Saturday, September 10, 2011

Above us only sky

I hereby announce the winner of the best corporate motto competition. Liverpool John Lennon Airport for “Above us only sky”. Can’t award any points in the best logo competition however.

(Here's the lyric if you want reminding)

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cameron, the Bullingdon Club and the riots

Hear Cameron on BBC's Today programme on Friday. Presenter Evan Davies asked Cameron whether there was any parallel between the antics of Oxford University’s Bullingdon Club of which Cameron was a member, and last month's riots.

ED : “Did you witness stuff at the Bullingdon Club … did you see people throwing things through windows, smashing up restaurants … ?”

DC : “No I didn’t. We all do stupid things …”

ED : “It’s all written about as a very violent group.”

DC : “… when we’re young. And I think that’s clear. But I think what we saw in terms of the riots was actually very well organised in many cases … ”

ED : “Well, the Bullingdon Club was well organised.”

DC : “ … looting and stealing a thieving. We have to react very clearly to that.”

Ugly cigarette packs - watch this one get dirty

Here's a story that’s going to be huge. Australia plans to force tobacco companies to use plain packaging carrying graphic health warnings on all cigarette packages. Big tobacco considers it’s fighting for its life on this one.

We've seen death threats against climate scientists in Australia. I wonder if that’s the sort of thing we can expect. Watch out also for links between lobbyists for tobacco and for climate change denial.

Under the Australian law, colours, brands, logos and promotional text on cigarette packets will all be banned. It will be a world first and is described by both supporters and opponents as the most draconian measure yet to reduce tobacco sales. The implementation date is next July.

I recommend Ugly cigarette packs, an Australian radio programme in the Background Briefing series.

The Australian law isn't in place yet. Their parliament has passed two bills, steered through by Health Minister Nicola Roxon. But there are more constitutional steps to go through yet before this becomes law, and I can’t tell you any more about the process.

Law may come to the UK

The UK government is to launch, within the next few months, an official consultation on a ban on promotional cigarette packaging. This is the background to tobacco giant Philip Morris demanding access to Stirling University’s research into the smoking habits and attitudes of teenagers.

The tobacco companies are threatening to use World Trade Origination rules to sue Australia for infringing intellectual property rights, hoping to spend significant amount of money in the courts and whack Australia with a huge compensation bill. But they won't be stopping at legal action, just you watch.

PS I've heard the Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan goes one step further - becoming a smoke free nation. Not entirely sure that that means.

Here's another recent story (London Independent Saturday, 3 September) :
Smoke and mirrors: how the tobacco industry hides behind lobbyists