Sunday, 10 May 2015

Election Reflections

A few days ago I wrote about how the election may affect the cause of vaping and e-cigs based on evidence from the archives here at Puddlecote Towers. Not particularly forensic, but events since make me fairly optimistic about the future.

E-Cigarette Politics has offered a considered view of how the election changes matters, and I would go along with most of it.
How this affects vapers
Surprisingly, Cons are probably the vapers' best bet. [They] voted 19 out of 20 MEPs against the anti-ecig TPD, and this is a good record for honesty and organisational skills. Lab and Greens have a 3-line whip against vaping and will do whatever they can to ban it in order to protect tobacco tax revenues and pharma profits. 
Essentially this means that we can expect a sympathetic ear when the the new TPD is transposed, though for all practical purposes vaping faces some degree of ban in the UK via restrictive regulation. As the law comes from the EU, the most corrupt political structure in the world, nothing else can be expected. We won't know what degree of ban will be imposed until around 2017 - 2018, when the enforcement structure is finally in place and the regulations are fully enforced. As the Dept of Health is owned by pharma and will control enforcement, we can expect that EU regulations will be enforced to the hilt (ain't that the truth - DP). We can also expect that the anti-vaping regs will get tighter over time, as the pain of lost cigarette sales, lost tobacco tax revenue and lost pharmaceutical sales really begins to hurt. 
Unless, of course, legal challenges to the TPD (Article 20) are successful - in which case everything goes on hold for a while.
This is very true, and it is worth remembering that a key campaign promise of the Conservatives was to rein in some of the excesses of the EU by way of renegotiating terms prior to an in/out referendum in 2017. As such, I'd say that a priority for every e-cig user in the UK who lives in a Tory constituency would be to write to your MP - as in, now - and ask them to have Article 20 kicked into the long grass. The Tories are embarking on this renegotiation with a view to persuading the country to vote in favour of staying in the EU, so make it absolutely clear to them that if the de facto ban on e-cigs goes ahead unhindered, you will be voting OUT in the referendum. If you're unsure how to contact your MP locally, use this website to do it.

Speaking more generally about the election, I was invited to a London election night party where, early on, the talk centred around exactly what kind of socialism and spending other people's money the UK would vote for on the day. But then this flashed up on the big screen TVs to audible gasps of surprise.

Of course, we now know this to have been a cautious estimate and that the Tories took 15 more seats and, with them, a clear majority. Since then, a façade seems to have been broken down.

Politically-correct left-leaning social media had created an aura of inevitability whereby public opinion was on a one-way course to 'progressive' utopia. Everyone was agreed that big business was bad, anyone with a few quid had to be punished, and longevity was the entire point of living. In a yes/no quiz of 5 health spokesman on the Daily Politics, all five were boasting about how they were the best party for nudging/shoving/bullying the public - even the UKIP candidate said he was in favour of a ban on smoking in parks!

On Thursday, to the hilarious disbelief of the left, the British public voted against all of it. The Conservatives have been given a mandate to be truly conservative.

Simon Clark wrote on the eve of the election that ...
In terms of tobacco control and other product regulations the only difference between the Conservatives and Labour is the speed with which the parties regulate. The Tories take a little longer but the direction of travel is the same.
But a week, as they say, is a long time in politics and I'm not sure that holds true considering the events of the past few days. Eric Pickles was widely praised for his declaration that sock puppets would no longer be tolerated, and post-election it appears that Oliver Letwin is on the case more fully.
Oliver Letwin, the Tories' policy chief, has spent the campaign in Whitehall drawing up proposals to merge quangos and slash Government regulation. These are likely to form a key part of the spending review.
Now, I happen to know that Letwin has been made acutely aware of how many headaches his party had had to suffer from its funding the likes of ASH and Alcohol Concern, for example, to attack the government and demand illiberal legislation. In a regime of austerity, it is the simplest decision to turn off the tap and relieve those pressures, especially since the decision of the election jury which effectively rejected lefty top-down finger-wagging tosspottery.

