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Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Government loses itself in its own fog

The mess that the Government has got itself into over a smoking ban in England is entirely of its own making. Whilst Ministers argued amongst themselves they forgot the golden rule of any reform, if it is not based on clear and unequivocable principle then it becomes shabby and indefensible.

It is tempting to say that the muddle we are now being presented with has been cobbled together in smoke-filled rooms by Ministers who thought that they were acting in the best interests of the public but who, in their desire to avoid being accused of implementing a nanny state, have achieved just that. Instead of introducing a smoking ban in workplaces so as to protect the health and safety of workers they are reduced to justifying their proposals in terms of restricting the liberties of smokers.

Any legislation that continues to allow smoking where people work cannot be anything to do with health or safety. Unless the Government relent then the new legislation will be picked apart, firstly in Parliament and then in the Country at large as landlords and others drive a coach and horses through its loopholes and its unenforceability.

The criticism that the Government will receive from the medical profession is totally deserved. A ban in New York City has cut smoking by 15 per cent in two years. A total workplace ban in Ireland has proven to be an overwhelming success. Scotland has opted for the same, whilst Northern Ireland and Wales will soon follow. The New Labour Government have not just left England out on a limb but have made themselves a laughing stock in the process.
i read on the bbc that the assembly was to be given its own powers with regard to smoking ban

i hope that you will be pushing for a total ban in all public spaces.
I think a total ban on fun in public spaces miight be on the cards too. Why might the "country at large" be inclined to "drive a coach and horses" through this legislation I wonder?
I have always advocated a total ban. My comment actually was that "landlords and others" will "drive a coach and horses through its loopholes and its unenforceability." That is different to the "country at large"
"I have always advocated a total ban."

How very liberal of you Peter!

I have to breathe carbon monoxide from cars everyday on my way to work (I am a cyclist who doesn't own a car). Perhaps we should ban internal combustion engines in public places too?
David, you seemed to have missed the point both about Liberalism and about smoking. I support a ban on smoking in work places to protect the rights (and the health of workers). There are more than one set of rights at stake here.

The purport of this post is that this is the only sort of ban that can be justified otherwise Government is failing those workers whilst getting itself into a twist on civil liberties. In other words the current proposals for England are not based on principle.

Liberalism is not about a licence to do what you want. It is a recognition that rights are accompanied by responsibilities and that one of the roles of Government is to help to maintain that balance.
How can any Government send our sons and daughters to fight and die in wars,illegal or otherwise,in the name of Liberty,Civil Rights and Freedom,whilst ,at exactly the same time,take those ideals away from our law abiding smoking British public...(the smoking of cigarettes is legal..isn`t it?)..
It is the most disgraceful law , since the NAZI government first brought it in...
For the first time in my 59 year old life,I`m ashamed to be British....
Terry Garrington.
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