Oh dear. H/T Rose and Harley:
During the debate, each panellist was asked whether the smoking ban should be extended to private parks. They each said no apart from Mr Dalgleish, who said it should.
“I am thinking of parks where there are lots of children around,” he added.
UKIP has pledged to amend the smoking ban to allow pubs to open “smoking rooms”, provided they are well ventilated and separate from the rest of the premises.
In October, the party’s deputy leader Paul Nuttall described a proposal to ban smoking in public parks as “nonsense” and a “gross infringement of people’s liberties”.
A party spokeswoman said: “There is no written policy from UKIP on banning smoking in parks. Prof Dalgleish, as one of the country’s leading oncologists, was giving his personal opinion as he is more than entitled to do”.
Each party representative agreed that 24-hour alcohol licensing, introduced by the Labour government, had been a “mistake”, while Prof Dalgleish agreed with the Green Party’s Jillian Creasy on the need for a “sugar tax”.
Another loose UKIP cannon. Not only does he want a park smoking ban, but he also wants to restrict alcohol sales and introduce a sugar tax.
I sometimes wonder whether these people joined UKIP as agents provocateurs simply in order to embarrass the leadership when they first got an opportunity to do so. At the present rate, I wou’t be at all surprised if some UKIP candidate comes out in favour of ducking stools and jus primae noctis.
Simon Clark carried the story, but it was another story he had which also caught my eye.
A couple of weeks ago I mentioned I’d been invited to take part in a debate at the Oxford Union next month.
The motion – ‘This House believes that the tobacco industry is morally reprehensible’ – is designed to generate a heated discussion about whether the tobacco companies should be treated as pariahs.
When I was approached in March I was told I’d be speaking alongside a senior tobacco industry executive but I wasn’t told who we’d be debating against.
Two weeks ago I found out, via Twitter, that the Union’s first choice speakers were Simon Chapman, Australia’s leading anti-tobacco campaigner, and fellow Aussie Mike Daube.
For various reasons Chapman couldn’t do it but what irked him, after he had already turned down the invitation, was the discovery that the debate was being ‘supported’ by Imperial Tobacco. (See Simon Chapman and the Oxford Union.)
After his outburst I wondered if the debate would go ahead and who would propose the motion. Last night I found out.
Speaking for the proposition are Baroness Finlay of Llandaff, professor of palliative medicine and a member of House of Lords, and our old friend Professor Gerard Hastings, founder of the Centre for Tobacco Control Research and a “special government adviser” on tobacco control.
I also discovered that I will no longer be joined by a representative of the tobacco industry but by Mark Littlewood, director general of the IEA.
Tobacco Control wouldn’t accept either tobacco company sponsorship of the debate, or representatives of the tobacco companies speaking.
It reminded me that Tobacco Control has always acted to thoroughly demonise tobacco companies. I’m surprised that the motion isn’t “‘This House believes that the tobacco industry is in league with the Devil and the Powers of Darkness.” Because that’s what TC’s view of them actually seems to be.
I’m always a bit surprised at the intensity of their hatred for the business on which the wealth of America was first founded. But there may be a simple explanation for it – and it is that the more satanic that an opponent can be made to appear, the more necessary it arguably becomes to match his fire with your own fire in the cause of fighting against him.
One example of this might be drawn from WW2, when in the process of fighting the evil of Nazism, the Allies very arguably committed a few atrocities of their own – one of which was the firebombing of Dresden. (I knew a schoolteacher who had been a bomb-aimer over Dresden, and he was consumed with guilt at what he had done.) Other examples might include Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
Regardless of the rights and wrongs of these specific instances, it probably provided considerable mitigating influence that these acts were carried out while Fighting Evil.
And the same applies with Tobacco Control. For while they can present themselves as fighting against the Very Incarnation of Evil (in the form of tobacco companies), they are free to commit any number of their own atocities.
For myself I think that smoking bans, display bans, plain packaging, etc, are all atrocities of one sort or other. But TC can get away with it while they are Fighting Evil. So it’s important for them to build up and maintain the image of satanic tobacco companies.
Because it people should ever start seeing tobacco companies as selling an innocuous dried and cured plant, that has been cultivated in America for thousands of years, they might start to see the real malefactors, the true Powers of Darkness, not so much in the tobacco companies, but more in Tobacco Control.