Sunday 19 May 2013

Norman Lamb: Perfect Example Of The Genre

I enjoyed a news-free day yesterday watching cricket with the boy all day and Eurovision in the evening with both little Ps and a deadly pizza.

Reading back this morning, though, I spluttered over my bacon and eggs reading Simon Clark's revelations about the flip-flopping of Lib Dem Health Minister Norman Lamb.

In camera with a potential voter, he was right on their side.
"I'm Norman Lamb, your MP. Have you voted yet today?" I shook his hand and told him that because of the smoking ban and plain packaging I wouldn't be voting for his party. 
He made clear that he 'respects my opinion' (ie thinks I am wrong). But we chatted on about plain packs and he said, almost verbatim, "I can reassure you that it won't be coming in during this parliament". He made fairly clear that the preference is to wait to see the body of evidence coming from Australia/New Zealand, which he believes will come.
However, Clark then points to a Guardian article where Lamb shows that he was either attempting to strategically manipulate the voter or ... readers of the Guardian.
"MPs from all three parties support this, so I will continue to argue the case for us to act. There could still be an opportunity in this parliament to act and I will argue the case for it," said Lamb.
Shocking, yes. But hardly unexpected. He has form, you see.

This was Norman Lamb saying whatever would get him elected back in 2008 when it was revealed by the Daily Mail that the smoking ban had been followed by a rise in smoking rates.
Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'These are pretty stark figures which demonstrate forcefully that the Government's strategy on smoking has not been successful. 
'It's yet another case of the Government pursuing tough eye-catching initiatives which in the end don't succeed in tackling the real problem.'
Eye-catching initiatives like, perhaps, the tobacco display ban. A law which 'liberal' Norman Lamb strongly objected to while in opposition.
Commenting on today’s ban on the open display of tobacco in shops, Liberal Democrat Shadow Health Secretary, Norman Lamb said: “This is the nanny state going too far. 
“This will hit small businesses with added costs while there is no clear evidence that it will actually reduce the number of young people smoking.
“The Government is obsessed with headline-grabbing gimmicks instead of tackling the real problems."
He later became a member of the government and was part of the Lib Dem contingent which waved the ban through despite the lies provided to parliament which underpinned it.

He has since experienced a Damascene change in attitude, it would seem. Plain packs are, apparently, not "the nanny state going too far" despite "no clear evidence that it will actually reduce the number of young people smoking".

So Lamb is against the smoking ban until he isn't; is against the tobacco display ban until he isn't; and is against legislating on plain packaging without evidence, err, until he isn't.

It all depends on who he is talking to at any particular time. Of course, now he is in government, "eye-catching initiatives" and "headline-grabbing gimmicks instead of tackling the real problems" are his stock in trade. Oh yeah, and lying to the electorate too, natch.

A perfect example of the principle-free 'say anything for a vote' political class and why they are deservedly so despised.


Ivan_Denisovich said...

Perhaps it is current job Dick? It would appear that exposure to the permanent staff over at the DH can corrupt almost anyone. Unfortunately, we do not get the opportunity to elect or to fire the likes of Andrew Black so it doesn't matter who we vote for, they all eventually fall under the evil spell of the unaccountable.

Having said that, Norm does have previous as an advocate of illiberal policies.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

There is, indeed, a good argument for Whitehall staff to re-apply for their jobs after every general election for precisely the reasons you have given. I expect employment law prevents it though, despite natural resistance to change in direction of long worked-upon policies being an obstacle to democracy.

If they were in fear of unemployment or re-assignment, they might be more receptive to doing what the minister demands rather than just carrying on regardless. We might even then see parties being more distinguishable as they were in the past rather than there being barely a fag paper between the three major parties' policy as is currently the case.

Ivan_Denisovich said...

I don't see how democracy can work if unaccountable people are given unfettered control over the information given to whoever we elect. If they are poisonous extremist then their weasel words will infect any government that we vote in and their tenure means that here is nothing that we can do about it.

RooBeeDoo said...

Politicians, we really should stop voting for them, it just encourages them on.

junican41 said...

I'm sure that Ivan and Roo are correct. I have held for some time the views that the REAL government is conducted by 'the professionals' in the departments and that Ministers have very little imput. Ministers have very little option but to accept the advice of 'the professionals', especially when confronted with 'proof' from surveys and studies.
We should be electing 'the professionals' as much as the politicians, as do many American States.

Train Stationer said...

No No No...electing "professionals" is what causes the endemic corruption in the USA......Instead of doing the right thing, they do the right thing to get themselves re-elected

Elections are anti-democratic by nature: MPs should be chosen by lot in the same manner as jury service

Fred Barboo said...

"Deadly pizza"?

Did you know over half of those who use this product in the way it is intended will die as a result? I hope it was behind a shutter, in a plain pack and carried a prominent pictorial health warning.

And, to make matters worse, you ate it in front of children.

Shame on you.

junican41 said...

OK - that then.