News that the UK Supreme Court has rejected the appeal by Imperial Tobacco against the Scottish Parliament's legislation to ban tobacco product displays at point of sale is welcome to me and for the health of Scots.
It does, however, fit a drama that is oft repeated as it is played out around the world every time a sovereign legislature, more often than not democratically elected, enacts laws and regulations to curb the sale of a product that is known by all, including those who manufacture and sell it, to be strongly addictive and shorten the lives of those who use it. The result of these courtroom palavers is to delay the implementation of the regulations and to cost both the shareholders, on whose behalf and for whose benefit the tobacco companies will claim they are acting, and the taxpayers of this and many other countries lots of money. Only lawyers benefit from such tactics.
In recent times we have seen large multinational companies shamed publicly on moral and ethical grounds by their tax minimisation schemes. Our once-respected and honoured banks and bankers are still being censured for not just illegal activities but often simply on moral grounds for behaviour that take from individual as well as public purses. The tobacco companies may well and justifiably acknowledge that they have no longer any moral standing so there is no point in even considering the public ethics of their actions. On the other hand, their shareholders might want now to consider seriously how much their boards have squandered their money while they also give thought to the deleterious effect these time and money-wasting court actions have on what remains of their public image and then take a moral stand to say enough is enough.
Sadly, I would predict now that in a few years' time we shall see the same courts of Scotland and then the UK Supreme Court wasting even more time and money on appeals against plain packaging legislation.
Dr Alan Rodger,
8 Clairmont Gardens,
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