these bodies. But, of course, the complaints must be real and genuine and factual. Do not make make complains based upon emotions (stinks, for example).

I believe (with no evidence whatsoever except gut feeling!) that organisations such as the Press Complaints Commission and the Charities Commission are the Achilles Heel of Tobacco Control and Alcohol Concern and other such special interest groups. Complaints to MPs and to Newspapers do not instigate a process, whereas complaints to commissions do. One could also complain to the Health and Safety Executive, it you can figure out how to do it.

There are thousands of us. If we all complain to the appropriate COMMISSION, sensibly, about what ASH et al are causing to be published, then 'the authorities' will be forced to take note. We must complain as often as possible and upon every subject where 'freedom' is being eroded.

I commend this idea to everyone.

As I said, I am going to spread this idea around. I hope that people do not mind. I hope that it bears fruit.

Magnetic said...

Given what is known about the history of Prohibition, i.e., contraband market, it should be known that taxes raised beyond a certain point will encourage a contraband market. Extortionate taxes are de facto Prohibition for those on low incomes. If people really don’t want to quit but are being forced to do so through extortionate taxes, they will seek out a cheaper alternative. The higher the taxes go, the larger is the affected consumer group.

As soon as there is the slightest hint of a contraband market, it signals that taxes have been pushed too high. At that point, taxes should be kept on hold, or even reduced. The issue of a contraband market is entirely foreseeable. But here’s the danger of eugenics-driven Public Health®. It is not very bright. It barges along making mistakes of old. Consider Australia. In addition to a decade’s worth of compounded extortionate taxes, the Taskforce on Health recommended two further, separate, whopping 25% increases in excise tax for last year. One of these 25% increases was instituted early last year at the same time as mandating untested RIP cigarettes. These healthist buffoons will then deny that there is a contraband problem or they will interpret a contraband market as “undoing” their good work, as if the contraband market somehow just materialized out of the blue. They refuse to acknowledge the obvious fact that a flourishing, expanding contraband market is a direct consequence of their foolish, incompetent conduct. It is they that have produced it. It is they that are wholly responsible.

Magnetic said...

Q. The contraband consequence of raising taxes too high is well known.
Public Kontrol®: Yes.

Q. In fact, the first hint of a contraband market indicates that taxes have been pushed too high.
Public Kontrol®: Yes.

Q. But this is not the first hint of a contraband market. It is now a thriving, expanding market.
Public Kontrol®: Yes.

Q. Yet Public Kontrol® routinely advocates raising already high taxes even higher still.
Public Kontrol®: Yes.

Q. Would anyone in their right mind do that?
Public Kontrol®: That’s a good question. You would have to ask someone in their right mind.

Q. [speechless]

subrosa said...

Junican, I've lost the comment you posted at my place. Can you get in touch?

Sorry for using your blog to communicate Snowdon. Forgive me? I've just noticed you're not on my blogroll so will do that right now.