In the interest of conflict

There’s been a lot going around in the media lately about conflict of interest with regards to research into vapourisers.  The biggest mud-slinging has of course been from The Lancet about the PHE Report. Of course, the trouble with the public health industry and science is this. There will always be a conflict of interest. These conflicts range from pure ideological views (Nanny McPhee et al), to funding conflicts. Sometimes the COI is subtle and sometimes not.

The one that gets me is when some researchers accuse others in the same field of COI, except the study that the claim COI on didn’t actually have any conflict. If there is any one field where cries of “conflict, conflict” are heard most often, is in the realms of public health and specifically tobacco control. We’ve all seen it in print, either in The Lancet deluded rag or in mainstream red-tops.

It’s always the same, except when those crying conflict are pretty damned quiet when their own COI is being mentioned (or not in the cases of 99% (95% CI) anti science). Let’s look at a brilliantly awkward example that popped up recently.

Sydney University divests miners, buys alcohol, tobacco

According to the press release, Syndey University (where one prominent Chimpman resides) is cutting its financial ties with the coal miners, because of global warming. The result of this is a major shortfall in the amount of cash flowing in to fund the $1.4 billion portfolio. So now, they’ve turned to:

  • British American Tobacco
  • SAB Miller

According to the PR, almost $2 million in Uni funds were invested in the shares of these three in the first half of this year with a further $3.5 million invested in multinational brewers and spirits companies, such as Diageo (the owner of the Johnnie Walker brand).  Two of the three are pet hates of the resident insane “expert” Simone Chumpman. He and BAT have a “special” relationship..

Where he takes every opportunity to attack BAT like a rabid dog. Even when BAT are doing charitable work. That is a whole different topic right there, but I digress. Again.

In February the university said it would take a “leadership position” on carbon reduction.

So by taking this “leadership position” on carbon reduction, the University of Sydney are investing in companies that are a direct conflict of interest to the tobacco control efforts of one Simone Chumpman. Even though the University cannot directly invest in tobacco, because of its own policies it is allowed to pool investment, that is large sums of cash spread around multiple investments, some of which are related to tobacco, but not directly. Nice little loophole there huh?

So what has our resident dingo nutcase got to say about this turn of events? As it turns out, absolutely nothing. Remarkable isn’t it? Consider these tweets:

Of course, Simon couldn’t possibly be wrong about any conflict of interest now can he? Oh wait.