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Friday, 9 October 2009

Beyond the Fringe (Conservative)

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.
015 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.

I don’t know what influence the young Tories will have on the upper echelons of the party if/when they win the election next year but I was bolstered somewhat when I read this:
The next session - on the rise of the Bully State - was a bit more like it.
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.
Another champion of the smoker Vs the government bullies.
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.

Update: Read more from Brian Monteith and Bully State.


Pat Nurse said...

I honestly believe that smokers must vote at the next election with their conscience if this issue really matters to them. If the Cons do not amend the ban, if they win, then it will never be amended because a whole new generation will come to adulthood never knowing what choice on this issue means and they will only know smoke free environments which is the antis ultimate aim - to change culture.

People tell me that if I vote UKIP then I am in danger of getting Lab in again. That will not be my fault, or any other smoker, but the Cons for being too cowardly to state their position on this issue. It is not for voters to change their views to help parties but the parties that must change their policies to suit voters!

A Tory vote at present is acceptance of the ban. They must make themselves clear if they want to win the next election. Smokers must unite and vote UKIP, in my opinion, because it is the only party that treats them with respect and favours choice.

Anonymous said...

Well said Pat - I totally agree.

Anonymous said...

12 million voters should make their point to Cameron and then perhaps he'd listen.
Smokers are their own worst enemy. They really do believe that they are killing people stone dead with 'second habd smoke' They have believed the lies and now are happy to sit back and be dictated to.
They will vote Labour or Tory as usual. And behave like good sheeple.

Andy Davis said...

Before the Tories make clear any intentions to amend the ban, they have to be persuaded that it is the way forward. 14 million smokers saying they would vote UKIP, would do that. But unfortunately that isnt going to happen before the next election. So, the case needs to articulated to them. The effect on the economy, the fact that smoking prevalence has increased, and that there are better alternatives to a blanket ban, for businesses, for smokers, non-smokers, and employees. When you put this alongside the vicious attack on freedom that bans cause, the case can be pretty compelling.

Pat Nurse said...

Well said Andy.

Anonymous - You are right up to a point. However, I believe that most smokers who do believe in SHS feel victimised and see no "harm" in choice. Most non-smokers also feel the same. No one likes the zealots who are the only ones who prefer total control and eradication. Some politicians are these zealots and some are really naieve and have swallowed the powerful minority line. That will be their undoing, eventually.

I also believe it is the job of every one of us to spread the message in a reasonable and calm way in any way that we can. Whether it is a chat with a stranger outside of a pub, a railway station, a bus stop, a cafe, a restaurant, the workplace, or via a blog, forum, comments section, a letter to your MP, MEP, local councillor or PPC.

That, in my honest belief, can only work alongside a committment to change voting habits. I think Cameron, by now and through the efforts of pro-choice lobbyists, already knows how smokers feel but his new "green" tories are gambling that we will be more moved by the main issues of education, crime, healthcare, and other civil liberties to risk voting the hated NuLab back in so he will seek to brush the smoking issue under the carpet ... and then forget about it and let the damage of time end the issue of lifestyle choice once and for all.

The only way he will get the message that this issue really matters is by a mass amount of votes suddenly going to one party and for me that is UKIP. The only one that deserves it.

With 500 candidates standing at the next election, it can win, become the opposition, or even third. That is the only real change we could see after the next election. It could happen. It only needs support and votes.

Anon - if you want that change, make it your own, and get involved. Contact your local branch, offer to help, deliver leaflets and spread the word around. Help with fund-raising, and then at that bus-stop, outside that pub etc... tell those around you to do the same. In doing this, I believe very strongly, that we, the people, can finally take control of not just our lives but also our country.

What have we got to lose? NuLab in again instead of NuTories? There is hardly a fag paper between their policies anyway.

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