There are exceptions of course, but - by way of example - how about this cute little mini-government chamber in Wales and their debate about the recent suggestion that e-cigs should be banned in public.
Firstly, it goes without saying that not one speaker could allow themselves to even imagine that people should be free to choose to smoke or vape and that it is their business and not the government's, but that's par for the course with politicians. They didn't go into politics to permit you to make your own choices, merely to restrict them.
However, there was a brief glimpse of real liberalism from Lib Dem AM Kirsty Williams who opened with a fantastic Isaiagh Berlin quote.
"Those who have ever valued liberty for its own sake believed that to be free to choose, and not to be chosen for, is an inalienable ingredient in what makes human beings human"Although this was to be a plank of her defence of e-cig use, the freedom love-in quickly dissipated as she described how she was fully in favour of denying publicans the freedom to choose what they allow in their private property, and expressed strong support for plain packaging and your decision to use tobacco or not being chosen for you.
The incredibly flimsy or non-existent 'evidence' behind those measures was fine and dandy for Kirsty, even as she castigated the Labour minister for the incredibly flimsy or non-existent 'evidence' for his absurd proposed e-cig ban.
"No justification for such a ban; no evidence to support such a ban; and indeed such a ban could lead to potential improvements in public health being lost"But hey-ho.
The most unhealthy looking Labour politician I've seen for a while (Diane Abbott excepted) then stood up to tell everyone that all of those assembled were committed to helping the Welsh to be as healthy as possible, and that she doesn't know anything about e-cigs but wants them banned anyway. "We just don't know" she kept repeating, despite the fact that most of us really do know, considering everything in an e-cig has already been tested and declared safe about 50 years ago, and is in common use by around 100% of the population.
The Plaid Cymru member surprisingly also rejected a ban, albeit saying that she'd be gagging to ban them if only someone could come up with some decent junk science, before Tory Byron Davies rose to reject the proposal since restricting a product which is helping smokers to quit or cut down on tobacco would "bring the health bill into disrepute".
So far, so predictable. Labour desperate to ban, ask questions later; Tories pointing to job losses, and that a ban is unwarranted; Lib Dems picking and choosing which liberties their liberalism extends to.
But then up stepped Labour's Mark Drakeford (from 22:08 above), currently the most dangerous man the Welsh people have to face, and founder of this pointless and ill-conceived feast.
Obviously stung by the derisory reception his ridiculous idea has received, and now being asked to produce evidence for it - which was the rationale for the debate - he was in bullish mood. He'd scoured the globe for something - anything - to back him up and judging from his aggressive delivery I think he believes he found it in the form of a succession of desperate logical fallacies.
|I counted seven of these, any advance?|
Now, just think about that for a moment. Here is a politician justifying a Welsh ban on e-cigs because private companies are deciding to do so. How about that for leadership, eh? What's more, he is following their lead because they are taking the lazy and easy option for fear of eye-watering fines dreamed up and installed by - you guessed it - appalling authoritarian tossers like Mark Drakeford. This is the very definition of a circle-jerk, isn't it?
Next came the call to authority ... but only carefully selected ones, of course. All the usual suspects were in there, CRUK, BMA, WHO, PHE and - I shit you not - "all four Chief Pharmaceutical Officers" ... you know, the ones who really like competing gums and patches. There was, of course, no mention of any dissenting bodies such as the RCP or even ASH, probably because their 'expert advice' didn't fit his agenda.
He made his case further for this "modest" demand with an accusation that Lib Dem Williams "in a cavalier manner, dismissed nicotine of being no danger to anybody", presumably in complete ignorance that NICE and the RCP say exactly the same, and that the belief of it being a danger is a widely held one amongst the ill-informed.
Then came his assertion that e-cigs are no better than NRT for helping smokers to quit. In a field of funny excuses from it-looks-like-smoking-so-I-hate-it types, this is by far the most hilarious. You see, at any other time you can ask them about NRT and it is the jewel in the crown of the NHS, but when talking about e-cigs, it is apparently useless so therefore so must e-cigs be. Of course, even this is nonsense anyway, since Drakeford is - predictably - using out-of-date propaganda to push his cause. The truth is that no-one has yet studied the e-cigs that most people use, so his big revelation just illustrates how poor his researchers are.
Next up was the flavours canard proving that he believes the Earth is flat and Welsh adults only to be turned on by essence of dead goat and the taste of dog shit, before he falsely claimed that e-cigs were already banned indoors in the Czech Republic where there is not even a tobacco smoking ban, and that Australia have banned e-cigs entirely when they haven't ... yet.
I've left the best till last, though, but only because Drakeford thinks this is his most persuasive argument without realising that it's the only part he nailed perfectly, and is also his political epitaph.
"Do we want our successors to look back at the debates we are holding today and shake their heads at our inability to see where the evidence was leading"He's absolutely correct. Because politicians of the future - and not that far in the future either - who will see the good place that the evidence led to, will look back on this utter madness and wonder what the hell Drakeford was smoking to let his political career be defined by such piss poor judgement.
It's a quote that vapers worldwide should keep somewhere safe and prominent. You just know it's going to haunt poor deluded (perhaps also manipulated) Mark to his dying day.
PS Drakeford's guff was obliterated by Conservative Darren Millar, vapers might want to follow him on Twitter.