So Andrew Lansley has been fired as Health Secretary. Good riddance. Simon Clark has more on the story.
But will the new man, Jeremy Hunt, be any better? Embroiled in the phone hacking scandal, he’s carrying quite a lot of baggage.
I’m told he voted against the smoking ban. But I wonder if that makes much difference. When someone becomes a government minister, they’re expected to toe the government line, whatever it happens to be. And the government line is strongly antismoking. So he’ll probably be expected to become strongly antismoking, even if he smokes.
Furthermore, when he arrives at his office, he’ll probably find Deborah Arnott or Professor John Britton sitting in his chair, ready with a brisk lecture on the need to make life even more hell for smokers than it already is, in order to save lives, or for the sake of the chiiiiildren, or both. And unless he’s been reading a few smokers’ blogs, he’ll probably swallow the entire farrago of lies.
I have zero faith in politicians these days. I’m completely disenchanted with the lot of them. Almost entirely because of the smoking ban.
Since the smoking ban came into force, there have been little knots of smokers standing outside pubs (outside everywhere, in fact). It’s been going on for five years now. And this alone is testament to the failure of the ban, and the hard antismoking line.
After all, suppose that there was some government housing measure (about the size of windows, say) which resulted in people living outside their houses rather than inside, it would be immediately understood to be a failure, wouldn’t it? People are supposed to live inside houses, not outside them. So if such disruption followed in the wake of some piece of new legislation, it would be quickly recognised to need immediate revision.
Yet more or less this is exactly what has happened with pubs. But five years on, nothing has been done. The antismoking measures have instead been multiplying, with display bans and plain packaging.
The government is indifferent to this highly visible consequence of the smoking ban. And it is indifferent to smokers. They have become non-persons to be ordered around, and swept out of sight.
It’s bad news when governments disregard a quarter of the electorate. It doesn’t make for good government. One of the merits of democracy is that it provides a feedback mechanism whereby the success or failure of legislation can be assessed, and adjustments made.
But in the case of the smoking ban the feedback – if only in the form of all those smokers standing outside pubs – is being ignored. There is no feedback mechanism. The government makes decisions, and presses on blindly, regardless of the consequences.
It’s the same with the EU too, actually. The politicians have a ‘project’ to create a European superstate, and they are indifferent to the protests of ordinary European citizens, even when they vote in referendums against it. The entire European electorate is ignored. They’re all non-persons whose opinion doesn’t matter.
The only possible outcome is disaster. Just like the only possible outcome must be disaster when a train driver speeds through signals set at red. The signals provide useful feedback. Such signals are ignored at peril. The disaster probably won’t unfold the moment the red lights are passed, but a few miles further down the track.
Someone called Nick Clegg (Or maybe Nick Legg. Or maybe Ned Clog – he’s chairman of the Libertine Dominatrix Party or something, anyway) said last year that it was more likely that capital punishment would be re-introduced than the smoking ban be repealed.
I’m beginning to think he’s right. We need to bring back hanging. And we need to bring it back specifically for the crime of treason – of which I am increasingly inclined to think that the entire political class is guilty -. Not anything goes. There are some betrayals which are unforgivable.
But I’m wondering whether it shouldn’t just be hanging that is brought back, but the complete
mediaeval traditional English punishment of hanging, drawing, and quartering. It would make for a great spectacle to watch someone like Andrew Lansley being hanged, drawn, and quartered.
Particularly if you could watch it while eating a burger, and drinking a beer or two, and smoking a few cigarettes. And it took about two hours, from start to finish, much like a football match. And you could bring the wife and children too. And buy souvenir mugs and photos and pieces of flesh.