Thursday, 11 June 2015

History Beckons For Drakeford

Life looks like it might soon get sticky for the most dangerous man in Wales.

As I wrote on Tuesday, Mark Drakeford's blind ignorance about vaping has led him to propose banning e-cigs in Welsh public (or, as most people know them as, private) places. It's an absurd suggestion and is one made without any evidence to back it except spite and extreme lemon-sucking puritanism. He may as well have delivered his media interviews wearing a big black hat with a buckle on it and proposed banning Christmas into the bargain.

The problem he has is that his Public Health Bill will be voted on in its entirety - meaning that if one part of it is so objectionable that it is rejected, the whole thing will fail - and his bluff is being called on e-cigs.

That's minimum pricing for alcohol gone; a tobacco retailer register gone; tattoo parlour licensing gone; the lot. And all because he believes the proven liars, incompetent morons and comical cranks in the BMA. It's not exactly political brilliance that Plaid Cymru have noticed this and their AM Elin Jones is lining up her boot to kick him up his corpulent backside.
The National Assembly now needs to consider all of the evidence that relates to the effect of e-cigarettes on public health, most of which is newly-emerging. E-cigarettes are used widely by people who are trying to give up smoking, so we should be very careful not to halt that trend. We cannot risk these people reverting to tobacco cigarettes from e-cigarettes. 
The Health Minister must now set out clearly what evidence there is to prove that a ban on using e-cigarettes will have a beneficial impact, and I will be seeking for the Health Committee to take the widest possible range of evidence on this before coming to its conclusions. Public health legislation must be reserved for measures where there is incontrovertible evidence that public harm is being done.
Well, there's no incontrovertible evidence in favour of the passive smoking myth either but let's set that aside for now. The salient attack in Jones's approach is the part about asking that "the widest possible range of evidence" must be considered. The problem for Drakeford is that he has nothing in his corner except junk and innuendo, and his opponents possess an embarrassment of riches.

His justification rests on three planks. But to the charge that e-cigs renormalise smoking, evidence proves that smoking rates are declining regardless; to his charge that e-cigs provide a gateway into smoking, all evidence points the other way; and to the charge that there might be a risk of passive vaping, tobacco control dinosaurs have searched for 12 years and can't even fabricate a case. There is, however, a top level Cochrane Review saying that evidence to date indicates that e-cigs are a boon for public health.

If all evidence is, indeed, considered, Drakeford is toast and so is his Public Health Bill unless the poisonous wank bag climbs down and drops his indefensible e-cigs ban. Politics is like that, it punishes dickheads.

Sadly for Drakeford, this may well send a big message to the Scots that they would be incredibly stupid to listen to their provincial ill-informed idiots about vaping, and that to do so might involve picking up a spade to dig their own political grave. It would enter the political dictionary as "doing a Drakeford", as in being so consumed by dogmatic ignorance as to ridicule yourself for future generations.

You may remember that in May last year Drakeford made an impassioned plea that his insanity should be respected.
"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"
It is delicious irony that if all the evidence is indeed presented to the Health Committee, there is only one way that the evidence is leading, and that is towards abject failure for Drakeford and for history to record it as such.

At which point, future successors to Drakeford will look back at the debates, press releases and media interviews he has held in the last year or so and shake their heads at how such a brainless chimp managed to reach high office in Wales.


Simon Thurlow said...

Good write up Dick, and I do agree that Drakeford is taking a massive gamble with what he is doing around eCigs.

I would be surprised if eCigs stopped the whole Public Health Bill. I
am expecting that he is going to come under much pressure when the Bill
undergoes scrutiny at the HSCC. You have already pointed out what Elin
Jones has said. Kirsty Williams is also highly critical of the measures
on eCigs (her Lib-Dem party have even launched a petition that all vaper
should sign). The Cons have also heavily criticised the eCig, though through their Welsh Leader - Andrew RT Davies - this time.

is in for a very uncomfortable ride as the Bill undergoes HSCC
scrutiny. It is here that eCigs must be taken out of the Bill. A host of
learned scientists are waiting to attack his stance on eCigs.

in England, several of his Labour colleagues have also spoken out and
openly criticised his stance on eCigs. The cracks are appearing and his
position is becoming more and more tenous.

I do agree he has
taken a political gamble and that it 'could' bring him down. He does,
however, have the full support of the First Minister - Carwyn Jones.
That may be his saving grace. However, we all know how backstabbing the
political game can be when the chips are down so who knows ?

I will disagree with you on one thing though.

eCigs are still in the Bill by the time it is given back to the
Assembly in Feb/March 2016, then I think we will end up with an eCig
Ban. There is much in the Public Health Bill that all the parties agree
on. Would they vote against the Bill just because they don't agree on
the eCig Ban ? I am not so sure. Just think back to the TPD vote in the
EP. Many politicians did not agree with the eCig measures there either,
but as they agreed with the rest of the content, they approved it. I
can see that happening in Wales too.

Our best hope is to get
eCigs removed while the Bill goes thru scrutiny at the HSCC. It is there
that the Call For Evidence will come, and it is there that any
amendments to the Bill can be made. Including removing eCigs altogether.

I think we can win this battle ? Damn right I do. It's game on and the
next 3-4 months are gonna be a hell of a ride. As you point out in your
article, the evidence is all on our side. The truth will out.

Let battle commence :-)

castello said...

Nothing about us without us!

castello said...

#itsnotabouthealth Time to go after them!

Mark Magenis said...

This has the potential to set the agenda for how the TPD is implemented.
It's the best litmus test so far on who has what support.
So far Westminster has managed to keep things relatively low key,
With a bit of luck, and constant pressure, this single issue could be
Our line in the sand.

Norbert Zillatron said...

Unfortunately, in the TPD there is not much leeway towards rhyme and reason.

Mark Magenis said...

One of the big issues, leek free filling, something the industry itself would have done if it was possible. How do you impose the unachieveable when youarereonsable for its design. The only way is to reach a compromise, good enough......

Norbert Zillatron said...

Or simply demand the utterly impractical. Then wipe away all refillables for not conforming.

PigTobacco will love the regulaterminators.

Mike Loftus said...

"regulaterminators."? That's a term that'll catch on ....

jmshigham said...

How's the overall climate of opinion though on it? Will the bans be repealed?

Zarniwoop said...

Not just e-cigs Drakeford is a complete numpty


Even the head of the Betsi Cadwallader NHS Trust moved from Conwy to London because she couldn't get the correct cancer treatment on this chump's watch.