You might have thought Environment Agency boss Chris Smith would be concentrating on the floods but no, today he is busy with his other far more important quango job in charge of the Advertising Standards Authority. Smith’s censorious bunch of self-appointed bureaucrats have made yet another politically correct judgement in an area they should not go into. Following Labour’s call this morning to withdraw the bet, Labour Lord Smith’s ASA is telling Paddy Power to take down its Oscar Pistorius bet advert.
“We have today ordered that a national press ad for the bookmaker, Paddy Power be withdrawn with immediate effect. On the back of an unprecedented number of complaints, we are investigating whether the ad is offensive for trivialising the issues surrounding a murder trial, the death of a woman and disability; we are also challenging whether, in doing so, it brings the good reputation of advertising generally into dispute. Following the complaints, ASA Chairman, Lord Smith, has taken the unusual step of directing the advertiser to withdraw the ad from circulation pending the outcome of the investigation.”
Thousands of peoples’ homes are underwater but don’t worry, Chris Smith is making sure no one is offended by an advert by a betting company. The ASA has “investigated” and made “rulings” on anti-gay marriage adverts, anti-environmentalist adverts, Fathers4Justice adverts, pro-hanging adverts – do you see a politically correct agenda here? They should stay out of politically contentious advertising.