apologies but the Senedd and ECJ sessions happened during my 12 hour shifts last week....
OK, first up is the shambles that the Welsh Assembly somehow tolerates around the Public Health (Wales) Bill. It's quite frustrating and rather disturbing to see so many Welsh AMs squirming and re-phrasing their questions to try and trip up those giving evidence as the evidence was not in their favour.
Oh yes, missed that bit. The evidence the Assembly was having problems swallowing? Well that came from;
Evidence against the restrictions in the Bill;
Dr Steven Macey, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales Cymru
Jamie Matthews, Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) Wales Cymru
Professor Linda Bauld, Cancer Research UK
Professor John Britton, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies and Consultant in Respiratory Medicine, University of Nottingham and Nottingham City Hospital
Professor Peter Hajek, UK Centre for Tobacco and Alcohol Studies, and co-author of the Public Health England commissioned report
Dr Alan Rees, Royal College of Physicians
For or neutral to the Bill;
Professor Alan Maryon-Davis, Ex president of the UK Faculty of Public Health
Dr Phil Banfield, British Medical Association (Wales)
Dr Iain Kennedy, British Medical Association (Wales)I have to say the "evidence" given by Alan Maryon-Davis, Dr Banfield and Dr Kennedy in favour or supporting of the bill was in the very least lacklustre, had no weight and centred on the hackneyed "we just don't know camp". No actual, real,evidence was presented by them, only opinion and conjecture. A lot seemed to rely on people being "offended".
Watching Alan was, to be honest, embarrassing and even in the presence of a committee weighted against vaping gave the impression of a "rabbit in the headlights".
In contrast the evidence from those against the bill was informed, studied, referenced and supported in FACTS. Their position was overwhelmingly clear: The bill is potentially harmful, there is NO evidence to support it or the claims behind it.
Kudos must go to Professors +Linda Bauld , John Britton & Peter Hajek, Drs Macey & Rees, and Jamie Matthews for their steadfast resistance to attempts to "catch them out" and their seemingly infinite patience in dealing with the same questions being repeated over and over.
+Welsh Labour should hang their heads in shame. Why? Because this entire bill has become an obvious ideological, bigoted, puritan attempt to impose the "moral" position of some of their members and a few "offended" types on the Welsh public. The effect of which will, as the evidence showed, damage the potential of electronic cigarettes/vaping to reduce tobacco related illness and deaths. A strange and dangerous desire.
Of course at the same time in the European Court of Justice (sic) Fraser Cropper and his legal team were presenting their case for the Article 20 legal challenge. Unfortunately there was no video or transcript so we have to rely on the notes of those present. We will hear more in December.
The behaviour of the opposing states and the EU Commission was yet again seriously questionable: Unfounded claims of dying babies and the like cast a very bad light on them.
But then is that really surprising given the Commissions cloak and dagger meetings with the Tobacco and Pharmaceutical industries, as proven by the EU Ombudsman in the case of Tobacco; http://www.ombudsman.europa.eu/press/release.faces/en/61027/html.bookmark
And the secret trilogues? Well, the EU would rather no-one investigated that particular muck heap either, challenging the Ombudsmans right to investigate http://www.statewatch.org/news/2015/sep/eu-omb-council-response.htm
Of course no-one involved in "Public Health" or Health politics could possibly ever be happy with harm being done.... could they?