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« Tory and Lib Dem rebels fight back against Big Government | Main | Drugs and the battle for control »

Forest petition - final total

Well, that went down to the wire. I can't tell you how busy we've been these past couple of weeks (or how many Christmas parties I've been to) but we finally submitted Forest's response to the EC Tobacco Products Directive consultation this afternoon, an hour or so before the deadline.

And the petition? Well, the online petition we launched ten days ago attracted a total of 1655 names (and addresses) of whom 1610 were EU citizens. Others came from America, mostly, but also Australia, Thailand, Japan, Mexico, Norway and Switzerland, but we had to exclude them because the consultation was targeted at EU citizens only. (Perhaps I didn't make that clear.)

Anyway, given that the petition didn't get much promotion beyond Forest's mailing lists, Iain Dale's Diary (which helped add 150-200 names earlier in the week), Taking Liberties and two or three other blogs (Dick Puddlecote, Pat Nurse and the ASI blog), I'm not unhappy with the result.

Interesting to note the location of respondents, by country. I've had a quick glance at the documentation and the numbers seem to break down as follows:

United Kingdom, 1300
Netherlands, 157
Spain, 31
Denmark, 31
Romania, 21
Ireland, 19
Belgium, 12
France, 11
Germany, 9
Poland, 6
Estonia, 5
Sweden, 3
Finland, 2
Portugal, 1
Greece, 1
Hungary, 1

Total: 1610

PS. The EC has previously tried, and failed, to exclude Forest from stakeholder meetings in Brussels on the grounds that we are not an EU-wide organisation. Now, perhaps, they will believe me when I say that we have supporters in a number of EU countries.

H/T to Wiel Maessen for the Dutch contingent.

Reader Comments (9)

Brilliant! Thanks Simon and the Freedom Association.

December 17, 2010 at 19:34 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

i posted it on a snuff forum also. i am in the US and a few of the people that signed it where from the US and at least one from South Africa

December 17, 2010 at 20:19 | Unregistered Commentergegmg

Very well done. I appreciate the ten years you have dedicated to ensuring the light does not go out in this one area of personal liberty despite any unfriendly nudges you may have been given to move on to something more "worthwhile."

In many ways tobacco control is an endlessly funded jobs programme staffed by petty minded authoritarians who obsess with every possible angle to snuff out the enjoyment of life by others. They are more than happy to continue in their efforts to waste every single penny in this crusade which ultimately will fail.

I for one hope Simon remains a persistent thorn in the side of the entrenched tobacco control establishment when the tide begins to turn and the most insulting of the petty rules against smokers start to fall away. Puritanical assaults come in waves over time, and like others in the past, this one also shall pass. It cannot happen soon enough.

Cynical attempts will likely be made to paint this as an effort of the 'big tobacco' boogeyman. It is not. It's the inevitable resistance that will always manifest itself when power is arrayed against the human struggle for self autonomy. This battle cannot be lost so long as we maintain our absolute right to make choices for ourselves.

Thank you, Simon, for continuing to fight on our behalf. And thank you, FOREST! 2010 will not be the year that the nanny locked everything away. Take that!

December 17, 2010 at 22:52 | Unregistered CommenterDr. Brian Oblivion

Readers may find this of interest.

GLOBAL TOBACCO CONTROL. Strategy Guide on HOW to ENFORCE Smokefree Laws. The LICENSED TRADE REPS, PUB AND CLUB OWNERS should note this answer to Question 2 about enforcement.

" But when we advocate for the enforcement of laws, our target shifts to a different set of authorities –national, state, and local government officials and private individuals (the owners, operators,and managers of private businesses)."

December 17, 2010 at 23:51 | Unregistered CommenterAnon

We must understand that the petition is only the first, very small step in countering the control that the Health Zealots have been building over some considerable length of time. The Health Zealots have control of the WHO (World Health Organisation); they took control while the politicians were looking the other way. They also took control of the EU 'Health Dept', directly as a result of the the WHO 'carte blanche' control of Tobacco Control. They have also taken control of our own Health Dept.

Our petition is just a small element of the resistance. The resistance will build.

December 18, 2010 at 2:20 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Well Done Simon,

The numbers from the UK in particular who signed the petition show the level of concern people have. It is not as those on the statist side of the argument will say those in the pay of the tobacco who are signing this petition. The vast majority of people signing the document are signing it because they are fed up of state interference in the life be it coming from the British government and the statist EU.

Truer then ever is Ronald Reagan's famous words " the nine most terrifying words in the english language are I'm from the government and I'm here to help". So whenever some government bureaucrat tells you they are putting the prices of alcohol up in supermarket, making it harder to eat fatty foods and introducing plain packaging for tobacco, I urge people to remember Ronald Reagan's prescient words. A government whether a nanny or authoritarian should be small and not interfering in our lives. It should also not persecute people for a lifestyle choice whether it is drink, fast food or smoking.

Keep up the good work,


December 18, 2010 at 10:54 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Hoffman

Fifty Conservative MPs demand a free vote on shop tobacco display ban

Have a look and comment on it here

December 18, 2010 at 14:23 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Taking Liberties readers might want to return the favour to the Freedom Association. On Radio 5 Live David Baddiel grossly insulted the organisation by comparing them to the BNP.

December 18, 2010 at 17:17 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I concur with what David said.

Please write and complain to the BBC. We have a right of reply and its time we used it!

December 18, 2010 at 22:53 | Unregistered CommenterStephen Hoffman

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