Back Off, Alec!

Christopher Fowler
There was a time when we knew who our enemies and allies were, but times change. Now the very people we once trusted - the captains of industry - are often those who seek to harm us. 'Alec' is short for the American Legislative Exchange Council, a powerful lobbying group that bankrolls climate change sceptics and leading members of the Tea Party. Now it's mobilising opposition against plans to sell cigarettes in plain packs in the UK. As the government considers the proposals, the organisation is attempting to wreck plans to deter young people from smoking. Alec is heavily supported by Charles and David Koch, billionaire oil barons, and they're launching a global lobbying campaign against the plan. But the movement against cigarettes is spreading across the globe, and hopefully won't be easily derailed. We turn a blind eye when US lobbyists prearrange to exclusively snatch up building contracts for wars still being fought. We fail to seek legislation against them for pesticide and pollutant use, junk food and unsound economic practices. But deliberately encouraging the use of a cancer-inducing product is a private industry initiative, and has no business beyond its jurisdiction. How come this deal is never a two-way street? What would happen if international lobbyists attempted to prevent the ownership of guns?


Dan Terrell (not verified) Mon, 16/07/2012 - 11:30

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Last paragraph: the international lobbyists should. Have at it.

Vickie (not verified) Mon, 16/07/2012 - 16:56

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

I am startled when I see young people smoking. I want to go over and say, "What, are you retarded?" but it probably would not be well received.....

Helen Martin (not verified) Mon, 16/07/2012 - 20:03

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

If young smokers are trying to be rebels it doesn't work because the strongest reaction is - smoke yourself to death and reduce the defective gene pool.
I can't imagine how anyone could campaign in favour of smoking - our companies have the right to make a profit? What will the farmers grow in stead? [That one is actually a concern because switching from one crop to another isn't as easy as digging out the old plants and putting in new ones. A southern Ontario farmer who wanted to switch to broccoli was told not to flood the market with excess veg. I'm sure we can get around it somehow. Surely excess broccoli or beets is better than any amount of tobacco.]

Dan Terrell (not verified) Mon, 16/07/2012 - 21:36

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

Replace tobacco with broccoli? I'm not a smoker, but I don't think broccoli would smoke well. And beets would be really difficult for the roll-your-own set. "Broccoli - the all Green smoke."
It was 103 again today, Helen. My mind's just messing about.

Helen Martin (not verified) Tue, 17/07/2012 - 16:26

In reply to by anonymous_stub (not verified)

What is it about broccoli? I recently saw a photograph of a woman with green hair that swept up into a bundle of broccoli. The cut and paste hadn't been done terribly well, but a quick look gave you the illusion. "Eat veg and develop wonderful hair!" I look at the weather maps and you have my sympathy, Dan. The other thought I had was that I hope the government offices in Washington are all air conditioned because otherwise government statements could drift off into the realm of the bizarre.