Wednesday, August 31, 2005


A Vote for Clarke is a Vote for Cancer

Ken Clarke is 'unfit for public office'

Ken Clarke has announced today that he is to run (yet again) for the leadership of the Conservative Party.

I have little to add to George Monbiot's excellent summary of how the reasonable voter should respond to this. Ken Clarke is 'unfit for public office'. Quite right. ASH concur.

Ken might respond that attributing 100million deaths to his actions in supporting British American Tobacco (BAT) in their continuing mission to spread cancer, heart disease, disability, bereavement and death to the poorer people of the earth is a an exaggeration. He should be asked to make his own estimate.

'Selling tobacco is a legal activity', Ken might say (I believe he has done). So what? Lying is legal. People nevertheless consider that it relevant to an individual's suitability for office.

More cogently, opium was 'legal' (in the eyes of the British) when Britain foisted it on the people of East Asia via smuggling which it condoned.

Two interesting comparisons emerge. Firstly, Ken is involved, not only in 'selling a legal product', but in attempting to influence its status in law (e.g., through opposing tobacco ad bans).

Secondly, again in stark similarity to the crimes of Empire, loveable cuddly Ken also stops listening to bebop* occasionally to work for a company that seems to have deliberately condoned smuggling as a way around the attempts of nation-states to protect their citizens from an addictive fatal drug.

(Documents related to this are on the ASH site (link above). Apologies that I can't link directly to them. Here's one of the smoking-gun quotes: "I am advised by Souza Cruz that the BAT Industries Chairman has endorsed the approach that the Brazilian Operating Group increase its share of the Argentinean market via DNP [Duty not paid].” BAT's reponse was brilliant. They said it was a 'selective' comment. By which it appears they meant 'relevant'.)

*Yeah man! Blow man blow! The bizarre association between Ken Cancer and bebop has to be one of the most astoundingly successful propaganda victories in history. It's as though posterity talked of 'Idi Amin - noted pugilist'; 'Adolf Hitler - Art fan' and 'Leopold II - Architectural Patron'. (Oh. Hang on. In Belgium, they do - see document RHS). Note to future Goebbels: go easy on the instinctive love of animals and rapport with cheery kids. Just plonk your international mass murderer in front of a 'Bird' poster and blow, man! blow!

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