Monday, 10 October 2016

Enough Already!

On Thursday, obsessed anti-smoking MP Alex Cunningham will be demanding that the government bully smokers even more than they already do.

Cunningham is the same MP who initiated the ban on smoking in cars which has been such a massive waste of time that the police say they're not interested and which has done the square root of fuck all for the health of the nation. It's such a balls-up that he should be hanging his head in shame for wasting our taxes on such an illiberal and barmy idea.

It is also the same Cunningham who vehemently objected to Channel 4 coming to film in his constituency for their Benefits Street programme.  He professed at the time to be sensitive to his constituents' concerns but it became clear during the show that the ones he was apparently worried about in front of the TV cameras had never seen the berk in their street before. He turned up just to give himself some airtime and got a flea in his ear from the residents for his trouble.

Perhaps if he spent more time visiting them and not wasting his efforts on an irrational hatred for smokers he may be better regarded.

Still, he's going to continue being a one-eyed waste of parliamentary space on Thursday, which is a bit stupid considering the public think his kind should just stop being arses.

Forest released a report today that points out what most people outside of the Westminster bubble already knew; the public are just not interested in anti-smoking rhetoric any more. Here are some takeaways from the polling.
The public overwhelmingly believe the government has more pressing priorities than tackling smoking – investing in new doctors and nurses, for example.
There is no appetite for additional tax rises on tobacco products – a huge majority believe that tobacco duty is already about right, too high or far too high.
A significant majority of the public believe that purchasing illegal tobacco is an understandable response from consumers faced with the high cost of tobacco products.
Measures to restrict smoking in outdoor public places such as parks and beaches have no popular or scientific legitimacy and would be hard to police.
Following a dramatic fall in the number of people using NHS stop smoking services a significant majority of the public believe there should be a review of how these services are funded.
A majority of the public believe the government’s tobacco control policies should be independently reviewed and should not be driven by taxpayer-funded lobby groups.
Almost a decade since smoking was banned in pubs and clubs in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, and ten years since smoking was prohibited in Scotland’s pubs and bars, a majority of the public believe that pubs and private members’ clubs, including working men’s clubs, should be allowed to provide a well-ventilated designated smoking room to accommodate smokers.
More than half the public also believe that actors should be allowed to smoke on stage and screen when smoking is integral to the plot or characterisation of the play they feature in
It is most encouraging to note from the report that, still, there is not a majority in favour of the kind of smoking ban we have had forced on us. 

Despite what state-funded tax-spongers like ASH like to pretend, this has always been the case. There was no majority of public opinion in favour in 2006, nor in 2010, and there still isn't. It shouldn't come as a surprise. Despite an avalanche of propaganda, the public are clever enough to know they are being lied to and more people than not don't believe the hype.

It won't stop extremists like Cunningham from carrying on displaying their single issue contempt in public, though, because that's just what his brand of prodnose do. Even though there is little appetite for further smoking restrictions amongst the public, he's going to waste scarce resources on Thursday blathering on about the subject once again anyway. 

Perhaps, instead, Cunningham should spend more time talking to the people in Kingston Road in his constituency about the issues that they actually worry about rather than using his exalted and highly-paid position in parliament to pursue his own personal prejudices. Just a thought. 

You can read the Forest report here

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