Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Nanny staters trike again!

Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt will vote for a complete ban on smoking in pubs and clubs in England when MPs vote on the plan
They've decided to have a free vote because a lot of backbench MPs and the NuLabber in charge want a complete ban. Speculation is it may pass because a lot of MPs on all sides want to protect us from ourselves.

Including, I'm now told, the Lib Dems, who have it as a manifesto pledge. Hmm...
Too many of our most worthy and well-meaning activists are Roundheads, while Liberal Democrats should be the Cavaliers of British politics. The party of John Stuart Mill has become prohibitionist. Transplanted to 1920s Chicago, it might easily pass a conference resolution banning alcohol'
Or, in this case, banning smoking in private property, even if everyone present is a smoker. It's for our own good donchaknow. I don't smoke. Filthy habit. But many of my friends do, and I chose whether to go to pubs with them that allow smoking or not. So, our MPs want a complete ban do they, including the Lib Dems? Forceful and Moderate thinks Ming may change that; perhaps he's not so merciless? He could always adopt the LDYS policy, which seems like a much more sensible compromise:
Conferences notes:

1. The policy passed at Federal Conference in Southport committing us to a ban on smoking in public places.
2. That we are a socially liberal Party.

Conference believes:

1. That passive smoking is dangerous and constitutes direct harm.
2. That people should have the freedom of choice to decide whether to enter a smoky environment.
3. That individuals should have the freedom to decide whether to allow smoking on their property.

Conference therefore proposes that:

1. Publicly and privately owned businesses and services should be able to apply for smoking licences. These would be similar in nature to alcohol licences and should be granted only if the owner can prove that their venue has adequate ventilation.
It appears some sort of control is inevitable, 'for our own good' of course. If there are going to be controls, why not allow businesses that want to allow smoking to continue to do so if the workers health is protected?

No, wait, that would be sensible. Bloody nanny staters. Still, at least Blair's position is clear:
as with previous issues which had had a free vote, the Prime Minister would not signal his position in advance because he believed it was important that people were not overly-influenced by his position...the PMOS said that this was an issue on which, as the Prime Minister had always said, there was a difficult balance to be struck. There was the balance between the rights of non-smokers and the rights of smokers. There were also practical issues.
Anyone know what Cameron's Conservatives plan to do on this one?

No comments: