For those who have the same warped sense of humour this Letter can also be had in French.
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It’s amazing how papers that have made their
names to a large extent on their investigative abilities have two types of
morality. There’s one for advertisers and another one for non-advertisers.
Non-advertisers accused of all kinds
of suspect activities will get nailed to the wall, but paying customers are
immune from this kind of treatment.
Is this what they call journalistic
licence? Is advertising allowed to have more flexible moralsthan the rest of
the paper?Is this what they mean
when they say, money
based Sunday Times and the Mail and Guardian (M&G)
have greedily carried huge cigarette advertisements from British American Tobacco (BAT). In the M&G it was a whole page and in the Sunday Times, which has a larger format, it took up
half a page.
These probably raked in a total of
close to half a million bucks for these papers.
with that you might ask? Nothing much except the suspect part was that BAT was using
smoke and mirrors to get round the South African law that
banns the advertising of tobacco products.
What was even more disturbing was
that the papers were quite prepared to go along with this without question,
even though another publication had earlier cast doubt on the veracity of
Big hearted BATwas suddenly concerned
that illegal cigarettes were costing
the country over R3 billion a year in lost tax revenue. This is what it told the
3.6 –million people who read these two national
publications each week.
the equivalent of the cost of more than 44 000 new policemen and
60 000 new homes, the adverts claimed
It deliberately failed to mention
the cost to the nation of treating the millions of people, including policemen,
whose health is affected or who die through smoking.
The main thrust of the advertisements was thatsmuggledcigarettes
bring crime syndicates intoyour neighbourhood.
So BAT and the papers that support this campaign
believe that it’s better to die a slow lingering death from lung cancer or some
other nicotine induced illness than to have bullets whizzing around your street.
If I had a choice I think I would rather take my chances in that crime riddled
neighbourhood that BAT is so worried about.
Earlier this year BATwas flying higher with scare tactics that were
even more ridiculous. It had billboards on major highways with messages like DANGER-Buying illegalcigarettes may fund hijackers
and armed robberies.
Complaints were made to the Advertising Standards Authority
(ASA) and it ordered BAT to pull the ads because there was no proof that
contraband cigarettes lead to violent crime. The
Authority convenientlyducked the issue of whether or not this was an
illegal means of adverting cigarettes.
In its issue of July
this year Noseweek, the News you’renot
suppose to knowmagazine, attacked this type of advertising saying, Tobacco
companies are blowing rings around the lawwith
subtle advertising and smuggling tricks.
How right it was. And the Government can’t be fagged to do anything while lives continue to
go up in smoke.
Significantly the magazine quoted from a
submission made to the World Health Organisation
by a group called Action on Smoking & Health Canada. It said that a company that doesnot ensure its brands are smuggled risks losing market
share to those that do. The evidence shows that companies treat smuggling as
just another distribution channel and manage it through third parties where
they control the price and availability of their products.
And low and behold, one
of the companies that does this, the group claimed, is none other than our
public spirited BAT.
So BAT if you are so worried
about the distribution of illegal smokes why don’t you do the decent thing and STOP making cigarettes
That way you will eradicate the gun
runners, the hijackers, the gangsters and all the other criminals and
contribute enormously to the general health of the nation and we can all live
happily ever afterwards.
Jon, a Non-smoker of Note, Consumer
Watchdog and Poor Man’s Press Ombudsman
I forgot to mention that BAT had this comforting, understatement at the end
of its ads, Smoking
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If you take off your dark glasses for a
moment you’ll see that it’s only a very small section of the population that
believes you should change your spots. They’re barking
up the wrong treecompletely when they run down
your brilliant idea to change South Africa’s national coat of arms to
something more meaningful.
With that in mind I’ve attached a few
ideas that could form the basis of the new design. These are so appropriate in
a view of the modern direction in which you are leading our country with your see no
evil, hear no evil and speak no evil legislation.
The one with
bananas is very much in keeping with African culture that has spawned so
many of those wonderful banana republics that have all adopted this approach.
Enough of the praise. I thought you should know that I’ve come
across something of great national importance to South Africa.
It’s something that could ---- your Government
It concerns a ----- of well ------- ,
well ----- people who are hell bent on ---------- our country.
