I managed to nip to Manchester last Tuesday to attend the inauguration of the Progressive conservatives - promoting classical liberalism and all fringe conferences that day were held in the aptly named Freedom Zone but, of course, you were not free to smoke. There were many tables there promoting many different organisations and events including Big Brother Watch, Save our Pubs & Clubs – Amend the Smoking Ban, Forest and Christopher Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, A history of Anti-Smoking, to name but a few.
From left to right, Christopher Snowdon, Helen Daniels, Press Officer Freedom2Choose and Barry Connaughton, supporter of F2C.
I took a couple of shaky videos, the first one being a speech by Daniel Hannan MEP, the second is Peter Lilley MP (with a small video at the Beluga Bar when outside having a smoke in the moist Manchester air.) Simon covered the event on his blog Taking Liberties.
The next session - on the rise of the Bully State - was a bit more like it.Another champion of the smoker Vs the government bullies.
Author and former MSP Brian Monteith, who has written a book on the subject, explained how the original "nanny state", which was focused on improving public health, had "mutated" into the Bully State, which was concerned about individual health and would stop at nothing - including using the full force of the law - to get its way.
Smokers were getting a particularly hard time, he argued. They were being deliberately cut off from society, not to protect people but "so that their habit, their choice, can be controlled".
Alcohol and fatty foods would be next, he warned.
And then I read this via Dick Puddlecote’s blog and Taking Liberties:
According to DeHavilland, the political monitoring agency:
Mark Simmonds MP, shadow minister for health.
"Mr Simmonds agreed with Mr Clark that the smoking ban is merely pushing the problem into people’s homes or onto the streets, but said it is a law that no Government would overthrow."
He expressed disappointment that Conservatives did not rally against the smoking ban, insisting the ban has simply pushed smoking onto the streets, with more people outside, creating more litter and increasing noise pollution.
Mr Clark criticised health lobby groups for calling for exclusion zones, where for example in hospitals staff and visitors have been forced off hospital grounds in order to smoke. Many regulations have been counter-productive, he insisted.
‘Passive smoking epitomises the culture of scaremongering,’ Mr Clark argued, adding that research found it is difficult to prove a link between passive smoking and ill-health. Legislation should be in proportion to the risk, he said, as he insisted that health campaigners now want to use the same scaremongering for food and drink.So I don’t hold out much hope for an amendment to the smoking ban experiment after the next election.
THE FIGHT CONTINUES.
Update: Read more from Brian Monteith and Bully State.