Saturday 3 July 2010

Smoking ban will not be reviewed

From the BBC :

'No plans' for smoking ban review

The government has dropped a planned review of the smoking ban in England.

The previous Labour administration had promised it would be looked at again in autumn 2010, but the coalition says it has "no plans" to do so.

Publicans - who feared a review would extend the ban into beer gardens and doorways, damaging trade - backed a campaign to partially lift the ban.

What can we make of this? A three year review was promised on several occasions but earlier this year it became crystal clear that the Department of Health was in no mood to carry out a genuine review (ie. with the possibility of the law being relaxed in the light of ASH's broken promises).

On the contrary, the review seemed set to open the door to even greater restrictions. (It was always absurd the have the DoH review it anyway since it was DoH-funded groups like ASH who campaigned for a total ban in the first place.)

In that context, The Publican is taking the cancellation as a sign that even if things do not get better for the pub trade, at least they will not get significantly worse.

As the BBC points out (in a fairly balanced article, albeit buried deep in their website):

The issue remains controversial with the public - with calls for the ban to be reversed among the most popular suggestions on a new government website, Your Freedom, asking the public for ideas on which existing laws and regulations should be repealed.

Ah, the Your Freedom website! Now up and running, it has already fallen victim to the ignorant, the illiterate and the mentally deranged, as well as the large chunk of the British public who don't take these things entirely seriously. Various people seem unable to come to terms with the idea of a UK government repealing laws and instead have suggested yet more stupid pieces of legislation to bring in. No doubt David Miliband has been taking notes.

It's worryingly difficult to tell the spoof suggestions from the sincere. Amongst the gems so far...

I think that all Baked Beans served in Europe should be made by Heinz.

Cyclists should be insured and carry a registration plate

Why should criminals be incarcerated in prisons in this country. We could buy land in Africa and put the offenders there.

Impose a 100% 'environmental' tax on all fireworks sold

Ban drinking in pubs. This will cut down on anti social behaviour. Make them all drink tea instead.

Smokers & Obese Pay For Respatory [sic] Related Illnesses on NHS. I take care of my body and its hard work. I don’t see why I should pay for people who don’t do the same.

dont ell [sic] me how to disipline my kids. iwas [sic] smacked it has not hurt me any.

Invade France. Lets face it, it will be easy enough won't it? Lets just send half a dozen troops over on EuroTunnel and watch the french try to surrender to them as soon as they arrive.

Abolish unemployment.

Get rid of all landlords. Everyone should own their home.

Maximum 20 mins work then a break at school. Students only expected to work for 20mins before having a 5 min break at school

Finally, and inevitably...

Removal of pointless government websites

To better use taxpayers' money, the government should close down all of its websites that function merely as talking shops, since they are a waste of server space and everyone's time. Asking people what laws they want changed is an open invitation to waffle at length about things of which we have little understanding. All that happens is that people are conned into thinking they have a stake in the decision-making process. They don't. This is a waste of everyone's time.

Wouldn't it be better if - instead of participating here - people went back to work and did something to help the economy?


JJ said...

The problem with idiots leaving their crap all over this new website is that it may mask genuine concerns that many people have about certain laws that they feel should be the vindictive smoking ban.

Michael J. McFadden said...

I agree with JJ about the crap drowning the real. I've known Antismokers who call it "increasing the noise to signal ratio" used as a deliberate tactic.

Re the review: it's clearly being dropped because the Antis fear the outpouring of public displeasure with it that would accompany review and probable result in the acceptance of either ventilated smoking rooms becoming commonly acceptable or even the possibility of pubs setting aside certain hours as being "Over 18 only" and allowing smoking.

If the review continues to be withheld I think pubs should take it simply as a sign of the government operating unlawfully. True, they may not be doing so in a technical sense, however given their lack of commitment to the platform laid out several years ago, and then an outright breaking of a second promise (the promise for review) I think that pub owners would be within their rights to act as a unified group in declaring a switch in operations to a "reasonable compromise" (such as either of the ones described above.)

The problem you would face however is the fact that thousands of pubs, those who would have protested the loudest and shown the most spine in leading a protest (since their backs were so clearly to the wall and even a rat will fight when it's cornered) have already been destroyed. It's as though the enemy army fooled everyone with an armistice while quitely poisoning all the crack troops on the other side.

Michael J. McFadden

PT Barnum said...

Yes, the danger is that the real intent gets swamped by the banmeisters and the hang-em-high brigade. I have seen some items which are wholly appropriate and entirely new to me, like the fact that collectors of old penny arcade machines need a £6k licence under the terms of the last Gambling Act, as well as the more substantial issues about RIPA, CCTV, photography, 'extreme' pornography and, of course, smoking. Where this site is drawing in the expertise and experience of individuals, who have encountered stupid legislation most of us have not been effected by, it is working well. But the moderation process is seriously underwhelming.

DaveA said...

I am not entirely convinced this review has been dropped. John Tilley a civil servant at the Department Of Health and working for "Tobacco Control" in March 2010 told me he was organising it,

Michael maybe right in that the public demand for an amendment maybe so great they may have dropped the idea. The signals from Lansley the Health Secretary about people taking responsibility for their own health a signal to the DoH that the Con Lib coalition would seriously consider an amendment and most importantly they are not running the show for Labour ministers to rubber stamp.

I am trying to get access to the government to present our case and will report back.

DaveA said...

It also strikes me that this maybe an advantage if true that there will not be a review, as the Health Ministry will not be getting a whole host of new recommendations for further restrictions.

Though they may try at the end the day it is elected politicians that make laws not government remunerated clerks.

Anonymous said...

As long as the anti ban campaign
is primarily web based it will
get nowhere. The vast majority of
social smokers by their very nature are not ,googlers,twitterers
blog readers,facebookers or digital
Simple question,of the 11 million smokers, how many read a blog or
website in a week, .001%,.01%,1%

My answer,,,,,,,,, .001%
1 in a 1000
Saving bats has more activists
Just a suggestion
ALL campaigns to join together.
publish together,print together,
distribute together.
Lets be honest if any group objects to this,we should start to ask their true motives.

Neo Goths

Witterings from Witney said...

Chris, A tad trusting to expect the present mob to agree to a review of the smoking laws - they are after all, politicians!

As an aside one does have to wonder if "the ignorant, the illiterate and the mentally deranged" are in effect the "large chunk of the British public who don't take these things entirely seriously" - and not just on the smoking issue either!

Another aside - working my way through the 'Spirit Level' - damn good read and well done you!

Mark @ Israel said...

It's really inevitable that there are people who will make outrageous and hilarious comments on what they want government to do in that website. Not all people are thinking for the welfare of everyone. Most would be giving opinions based on what they want for themselves. Though, there are serious ideas outthere and those are the ones that should be taken into consideration by the government.