A couple of weeks back I wrote about a suicide and a protest at Swansea prison after a smoking ban had been introduced there.
I didn’t mention at the time that I had also written to my Westminster MP about it. I don’t often write to my MP. My letter (or rather, email) was short and to the point. I cited two newspaper reports, and went on to say:
Prisoners are now being forced to stop smoking. We are constantly told that nicotine is highly addictive – so isn’t this like imposing cold turkey on heroin addicts (something we don’t do)? It amounts to cruel and unusual punishment being inflicted on them, over and above the sentences they are already serving.
It would appear that any barbarity is now permissible in the name of “health”.
I usually get acknowledgements from MPs for my letters. And usually they tell me they don’t agree with me.
But a day or two back I got a short email reply from my MP in which he wrote that he had taken up the matter with the government on my behalf, and said he would let me know when he got a response. There was even a reference number attached.
Nothing like this has ever happened before! My MP doesn’t seem to be an antismoker, but I don’t believe he’s a smoker either. I’ve been wondering what induced him to take the matter up with the government.
Perhaps it was because my letter was short and to the point? Perhaps it was because the barbarity of what was happening appeared as obvious to him as it was to me? Perhaps he’s getting about as sick of health nazis as I am?
No doubt the government will in due course respond with some vague banality. But I’m rather cheered that, after years of writing to them, one of my several MPs has done something.
Perhaps there’s hope yet for British parliamentary democracy? I’ll keep you informed of any further developments.