Monday, 15 December 2014

Voices From The Street.

So, I spent some time wondering how best to deal with what has happened this week. What is the best thing to do? How should I react? Should I write a letter? Should I throw all my toys out of the pram? Should I scream and scream and scream until I get what I want (it didn't work for the Gin Advent Calendar!)?

What am I talking about? Well, a little while ago I wrote to the Lancet after reading yet another defence of John Ashton. My letter was abridged (with consultation) and then published. "YAY" we all said, "haven't we done well". Well, no, it seems.

This week we saw a response to my letter. I admit to being surprised, especially as to the people that chose to respond. Profs Martin McKee, Simon Chapman, Stanton Glantz and Mike Daube. I was even more surprised at the content of their response.

But first, I feel it is important I set out my conflicts of interest, being as these seem to be under question for all of us, all of the time.


My name is Lorien Faenor (stfu) Jollye. I am 36 years old, being born on the 30th day of the 6th month in the year 1978.

That's me *waves*

Between Easter and the end of October I am a waitress in a restaurant in a North Cornwall fishing village. The rest of the year I am just skint. All the time, I am a mother of three boys aged 13, 7 and 5. I have a (vaping, ex-smoker) husband, ancient and smelly border collie called Ash, and even more ancienter and smellier, one eyed cat called Raistlin.
Black cats really are crap in photos

To my knowledge, none of these are involved with the tobacco, e-cig or pharmaceutical industry. (Although I will say, my 7yo is seriously smart and sometimes I would not put anything past him!) I have been to various conferences, to which my travel and hotel (if needed) has been paid for by the organising body or by ECCA/NNA. None of this has been tobacco money. I have never benefited financially, in fact, these things ALWAYS cost me personally, because that gin on the sleeper train does not come for free (sadly) and neither does any food outside of the conference itself. There is a word for those expenses but I don't even know what it is, as I have never claimed it.

Incredibly, although that particular COI might be lengthy and unnecessary, the authors of the response letter were able to claim no conflicts whatsoever. Amazing.

I digress.

There are important points raised in this letter and I would like any reader of this to click this link, and familiarise yourself with it's content.

All done? Excellent.

So why am I not responding to the article via the Lancet? A few reasons actually, A) I would be restricted to 300 words and that is nigh on impossible, B) I don't actually think the editor of the Lancet would allow me the space again and C) this needs to come off of social media and journals and into the real world. So I am going to try and make that happen instead.

Dear Professors Mckee, Chapman, Glantz and Daube,

Thank you for taking time out of your busy schedules to respond to my letter in the Lancet. I am almost flattered that you felt moved enough to write a reply. There are a few things I would like to address. Firstly, it is important to understand that I refer only to 'a part' of public health and tobacco control. I have learnt, in the past two years, that it makes no sense to write people off from the start. Whatever it is that they start by saying, is not enough to say 'well that's THAT then, shan't bother with THEM anymore'. As such, there are a good many in your fields of expertise who we are comfortable talking with and they with us. Even more important to note, is that we do not always see eye to eye with these people, but we do respect the ability to think outside of the well constructed box they have been existing in for most of their working lives.

Social media. Oh it is a funny thing isn't it. I admit to being relatively new to it myself, having only got involved in it again because of my advocacy. It allows instant reactions and responses. Sometimes, those responses are raw and unedited. It has certainly allowed us to talk to one another freely and openly. You could say that many of us wear our hearts on our sleeves when it comes to Twitter. As a result of this, I understand that you have been the recipients of many unadulterated reactions to things you might have said or written. In relation to this, I would like to tell you about something that happened to me in my old job, working behind a bar.

I have worked behind bars or as a waitress since I was about 15, so I am well versed with how people can behave when they are drunk or in groups. I am quite hardened to it in fact. However, on one occasion a few years ago, I was behind the bar by myself, on a friday afternoon as the 'just finished work, not going home yet' brigade came in. Three delightful fellows were sat at the bar, quite merry from their consumption of lager, when they started to make crude comments at me. Now, I am used to this, it comes with the territory of bar work. I deal with it, I move on. Except this time it was aggressive and threatening. They were making demands of me and were leaning over the bar to grab at my breasts. I genuinely felt threatened. In the end, I walked out from the bar into the adjoining corridor beside the hotel reception area (leaving the bar unmanned) and very loudly stated that in no uncertain terms was I serving those 'f*cking C*nts' and that I'd had enough. (Little did I know that a well to-do, diminutive old lady in reception, heard every word of my tirade at the bar manager and very sweetly said 'no dear and you shouldn't have to!'). However, to this date, I have managed to make and maintain many relationships with men, without tarring and feathering them based on the behaviour of these morons.

Now, I have just written that out and realised it does not work as an analogy as THOSE 'men' were out of order, in any world. Although you might not like a lot of what is said to you on social media, these are just the raw reactions of human beings. People who genuinely believe in what they are talking about and are very frustrated. I cannot control how people react, nor what they say or do. Even what pictures they send to you, (I should say at this point I have NO idea about any 'noose' picture). I understand if you might object to an individual or two, but however uncomfortable it makes you, we are the public. It is as simple as that. If we are speaking to you, then it would probably be wise to listen. Certainly you would call me churlish if my extreme example above caused me to ignore all men, forever. You would be right too. I know it is hard to get over being insulted sometimes, but I would ask you to work on it, as there are dividends to be paid. Paid, being something none of the people who are tweeting you are.

Indeed there was an event held on the Tobacco Endgame at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, hosted by one of yourselves. Indeed I did not attend, largely as it was not about e-cigs, after all, I am not fighting the tobacco companies (frankly I couldn't care less about them other than feel contempt for their behaviour in trying to restrict the market to the e-cigs they sell). However, three friends of mine did. I am confused by the accusations of  nasty tweets from the event, and I would point you to this blog which, handily, has the tweets from the two people whose phones were working. Now, I am not a member of Public Health or Tobacco control, but my assumption would be that you have rather thicker skins than I do, what with having more criticisms leveled at you than I am ever likely to experience. I'm not wholly sure that these tweets fit in with what you imply. Maybe there are some I missed? I shall say though, that anyone involved in advocacy of any description, is reasonable enough to know that hijacking a talk that ISN'T about their subject matter would be a little childish, silly and impolite. However, the E-cigarette summit has been held for the past two years at the Royal Society and I admit to having seen none of you there. Nor did I see you at the Global Forum on Nicotine in Warsaw. For that matter, I don't think you were at UKNSCC in June. I did see one of your number at the PHE e-cig event earlier in the year, but the attendee seemed distracted by attacking Anne McNeill than interacting with us. An informative day nonetheless.

