D-MYST. It stands for Direct Movement by the Youth Smokefree Team. Sounds like a grass-roots association of angry young people, right?
It isn't. It was founded and financed by the Department of Health via Smokefree Liverpool to pursue the policy of adult-certification for movies which depict smoking. I first came across these clowns three years ago when a hapless Lib Dem councillor called for 'smokefree movies' under the impression that the yoof were demanding it. I had virtually forgotten about D-MYST until I came across their website today and found that they are now campaigning for a ban on smoking on television before 9 pm.
Go check out their website. Note the lack of contact details. Note the complete absence of any indication that this is paid for with your money. Just like the minimum pricing website I mentioned recently, this is covert lobbying by a government department.
A Freedom of Information request revealed how much public money had been spent lobbying against smoking in films in the Merseyside area as of 2009. It's a lot, and a lot more has been spent since then, I'm sure.
The amount of spending to date of this Department of Health funded project is £20947.75 (plus VAT) and is broken down as follows:
o Billboard Advertising: £3927.81 (plus VAT)
o Paid for advertising in the media (including free media such as the Metro): £5216.94 (plus VAT)
o Spend on promotional items: £0.
o Spend on promotional brochures, factsheets, etc for members of the public: £2143 (plus VAT)
o spend on promotional and lobbying material sent to decision makers such as elected councillors: £532 (plus VAT)
o Spend on media relations (by this I mean editorial coverage as opposed to paid for advertising: £260 (plus VAT)
o Spend on any events or exhibitions £8868 (plus VAT)
D-MYST is an astro-turf group, plain and simple. If a business was lobbying for rent-seeking legislation in this manner, the media would be all over it. Time and time again we see the Department of Health acting like a fifth column in British politics. It is a law unto itself and the Tories seem no more interested in reining these spendthrift covert lobbyists than Labour did.