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Tuesday, February 01, 2005


Received from the BMA re my earlier piece:

Further to your correspondence, I should like to confirm that my response to your initial query simply confirms that the BMA, as a national organisation, has never claimed that passive smoking kills 1000 in Scotland.

At no time have we questioned figures quoted by the First Minster on the number of deaths caused by exposure to passive smoking. I should also like to add that Mr McConnell did not actually cite the BMA as a reference when quoting that figure, rather he referred to new research published in November 2004. This research, commissioned by the Executive and undertaken by the University of Glasgow (Passive Smoking and Associated Causes of Deaths in Adults in Scotland) is available at If you have any queries about the statistical data that have been used by the Scottish Executive you should direct your query to them, all we can confirm is that the BMA has not referred to the figures you mentioned in your original email.

As a general rule, the BMA has applied the 10% rule to the conservative UK estimate of at least 1000 deaths from exposure to passive smoke, equating to at least 100 deaths in Scotland. However given Scotland’s higher than average smoking rates, one could assume that this figure is in fact much higher. We therefore welcome the publication of detailed research into the impact of passive smoke on public health in Scotland.

I should like to emphasise that the BMA does not believe that the figures quoted by the First Minister are incorrect, they are just not figures that have been produced by the BMA.

Yours sincerely,

M Darvell
Public Information Manager

To which I replied:

Dear Mr Darvell,
Thanks for your letter. I confirm that I did not say that the BMA had endorsed the First Minister's figure of 1,000 in Scotland, quite the reverse. I note that you maintain the figure of 1,000 as the total number of deaths in the UK, (in fairness I should say that I do not accept that such evidence as there is for any deaths are outwith the statistical fluctuations inherent in small sample size). Also that Scotland's share may be higher than the 8% of that figure allowed on a population basis tho' not sufficiently askew to invalidate the 1,000 UK figure.

I note that you do not maintain that McConnell's figures are incorrect, nor that they are correct - which is quite proper of you until such time as they have been peer reviewed.

Nonetheless it remains the case that his claim that 1,000 a year die in 8% of the UK is totally incompatible with your claim that 1,000 die in 100% of the UK.… Since the First Minister has access to BMA publications he must have been aware of the discrepancy & that his claim was not compatible with the accepted truths.

On the other hand you may wish to say that your figure is wrong &, on a statistical basis, the true figure for 100% of Britain is closer to 12,500. This would make McConnell appear truthful but would make the BMA non-credible.
Yours faithfully

On a little further searching the site mentioned by Mr Darrell was not accessible however which is the government's own conclusions on the question of smoking deaths has the amazing
researchers modelling the impact of the introduction of legislation banning smoking in public places in Scotland estimate that 219 deaths per annum with ...... further possible ..... 187....... may take between 15 & 30 years although some benefits make accrue more rapidly"

The number of probable or possible deaths from passive smoking are clearly an extremely variable figure. Opponents say there is no evidence of any deaths but the nanny-statists are less able to agree. The BMA say 1,000 in the UK, a recent letter by a convoy of Professors in the Scotsman said 700, McConnell tells Parliament 1,000 in 8% of the UK & the Official Executive Figure says 400.

While they are all playing with numbers with no evidence behind them it is clear that Jack has specifically made up his figure without reference to even the most bloated figure his civil servants could finagle.

He has deliberately lied to Holyrood & is morally bankrupt.


This was sent in reply to yet another self-righteous piece about remembering Auschwitz. There is another letter to the Indie on this is the pipeline in reference to a letter pointing out that we have ignored the 200,000 disabled killed by our German friends:

It is good to see that the British government & media understand the importance of remembering the crimes of the nazis even if our future king, like many young people, is a little hazy on the subject.

With the commemorations of Auschwitz may we expect that our government will be equally enthusiastic about commemorating Jasenovic? This was the camp where 600,000 Serbs & Jews were murdered by the Pavelic's Croatian Nazis. It now forms part of the current Croatian state, created, by Pavelic's disciple Tudjman accompanied by the genocide & ethnic cleansing of over 560,000 Serbs (12% of the population). This was all done with the active assistance of Nato countries including ourselves.

Perhaps the picture Harry shows is a better mirror of our society than the platitudes of those who supported Tudjman's genocide when it was convenient.
Yours Faithfully

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