Monday 30 November 2015

They Walk Among Us

In Wales today, the health committee studying Mark Drakeford's dangerous ignorance-based policy-making published a report giving their findings. Trust me, you will struggle to comprehend what some of these political raving moonhowlers actually believe.

The report is 157 pages long and it has to be said that the committee was split on all items relating to e-cigs. In any sensible legislature this should mean that there really is no compelling case to restrict liberties and property rights to such a massive degree. However, we are talking about Wales where some politicians seem to have had their water poisoned with a heavy dose of mercury.

Conservative AM Darren Millar described the plans to ban e-cigs in public places thus.
“Mark Drakeford’s legislation isn’t based on science – it’s Labour nannying at its worst"
He's correct. Incredibly, the proposals don't rest on any science whatsoever, instead they are rooted in nothing more than innuendo and conjecture. Here are some highlights.
Some Members believe that the approach is appropriate given the concerns expressed by some witnesses about the longer term public health impact of e-cigarette use, including whether their use could re-normalise or act as a gateway to tobacco smoking or cause difficulties in enforcing smoke-free legislation.
"Concerns" for which there is not a shred of evidence backing them up. There have been no reports of difficulties in enforcement of the smoking ban due to vaping, and best evidence on e-cigs acting as a "gateway" shows that it simply isn't happening, while successful quitting has been the highest in recent times since e-cigs have been around, so only a moron (or someone very corrupt) could claim that e-cigs "re-normalise" smoking.

Further on ...
A majority of Committee Members share the concerns raised by some stakeholders that allowing the use of e-cigarettes in places where smoking is restricted could potentially lead to the re-normalisation of an activity that is no longer widely socially accepted, particularly as the action of vaping is similar to that of smoking a tobacco cigarette. 
A majority don't like that e-cig use is similar in form to using a cigarette. Erm, that's it.
Some Members were concerned to learn of diverging practice in relation to the display of e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes at the point of sale, with e-cigarettes not being subject to any display restrictions, and often seen prominently displayed at point of sale in many outlets. They would wish to see work undertaken by the Welsh and UK Governments to explore options to restrict the display and marketing of e-cigarettes.
A pointless ban on displaying tobacco products - which has had no effect on smoking whatsoever - should be installed for a product which is actually tempting smokers away from tobacco? Who are these people? Gumbys?

Because, you see, they concede the positive aspects of e-cigs later in the report, so can't fail to have noticed.
The Committee notes and welcomes the contribution made by ecigarettes as an aid to smoking cessation, and recognises the role they could play in reducing the harms from tobacco smoking. It acknowledges the evidence stating that e-cigarettes are substantially less harmful than tobacco cigarettes and welcomes the positive health impact that switching to ecigarettes could potentially have on the lives of smokers.
All that "potential", eh? So let's just kill it by hiding e-cigs away where no-one can see them. That was, after all, the point of the tobacco display ban, wasn't it? You know, to stop anyone being tempted? This truly is weapons grade arsebiscuits from inept provincial prats. 

And get yourself on the floor so your jaw doesn't drop too far, because this is a delight.
A majority of Members are unconvinced that the evidence provided is sufficient to substantiate the suggestion that difficulties in distinguishing between e-cigarettes and tobacco cigarettes makes the enforcement of smoke-free legislation difficult to manage.
No, course it doesn't. Because everyone except deliberately obtuse prodnoses can tell the difference between e-cigs and smoking, which begs the question why they think that quitting using an e-cig can possibly "re-normalise" smoking. It normalises people using e-cigs for crying out loud! There are five year old kids who can grasp this concept, yet some AMs in the Welsh assembly find it too complicated. 

But I have left the best till last. I had to read this two or three times before the stupid properly sunk in. 
A home which is also a workplace
Now I've written about how insane this idea of home workplace bans are before, but I didn't quite appreciate the extent of fuckwittery behind it. Get a load of this!
The Committee notes that Article 8 [of the Human Rights Act] sets out the right to respect for private and family life: 
[T]he Committee notes these rights are not absolute rights. For example, there is no absolute right to respect for private life. Instead, these rights are qualified rights. This means that the state can interfere with these rights, but only when it is in pursuit of one of the legitimate aims set out in the second part of Article 8 and the interference is proportionate to that aim.
Wait for it ...
Five Members conclude that the restriction on using an e-cigarette in the home which is also a workplace is within the Assembly’s margin of appreciation. Similar reasoning applies to that set out for tobacco smoking in paragraph 201 and 202 above, save that the benefit of protecting workers from the harm of e-cigarette vapour does not carry the same weight as the benefit of protecting workers from the harm of tobacco smoke. However, these Members consider that that reduction is compensated by the need to protect against the risk of re-normalisation, the gateway effect and enforcement difficulties. Therefore, these Members conclude that the balance struck in the Bill is within the Assembly’s margin of appreciation.
In other words, based on no evidence whatsoever except bullshit and fabrication, these Members (has there ever been a better description of such tools?) believe that made-up scaremongery, baseless smears and pure fantasy are worthy of binning terms of the Human Rights Act for Welsh citizens!

This is the modern equivalent of pointing at someone you don't like the look of and shouting "Witch! Burn her!". Yet this is actually happening in a legislative committee room. Not in the third world. But in Wales.  

I've seen some daft things in my seven years writing here, but I'm really struggling to think of anything as incredibly silly, blasé and crassly dangerous as that. Congratulations, Welsh AMs, you just took my contempt of politicians to a new level. 

Sadly, the most ignorant, pathetic and anti-social in society will happily go along with these professional political trolls. Screw evidence and health, it's never been about those things anyway.

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