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?