More and more there are vapers attending many PH and TC events and we would dearly like to see you there, your presence has been sadly lacking until now. In fact, there will be a second Global Forum on Nicotine in June next year, it would be a great opportunity to engage with both sides of the argument and have a natter with those whose opinions differ from yours. As many others in PH and TC (even politics) will tell you, there is nothing to fear and everything to gain. Most importantly, we do not bite :)

If I may be so bold, there are many of us who would like to sit with you in a given place and talk this situation through. I know this offer has been made before, but I understand that it might have been lost in all the other requests from other groups involved in harm reduction. So let me take a moment to ask you again; Would you make time to sit with any of us and chew over the cud before it loses its flavour and this opportunity is lost to all?

My penultimate point is that I must thank you for your recognition of the impact of our 'campaign', though I fear it is far less organised than you think it is. Unfortunately, I think the situation for the average smoker is now less clear than it has ever been. Indeed, it would appear that many now perceive vaping to be as, if not more (10x more!) dangerous than smoking. I feel sure that if nothing else, we can agree that this is a tragedy for smokers and their friends and family, if people who were interested in switching have now decided against it and are continuing to smoke instead. Please forgive me for assuming on your part, but I am certain that this is not something you are happy to see happening. I understand that the health of the public is paramount to you, and the chance for so many to improve it with such a small change can only be something you have dreamed of your entire professional lives.

Finally, yes the debate has moved on and this is something that should be celebrated. It is widely acknowledged that the current measures are not reaching smokers as frankly, they are not interested. How wonderful indeed then, that something has appeared that smokers ARE interested in and is not costing the state a single penny. How best to proceed? Who knows, but certainly engaging with those who understand, as smokers, what this means would be the very best place to start.

Thank you again for your reply, and I look forward to hearing from you with details on how this discussion can be continued in a constructive and adult manner.

Lorien Jollye.

Thus ends my response, I shall email a link directly  to Messrs McKee, Chapman, Glantz and Daube, thanks to their emails being available here.

Now, let's wait and see what happens next.

UPDATE 23/12/14: 

You will all be surprised to learn I have heard nothing & no invitation to meet has been forthcoming. 

UPDATE 1/1/15

Starting as I assume they will continue throughout 2015, there has been no reply. 

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

The Trouble With Bubbles

Something has been bugging me for a while and I have been meaning to sit and write about it for as long. What do I want from all of this? What do I hope the outcome will be? What do I hope to achieve?

I say "I" in those questions because I can only speak for myself with absolute certainty, but I know there are others who think the same way. I hope this blog makes you ask yourself the same question. It is amazing how you assume you know your own answers, but sometimes it is worth thinking things through just to make sure. It also helps to keep you on track with your message and the things you say. All shall become clear...

Firstly, my questions do not have anything to do with "what legislation do we want?" or "what do we want vaping to look like in  5 years?", although they are very valid questions, it is not what this is about. I wanted to know what effect I want our movement to have on society, namely Public Health and Tobacco Control, and it's attitude towards smokers.Whether you like it or not, or even realise it, what we are trying to do has far wider implications than just whether or not we can vape in the pub. It is more than whether we are taxed for our habit or whether teens are taking up e-cigs in huge numbers (one day I WILL get round to writing my thoughts on teens and e-cigs!).

Put all those things aside for a second and think of it like this - if we get PH and TC to acknowledge e-cigs and vaping, what does this mean?

It is no secret that I have a big issue with the way smokers are treated by these two groups at the moment. Not all of it, but certainly a large part of it. I resent and reject the bullying and the attacks. I despise the social engineering that has turned the non-smoker and ex-smoker against those that still smoke. I hate it with every fibre of my being. However, does that mean I wish to see the abolition of tax funded support for smokers who want guidance and advice? No, actually it doesn't. I know this might come as a surprise to some, so let me explain why.

Many people reading this blog will be the smokers or vapers that did not really want help in a structured sense. Many of you will have tried it and ultimately "failed", for many reasons. Overall, only about 8% of smokers actually attend cessation services at all. Do I think they are value for money when our NHS is about to crumble into the ocean? No I do not. HOWEVER, smokers have paid more than enough into the system to have any damn service they want, fully funded. To my mind, if even only a tiny fraction of smokers WANT the support an SSS offers, then they should be able to have it. So do I LIKE the SSS? No. No I do not. Why? Ha, let's have a looksie shall we?

Bit of playground bully banter...

Just in case you hadn't heard this stuff, let us ram it down your throat some more.

Oh you grim, dirty smokers, we can see you with your discoloured digits. The badge of shame you must carry.

Oh look how ugly you all are. You stink too! Did we mention that already?

Well just in case we didn't. You stink.

And you're ugly.

Ok ok, so maybe I should have trawled other SSS twitter accounts to balance it out a bit, but a) why bother when these guys give so freely with their nastiness and b) I couldn't be bothered, we all know there are many that work in the same way. Oh oh oh wait, I forgot my personal favourite, sadly deleted, but preserved for all posterity by the wonder that is "screenshot",

I have nothing.
Before we move on, I follow a few of these accounts on twitter and there ARE exceptions, services that are (largely) respectful and non threatening. They avoid using the Q word and never resort to the above tactics. They come across as welcoming and inclusive. What I imagine the word "support" to mean. "We'd like to help" rather than "You are such a hopeless, foul mess that you NEED our help". Had I not spent time with and learned from Louise Ross, put aside some of my own prejudices and actually listened, I would not have noticed the difference. It has definitely forced me to look at the potential of SSS in a new light. Make no mistake though, at the moment, most of them are miserable bloody failures and a lot of these people have no idea what they have been a part of or what is happening to smokers on the ground.

Anyway, these examples got me thinking, would we tolerate this - 

No we wouldn't, of course we wouldn't. Neither would we if these were drug support services. Please don't think for a second that I think smoking, alcoholism or drug addiction are comparable, I don't, but these services put them in the same bracket from a PH point of view. So, I asked Twitter for some drug and alcohol accounts (UK based) that do offer these services so I could compare. I don't really want to add lots of pictures here because somehow it feels disrespectful, but none of them use the same tactics as most of the smoking cessation ones do. Why? I am guessing, that at some point, people realised that bullying is NOT how you reach out to your target audience. It is not how you create a safe environment for those who choose to come to you. It is NOT how you behave if you are building a service to genuinely help people, not use it as an excuse to spread more hate and distaste throughout the public. 