Politics is cyclical and can take a while to about-turn, but the message that was sent on May 7th is that this country isn't that happy with mealy-mouthed righteousness after all. UKIP tore more strips from northern Labour heartlands than they harmed the Tory vote in the South; wherever Labour raised its anti-fizzy drinks, anti-alcohol, pro-tobacco levy heads, they were handed a big fat 'meh'. Wherever the illiberal LibDems posted a candidate, they were ruthlessly humilated. They'll have to go away and think long and hard about what that 'liberal' bit means.

The past decade has been one of intolerant and ugly dictating of others' choices by a hideous clique of self-absorbed and self-deluded bien pensants. As they publicly soul search on Twitter and cry about how they thought they had the country in the palm of their hand before the quiet electorate cruelly stole control away from them (to which the only response is, of course, to throw a tantrum and deface memorials), it should be clear to the new government that they can re-discover the concept of the public being allowed to make their own choices. to be tolerant of what the public choose and to just leave us alone for at least a few years.

Freedom is, after all, quite popular.


jmshigham said...

Classical liberalism - can it reassert itself?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

It would be nice to think so.

Tony Halford said...

I'm afraid that anyone that thinks the Torys are gonna pull back from this kind of authoritarian shit is slightly deluding themselves. The Torys are as much in thrall to big pharma via its donations to the party as labour were. Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

You could be right, and I wouldn't be surprised. But there is a consistent core of 50-100 Tory MPs who are staunchly liberal, with a tiny majority of 12, Cameron is going to need all of them onside. Under the circs, anti-lifestyle stuff will be down the pecking order for a while (I hope).

Jay said...

I'm afraid I can't remember the question, but post-election, in reply to it a Liberal (someone like David Steel) sniffily said that the questioner was confusing liberalism with libertarianism. I still don't know what liberalism is.

truckerlyn said...

I was totally devastated when the final results were in. I had sincerely hoped that some, if not a lot, of common sense would prevail when UKIP won a good number of seats. As has been said, first past the post is not putting the party in charge that the people actually wanted!

Not sure now of the totally correct figures, but I believe one of them was that UKIP had almost as many votes as the whole of Scotland cast, yet Scotland have 50+ seats and UKIP only has 1! How is that ever democratic or representative of what people actually voted for?

I don't trust Cameron, never have, so I reserve opinion until I know a lot more. However, he has upset a lot of ordinary folk already with saying he will take away the right for life of social housing and it could only be for 2 or 3 years! Looks like another 'bedroom tax' kind of move to me - gravely unpopular and very harmful to many people who rely on social housing to try and bring up their children in a decent way.

We really needed a newer and more refreshing input in politics, but sadly we haven't got it and I fear for this country. I had also hoped that with some common sense we might, within the next 5 years, have seen the Great back in britain, but due to the outcome I will not hold my breath!

Labour wrecked this country and the tories did nothing to stop them and in the past 5 years have even continued the demise of our homeland. I don't believe it will improve in the coming 5 years.

Sam Duncan said...

They certainly had more than twice as many (including mine) than the SNP, that's for sure. It's not only that, though: there's now this idea going round that “Scotland” has done X,Y, and Z. No. Fully half of us rejected petty nationalism, and we now have almost no voice in the Parliament our new MPs want to leave.

I've always defended first-past-the-post, but now I'm beginning to wonder. The only consolation is that while the Nats are on course to win another majority in Holyrood next year (elected on a mixed FPTP/party list system), they will have some opposition there. And it could be interesting. I wouldn't bet against UKIP picking up the odd list seat.

As for Cameron, the line at the moment is that the coalition prevented him from pushing real Tory policies, and now he's been let off the leash. We'll see. My impression, going right back to 2010, is that Clegg's more of a classical liberal than he is. (And no, that isn't saying much.)