Back to political blogging….

So, with all that Edinburgh festival stuff, I seriously curtailed my newsfeed reading, and thus blogged v. little about stuff that’s going on in the world. So to get us back in the swing of things, dear bloglings, here’s one that made me rethink my position on one of the upcoming pressing decisions of British politics – the next Conservative party leader.

George Monbiot points out in this article that most lefties would be hoping that, if the worst were to happen and we were to end up with a Tory leader at the next election, at least it could be someone who seems a bit more moderate, like Ken Clarke.

But he points out that as deputy chairman of British American Tobacco, Ken has presided over all kinds of hideously inethical decisions, pressing for tobacco importing and advertising regulations to be softened in order to make the shareholders of BAT richer, and the people of some of the world’s poorer countries more likely to get addicted to ciggies. All this while he’s in charge of their frankly risible ‘corporate social responsibility group'(here’s a tip, BAT, how about not making cigarettes at all, if you care about social responsibility? oh sorry, you don’t, it’s a whitewash. Well done.)

The tobacco industry is one of the great evils on the planet. The crop itself destroys the ground it grows on, the workers end up with all kinds of illnesses thanks to the pesticides that are put on it, and the end product, according to the World Heath Organisation, is responsible for the deaths of half the people who smoke – currently, that’s 650,000,000 people.

Here’s a quote from the WHO website

“Tobacco use is the leading cause of preventable death in the world today. With 4.9 million tobacco-related deaths per year, no other consumer product is as dangerous, or kills as many people, as tobacco.”

In contrast, have a look at the Social Report page on the BAT website – the most ridiculous load of psuedo-concerned horseshit I’ve read for quite a while. What a great industry to invest in!

Any of you green-lefties who smoke but want to make the world a better place, the single biggest step that you can make to start that process is to give up smoking, and start encouraging your friends to do the same. There’s no such thing as a fair trade cigarette, and as the ban is hopefully going to come into effect soon, it’ll become even more of a social blight to be the smoker in the group. So go on, give up now, tell everyone it’s for ethical reasons, store up some social capital and feel smug about yourself!

In the meanwhile, read the Monbiot article, and rethink your possible good feelings towards Ken Clarke. He’s sadly as much of a scumbag as the rest of his tory counterparts…

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