It would appear that the issue of smoking lounges at the G20 summit in London next month isn't something Labour or Comrade Beeb want to talk about.
Following this article in the Mail, BBC Radio Five Live had scheduled a piece on the Drive show this evening, but it was dropped.
Now, I'm only guessing, but these possible reasons come to mind.
1) Comrade Beeb couldn't verify the truth of the story.
2) Comrade Beeb couldn't make a 'balanced' story due to non-participation of government or event organisers
3) Comrade Beeb were told to drop it
Regarding 1), the Mail seem quite happy to leave this on their web-site:
But the Foreign and Common Office, who is hosting the event, said it was aware of the smoking rooms and has launched an investigation.
Local authority Newham Council is also looking into the matter as environmental health officers in charge were not aware of the amendment.
Being firmly in the public domain, that evidence would be enough for an investigative broadcaster to at least raise the issue, so that just leaves 2) & 3) - and others mentioned in the Mail piece could be involved in 2)
If 2) was the problem, why were the government, the F&C Office, Newham Council, and the Excel Exhibition Centre all unavailable for comment?
Perhaps it's because if the piece ran, there would be some questions to answer, namely ...
a) Patricia Hewitt said in 2006 that "there is absolutely no safe level of exposure [to second hand smoke]". If that is the case, why are G20 delegates allowed to take their chances, while the rest of us are not?
b) The suggestion of separate smoking rooms for other, less important buildings (or even the Excel Centre on another day) has been dismissed because non-smoking workers would have to enter them for cleaning purposes etc. Are the smoking lounges at the G20 summit magic 'self-cleaning' ones? Likewise, the ones in the EU Parliament and the UN building? If not, the government (and EU and UN) is deliberately harming the health of the cleaners for the sake of their buddies, obviously. (remember, this is the most dangerous gas on the planet we are talking about here. There are safe levels of exposure for every substance known to man, including radioactive materials, but not for second hand smoke)
It's quite clear that they don't want to talk about this, hoping it will just go away. Whichever way one slices and dices it, it screams hush-up.
Admitting that the smoking lounges exist, which they most definitely do, will mean that three courses of action are available (running out of bracketed symbols here).
i) Ban them (actually, they are already banned, so that should read 'rescind the amendment').
ii) Allow the same for all of us.
iii) Do nothing.
It would seem that Labour have chosen iii).
Labour, the 'Do Nothing' party.
Thinking about it, there is a iv). They could admit that the smoking ban is donkey cock legislation ushered in by small-minded bigots who are too cowardly to admit that it's just because they are selfish and don't like the smell; that the clinically-obese Liam Donaldson and his chums are lying the big one about what is really only a negligible risk; that their idealistic cockmongering has contributed to the misery of almost 3,000 pub closures since July 1st 2007; and that this Labour government are the most inept collection of authoritarian cunts the country has ever had the misfortune of being pissed on by since the Palace of Westminster was built ...
... which is much nearer the truth.
UPDATE: ASH are not happy bunnies, I think they believe that a Newham Enviro Officer should stomp in there and slap a £50 fine on Obama. Deluded morons.
Smoking Ban "Amended"
Editorial Note: The Department of Health said "The simple fact is that the Health Act 2006 does not make any exemptions for diplomats or diplomatic events."
The people responsible for the premises (which are enclosed public premises and workplaces and therefore should be smokefree at all times) are responsible for making sure that no smoking takes place. The relevant local authority (Newham) is responsible for enforcement for premises within their borough. Those responsible for this event should be aware that there are no exemptions under the Health Act 2006 for this type of event. If there is a breach of the regulations the local authority enforcement officers will need to consider appropriate enforcement action.