If Glenis gets a damehood, so should I

So Glenis Willmott, Labour MEP for the East Midlands (of which I happen to be a constituent) is getting a damehood, as reported here in the Mirror on 27th August 2015.

It begs the question, what on earth for?

Apparently, Glenis has been representing me in Brussels (as leader of the Labour group no less) since 2006, although I’d never actually heard of her until that ridiculous outburst in Brussels where she held a pen above her head and falsely proclaimed that “electronic cigarettes are no more regulated than the pen in my hand”.


So, from where I’m sitting, as one of her “representees”, it does seem odd that anyone would think her worthy of being made a Dame, purely for aiding and abetting such a dishonest, illegal and morally bankrupt piece of legislation like the latest EU Tobacco Products Directive (TPD).

So I decided to go and have a look at what other “contributions” and “important work” Glenis has delivered, to better understand why she gets this job for life at my expense. There must be something, right?

A cursory look at her website would suggest that Glenis fits the profile of your standard ANTZ (Anti Nicotine and Tobacco Zealot) perfectly. Her obsessive hatred of the tobacco companies clouds her ability to be rational when it comes to anything that she believes they may be involved with (tobacco related articles on Glenis’ blog). This blindness has lead her to be amongst the most culpable when it comes to the soon to be enforced TPD, which whilst removing the attractive aspects of vaping from the market, ironically will leave what’s left to big tobacco companies who will be able to afford the ongoing cost of compliance. In fact, her legislation pretty much eliminates the smaller, innovative companies to which the industry owes its success to date. She’s also created a whole new black market, but that’s another issue I suppose.

Continuing past the “tobacco hating” related articles on her website reveals the usual sugar and alcohol stuff that nannies like to protect us from, but nothing really of substance that makes you think “hey, that was worth a Damehood”

So maybe it’s worth a closer look at some of the thing’s that are wrong with the TPD that Glenis fought so hard for. These seem to be some of the most prominent characteristics:

  1. It destroys the innovation that has made vaping such a success through the need for registration of products 6 months before going to market;
  2. It places excessive reporting and compliance costs on the industry (that will limit choice and increase costs for consumers and force closure of many small vaping businesses);
  3. It bans the most popular devices (tanks > 2ml in capacity, current refilling mechanisms etc) and liquids of over 20mg/ml strength unless an MA can be gained (which is as good as saying it won’t happen);
  4. It hands the responsibility for deciding what we can buy to the MHRA (who really want ecigs to be medicines);
  5. It bans advertising and promotion of ecigs, potentially including gatherings and internet forums, maybe even this blog, denying the opportunity to hundreds of thousands of smokers to learn about ecigs;
  6. Some countries have interpreted this as banning online sales, further reducing availability of ecigs to people (see Portugal for example);
  7. It insists on inappropriate warnings that may deter some smokers from vaping, despite the evidence showing that the concerns aren’t valid and the warnings therefore wrong (see PHE report 19th August 2015)

(If this all seems a bit dramatic, check out Clive Bates’ blog on this which provides much more detail here).

In summary we have “regulation” that basically destroys the market and hands what is left to the tobacco companies. Way to go Glenis, eventually you will realise that you’ve shot yourself in the foot if you don’t already, but being a politician, I doubt you’ll admit it.

I don’t think it’s unreasonable to suggest that she does, indeed have blood on her hands.

Beyond the “achievement” of the TPD, I can’t see much else that Glenis has done to deserve the recognition of becoming a Dame. Can you?


September 2nd, 2015 by