I’m not talking about the usual Government officials who are busy ---------- their
nests with the tax payers help and your ----- ing. No, this is a lot more
serious than that.
But thank goodness
your Government has ensured that I can’t talk about these things. I didn’t even mention
it to my four wives and ten children.
secrets before but I couldn’t trust them with this one. After all who wants to
spend 20 years in one of our overcrowded jails now that you have very wisely
outlawedloosetalkwith your Protection of State
That sort of thing only alarms
everybody and gives people the ----- idea about our leaders.
In the past anybody who had stumbled on
the kind of information I’m not talking about would have rushed to some
newspaper or TV channel and then it would have been all over the place.
goodness, all we are going to get is the good news. It’s so much more uplifting
than the kind of thing I’m not talking about.
Shutting up whistleblowers is long
overdue. All they do is tell lies, disturb the neighbourhood and wake babies.
So that’s another service you have done for our country Jacob.
And if anybody knows what hell it can
be when somebody wakes the little ones, it’s you. I’m not sure if I’m allowed
to mention how many you’ve got or whether that’s now classified. But don’t
worry I’m not taking any chances.
Don’t let those
depressed Western Nations try and tell you that preventing people from
blabbing about all our secrets will do irreparable harm to our country. Look
where that policy has got them.
for instance, if you were a celebrity or somebody else in the public eye you
couldn’t even fart in private without it making headlines somewhere or other.
So it looks as though they will soon be coming round to your way of thinking.
And if Joseph
Stalin and the rest of that Commy mob
could successfully keep the Soviet
Union going for all those years there can’t be much wrong
with this closedmouth policy of yours. If it does nothing
else my neighbour will think twice about telling everybody what he thinks I’m
doing with the girl down the road, when it’s a figment of his imagination.
I hope, Mr
President that you are going to have enough secret police to back up
this new legislation. Why not do what the Russians
did and get everybody to spy on everybody else.
That won’t work. In such a law abiding country as ours nobody will ever talk
about these things once there’s a law against it. They are too patriotic to do
anything that would endanger the security of the State.
And you and your Government
are shining examples of this kind of thinking.
As you rightly surmised, all our people
needed was a good, healthy Act of Parliament to
spell it out for them.
Thanks for your foresight Mr President.
P.S. I badly need coaching from one
of your advisers just to make sure that I don’t end up being WANTED.
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Don’t all rush in at once because I
don’t think there will be room for all of you.
I doubt if you will ever come
across a betterplace
for the rich, the very rich and the stinking rich than this. This is especially
so as your main aim in life is to find somewhere where you can get something
And apart from anything else it’s a
great place to live. It’s just had its mountain listed as one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature
by spending a fortune on advertisements to get people to vote for it.
The campaign showed Archbishop Desmond Tutu on top of TableMountain
proclaiming that when God created the world he said,
I’ve got to do something special here.
Of course you have to be an Arch to know
what God was thinking at the time.
Anyway the City of Cape
Town told usin these adverts that if the Mountain got this
honour it would boost the South African economy by R1.4-billion a year and
create 11 000 new jobs. That sounded about as believable as Tutu’s ability to
read God’s thoughts.
A report I saw indicated that the only
people who will be making money out of this 7 Wonders
of Nature caper are the Swiss promoters
of the idea.
The mountain has been around
forever so are people suddenly going to flock there now that it's suddenly been given a title?
Sorry I’ve got off the point I’m trying
to make. The same City that spent so much on this high flying idea has an even
better claim to fame. This is guaranteed (no airy, fairy thumb suck) to put
money in your pocket if you choose to live in the shadow of that mountain and
you will no doubt bring billions with you.
But can you believe it the City is ever so
coy about this.
So I thought I better tell you the
secret. It makes Cape
Town a paradise, particularly for the rich. You
Because this City gives money away and the richer you are the more you are
able to get.
How about this for a mind boggling
concession? In CapeTown,
which has the slogan The City Works for you,
property owners can forget about paying their property taxes and their water
and their electricity bills for months. Then when the authorities get round to
cutting off, say the electricity, all the owner has to do is to pay the small
reconnection fee and make one of theirgolden lined arrangements.
is the popular money making word that everybody is cottoning onto fast. As an
example I asked a City official, Does this mean
if I owe R100 000 and I arrange to pay off say R4 000 a month can I
do it without any interest being charged?
