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According to Health Secretary Andrew Lansley, “the government did not work with tobacco companies as it wanted them to have ‘no business’ in the UK.” A rather strange thing to say when they produce a legal product that is enjoyed by millions, keeps thousands in employment within the UK and generates billions each year for the Exchequer.

It doesn’t stop there, either. I reported last year about a joint conference held in Glasgow involving ASH Scotland and Alcohol Focus Scotland where no alcohol industry representatives were allowed to attend or express an opinion. And you can see it in more and more sectors, with “campaigners” whingeing about the food industry being consulted about nutrition policy, the oil industry about energy policy, the airlines about aviation policy, the motor industry about transport policy.

Of course government shouldn’t allow business to dictate policy, but if you feel that a business sector should not be consulted and listened to at all about legislative changes affecting it, then you are in effect saying that business is not inherently legitimate.

And do these people never stop to think who ultimately generates the tax revenue that keeps them in their cushy, well-paid employment?