Monday, 13 July 2020

Even in a plague year, the idiots are winning

When the COVID-19 outbreak began, I expressed cautious optimism that a genuine public health epidemic would put the nanny state crusade that masquerades as a 'public health' movement back in its box for a while.

That seems less and less likely. In Britain, the government has been only too happy to blame obesity for the relatively high death toll and its preparation for the second wave amounts to telling people to lose weight. The Childhood Obesity Strategy has been dusted down for laws to make us do this.

In South Africa, tobacco and alcohol were banned at the start of lockdown in March. Alcohol was eventually relegalised, but tobacco never was. Unsurprisingly, tobacco prohibition is not an effective anti-Covid measure and South Africa has now had a resurgence of cases. The government's response? Banning alcohol again.

And there are now plans to ban smoking outside. This has always been ASH's dream, but they've never quite found the right excuse. Moves are now afoot in the House of Lords to do this under cover of coronavirus. Baroness Northover says:

“As a result of the pandemic, more and more people are spending time with friends, family and loved ones outside. We must ensure these new pavement areas can be enjoyed by all.”

Unless you smoke.

Regular readers will not be surprised to hear that Northover is a 'Liberal' Democrat, nor that she has been getting assistance from ASH.

Deborah Arnott, the chief executive of Action on Smoking and Health, said: “Making smoke-free status a condition for all pavement licences sets a level playing field for business and the public, and has strong public support, which will make it easy to enforce.”

Ah, the old 'level playing field' argument that levelled the pub industry last time it was used. I swear there are some politicians who won't be happy until the last pub closes.

PS. On the South African prohibitions, it's worth watching this interview with Willie Aucamp, a South African MP.

No comments: