Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Welsh Minister Confirms It's Never Been About Health

He may, to borrow a phrase, have the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk and the analytical thinking skills of a mackerel, but I suppose I should be thanking this creature today.

A provincial pratt, pictured recently
You see, he has helped to categorically prove my long-held assertion that smoking bans have never, ever, had anything whatsoever to do with health.

From the BBC:
Wales could be the first part of the UK to ban the use of electronic cigarettes in enclosed public places. 
Ministers say they are responding to concern that the devices - which can contain nicotine - normalise smoking and undermine the smoking ban.
Health Minister Mark Drakeford (that's him up there - DP) said the aim was to address some of the nation's major public health challenges. 
"I have concerns about the impact of e-cigarettes on the enforcement of Wales' smoking ban. That's why we are proposing restricting their use in enclosed public places."
Concerns? Have you any proof, Mark, that e-cigs have any impact at all on enforcement? Wouldn't that be a prerequisite for installing illiberal legislation? Because I'm damned if I've ever read an article, anywhere, describing even one instance.
"I am also concerned that their use in enclosed public places could normalise smoking behaviour."
Err, wasn't the smoking ban solely and exclusively to prevent the huge piles of barmaids' bodies piled up in every town centre of a weekend due to second-hand smoke? That is, after all, the only possible justification for stealing private property rights outside of a fascist dictatorship, isn't it? In fact, the only argument which every politician pointed to as he/she ripped the guts out of the British pub trade a few years ago.

Back then, we were told over and over again that it wasn't an attempt to force smokers to quit; not an attempt to interfere in freedom of choice. Oh no, nothing could be further from the truth! This was purely a health matter, and certainly not social engineering or pandering to the selfish, intolerant and anti-social in society.

Has there been a load of debate today about how harmful second-hand e-cig vapour is to pub workers (who have no choice whatsoever but to work in a pub, of course)? Nope, not even a polite nod towards it. Was there even full and frank discussion about how people are dying from using e-cigs themselves? Well what do you think?

This would be because there is no smoking ban in the world which was designed to protect bar workers. Every single one was sold that way, yes, but was purely to bully and cajole smokers into quitting because 'public health' rent-seekers and politicians are nasty little control freaks who think they know what is best for us. Simples.

So thank you, Mark Drakeford, you lovely man, for giving us incontrovertible proof that it's not about health. When a policy is so ludicrous that even ban-friendly Guardian readers variously describe the proposer as muppet, twerp, paranoid, bonkers, idiot, dullard, plank and loon, it's clear that your fallacious reasoning is embarrassingly transparent and that the carefully-constructed lies have been rumbled.

Still, he's doing exactly as the unelected WHO has decreed for e-cigs so there'll probably be a generously-paid cushy job for him in the future. And that - not the public, not liberties and not wise governance - is the only thing which really interests modern politicians, isn't it?

UPDATE: This Drakeford guy is even more stupid than I first thought. Responding to the suggestion that banning vapers from using e-cigs indoors and instead banishing to the smoking area means they will encounter that horrid passive smoke, he came out with this!
"Of all the arguments that could be made against the idea of preventing the use of e-cigarettes in enclosed public spaces, I think that would be amongst the weakest I have ever heard. There is no obligation on anybody using an e-cigarette to go and use one next to someone using a conventional cigarette. They can use it anywhere else that they choose to use it. In their own homes, wherever else they might want to use it."
Yes, he really said that, scroll to 1:09:00 at BBC Radio Wales.


Simon Thurlow said...

It was telling that even Deborah Arnott (she of ASH fame and fortune) could not, and did not, defend Drakeford's position when she was on Radio 5 Live this morning (you can listen to her on iPlayer) !!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I think she is one of the few in tobacco control to realise that this stance against e-cigs is so transparently ludicrous that people are starting to notice what rancid tossers her kind are.

That's something else I've written about many times and predicted would happen. In some ways, totalitarian nonsense like Drakeford's will be helpful in encouraging thousands more people to despise tobacco control. ;)

castello said...

fartknocker! Nicely written

lleweton said...

Yes, Simon, I heard that programme, or most of it. I was surprised at how balanced it was, as it seemed to me, That's not something I have come to expect from the mass media. NIcky Campbell - and I don't know him - has demonstrated in many programmes a gift for insight, empathy and fairness.

A5 west said...

