David Cameron, Alan Clarke, the Conservatives and the Tobacco Lobby

David Cameron has been in the news the last few days for his attempts to block legislation requiring that cigarettes be sold in plain packages, as has been suggested in Australia. Central to this campaign is one of the Tories’ spin doctors, Lynton Crosby, who is part of the Crosby Textor Aussie lobbying firm that works for the tobacco industry.

Unfortunately, this is pretty much par for the course for the Conservatives, who have long running connections to the tobacco and alcohol industries. During Major’s administration his economics expert, Alan Clarke, took up a position with British American Tobacco. Private Eye, with their usual wit and bile, sent him up as BATMan, a parody of the superhero strip. This featured Clarke as BatMan, hurtling around in his BATmobile, shaped like a giant cigarette, combatting the evil forces of the anti-smoking lobby and forcing Third World children to take up smoking. He was rather like an overweight, middle-aged Nick O’tine, if you can remember that anti-smoking advert from all those years ago.

So, as with so many of the Tories’ policies, no change there then.

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6 Responses to “David Cameron, Alan Clarke, the Conservatives and the Tobacco Lobby”

  1. Tony Watts (@tonywattswriter) Says:

    Sorry to be picky, good points but I think you might be referring to Kenneth Clarke rather than Alan Clark…

  2. sparaszczukster Says:

    I read somewhere recently that a number of British tobacco companies, like Imperial Tobacco, used to regularly donate generously to the Tories until Liam Fox upset them in 2004 when he was shadow health secretary and they withdrew their funding. They seem to be back on board in a roundabout way now though since they’ve very recently given money to Tory connected right wing think tanks notably the Adam Smith Institute and the highly influential Institute for Economic Affairs.They obviously like the PM’s choice of the Lizard of Oz for their election guru.

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