Winnie the Pooh and Piglet did not spend years teaching the friends and family of the Heffalump to despise him, till eventually his own children dragged him to the hole WtP and P had dug and pushed him in kicking and screaming because they decided he wanted honey! No, a hole was dug, the honey placed at the bottom and if the Heffalump wanted it, he could go in and get it; if not, he carried on his merry way to find honey in his own sweet time. If he wanted it at all.

Now, I know there are going to be quite a few who have got to this point and are positively bellowing at the screen "WE KNOW THIS!! We have been saying it for YEARS!!". Yes, yes I know. Just let me finish...

So where do e-cigs fit into all this? Well, they have proved one thing. One simple thing. The fact that so many are using them, without any pressure, without any bullying proves that bullying does not work. Again, yes, we know this, you can stop swearing at the screen now!

Until e-cigs really kicked off, Tobacco Control and Public Health lived in a little bubble. No one really questioned them, no one held them accountable. There wasn't a product that would force the situation like this has. Smokers did not have a genuine choice. You smoked, or you were medicated. If you tried to Q and didn't succeed, you were a failure. You would have to tell all your friends and family that you were a miserable bloody failure, again. Shamefaced and humiliated, full of promises of "next time". Never really being allowed to say "You know what, I like this thank you very much". There wasn't anything to replace it with. The Now is a very different place.

If TC and PH accept e-cigarettes, if SSS country-wide are allowed to sell the concept of vaping to smokers that walk through their doors, if the stigma is removed from nicotine and the stupid comparisons to drug addicts, what does that mean? It means that everything has to change. Everything. You cannot embrace e-cigs and harm reduction for smokers whilst continuing on the same path. We are going to get to a point where they are going to have to make it clear. Are they guided by the health of smokers? Or are they guided by pure, unadulterated, all consuming loathing of the tobacco industry? As more and more data comes in and we can compare countries that have and have not banned or restricted vaping, their position gets more and more difficult.

Am I being overly optimistic? Possibly. But as we watch bans and hysteria across the planet, in the UK we are doing alright! Glantz called us an experiment, and it is one of the few things he has been right about.

So here is the thing, the trouble with bubbles is that, eventually, they burst. It is my sincere hope that it is not a pin, but an e-cig that bursts this one. What a wonderful side effect to come from this battle we are fighting.

Friday, 31 October 2014

Clipped, but published.

The reason I am blogging this is not for the same reason as the BMJ letter entry. This time, my letter has been published in the Lancet, albeit abridged. That is why I wanted to put up the complete text that I sent. The shorter, published, version can be found here.

I should say that the editing was not done without my input and they were very patient and helpful.


What a peculiar situation I find myself in. At the end of 2012, not long after starting vaping after 23yrs of smoking, I realised that things were being grossly misunderstood about what ecigs could offer to smokers. Very naively I, and others, thought we could explain to politicians & Public Health where they were going wrong with what the TPD was trying to achieve. Within months, we learnt what 'AstroTurf' meant, as an Irish MEP informed the press that this is what we were. Why? Because we knew too much.

I was shocked! It seemed so obvious that we were normal people trying to dispel fears & misconceptions with experience & knowledge. Things have gotten significantly worse since then. We have struggled to get the ear of the very people who are advising Government, WHO & the public. We have been insulted or ignored, often both, and in a shockingly aggressive way. And why? I genuinely could not say. We are not an organised group, we are not funded, we act as individuals but have the same cause. The sense of frustration is palpable among us & I for one am horrified by the accusations of being shills & stooges. We are told our accounts are not real, our stories are fake. No matter how polite or constructive we are, some of the most influential & media savvy in PH will instantly bemoan the 'trolling' they are having to endure, which closes doors to people we have never even spoken to. 

When finally we had enough of the bullying & untruths from articles written behind paywalls, public comments about us & at us on social media, we complain to an authority about the extreme behaviour we experienced on Twitter. We are informed of the complaints procedure & told to wait 30 days for a resolution. Then we watch while elements of Public Health stepped up what feels like a campaign to humiliate us further in blaming us for the behaviour of their peers. More articles, more opinion pieces appear. Somehow, we deserved the insults, we bought it upon ourselves. We are unreasonable & silly for expecting to have a say in what's happening with our lives. Decisions are being made about us, but definitely without us.

To finally see the Faculty of Public Health support their president John Ashton, before conclusion of the investigation, without even being asked to further explain our experience is disgusting. It would appear most of you are not even aware of what happened. I ask you all to reflect deeply on who it is you represent, who you are charged with protecting.  Well it's me, and millions of others like me, yet you insulted & ignored me, then when I complained you blamed me.

UPDATE - Thanks to four particularly vocal Anti E-cig Activists responding to my letter, I have written a second letter, here

Friday, 10 October 2014

The Right To Reply: or not, as it happens.

Below are responses written to the tenacious, indefatigable even, Martin McKee who has penned yet another scathing, sneering and downright offensive attack on those that have the bare faced cheek to disagree with him. How irritating it must be to know that there are folk that keep pointing out that what you spout to the media is complete and utter nonsense. Seemingly he has nothing better to d....what was that? Ebola you say?

I fail to understand why journals like the BMJ are giving space to unsubstantiated accusations on members of the public. It is also infuriating beyond WORDS to see the sycophants on Twitter, blindly retweeting McKee's article without question of its validity.  

Anyway, these have been submitted to the BMJ in the correct manner, and only appear here as the journal in question has seen fit to disallow these comments about not being allowed to.. Uh.. yeah.. 

Submitted by me on 9/10/14

Almost a year to the day[1], here I am writing to defend myself and other honest vapers from the same inflammatory outpourings from the same people. What has been learned in that time by those in the very elite of Public Health? Sadly, it appears to be nothing. For the second day in a row, we are subjected to yet another unsubstantiated and unwarranted attack. These continuous and relentless accusations emanating from the upper echelons of those charged with the protection of our health, ceased to be a curiosity a long time ago. We have tried, relentlessly yes, to talk to and deal with the very people who proclaim to all that will listen that we are either Trolls (the definition[2] of which does not actually apply here) or paid industry stooges (be that Tobacco or E-cig). Now we have the added definitions of ‘extreme libertarians’ or ‘deeply troubled individuals’.