Oh for heavens sake ,ladies and gentlemen lets get some hard reality on the table. Smoking bans,vaping bans,who is to blame? Why have we still got one with another on the way. Do we expect the tutting Taffs to storm down the valleys to storm their druid infested Assembly,did we expect the prattling Picts to barricade the Edinburgh Supreme Soviet or the Riverdance Paddies to
have a jig outside the Dail and lastly the Pansy English to do a jilted Morris Dance on Westminster Common. Not on your Aunt Nelly. From the four corners of the Kingdom an emptiness of endeavour,a vacuum of valour,a drought of heroes,a total lack of bollocks.
How green was their valley?

Rob F said...

I'm asthmatic (not an antsmoker, though - I even smoke myself), and I've heard that one of the ingredients in e-cigs is propylene glycol, which I've been inhaling for years in my salbutamol inhalers. Consequently, I am feeling distressed and insecure about my future health.

Are my inhalers going to be withdrawn? If so, then who do I sue for stress? Big Pharma?

David Pimborough said...

I think Drakeford is tossing this one on the table to draw attention away from the appalling state of the NHS in Wales under his watch

The Peoples Soviet Republic of Cymru really does need get rid of the labour/plaid cymru nanny state

Furor Teutonicus said...

WHAT is an "enclosed public space?" My local park was about three square miles, but it had a wall and fence around it. SURELY "an encloseed public space????"

John Gray said...

To paraphrase Nigel Farage, Drakeford looks like a low grade bank clerk and, most certainly, he has the charisma of a damp rag - another tinpot politician in a small country trying to appear big. What a fuckhead!

Alx said...

as a smoker, i can tell you i would have quit years ago if not for the nosy, self-important twats that want me to. every time one tells me i should quit (usually with a pint or a burger in their hand) i pledge another 6 months of smoking and if i die young, i will die proud that i didnt become one of them

Pat Lane said...

I have just emailed Mr Drakeford and expressed my concerns to him. his site is http:\\ and you can message him through his 'get in touch page'. his email (just in case he doesnt see his 'get in touch' page) is
i tried phoning him but he was engaged (029 2089 8724)
JC-Vape inform me there is no finished scientific study on e-cig's or vaping as yet, so i asked Mr Drakeford to disclose his information for putting the changes forward.

Regards. Pat Lane.

theprog said...

No, and neither will licensed nicotine inhalers be banned in public enclosed spaces. Well, not unless they want to denormalise asthmatics and wannabe quitters.

theprog said...

Yep, unintentional consequences. It's become quite surreal.

(Sorry - just down voted you by mistake, but voted up as well...)

Offa said...

We hope someone is keeping an eye on the Welsh Windbags life style in the next few years as the rewards for anti smoking rants seem to far outstrip
political reimbursement........Beth ynddo ar ei gyfer
Review time.
Vaping cost to Exchequer (Per Annum) £ 2.372,500,000.0p
Tax loss on tobacco sales
( £2.37 BILLION
Loss to tobacco companies £1,423.500,000 (£1.42 BILLION)
Loss to Pharma/Chemist/Medical/Expert Cartel (Estimate) £1.6 BLLION
So, no surprise the bounty hunters are in full cry in pusuit of the fuming foxes
and vaping vermin.
As for Taff he will probably hide down a shut down pit wating for another
Arthur or Glwyndower

Furor Teutonicus said...

Moment people... Last year someone tried to get me thrown off the U-Bahn for taking SNUFF!

They SERIOUSLY thought it was a "banned substance."

When you are talking to such dead heads as that, what chance do we stand?

Adam Haseman said...

Deborah Arnott's piece starts around 19:50. Also there is a nice ding dong between two callers around 49:35.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

I second that emotion, it's something I hear often from our drivers.

Politicians and health lobby berks fail miserably to understand that smokers, by the very fact that they are smokers, are already the type of people who don't react well to doom-laden scaremongery. It's no surprise that reductions in smoking prevalence were dramatic when smokers were being spoken to in a civil fashion ... once the hysteria, nagging and bullying became the norm, the declines tailed off.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Bravo, Pat!

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Ignorance of the public combined with mission creep from local authoritarians will always have that effect. I spent about 20 minutes a couple of weeks ago trying to convince an otherwise nice enough guy that smoking rooms are NOT against the law in hotels.

Tony said...

Don't be fooled by Nicky Campbell, he's as fake as a 2 dollar bill. Every single presenter on BBC 5 Live to one extent or another follows a set dictat. That's part of the reason why the BBC is in such a state.

Guest said...

Sugar will be banned next. You have to make do with carcigenic sweetners instead

truckerlyn said...

Exactly the point I was going to make! I guess everything EXCEPT the Nicorette Inhaler will be banned though. How totally transparent will that be? Wonder how long it will take the anti non smokers to wake up to the BIG CON?