by Dick Puddlecote
First Rule Of #COP5 Is You Do Not Talk About #COP5 As mentioned last week, the tobacco control industry are currently throwing global taxes down the drain as they witter interminably in South Korea.
I pointed out that one of the items for discussion is a uniform global tax on tobacco products, something they have been very careful to keep as quiet as possible in the past few months. In fact, whenever the subject is broached, some WHO drone is rolled out to say that there is nothing to worry about. Oh no. It isn’t a command from global unelected dictators, at all.
[WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarveic said] “implementation of national tax policies remains the full sovereign right of the Parties”
Is that so?
Strange, then, that the event’s daily bulletin for yesterday [opens
in pdf] vehemently attacks the EU for not being too happy about having European taxation dictated by a bunch of pompous delusional cranks.
The EU has shown a lack of respect for other members of the Working Group by not taking seriously the important contributions of the other Parties and by focusing exclusively on compromises that relate to the EU member states as opposed to the rest of the world. The EU should understand that compromise with 176 Parties is more important than compromise within 27 Parties.
It is … difficult to understand why the EU is acting in such an obstructive and insular manner.
In other words, the EU doesn’t like the way this sinister idea is heading and is exercising its collective ‘sovereign right’ to defend its own taxation policies … and the WHO are livid about it. How very dare they!
So furious are the assembled tax receipt-addicts and gravy train stowaways that they’ve heaped shame on the EU by awarding them their badge of utter disdain.
“No, not that!”, I hear you scream in horror, but yes, the dreaded Dirty Ashtray Award, no less. Gasp!
Quite a story, and it will be interesting to read about the debate that took place. Except that we probably never will do, since this was discussed at the session which Snowdon reported as being held behind closed doors.
Here’s an interesting fact about these ‘Conference of the Parties (COP)’ shindigs. It won’t surprise you to hear that the tobacco industry is not invited to participate, but they are apparently not even allowed to observe proceedings from the spectator’s gallery. These are—I say again—publicly funded conferences. Refusing to allow the relevant industry to even hear what is being said strikes me as peculiarly paranoid—as if tobacco execs are so powerful that they can transmit pro-tobacco messages by just being in the same room.
But it gets worse. As if it wasn’t crazy enough not to allow the industry to see what goes on in these meetings, the fanatics have now banned Interpol (yes, that Interpol) from attending.
Additionally, along with the tobacco industry and those who have an identifiable interest in curtailing illicit trade – they being those who are tasked with tracking it down, and all – there was another group who were excluded.
They being anyone who might actually report what the WHO were talking about. No, seriously, I’m not making it up.
According to Drew Johnson, a “waste hunter” with the Newsmax website, the agency’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control began its biennial gathering Monday “on a high note by ratifying an agreement to combat smuggled and pirated tobacco products.”
However, that goodwill quickly evaporated the following day, when delegates of the conference’s member nations chose to meet behind closed doors for a discussion about raising taxes to reduce smoking.
Johnson added that attempting to cover this meeting was “frustrating” and “raises some serious questions about an organization that for years has operated largely behind the scenes and without the benefit of much public scrutiny.”
“When is the media more necessary than when an unaccountable, shadowy organization that devours millions of tax dollars each year from people across the world debates getting in the business of issuing global taxes?”
Quite (though I’m sure it’s in the billions). But then, these hideous people have done little else for the past few decades except manoeuvre to exclude anyone who might get in the way of their pre-conceived vision of utopia. Debate has always been frowned upon, and only the truly devout are afforded an audience.
It’s not even as if those who are allowed to participate are remotely sane, let alone impartial.
The representative from the Pacific island nation of Palau encouraged the agency to also “consider an international tax scheme for candy, sodas and even alcohol,” Johnson noted. “Shockingly, a number of member countries expressed their support of that frightening idea.”
When a representative of the Ukraine expressed concern that tobacco regulations may compromise the independence of individual nations, and a Cuban official encouraged the convention attendees to be mindful of the many hard-working farmers whose lives depend on tobacco, they were met with rolled eyes and scornful looks.
In light of this, do you reckon the WHO are likely to publish minutes of the day’s events any time soon? Because I sincerely doubt it. Lots and lots to hide, obviously.
It is astonishing that any government which values openness and accountability would consider taking this organisation remotely seriously, let alone pass laws, procedures or duty regimes on the back of their recommendations, but they most likely will.
I will remind you again that not one person at the Korean event has ever received a single vote to dictate to even one nation, let alone 176 of them. We’re through the looking glass here people, with feather-headed Mad Hatters at the helm.