Friday, 4 November 2011

Confused believer in liberties hails ban

Former smoker PM David Cameron applauded the smoking ban in bars while suggesting that actually smoking bans in cars were going too far and he is nervous about it.

I've been trying to work out all day what he meant. He is a strong believer in civil liberties but the ban has worked. What does that actually mean?

Government and non-governmental agencies right up to international level have colluded to ensure that two people can't share a smoke convivially in comfortable surroundings anywhere in public – even in private clubs. That has to be an infringement of liberty. As liberties go, it's pretty basic. There is no other way to describe it. It means that an authority gets to dictate the terms on which people associate with each other, and blocks what has been an accepted part of public social intercourse for many decades. Somewhere between a fifth and a third of the population smokes – varying from district to district. So how does a liberty lover get to believe that this 'works'?

The mind boggles, but I can only assume that the Prime Minister finds the outcome of the legislation pleases him, as a non-smoker who might be trying to avoid lapses in the style of Clegg and Obama – and it has been successful insofar as the people haven't taken to the streets yet. Something that doesn't restrict his personal freedom doesn't enter the picture in his understanding of liberties. Prime Minister – real liberty lovers enjoy the concept of liberties. They don't sacrifice the liberties of others – other people's liberties are as precious as their own.

Sad to say, Labour MP Alex Cunningham (who is trying to criminalise smoking in cars with children present) might also find the Prime Minister amenable on the subject of motor car bans, if he tries hard enough to persuade him.


Xopher said...

Oh come on - it must be a success.
Anne Milton interrogated the most eminent experts in the land and told him it was so.
Amanda assured her there are no downsides.

Have our superiors a mind of their own or do they rent the minds of others?

Bill Gibson said...

Yes, of course the ban has been a great success ... so much so that "Dave" is back on the cigs

So much for the truth coming from our leader !!!

Anonymous said...

MPs have been urged to vote for a total smoke ban or risk pubs up and down the country going out of business.

"The message comes from an unprecedented alliance of the British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) and the British Medical Association (BMA) which have come together to back a total ban on smoking.

The BMA's reasons are obvious but the BBPA is fighting equally hard for a complete ban to prevent customers deserting pubs in favour of private members' clubs where they could continue to light up.

BBPA chief executive Rob Hayward said: "If, as the Government says, this is a health issue, then you cannot pick and choose who should benefit from it - there has to be consistency.

Exempting Britain's 20,000 members' clubs from a ban that affected all pubs would be grossly unfair on the pub trade and make no sense in terms of protecting people from second-hand smoke."

"Unions and public health officers are urging MPs to back a total ban on smoking in public places, including pubs and clubs. The calls come after the government's decision last week to allow Labour MPs a free vote on the smoking ban proposals in the health Bill (Risks 239). The TUC has already called for a ban without exceptions. And last week GMB organiser Mick Ainsley, whose union organises casino workers, said: 'We are writing to all GMB sponsored MPs to remind them that the issue here is not about a smoker's individual choice, it is about the right of workers not to breathe in secondhand smoke.'

He added: 'The vote in parliament will put to the test to what extent the smooth words of the new Tory leader will be translated in to effective action to enhance the health and safety of people who work in the leisure industry.' The Chartered Institute of Environmental Health (CIEH) is urging its members - which include the local authority environmental health officers that would be responsible for enforcing the legislation in leisure facilities - to use their lobbying power to convince MPs to vote for an outright ban on smoking in all enclosed public places and workplaces."

So if you look at it from an MP's view, everyone has got what they asked for.

And it is working, no one is smoking in pubs and there are no exemptions.

This is the bit that doesn't seem to be working quite as well as had been expected after the ban.