— Pitt the Even Younger (Blackadder III)
The government has spent a fortune on billboards trying to persuade us. The Department of Health has engaged in a year-long crusade to push the policy in every corner of the media. Its sock puppets have been out on the street trying to sign people up.
And yet the plain packaging consultation has still not provided the mandate the government wants. So what next?
Over to Anne Milton, the Public Health Minister...
"The Government has been asked to provide more time for people to respond to the consultation. We want to maximise the opportunity that people have to provide their views and evidence. The Government is, therefore, extending the consultation period for an extra month. The new closing date of the consultation is Friday, 10 August 2012."
If at first you don't succeed, try, try again.
Who has "asked"the government to give them more time? Not the Hands Off Our Packs lobby, that's for sure. I wonder if this hasty decision has anything to do with 30,000 retailers putting their names to the NO campaign? Or 34 Conservative MPs writing to Andrew Lansley to express their concerns about the policy? Or 90 per cent of policemen saying that plain packaging would help the illicit trade?
"The Government has an entirely open mind on standardised packaging"
Excuse me while spill my pint, but if the government had an open mind it wouldn't be spending many hundreds of thousands of pounds of our money promoting the policy, would it?
What a Mickey Mouse country this is. Still, it gives you all the more time to tell them to swivel.