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.