I was pleased – and slightly relieved – to read highlights of UKIP’s Doncaster policy announcements, and find therein:
– UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.
– UKIP opposes ‘plain paper packaging’ for tobacco products and minimum pricing of alcohol.
In their 2010 manifesto, the promise to amend the smoking ban was the very last item.
The Daily Mirror (a Labour party rag, I believe) highlighted the “Five Weirdest UKIP Policies”, with the amending of the smoking ban the fifth weirdest:
5. Changing the smoking ban to allow smoking indoors
UKIP says they will “amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas”. This is interesting because it’s a divisive political topic but also because practically, it’s quite hard to ensure that there’s no risk to non-smokers in pubs.
Would pubs really want to invest money in creating new rooms specifically for this? Especially six years after the smoking ban, as our smoking culture has changed and e-cigarette use is on the rise.
Hmmm, who really would like to come out of the rain and cold to smoke in pubs?
I can’t see that it’s hard to ensure there’s no risk to non-smokers: there was never any risk in the first place.
But they also had a poll, asking which was the weirdest policy, or were none of them weird? Here’s what the result was looking like some 12 hours ago:
So, it seems that nearly 60% of Labour-voting Mirror readers thought none of the proposals were at all weird. And amending the smoking ban was the least weird. All of which suggests that there’s very little resistance to that amendment.
Afterwards, I thought that the Mirror had perhaps done UKIP a favour by picking out their proposal to amend the smoking ban. Because I wonder how many people know that this will be in UKIP’s manifesto? After all, the smoking ban hardly ever gets mentioned by anybody. Even UKIP and Nigel Farage hardly ever mention it. So I wouldn’t be too surprised if quite a few people don’t know about it.
But for me it’s the only manifesto promise that matters. The UK smoking ban was, in my view, a cultural attack on the heart of Britain. In fact it was also a cultural attack on a global culture. It was a piece of spiteful vandalism, which had nothing to do with “health” whatsoever. And, as such, it was something that transcended nationality or race or religion or political affiliation: it was an attack on almost everybody. Which is why I’m constantly surprised that hardly anyone of any note has ever protested against it.
I sometimes think that the promise to amend the smoking ban is the real secret to UKIP’s appeal: They’re offering a cultural restoration which will appeal to almost everybody. And that all the anti-EU, anti-immigration stuff is a bit of a red herring to fool the stupid and deluded political class into launching their counter-attacks on the wrong quarter.
This almost certainly isn’t true, of course, but I like to think it is, and that UKIP will win just not 9 seats next year, but 590 seats, as almost the entire country votes for the restoration of their stolen culture.