From Dick Puddlecote:
Australia’s decision to introduce plain packaging has aroused international attention and stimulated interest in complementary initiatives. To date, research attention has focused on external packaging and few studies have examined the physical objects of consumption – cigarette sticks.
Practical implications – As policymakers internationally consider introducing plain packaging, they should examine whether dissuasive sticks could enhance measures regulating the external appearance of tobacco packages.
This is a euphemism for suggesting government mandate that – at the same time as turning the outside of packets into a B list gore film – the cigarettes inside should look like bile, sick and shit.
Where does it stop? Once they’ve got their hands on the cigarettes themselves, they could add rat poison to them, and say that the smokers were “poisoning themselves” anyway.
And what’s to stop this being done to other products? Like alcohol, or chocolate, or coffee, or absolutely anything at all? Make them ugly. Make them poisonous. Just because they don’t approve. Just because they hate consumerism and consumer society.
Are we going to end up with everything uglified, and carrying warning messages?
Here we are, slipping ever deeper into a global economic depression, caused by a lack of demand, and these people are working hard to slow demand even further – for tobacco, alcohol, sugar, salt, fast food, and more or less everything else as well – and with the full support of governments.
Deepening economic depression will bring rising social resentment, marches, riots – particularly in countries stuck with the euro and ever-deepening debts.
What’s the endgame? Perhaps the endgame is war. The world is becoming more and more dangerous and unstable. Tensions are rising everywhere. And what’s being done seems set to make it even more dangerous and unstable:
“Before this week is up, we’ll be deploying a battalion… to the Ukraine to train Ukrainian forces for the fight that’s taking place,”stated US 173rd Airborne Brigade Commander Colonel Michael Foster said at the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, DC on Monday. Despite earlier warnings from Russia (and claims that NATO had not agreed to any such foreign ‘boots on the ground’ action’), Sputnik News reports, Foster added, “what we’ve got laid out is six United States companies that will be training six Ukrainian companies throughout the summer.”
This comes a week after PM David Cameron confirmed Britain will be sending 75 military personnel to help combat Russian military aggression.
There was a time, not very long ago, when the world seemed to be largely at peace, and there were just one or two wars bubbling away in places like Vietnam. Now there seem to be wars almost everywhere. More or less the entire Middle East is in a state of war. There are wars raging in Africa. And now Ukraine. And refugees pouring into Europe across the Mediterranean. It all seems to be slowly coming to a boil.
These times seem more and more like the 1930s to me. We have our own new Prohibition movements. And rampant anti-semitism. And a deepening global slump. And the growing threat of war
Wars are, of course, ways of diverting attention away from troubles at home. They are also ways of discovering social unity in the face of shared peril. And they stimulate demand, in the form of weapons production. And they give the unemployed something to do, as they’re conscripted into armies.
What would be better for the EU than a war which diverts attention away from its deepening internal divisions, and provides an enemy (Russia? ISIL?) against whom all Europe might be united, and boosts the economy with arms and matériel production, and gives the restive unemployed something to do?
And if we are re-living the 1930s, that’s exactly where we’re heading.
If so, we can at least expect the eclipse of the Prohibitionists. When we all face shortages and rationing, the killjoys will be out of a job. But we’ll have other things to worry about, anyway.