Let me be clear. I am not a paid stooge for ANY industry nor am I a Troll. I say this also for the people that I speak to on a daily basis. I would not even call myself a libertarian let alone an extreme one, though I fail to see why that would be an issue; indeed Mckee rather eloquently made the case for them himself.  Am I a troubled individual? Well, yes actually, but certainly not in the ‘unhinged’ manner which Martin implies. I am troubled by the fact that no matter what we do, what we say, we are totally unable to defend against these accusations and still they persist. In fact, given how often we have tried to refute them, I consider them now to be nothing more than lies, constructed in order to make e-cig advocates so very toxic that we are as likely to be spoken to as a tobacco industry member. I am troubled because far from this idea that the use of the ‘block’ button being as a RESULT of contact we have made, it has often been used BEFORE we have been able to say a word. In fact, the author of this smear piece has been un-contactable for more than a year.  As have some of the people I expect to see respond to this article. Yet somehow we are deemed to still be attacking them (challenging their opinion or asking questions), to such a degree that it warrants repeated opinion pieces being published, often behind paywalls so that we are unable to see.

I am troubled as this feels like we are being bullied by people who are untouchable and unreachable yet have absolute authority and the assumed respect of their peers, the media and the public. What are we, unpaid volunteer advocates or lay vapers, supposed to do in the face of this adversity[3]? If there is indeed proof of astroturfing, then I strongly and passionately request that this be made public immediately as we would be as concerned and upset (if not more) as Martin McKee and his ilk are. As yet, despite repeated requests for this evidence, we have seen nothing.

This debacle is serving only to muddy the waters, delay sensible regulation and, worse, create fear and uncertainty in smokers who would otherwise have chosen harm reduction as their route out of tobacco. In truth, the last of these things is the one that should cause the most consternation in anyone who is genuinely interested in the health and wellbeing of smokers. The greatest irony being that the entire movement is in danger of being handed to the tobacco industry through the fear of their involvement in, what appears to be, the least effective part of the market. In the long run, the attention being paid to unjustified scrutiny of us e-cig users, unsupported theories of gateways and gross lack of understanding of the role of flavours, will make cannon fodder of smokers in your war against the tobacco industry. A war we want no part of. Whilst you gaze at your navels contemplating hypothetical fears, millions of smokers have made the decision themselves to choose harm reduction. 

The big question is; how many didn’t as a result of this relentless scaremongering?

[1] Full response to the first McKee BMJ article 27.9.13

Submitted by Sarah Jakes on the 8/10/14

This is the second article [1] I have read today in which McKee attempts to conflate the e-cigarette industry, libertarian bloggers and angry e-cigarette consumers (vapers) in an attempt to paint the latter group as an astroturf organisation in the pay of either big tobacco or big vapour, which of course to his mind are one and the same thing. Is it any wonder that people who do not have the luxury of being published in prestigious journals such as this get even more angry when being maligned in one?

Either McKee does not understand the public he purports to protect or his comments are disingenuous in the extreme. I know that McKee has read Clive Bates' blog article entitled 'Memo to public health grandees: vaping, vapers and you' [2] which attracted 111 positive comments from consumers and is the most read and shared article on the Counterfactual site. I personally asked McKee to read that article because Bates has absolutely nailed the thoughts and feelings of vapers on the head, as is evident from the comments. My request to McKee to read it was a genuine attempt to create some understanding between our two sides. He confirmed that he'd read it, but the message appears to have fallen on deaf ears. 

McKee is completely entrenched and out of touch. He is of course free to disagree with Bates' article, but cannot deny the fact that it has the widespread support of the very people who are its subject. McKee has himself researched a member of the public and indeed uncovered the shocking fact that one Twitter user (who uses his own name and very colourful language) is a freelance writer who sometimes gets paid to write positive articles about e-cigarettes. If he'd researched further he may also have found that this is common knowledge, as is the fact that the person is a British ex soldier with several tours of duty under his belt, which probably explains the liberal use of creative profanities. One, sometimes foul mouthed, squaddie with a genuinely held belief that public health will kill people doth not an astroturf lobby make.

There appears to be a concerted effort by some in public health to deliberately make false associations between a genuine grass roots consumer campaign and organisations with commercial interests, the more malign the better. This of course serves two purposes, firstly, it undermines the voice and views of the public by instilling  the false belief that their views are paid for rather than their own. Secondly, it allows those in public health who are apparently unable to control their own behaviour to keep their jobs due to "mitigating circumstances" - those circumstances presumably being that they were baited into calling members of the public "c**ts" and "onanists" by industry shills with agendas [3]

One thing is for sure - if McKee and others continue to provoke vapers with false accusations whilst failing to engage with them on the issues which are important to them, the relationship between the two sides is only going to get worse, and PH will only have themselves to blame. If your job is public health and you find that the public are angry with you then you really should be asking yourself a question - and here's a clue - it's not "who is paying them".

[1] Martin McKee - Peering through the Smokescreen

[2] Clive Bates - The Counterfactual - 'Memo to public health grandees: vaping, vapers and you'

[3] The Times - E-Cigarette debate Heats up in online War of Words

Statement from the Faculty of Public Health (now removed from the site):  "The Board has registered its strong disapproval of Professor Ashton’s comments, whilst noting the mitigating circumstances. The Board also agreed that Professor Ashton should continue in his role as President and has given clear direction on the necessary steps to support his return"

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Just for fun

I happened to notice that it is World Poetry Day today, so thought I would join in & penned this little ditty.

Dear Public Health, I know you are listening
We are trying to help but your attitude's blistering.
There are good ones among you,
Not even that scarce,
It's time you embraced us,
Not feed us to bears.

The bears are Big T and Big Pharma too,
Your own ideology aligns with the WHO.
But we are your charges,
For us you must care,
Our health should come first,
It's one thing we share.

We are not addicts nor are we trolls,
But this story rolls on oh it rolls & it rolls.
We promise to be reasonable,
Do you promise too?
There's a lot to be gained here,
And too much to lose.

So smoker or vaper we are using our voice,
What we ask for is simple, what we ask for is choice.
Harm reduction is obvious,
When you open your eyes.
Take a breath & dive in,
And stop with the lies.

Wednesday, 17 September 2014

The Indefatigable Frog, or Why this won't stop us!

