Thursday, 19 October 2017
Cigarette Beach cops - the Dunkirk of Tobacco for Thailand and UK?
Roger Crutchley makes some eloquent points in The Bangkok Post on Phuket, one of the leading beach resorts in Thailand if not the world, on beginning the clampdown on cigarette smoking on its beaches (perhaps ecigarettes too?).
And a deep clean of Phuket's beaches revealing several tonnes of cigarette butts:
Certainly here in Ramsgate and Margate, the world's first seaside resorts and emerging from decades of decline, we should also be like Boris Johnson and channel our inner Churchill to fight smoking on the beaches. Few though would want a rerun of the Mods-Rockers battles on East Kent's beaches of the 1960's.
But tobacco smokers already wheezing their last gasp with the UK's Tobacco Plan issued this Summer showing just 15.5% of the UK population are smokers. Down from almost 50% 50 years ago.
Thailand also active on tobacco control not just on its beaches but introducing cigarette horror packs showing cancerous lungs etc before UK, and with one of the lowest smoking rates in the world at just 3% among women.
Surely the question is how can UK and Thailand work together on tobacco reduction to achieve no more than 3% of the population smoking before 2025? Finland already opting for a Smoke Free nation by then while the attrition rate of elderly smokers, wreathed in smoke, anyway is simple to define even without any cessation action.
But UK can claim to be a Stop Smoking Superpower with its smoking cessation programmes of nicotine patches on NHS etc cited as one of the best in the world.
But the new NHS Tobacco Plan is rather weak much-of-a-muchness:
* no store permits as yet - nor supermarkets limiting availability of tobacco in most/all outlets
* no definitive date for raising the tobacco purchase age to 21 and 25, and over 50's prescriptions
* no details of increased penalties for illegal tobacco possession, or sales to under 18's
* no rollout plans for tobacco cessation in each county and district
* bizarrely no fire-sale of Government investments as at KCC in tobacco
* provide only one brand of cigarettes in prisons through Aramark etc, and specific smoking cells and expansion of smoking cessation work.
Surely Prison TV as with Teacher TV long overdue with reading programmes etc rather than episodes of The Wire or The Krays movies?
With Wiltshire Police spending £1.5M to provide no evidence of East Kent's former PM Ted Heath long deceased as a satanic paedophile(!) - his main crime seemingly hanging around with other sailors or annoying David Icke - or the other police vanity projects against Cliff Richard or The Hairy Cornflake etc, there's clearly there's more the police can afford to do on tobacco.
And Deepcut barracks scandal court process beginning again next week as Surrey Police release more forgotten/misplaced documents of the murder-suicides.
Indeed heroin and cocaine after the Ostend and Infratil banned flights as prominent as tobacco. Is an extra Kent Year in prison for heroin and cocaine possession in Kent so outrageous?
Indeed, the Plan could even consider the Doitung implications begun South-South with Colombia and Thailand on cocaine, to consider a crops strategy for nations such as Malawi and Cuba that are heavily dependent on the declining tobacco crop.
As with the Sugar tax and HFSS restrictions those nations will suffer decline as fewer of their crops are sold.
Perhaps only China and Indonesia still growth markets for the 5M global tobacco deaths each year. While Shan state Myanmar and Afghanistan, the base for over 90% of heroin on UK streets despite a decade's worth of UK/NATO troop efforts.
Pfizer at Kent's mega-science park Discovery Park - and a similar science park at Sittingbourne not dissimilar in scale to the True tech park and TRF sites - as with Novartis dithering over expanding tobacco cessation patches etc.
Kent's sister-state Golden Virginia - that nomenclaturexxx an interesting twist on the LA Follow the Sun Olympics work - already divesting tobacco. And dynamic Governor Terry Macauliffe's prison work reflected in the astonishing New Jim Crow book: no vote for USA prisoners after release? The highest incarceration rate - and black bias - in the world?
Virginians might even consider regearing their rice industries of the future - certainly less flavoursome than Thai rice - for more productive crops. Expanded rice exports from ASEAN and India probably of more benefit to Norfolk Beach's shipping industries.
The New European newspaper detailing 80,000 seasonal workers needed in UK each year to pick and plant 9M tonnes of over 300 types of fruit, veg and flowers (Kent orchids for example). A further 13,000 seasonal workers need for the Xmas poultry industry. 58-75% of all those workers are from outside UK.
And to some extent - UK strategic food interests aside - those seasonal workers could be reduced via expansion of crops/poultry in other nations. The repulsive live animal exports in Ramsgate and occasionally Dover - only a dozen lorries or so a year now via the SS Jolene ship - an issue as the industry moves to UK refrigerated deliveries only and scheduled for a total ban under Michael Gove's DEFRA dept.
As an aside the bumper crop of onling gambling ads and opportunities, especially the crack cocaine gambling machines in bookies must be next for reform.
One surprising aspect of Brexit being Gibraltar and Jersey as the main UK tax havens urging support for the online gambling industry that constitutes most of their revenues.
I can't be the only UK citizen - or in my MP campaign - reluctant to bankroll UK colonies and tax havens through tax subsidies for such dodgy industries. Nor to be concerned at the lack of regulation of the excess of bookies sprouting up in UK towns.
