Tuesday, 22 September 2015

The UK Government Will Not Stand Up To Brussels

Back in February, this blog urged you to sign up in support of Totally Wicked's legal challenge to the EU Tobacco Products Directive concerning e-cigs. You might be interested to learn that since then over 60,000 have done exactly that.

The court hearing is scheduled for October 1st so if you haven't already done so, please go here and register your objection to what Clive Bates quite rightly calls "this dire piece of legislation". Personally, I'd call it the predictable pile of toxic and destructive horseshit which always results when you get politicians and regulators gathered together in a room, but that's just semantics.

We should wish Totally Wicked the best of luck for October because it's clear that the UK government - despite David Cameron's empty claims of being willing to stand up to Brussels when regulations are wrong for Britain - will just sit idly back and let the directive pass through unopposed.

Further proof came yesterday in the Lords, where it was made perfectly clear that Westminster couldn't give a fig about the wide availability of a variety of e-cigs being compromised by stupid, inappropriate and damaging EU regulations (emphases mine).
Lord Blencathra, Conservative 
To ask Her Majesty’s Government whether they plan to promote the use of e-cigarettes as a replacement for smoking tobacco. 
Lord Prior of Brampton, Conservative 
Electronic cigarettes have the potential to help smokers quit smoking, and the evidence indicates that, for smokers, they are less harmful to health than cigarettes. However, they are not risk free, and therefore they should only be used as a means to help smokers quit. The best thing a smoker can do is to quit completely. 
For those that cannot stop using nicotine completely, or need help not to relapse, National Institute for Health and Care Excellence guidance already promotes the use of harm reduction strategies using a range of nicotine replacement therapies.
You see, it's not enough for Westminster that vapers have quit tobacco, they must quit nicotine too or else they are still 'unclean'. Recreational use of a product, which has so far not cost the taxpayer a penny and presents wholly insignificant health risks, simply cannot be tolerated. Antique and reactionary though it is, "quit or die" is still the prevailing mantra amongst those who govern the country.

It matters not that there have been encouraging noises from government advisers about e-cigs, the fact remains that the UK government is totally unmoved and will happily rubber-stamp the terms of the Tobacco Products Directive in a heartbeat. Anyone hoping that common sense might win the day and Article 20 will be rejected is living in cloud cuckoo land.

Personally, I don't believe the state (or its state-funded minions) should have anything to do with e-cigs whatsoever until politicians recognise recreational use as central to the success of vaping and instructs its departments and agencies accordingly. Lord Prior's response above shows that we are a very long way away from that, and that it will probably never happen. His astounding arrogance in poking his unwanted snobby nose into an industry which is providing hugely popular products with massive potential public benefit - and forcing the government's outdated and uneducated agenda onto it - is quite sickening, to be frank.

So please do go and support the TW challenge by signing up here. Do also go read Clive Bates's article about what else you can do to put pressure on a UK government which - I guarantee you - will not lift a finger while preposterous Brussels-based regulations are installed all over Europe.

If such ridiculous directive terms are allowed to reach our statute book unhindered, it doesn't bode well for any of the other 'renegotiations' David Cameron says he has planned with the EU, does it?

Can we leave yet?

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