The Free Society

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The Free Society (TFS) was a campaign run by the tobacco industry front group Forest, whose website went offline around February 2015 [1]. It advocated "on behalf of those who want less not more government interference in their daily lives". Its website was edited by Tom Miers. [2]

It's Not Just Tobacco

When TFS launched, its website used a classic tobacco industry PR argument that restrictions on smoking would be followed by attacks on food and drink.

"For years Forest has warned that it was only a matter of time before campaigners (and politicians) moved on to food and drink. So it has proved. Today the “war on tobacco” has been joined by the “war on obesity” and the “war on binge drinking”. As with smoking, we support campaigns that educate people about the risks of over-indulging (as long as the information is factually correct), but we abhor the use of dubious statistics and doomsday scenarios to justify increased taxation and further legislation designed to dictate how we choose to live our lives.

Other areas of interest to The Free Society include motoring (excessive use of speed cameras, unnecessarily restrictive speed limits on motorways), CCTV cameras, compulsory ID cards, free speech and global warming." [3]

Like-Minded Allies

TFS's website also noted: "On some issues, there already exist groups that are campaigning against excessive government regulation. Safe Speed, for example, is doing an excellent job highlighting the arguments against the number of speed cameras. No2ID is working hard to stop the introduction of compulsory ID cards. The TaxPayers' Alliance is doing a fantastic job on the question of taxation. There are also some excellent forums where libertarianism is alive and well. (The online magazine Spiked! comes immediately to mind.) Where possible, The Free Society will promote and work with such groups in order to develop an active network of like-minded people. [3]

Smoking Ban Worse than Iraq War

In February 2008, an article by Rod Liddle on the website argued that he "hated the smoking ban more than the Iraq war". [4]

People

Columnists on the TFS website included:

Affiliations

In June 2011, TFS helped organise a series of debates, called Voices of Freedom, at the Institute of Economic Affairs (which has a history of being funded by the tobacco industry) in London. The events were:[5]

  • Nudge and the nanny state
  • Freedom, education and the state
    • Presented by the Free Society and the Adam Smith Institute
    • Chair: Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas)
    • Speakers: Tom Clougherty (Adam Smith Institute), David Davis MP, Matt Grist (senior researcher at the think tank Demos), Professor Terence Kealey (vice-chancellor, University of Buckingham) and Toby Young (associate editor of The Spectator).

References

  1. The Way Back Machine, The Free Society, Accessed July 2017
  2. The Free Society, The battle against Big Government – join the debate!, 19 May 2010, accessed 11 June 2011
  3. 3.0 3.1 The Free Society, Who Are We The Free Society Website, 2008, accessed June 2011
  4. Rod Liddle, "Ban exemplifies everything that is wrong with Labour", 1 February, 2008, accessed June 2011
  5. The Free Society, Voices of freedom, undated, accessed 11 June 2011