So this is becoming a bit of a theme and I am going to take that theme and look at it again from another angle. Clive has written fantastically on why Public Health need to address how they view the public. Jo has addressed the difference between us banding together and Public Health banding together and I am going to address just why us vapers have tinkered with miffed, passed through irked, sailed right over gobsmacked and are now firmly settled in Furious. I want to take this back to before we were vapers though, perhaps to give a little more insight.

I will use myself an as example, cos I know all my own details and that makes it a bit easier.

I started smoking when I was 12. I already knew it was bad and was used to hearing my nan nag my dad about him stopping. I also grew up with my dad not being able to smoke in the house. So by 12, I was well aware that smoking is bad enough that you are not allowed to do it around other people. Of course, I still started smoking. I smoked until I was a little over 34. So that is 22 years by the numbers. I am going to round it up to 23 cos it makes this simpler.

I am 36 now. This means, that for 2/3rds of my life, I was a ‘dirty smoker’. Something that society was at pains to remind me about on a daily basis, with my freedom to smoke being restricted more and more. I am sure I was not the only smoker to feel utterly sickened to read news articles condemning adoptive parents for smoking, that they should be prevented from giving love and security to a vulnerable child, all because they enjoyed a cigarette. As a parent, this strikes a bit of fear into you. Will they condemn parents that smoke? Will they one day say my children should be taken away from me cos I go into the garden to have a ciggy?

But it was nastier than that. They ran adverts about horrible tobacco guzzling parents, so that all of society could hate me a little bit more, as the adverts on the tellybox had told them what an appalling mother I was.

The public at large already sneered at me, customers at my workplace would comment on my habit, tell me it would ruin my skin, age me or how it made me look ugly. Really personal stuff, and insulting too. I did not know these people, who were they to tell me that I was ugly because I smoked? I wish I were kidding, but I used to get these comments with relative frequency. If they could think of nothing particularly personal, they would settle with ‘Bad for you, that’ as though somehow I must just have missed the adverts, posters, flyers, billboards, comments etc and was happily thinking I was replacing one of my 5 a day with some tobacco leaves. So I was stupid, too.

To recap – I was stupid, ugly, will  be ugly, a bad mother and society thought I stank.

Then when the smoking ban came into affect, by which time I had switched to rollies, I would stand at work and roll myself a ciggy before going outside for a break. I remember catching a woman looking at me as I fashioned a perfectly cylindrical tube of ‘I am going outside so you lot can stop clicking your damn fingers at me for service’ to see such a look of disgust on her face that it really took me back for a moment. I had never had a stranger look at me like that before. Pure unadulterated loathing for me rolling a ciggie. I probably could have chopped out a line of coke, or rolled up my sleeve to tap for a vein and not been looked at like I was just then.

Post the 2007 ban, things just got worse in terms of how ppl treated me. The adverts got more aggressive, the second hand smoke messages got more aggressive. So now rather than just being ugly, smelly, stupid and a bad parent I was also dangerous.

If you are not a vaper or smoker and are reading this, imagine for just one second, what that must be like? To spend 2/3rds of your life being treated like this, looked at in this way. Remember that poor woman who ignited her oxygen tube with a lighter? Seek it out – look at the comments and see what the public thinks of smokers. The vitriol and hatred is something to behold. A poor woman made a horrible mistake whilst still under the effects of a general anaesthetic and what did the public say? She deserved it. Why? 

Because she was a smoker.

For the record, I think they were wrong! I think to demonise a group of people so determinedly as they did with smokers is inhuman and immoral.  However, there is no escaping the fact that when I took up vaping instead, I thought I had freed myself from that. I do not look for people to accept me, I do not and did not want to be confirmed as a human again, but I did think that would stop.
Well it hasn’t and frankly, it has gotten worse. 

So, ask youselves. Why am I angry? Why are many vapers angry?

We have tried to talk to you. We have written to you, we have emailed you and we have tweeted you. You have largely ignored us. You have written articles that hide behind paywalls discrediting us with accusations and thinly veiled but loaded reminders of ‘What The Tobacco Industry Did To Us’, that you have ‘Seen All This Before’. You told us our stories are not true. You go to the public and you tell them that we are to be feared just as we were as smokers. That we have not achieved anything, by moving the goalposts: Is the endgame tobacco free, or nicotine free? You use your media presence to say things that evidence has not shown and common sense denies. And what can we do about it?


 We cannot answer, we cannot explain to you why a custard flavoured e-liquid is so important to us. Why we have faith in what we are trying to advocate because WE were the very smokers you had not got a chance of getting to Quit. When we use one of the only mediums we have available to us to contact you, you block us without deigning to answer, then profess to your peers that you are being attacked, by ecig zealots or tobacco stooges. You use your credibility to convince others that you are right. Afterall, we are just addicts. Have you the first CLUE how insanely insulting this is? This is not our job, we do it because we want to keep this movement going. We do this for FREE, for NOTHING. No one pays us. YOU on the other hand are paid. You are paid to look after our health. 

Understand, this is NOT related to any one individual, this has happened for as long as I have been doing this and  before, it is not new but has worsened. And what can we do? 


We do not have funding. We do not have the ear of the media. We do not have letters after our names. We do not have influence. We do not have swathes of respecting public and academics. We are normal as normal can be. But we do have something! We have experience and knowledge and understanding of what it is to be a smoker then a vaper. We can see first hand why this is working and what will stop it, dead in its tracks. We are trying to warn you that the direction of travel you are choosing is going to cause untold damage to people’s lives, but you will not listen.

And why do we do this? It is not to save our arses! The loudest and most active of us will continue to vape no matter what you do. We can be self-sufficient, that is something you cannot prevent. We do this because there are hundreds of millions of smokers across the planet who face being denied the opportunity that we had. That is not acceptable. That is not OK, not in any world, at any moment in space or time. We are not out to convert people, just to stop you from scaring them off of a new and safer habit that may well save their life, at the very least, improve it if they choose!

Is that a bad thing? No, and it is something YOU should be doing too.

But be clear, those of you that are doing this to us, there are others amongst you are are looking at you askance. 

So why are we angry? We did what you want, just not how you wanted us to, or BECAUSE you wanted us to, and you still persist with the demonisation. Except, this time, you are lying about us personally.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Dear FPH - Just a quick word about John Ashton.