UK and EU aid to the Caribbean tax havens must surely end before say 2025 including the end of tax haven status. UK's $20BN in aid (0.7% GNI) the second highest in the world in scale after USA. And EU investment budget c.500BN Euros 2014-20, and EU ECHO humanitarian aid a further c.1BN Euros each year. Not counting the various EU reconstruction banks and support for ADB etc.
And c.77M Euros 2014-20 in direct EU funding to the Commonwealth Caribbean islands.
Most of those UK funds rightly deployed to Commonwealth nations but a lack of effort on LDC nations even with, EU and UN regional offices in Bangkok, such as Cambodia or Laos or Bangladesh - or even a Pacific Commonwealth Group for Papua etc.Timor-Leste with EU status through its Portugal passports beginning ASEAN membership for 2020.
This week's Private Eye and Sunday Times (available in all good Asia Books stores) detailing the astonishing scandal of major gambling sites such as Paddy Power and 888, William Hill and Sun Bets promoting gambling games to children with Peter Pan, Beanstalk and Batman characters without age verification.
With Yingluck computers and smartphones stymied in Thailand - and not yet delivered in UK - surely the Amazon Kid's Kindles, with adult approval of content are viable for schools? Even a serving of Great British Raspberry Pi for STEM coding lessons.
And with Thailand's success in Doitung rolling out - hopefully too OTOP and Blue Flag welfare shops/cards - surely an opportunity exists with the new Cambodian Ambassador to UK in post this week, Dr. Soueng Rathchavy to move beyond rearranging the teacups and help promote Khmer and Thai interests.
Thai and Khmer rice for export to UK as well as UNFAO distribution against the outrageous 40% Khmer and Lao malnutrition rates seems low-hanging fruit. Indeed Royal self-sufficiency permutations of silk, orchids and pineapples too.
And shouldn't a Commonwealth Asia-Pacific Group, and ASEAN specifically, be on the agenda of the Commonwealth Summit next April in London? Cambodia even attempting to join the Commonwealth not so long ago.
Indeed with EU fruitpickers down 17% because of Brexit - and 3M EU workers in UK reluctant to stay as Brexit hostages - there's an opportunity to develop Thai and Cambodian farmers in UK with work permits etc?
The current East Kent MP Craig Mackinlay already doing the same for Hungarian workers, slightly at odds to say the least with his Brexit support and former UKIP deputy leader role, but there we are.
Almost 6 months after the June 8th UK election East Kent particularly mired in the same rudderless stagnation afflicting much of UK governance. Craig's massive 25k vote seemingly an irrelevance as nothing done, and UKIP even with a new Leader irrelevant and shambolic TDC council - perhaps inaction the best route after at least a decade of corruption and mismanagement with Pleasurama and Dreamland.
Dreamland with the 1960's Arlington House tower block eyesore long overdue demolition as weal as Police investigation of the millions in Lottery funding now offshore in the Caymans it seems:
One small positive step towards an East Kent Council - a counterweight to West Kent/Maidstone bias and overbuild with Kent's $3BN council budget - in reducing the number of District and Town councillors. Many of them doublehatter elderly party fanatics anyway crowding out and reducing democracy by sitting in numerous council seats and topping up their pension, and in effect betraying their children and grandchildren.
Which young person (under the age of 70 it seems in Kent) wouldn't want free university tuition fees as before or in Scotland now, or the vote at 16 or caps on the energy and train fare monopolies? Or post-LIBOR caps on interest rates as Germany's 9.9%.
UK even lagging behind many European nations, especially in Scandinavia, on bank holidays, maternity and paternity leave and so on.
And inaction on tobacco causing dome 100,000 UK deaths each year.
Not so much Dunkirk in East Kent again as the Phoney War of inaction that preceded it.
Certainly East Kent with its proportion of the 1M Poles in UK and 400k Romanians and Bulgarians (the most Romanian students in Canterbury outside Bucharest) we need more Visegrad links.
V4 more positive than Kent's experience of V1 and V2 in the Dunkirk era or potentially Pyonyang's version of V2 for UK or USA or ASEAN and China.
Kent's Defence Minister Michael Fallon citing London as nearer to Pyongyang missiles than San Francisco. And obviously much nearer to Tokyo, Shanghai and Bangkok.
Even Manila if a Guam strike goes wonky. that hardly impossible given UK/USA state of the art Trident missiles nearly nuked Disneyland last year.
Or the mutiny on UK's nuclear sub last week with the captain arrested over saucy antics worthy of Carry On Sailor.
Clearly the Royal Navy is all at sea and overdue reform.
But as with Phuket surely the last-gasp of the tobacco smoker requires a beach smoking ban or at least designated smoking areas, indeed designated public smoking areas in city centres and the strange situation of outside cafe tables hogged by smokers missing the point of second hand smoking.
Krabi just down the road from Phuket and subject to the same extreme pressures on the environment of tourism must surely be next in the tobacco beach ban and clean-up? The Ocean Plastic campaign moving apace in UK too with supermarkets reducing plastic, calls for coffeeshop cup recycling, drinks bottle deposit schemes and new biodegradable plastics.
Sandwich beach in East Kent astonishingly filthy in the range of plastics washed onto the beach and rocks.
And even Philip Morris tobacco of Marlboro moving from cigarettes to ecigarettes as its tobacco business fades.
As smoking becomes essentially for older smokers or those transitioning to ecigarettes surely beach smoking bans mark the Dunkirk of tobacco in Thailand and UK.