H/T Harley. I suppose that I ought to be pleased. Peter Oborne in the Telegraph has called for the smoking ban to be relaxed:
There’s a quiet rebellion under way against bossy government
…it is time for ministers to wake up and ask exactly who it is that ASH and other anti-smoking organisations represent, and why and on what basis the state is paying for them.
It’s time to loosen the laws against smoking in pubs. It’s time to treat smokers as grown-ups and not pariahs. It’s time to remember what it means to be a Conservative.
But… there’s exactly the same problem as with yesterday’s video. Because he makes exactly the same kind of concessions as they did. Here’s the first:
There’s no argument that cigarettes kill, and the early attempts by the tobacco lobby to deny this were dishonest and disreputable.
Here’s the second:
I’d also guess that almost every smoker now realises that smoking in public places is a gross intrusion on others.
Here’s the third:
They should, of course, acknowledge that the anti-smoking lobby has achieved good things.
I don’t believe any of those things. If Peter Oborne believes them, why on earth is he calling for the smoking ban to be relaxed? For if he really believes that smoking in public places is a gross intrusion on others, he can’t possibly be calling for smokers to be allowed to grossly intrude on other people by lighting cigarettes inside pubs.
My position is simple. I don’t think smoking kills anybody. And I don’t think that it’s at all an intrusion – quite the opposite. And I don’t think antismoking zealots do any good whatsoever: I think they do nothing but harm. And so there’s no justification whatsoever for the smoking ban.
What Oborne is doing is a bit like someone saying that, yes, I know that there is an unexploded bomb under my house, and yes, I know that if it goes up it will take half the street with it, and, yes, everybody knows that the Bomb Disposal Unit do a fine job, but all the same I really don’t want to have to stand outside in the rain for hours while they dig a hole in my living room floor and defuse it, because I might miss Emmerdale Farm at 5 pm.
Once you’ve said all that, the Bomb Disposal Unit is just going to throw you out of your house, and march in and dig up the bomb. Because that’s what they must do.
No, if you’re going to stop them, you’re going to have to say that there is no such bomb, so it will never explode, and the Bomb Disposal Unit is an unnecessary luxury, because nobody has ever dropped any bombs here in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Because unexploded bombs are only ever found in countries which were subjected to bombing raids – like Britain or Germany or Japan.
But Oborne isn’t doing that. He’s doing quite the opposite. And really he’s almost begging for someone to overrule him. And, of course, somebody will.
Another thing he said:
I started to worry about the trend of events when the smoking ban in pubs was imposed.
Ah, that’s when he started to worry, was it? As in, “I started to get a bit worried when the boat capsized and sank, and I found myself in a air pocket surrounded by dead bodies”? Or, “I started feeling slightly worried when the fire raced up the staircase, and I found that the fire escape door to the roof was padlocked shut”? Or, “I started to get a wee bit worried when the shark bit off my other leg too”?
If he didn’t get very, very worried seven years ago, when smoking in public places was banned, I really can’t imagine that anything else is going to worry him too much now. Or if he’s been moving up through the worry gears over the last seven years, he’s still in first gear.
This is a piece that’s quietly screaming: Please Don’t Take Me Seriously, because I don’t really want the smoking ban relaxed at all.