Unless it escaped your notice or perhaps you have not grasped just how batshit crazy Mr Ashton went this weekend, these blogs (Dick, Jo, Random Vaper and VapeMeStoopid) have the screenshots you need to see. This behaviour was NOT based on our beloved Fergus (or anyone) exercising his expansive knowledge of colourful & creative insults (which he didn't!) or anyone being abusive. This snowballed after a few of us asked reasonable and polite questions. Actually, one question got me blocked. Others didn't even have the luxury of ONE question. Thinking about it, I have no idea if I was blocked BEFORE all of this, none of us do!

Anyhow, hopefully you have seen the pics of the tweets and understand the true absurdity of the situation. I know others have done this too, but here is my personal letter of complaint to the Faculty of Public Health.



This is not a letter I take any pleasure in writing but I feel that, in the circumstances, there is no other option. Please accept the following as a formal complaint against the President of The Faculty of Public Health, Professor John Ashton, under section 4 of your complaints procedure, as a result of inappropriate behaviour on social media. As such I would like confirmation of receipt of this complaint and confirmation that it has been forwarded to the registrar.

I am a Vaper, e-cigarette user if you will, of almost two years. I and many others have made sure that we have kept abreast of all developments in this area in that time period. I am a genuine person who is not in the pay of industry of any description.  I would call myself an advocate, but be clear that I am an unpaid one. In the course of trying to get the voice of the vaper heard and considered by those in public health, tobacco control, the media and those in politics, I (and many others) have been subjected to many accusations and insults. We have been shut out and discounted for many reasons. We have observed and listened to many experts in the field of Public Health talk in the media about things that we know not to be true and yet we have not be able to redress the balance with what we see as the truth and what the data refutes.

This was never more apparent than Professor John Ashton’s behaviour  this week, having appeared three times in the media with unsupported claims and misrepresentations of data.

As members of the public, we do not have the ability to comment on these assertions. We are not able to talk with Mr Ashton via anything other than social media.

However, when approached on Twitter (initially reasonably) myself and others found ourselves blocked with no answers given to our questions.  A brick wall was very quickly built and from behind it, with no way of us being able to respond or defend ourselves, Mr Ashton began to hurl abuse.  Vapers who had not been involved in trying to communicate with him whatsoever, found themselves being told they were addicts and slaves to this addiction. From their perspective, this came entirely out of the blue as it appears Mr Ashton had trawled through their timelines in order to find a tweet he could then insult them from.  This one I find to be most disturbing, please note that the tweet he attacked is dated 20/08/2014.

For a man in a position of authority and power to deem it appropriate to seek out and attack a member of the public for doing something a) completely legal and b) is reducing their harm in place of smoked tobacco, beggars belief. It is unfathomable to imagine that Mr Ashton is able to view harm reduction for smokers with anything even approaching objectivity. To this end, it is entirely inappropriate for him to be in a position of authority that will have lasting effects on the future of e-cigarette usage in the UK. It is bad enough that, as advocates, we have been shut out and ignored but to then be called cunts, onanists, ‘lads behind the bikesheds’, addicts, tobacco industry shills (Indeed shills for ANY industry) is beyond the pale.

If these are the thoughts that sit behind decision making and position taking on e-cigarettes then it is clear that Professor John Ashton and the Faculty of Public Health are not fit to be involved in the discussion.  As such these personal attacks have to be apologised for and Mr Ashton must have no further part in the wider discussion on the place of harm reduction for smokers in society. This is a volatile situation and involves the lives of many millions of people. To allow yourselves to be a part of the movement that seeks to restrict access to what may be life saving technology, based on the personal ideologies, prejudices and ill informed opinions of one man calls into question the role of Public Health in its entirety. 

I look forward to your response,

Lorien Jollye


I removed this paragraph being as it is best we don't get drawn into the details of misrepresentation of data, it avoids them using it to distract from the situation. I am putting in here cos I need to get it off my chest.

"This was never more apparent than Professor John Ashton’s behaviour  this week, having appeared three times in the media with unsupported claims and misrepresentations of data. No example is clearer than his willingness to espouse the validity of the most recent data on E-cig use in US youth, from the CDC.  One would hope that Mr Ashton had done more than read the conclusion/press release and seen that the data within the study does not support the resulting media frenzy. It is of great concern that a man in Mr Ashton’s position would not read a study before taking to the airwaves in order strike fear into the hearts of every parent in the UK. This alone is questionable behaviour. Further to this, to willingly overlook and underplay statistics from both ASH and Professor Robert Wests ‘smoking toolkit’ in order to push, what can only be called an agenda,  the ‘Gateway to tobacco’ theory and that ‘self respecting’ adults would not use sweet flavours."

I find this entire situation both hilarious and terrifying. Whether or not the man was drunk when he embarked upon this bonkers and vicious campaign, is irrelevant. Alcohol does not create, it amplifies. The mask slipped and my god it was covering something breathtakingly ugly. This HAS to be addressed as people like John Ashton have NO right to be involved in this when he holds the people affected in such absolute contempt.

It really is never ending, isn't it.

Wednesday, 6 August 2014

The Little Movement

I have been wringing my hands about the fact I have not written a blog for what seems like an age. Every time I think 'Well THAT is a blog waiting to happen' life kinda gets in the way and I just do not get round to doing it. Then something else happens that infuriates or inspires me and the last thing gets forgotten. I can assure you that in my head, there have been several ground breaking, breath taking, heart rending blogs that will never see the light of day. Mainly because I have forgotten them.

So instead of all that lost brilliance with which I would have blinded you all, I will tell you a story and it starts with my job, which if you didn't know, is waitressing. Not glamourous and to be honest, in the height of summer in a 400 year old building with no ventilation, frankly sweaty!

I started this particular job in 2011. 2012 was when I saw my first 'proper' vapouriser, in the hands of my bosses. She had a dinky ego thing with a carto on top and he a bloody great tank of some sort (I still do not know what it was). I had only seen cigalikes up till that point and was not the least bit interested. I was a roll-ups smoker so I had no association with a plastic cigarette whatsoever. These fancy shiny funky tank thingies were something else though. And they had all these lush flavours like caramel and cinnamon and stuff. I remember going home to enthuse to my hubby about these bonkers things I had seen, he looked at me like possibly I ought not to have driven myself home cos clearly I had drunk too much after work and was talking nonsense.

My interest was piqued though, so I sat at the PC and sought out the site my boss had told me about. Scared myself shitless and thought I would look again at some other point. I did, still had not got a clue what I was looking at, what the hell a boge cartomiser was or why I would want to punch one or what a coil was and why they came in 1.8ohms and 2.4ohms and WHAT THE HELL?!?! AM I BACK IN SCHOOL?!

