It’s a victory for the hidden persuaders, the astroturfers, sock puppets, purchased scholars and corporate moles, writes George Monbiot in the Guardian. On Friday the British government announced that it will not oblige tobacco companies to sell cigarettes in plain packaging. How did it happen? The public was overwhelmingly in favour. The evidence that plain packets will discourage young people from smoking is powerful. But it fell victim to a lobbying campaign that was anything but plainly packaged.