Monday, 3 September 2018

Is Barnsley The Doziest Council In The Country?

With councils squealing about 'austerity' and 'savage cuts' at every opportunity, the BBC reported yesterday on a vital public service being promoted by Barnsley Borough Council.
Smoke-free zones are set to be introduced outside 80 primary schools in Barnsley. 
The move is an extension of a council scheme which has already been implemented in the town. 
Each of the schools will be given signs, letters to send to parents and "tool kits" to help staff set up the zones around the premises. 
Kaye Mann, senior health improvement officer, said: "The aim is to make smoking invisible to children."
So it's a council scheme, is it? Because that's not what was conveyed to the media in May
ABOUT 150 children staged a peaceful protest imploring parents not to smoke near their school kick-starting a project to make smoking ‘invisible’ to school children across Barnsley.  
Pupils from Laithes Primary at Athersley South linked arms to form a chain on front of the school’s entrance, waved placards and shouted chants at the event on Wednesday - some even took to the megaphone. 
Yep, it was all the kids' doing, even down to the professionally printed banners. They bought those out of their pocket money, natch. 

Let's leave aside for a moment the vile manipulation of children here - completely oblivious to how it must make kids with parents who smoke feel to see their loved ones treated like that - and look at what Barnsley is actually doing. Because, as is quite obvious, it's fuck all to do with the kids, and not really anything to do with health either. 

Mawsley of POTV has been asking the council some searching questions.
Planet of the Vapes contacted Barnsley Council for comment. 
A spokesperson told us: “It's not an outright ban, more of a request, but yes, vaping is included."
So it's the usual 'voluntary ban' which I hope many will completely ignore. And erm, why is vaping included? 
"We want to encourage a smoke free generation and make all smoking invisible to children so they don't see it as a regular adult behaviour.”
If every kid at that school took up vaping at 18, they would still be "smoke free". Don't Barnsley get that? 

Well of course not. Because Barnsley Council is run by utter morons, as we can see from last year's Freedom to Vape survey of local authority policies on vaping in the workplace. 

Barnsley was one of the most committed councils in the country to ensure that smokers don't switch to e-cigarettes instead. 
Whilst the Council acknowledges PHE's statements that e-cigarettes carry a fraction of the risk of cigarettes; have the potential to help drive down smoking rates; improve public health; and help to denormalise smoking; and accept that current evidence indicates that the risk to the health of bystanders from exposure to e-cigarette vapour is extremely low, the use of e-cigarettes in the workplace: 
- Is a matter of professional etiquette and projection of a clean and healthy image for our premises
- May lead to ‘lookalikes’ (e-cigarettes made to resemble cigarettes) being misconstrued as cigarettes
- May have an impact on public perception of the Council and its employees
- May affect people with asthma and other respiratory conditions who can be sensitive to a range of environmental irritants, which could include e-cigarette vapour
- May be a distraction for those vaping and also a nuisance or distraction for people nearby
- Would be contrary to the Council’s aim of inspiring a ‘smokefree generation’ in the borough 
The council also requires vapers (and smokers) to remove their Council ID card and lanyard so they cannot be immediately associated with the Council. Employees are not allowed to vape (or smoke) whilst wearing a council uniform.
OK, they are quite entitled to set their own vaping policies, however retarded they might be. And Barnsley's is one of the most jaw-droppingly ignorant in the country. But none of those barrel-scraping excuses justifications above have any bearing outside of schools. 

Now, remember that only a couple of weeks ago the government's Science and Technology Committee made this recommendation
Many businesses, public transport providers and other public places do not allow e-cigarettes in the same way that they prohibit conventional smoking. But, there is no public health (or indeed fire safety) rationale for treating use of the two products the same. There is now a need for a wider debate on how e-cigarettes are to be dealt with in our public places, to help arrive at a solution which at least starts from the evidence rather than misconceptions about their health impacts.
The Government's Tobacco Plan - subtitled "Towards a Smokefree Generation", yes the same words used by the cretins up in Barnsley - aspires to "help people to quit smoking by permitting innovative technologies that minimise the risk of harm". and Public Health England says "e-cigarette use is not covered by smokefree legislation and should not routinely be included in the requirements of an organisation’s smokefree policy"

Yet Barnsley Council is blissfully unaware of any of this. Here's what their bone-headed council lead said on the subject. 
Cllr Jim Andrews, Cabinet Spokesperson for Public Health, said: “We want to ensure smoking becomes almost invisible to protect children’s health. Children and young people are influenced by adult behaviour and are less likely to start smoking if they do not view it as a normal part of everyday life."
So why are you 'banning' devices that smokers are using to stop smoking, you bellend?
“We’ve brought the latest campaign to the school grounds and it’s fantastic to see the children get involved too. We’re soon to see more schools across the borough take up this scheme and hopefully it will see parents listen and be more considerate about where and when they smoke, if not make them consider stopping completely.”
By 'prohibiting' devices that "have become the most popular stop smoking tool in England" according to CRUK? How does Barnsley get such dipshits as councillors? Are they selected by way of a lucky dip? Jesus wept!

It's clear that Barnsley has no clue about the subject and are just spunking taxpayer money up the wall on pointless, and arguably damaging, vanity projects.

In April, the local MP was bemoaning the fact that Barnsley is suffering from government cuts.
“Once again, local authorities are being forced to shoulder drastic cuts in funding through this government’s continued obsession with austerity. 
“Barnsley Council has seen its budgets slashed since 2010, but demand for vital local services in our community continues. 
“It’s grossly unfair and unrealistic to expect local authorities to continue providing the same level of local services with ever-dwindling resources. 
“This government needs to take responsibility for their cuts and provide the resources local authorities like Barnsley desperately need to continue providing for local communities.”
I'd say there is huge scope for further savings if Cllr Jim Andrews and his equally ignorant - and probably highly-paid - staff are an example of how Barnsley Council operates. They could start by sacking the lot of the useless idiots at no detriment to local taxpayers whatsoever. 

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