If you have read my first blog you will know what eventually forced me to bite the bullet. If you haven't, then read it cos I am not going to explain again now. The Why, is here, the How is another matter. I sat staring at page after page of 'stuff', occasionally exclaiming to my husband 'What the hell is this? What does it do? Do we need one? Two?  I am going to do this!  I swear I am not leaving this seat until I have.  FFS WHAT IS 18MG AND WHAT DOES IT MEAN? Ok, I'll just make a coffee and look again. YES I KNOW IT IS 1 O'CLOCK IN THE MORNING THANK YOU VERY MUCH!'.

Eventually I signed up to the forum for that vendor. Introduced myself and asked for help. And I got it, I got so much of it I felt a bit like crying. I was a fish out of water and I was stepping into what was clearly an established community, and they embraced me! I mean, I asked every moronic question you have ever heard. I even posted exactly what was in my basket to ask if it was right. All the things we have seen countless others do on our respective forums. They helped me. Supported me. Patiently explained what everything meant.

I ordered all the kit and knew that when it arrived I would be back on there asking what to do next. I felt safe doing that. I knew there would be friendly answers, 'how's it going's. I felt no pressure whatsoever and a group of strangers helped cement the idea in my mind that I was going to enjoy this! I was actually looking FORWARD to it. I have a lot to thank that forum for and although it is still going it is not very political so probably not reading this, but if any one of you are, please have my thanks and pass them on to those still active.

So why is this relevant? About a week ago someone who is not a vaper, but is an ardent supporter with basic knowledge, asked for help to buy a kit for a smoking friend. Among the ensuing emails between a small group of us, it came up just how confusing this can all be to the new person jumping in. Or, in this case, the person buying a vapouriser on behalf of someone else.

So I logged into that first forum tonight (just before writing that last paragraph) and revisited my first few posts. I almost do not recognise the person writing (apart from the stupid sense of humour which I seem to have lost along the way). My attitude towards myself as a smoker. What I wanted from vaping. That 'vapers tongue' that hits in the first few weeks that mean you can't taste anything. What can happen when you start on a VG blend. I remembered all the support as written above, but reading through it all, it was SO much more.

I have learnt a lot about myself and my habit in the past 21 months as I am sure we all have, whatever the length of our journey. However, I had forgotten what it was LIKE to be that person, first putting their toe into the water, how bewildered I was. I had forgotten JUST how fundamental that support was in my success. I was a fairly typical smoker for whom all the organised, sterilised support systems were never going to work. Irregardless of how good they were and we know there are good ones out there! I was not and am not exceptional, I was normal. There are millions like me.

Jump to this weekend at Vapefest and I am reminded again of what this community is. A beautiful soul of a man (@bobtherandom) sat at a picnic bench, whilst it tried to rain on us, with a butane powered soldering iron trying to fix my Evic.

Another friend (@twigolet) offering me the spare bed in her room to save me camping on my own, so I could go to the event. Why? Because that is what this community can do, it is what it does.

It is not just what happens online in forums and on Twitter or Facebook, it is every snatched conversation on the street or at work when a smoker asks a question and someone has an answer.

Vaping is a movement, millions of people who aren't even really aware of what they are a part of, but when called upon for help, they will give it. Not for anything in return, but cos they want to share and they understand. Despite the title (another PKD reference) there is nothing little about it.

THIS is what makes us all remarkable. Incredible even. I will link to three of my first threads for you to read, especially read the stories in the 2nd thread ( Shiny, BenefitsWeird.). Don't forget that this is how many of us started and many are now joining in the same way. Don't forget the help you might have needed at the very beginning and that each of us are essentially On Call for that moment when someone needs support. We shouldn't preach, we are not out to convert. This is not a religion and we are not zealots.

In amongst all the political wrangling, the blind ideological arguments we find ourselves fighting against, the anger, frustration and upset all this causes, don't forget to feel proud about what we are a part of.

When Jean-Francois Etter said 'You cannot stop a tsunami with a law', he was right.

The community is what drives that.

Thank you xx

Monday, 26 May 2014

Authors Note

The author in this case is not me, it's Philip K Dick. It was written about drug use & when I read this at 12 or 13 years old it had a profound impact on me. I'm not saying it mirrors what's going on, but I can't help but feel there are some similarities. Take from it what you will.


Author's Note

This has been a novel about some people who were punished entirely too much for what they did. They wanted to have a good time, but they were like children playing in the street; they could see one after another of them being killed -- run over, maimed, destroyed -- but they continued to play anyhow. We really all were very happy for a while, sitting around not toiling but just bullshitting and playing, but it was for such a terrible brief time, and then the punishment was beyond belief: even when we could see it, we could not believe it. For example, while I was writing this I learned that the person on whom the character Jerry Fabin is based killed himself. My friend on whom I based the character Ernie Luckman died before I began the novel. For a while I myself was one of these children playing in the street; I was, like the rest of them, trying to play instead of being grown up, and I was punished. I am on the list below, which is a list of those to whom this novel is dedicated, and what became of each.

Drug misuse is not a disease, it is a decision, like the decision to step out in front of a moving car. You would call that not a disease but an error in judgment. When a bunch of people begin to do it, it is a social error, a life-style. In this particular life-style the motto is "Be happy now because tomorrow you are dying," but the dying begins almost at once, and the happiness is a memory. It is, then, only a speeding up, an intensifying, of the ordinary human existence. It is not different from your life-style, it is only faster. It all takes place in days or weeks or months instead of years. "Take the cash and let the credit go," as Villon said in 1460. But that is a mistake if the cash is a penny and the credit a whole lifetime.

There is no moral in this novel; it is not bourgeois; it does not say they were wrong to play when they should have toiled; it just tells what the consequences were. In Greek drama they were beginning, as a society, to discover science, which means causal law. Here in this novel there is Nemesis: not fate, because anyone of us could have chosen to stop playing in the street, but, as I narrate from the deepest part of my life and heart, a dreadful Nemesis for those who kept on playing. I myself, I am not a character in this novel; I am the novel. So, though, was our entire nation at this time. This novel is about more people than I knew personally. Some we all read about in the newspapers. It was, this sitting around with our buddies and bullshitting while making tape recordings, the bad decision of the decade, the sixties, both in and out of the establishment. And nature cracked down on us. We were forced to stop by things dreadful.