The answer incredulous was, This is correct.
just have to keep paying the instalments as well as their current monthly bill
and everything will be fine.
who owns property in Cape Town can use the Council as a bank for these interest free loans. Where
else can you get this kind of public service? And of course the people who
benefit the most are the rich because they are able to run up the highest debts
before the Council gets round to cutting off the
This is suppose to be done after 60 days of non-payment. But one case I heard of must
have been going on for a lot longer than that before the Council woke up, because the amount was so huge. This
indicated that there were probably a lot of other fat cats watching what they owe
mount up and up, safe in the knowledge that they could actually use it as an
interest free loan.
I understand that Greeceis in such financial mire because so many people dodged paying income tax and
they didn’t even have a property tax system at all.
So how long can Cape
Town last if it continues to give away money and reward
non-payers with a scheme that encourages defaulters on a grand scale?
Moody’s, that international organisation that rates the financial status
of countries, has downgraded South Africa’s prospects to negative.
News Flash: Cape Town has just been awarded another
title; the Number 1 FreeMoney City of the World.
can tell us if that was another of God's ideas to keep Cape Town in the public eye.
Jon, the Consumer
Watchdog with a strong sense of Smell.
I’m thinking of buying a R10-million house on
the slopes of that mountain overlooking the sea, and using the City Council to finance the deposit.
Buy my book 'Where have all the children gone' on Amazon. com It's a thriller with an underlying love story that defied generations of prejudice.
promoting their new winter range in the USA and
anywhere else where there is raw weather.
And the designer is none other than our Belinda Abbott,
better known as Boo.
For those of you who don’t know, Boo has been a designing woman since birth. She
actually came into this world with a pencil in her hand. No wonder her Mum, Gayle wasn’t too amused.
She would be drawing in the playground
when all the other kids were on the swing or the jungle gym.
And when they were handing out the art
cup at school, who do you think got it year after year?
And when she left school and went on to
study ClothingDesign her disciplinarian father
(that’s me) told her gruffly, Fail a year and you are out. We arenot paying for you
to party and have a good time.
And boy! did our Bootake that seriously. She worked her but off. She got the
highest overall marks in her first,second andthird
She must have got her brains from her mother because her father spent his
entire school career banished to the corner.
Boo got Certificates of Merit for the highest end of year
marks for History of Costume (two years running)
And in her final
year she passed CUM LAUDE with 11 DISTINCTIONS - two more than the next best
student in the class of 35.
She was also a finalist in the Du Pont Lycra Fashion Awards
for which there were 79 entries.
could hardly have somebody better qualified for the job. But you be the judge.
Her designs are on the left hand side.
Boo’s other claim to fame was that she was a waitress at Stringfellows, that famous London strip club patronised by the rich and famous. This was
something her father could relate to far better than High Fashion.
But it wasn’t her mother’s idea of a
career for one of her girls. She had to make sure that none of theChristians,who attended her home church got a glimpse
of any of the pictures of our Boo in her skimpy
Here’s one of the club’s reviews: No wonder
Stringfellows’restaurant isworld famous.
From a man’s point of view it’s a “MUST” – The Times. Its website describes it like this, As youstep into the club you are transported into a world of
stylish luxury and joined by the most seductive girls.
for Boo that’s in the distant past now. She’s
into designing, hopefully for some of those rich and famous who go to clubs
With over 15 years of product design
and development experience working with brands like Witcherry
and Country Road, Boo
is taking Spencer/Lacy in a much more fashion
focused direction, creating beautify and unique pieces.
Her first Winter 2012 collection was inspired by the raw beauty and free spirit
of the Native American Indians.
If you don’t know what Spencer/Lacy is don’t admit it. You will only
It’s an Australian brand that
is available through retailers from women’s fashion boutiques to home and
lifestyle stores across OZ, New Zealand and now in
the US of A.You can also buy from it
Happy Dressing Up,
P.S. By the look of Boo now (bottom right) she hasn't exactly gone to seed sitting at her sewing machine for all these years. I would say
that she should do the modelling as well as the designing. What do you think?