If there was any "sin," it was that these people wanted to keep on having a good time forever, and were punished for that, but, as I say, I feel that, if so, the punishment was far too great, and I prefer to think of it only in a Greek or morally neutral way, as mere science, as deterministic impartial cause-and-effect. I loved them all.

Here is the list, to whom I dedicate my love:

To Gaylene - deceased
To Ray - deceased
To Francy - permanent psychosis
To Kathy - permanent brain damage
To Jim - deceased
To Val - massive permanent brain damage
To Nancy - permanent psychosis
To Joanne - permanent brain damage
To Maren - deceased
To Nick - deceased
To Terry - deceased
To Dennis - deceased
To Phil - permanent pancreatic damage
To Sue - permanent vascular damage
To Jerri - permanent psychosis and vascular
...and so forth.

In Memoriam.

These were comrades whom I had; there are no better. They remain in my mind, and the enemy will never be forgiven. The "enemy" was their mistake in playing. Let them all play again, in some other way, and let them be happy.

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

The War with the Fnools PT 2

Thank you for joining me for the 2nd part of this bi-blog special. Part one is underneath this post.

Funnily enough, I am writing this part not long after Robert West's data appeared and the media went into meltdown. Most notably The Guardian. If you haven't already, read it now. That is not a request!

Back to the PHE meeting.....

We already have an idea of what The Chief Medical Officer, Special Scientific Advisor to the Governement, Dame Sally Davies, thinks of vaping thanks to this article in the New Scientist. However, I was not prepared for what I had to endure for her presentation. 

She is still having some aversion issues with using the word Vaping. It upsets her that word. So does 'vaping lounges' apparently. Sorry about that Sally (I'm not, 'grow up' springs to mind!). Her entire sermon seemed based on her power and influence which she was at pains to remind us about...over and over...

As CMO she 'is protecting the population',

She has 'written to all ministers as Senior Medical Advisor' (She verbally underlined that),

She is 'worried, and I tell you this as the head of this profession'.

There were a few more of these, but frankly I got bored of writing down her attempts to continually remind everyone that she is their Boss, that there is None Higher and because she is worried, we should all be worried. Cos she told us to be.

God Complex anyone?

A few other telling nuggets were;

'Horrified' that ecig packets could be emptied out and tobacco cigarettes could be put in.

Normalisation and Glamourisation were proved conclusively by her daughter (of undisclosed age) 'dragging' her to an e-cig display to show her 'how beautiful they were'. STOP PRESS! In light of this new evidence, I feel the only appropriate thing to do would be to redesign all e-cigarettes to look like turds. 

I think it is only reasonable, after all, smokers to do not deserve beautiful things. Aesthetically pleasing and tactile devices they might WANT to use. No no no, you must feel the shame of being medicated.
mmmmmm tempting
Then we got the classic,

'Willfully aimed at children, who wants flavours?'

Well actually, now that you mention it...

This was the sweet table at my wedding. Do you know who had the biggest bags of sugary loveliness? The adults. They stripped that table. (Yes, that is Hubba Bubba)

Bought these on Saturday - cos I like Sherbert & Liquorice.

I figured I might as well ask Twitter too...

Yeah so quite clearly, no one likes flavours.... Oh and do checkout and have a little looksie at all the product reviews. If you have time, you can message all those adults and tell them that they do not like flavoursome things after all and that maybe they would like some of those Dog Breath crisps that are so popular.

There is one thing that was said during her diatribe though. One thing that should define this woman as the menace to public health that she is. In her position as absolute authority for Public Health in this country, what do you think her message is to smokers? All 9 million smokers. For whom she does not want to allow the option of harm reduction, but also admits that NRT fails.

Her message?

'Smokers should just grow a backbone'.

And there it is. Quit Or Die in the starkest way I can possibly imagine. If you are not disgusted, you damn well should be. THIS is the callousness we knew existed, but did we realise that it sat RIGHT AT THE TOP? Advising government? Influencing the opinions of Public Health? It is repugnant. This woman cannot protect public health when as far as she is concerned 20% of the population can just die due to her unfathomable ignorance.

I have nothing further to say on this woman. Nothing.

So instead, lets touch briefly on McKee. 

'Cherry crush candy leads to smoking'

He does 'not even know why were are having this discussion'

'We WILL catch up' with the forward thinking of New York and Australia. This is the future (and it really is not bright).

He was perplexed as to why a symposium on e-cigs was not covering Plain Packaging.

And then. Oh yes and then...what could Martin Mckee possibly say? What could a Professor in Public Health have to say when it is clear he has nothing? When the subject of nicotine use in pregnant women was raised, after it was made clear that NRT is of no use and nicotine of no real concern (by actual experts), what is the most inappropriate and desperate comment that could be made?

'That's what was said about Thalidomide'

The response to this was immediate, and unsurprisingly it was not good! People were heard to say 'disgusting'. This was boo'd, and rightly bloody so. 

For the record, Martin Mckee, you should be ashamed.

As such, I would like to present to you, ladies and gentlemen of the audience, The Fnools. Definitely not a typo, but a race of aliens in a short story I read many years ago by the genius Philip K Dick. The Fnools are 2ft high aliens hell bent on destroying humanity and taking earth for themselves. But thanks to their piddling height, were easy to spot and so were usurped at every corner. Their mistake was a simple one, they looked exactly like us, but had got the height wrong. Ironically, in the story, their undoing comes at the hand of Tobacco, Alcohol and Sex. One of these vices is discovered by them and immediately, they grow 2ft, to a still paltry 4ft, but nevertheless rather unnerving. The second vice adds another 2ft and so now they stand at 6ft and are perfectly hidden among us mere humans. Alas, with victory within reach, they encounter their 3rd vice, and unable to resist, find themselves standing at 8ft tall. Clear for all to see. The proverbial thumb. There is no hiding and they are clearly visible for what they are. Inhuman. Now easily targeted and destroyed.

The Fnools thought they were winning. and they went too far and exposed themselves. 

This is what we just witnessed. It is what every member of public health and tobacco control with a conscience and a genuine desire to do good (whether we agree on the methods or not) has just seen. Trust me, it is not just our stomachs that were turned. I would not be surprised if this behaviour was what broke the camel's back for Robert West. 

So maybe, we should say Thank You To Mckee, Davies and their ilk. They just did us a great favour.