Sunday, October 19, 2008

Judge, jury and executioner

(N.B. I am not The Devil.)

I'm a little late on this one, but over at Comment is Futile, a chap called Peter Kellner has been discussing how the government should escalate its vendetta against smokers.

Mr Kellner has a particular interest in all this because he happens to be the chair of the editorial board for the latest report from Action on Smoking and Health—'Beyond Smoking Kills [PDF]'—which sets a target of reducing the smoking rate from 23% to 11% by 2015; a ridiculously ambitious target that will require the most draconian action imaginable.
For once, freedom is not the issue

Oh yeah?
Our new report finds that measures against smoking are no longer seen as an attack on personal liberty. What now?

What now indeed? Once you shrug off the prickly issue of individual liberty, the juggernaut can roll on forever. As Iain Dale has pointed out, the left-wing media are now unable to discuss the issue of smoking in anything approaching a balanced way.
This morning, Five Live had a phone-in titled 'How far should the smoking ban be extended?' Not 'Should the smoking ban be extended?' which is a neutral title, but 'How far...' which indicates a tacit acceptance that it should be extended to some degree.

For decency's sake, though, it's more politically palatable to move towards prohibition in increments. When you're going down the slippery slope it's best to walk in baby steps or you might fall on your arse. And so the immediate goal is to ban smoking in vehicles. Not an easy sell, you might think, because although the mob at ASH managed to persuade the public that privately owned bars and restaurants are "public places", most of us still see the inside of our cars as being a private place. So, naturally, they're playing the tried and tested "think of the chiiiildren" card and demanding a ban on smoking in a car if an under-18 'child' is present. Once that is achieved it should be a simple matter to extend the ban into private homes.

To test the water, Peter Kellner and his chums at ASH have commissioned a YouGov survey and they are chuffed with the results.
One of our most striking findings is that as many as 77% of the public would support a ban on smoking in cars carrying children under 18. Only 11% oppose this. For the great majority of people, the health of children outweighs the freedom of adults to do what they want in their own private space.

ASH always seem to use YouGov to conduct their surveys and, as Taking Liberties have pointed out, they tend to show rather more support for the anti-smoking pogram than those conducted by other companies. This is particularly true of surveys of attitudes towards the smoking ban, which — in 'Beyond Smoking Kills' — is also said to be supported by 77% of the population. As Taking Liberties says...
These figures may be true of ASH/YouGov polls, but it's worth noting that surveys conducted by Populus and the ONS prior to the ban produced very different results. For example, a poll by Populus for Forest, published on 7th February 2006 (a week before MPs voted for a comprehensive ban), showed clear public support for the government's manifesto pledge to allow smoking in private members' clubs and pubs that don’t serve food.

According to the survey, 59 percent believed that smoking should be allowed in pubs that don't serve food; with 63 percent supporting smoking in private members' clubs. The poll also found overwhelming support for the introduction of designated smoking rooms in pubs and bars that do not serve food (66 percent in favour, 30 percent opposed).

In 2007, a year after Scotland introduced a public smoking ban, another Forest/Populus poll (in Scotland) suggested that a clear majority continued to favour restrictions rather than a total ban. (See HERE.)

Meanwhile, annual surveys by the Office for National Statistics found that while the majority backed curbs on smoking, the majority did NOT support a comprehensive ban.

Why the difference between the various polls? Well, as I recall, ASH tended to offer people a stark choice: smoking or non-smoking (in "public" places). Forest/Populus and the Office for National Statistics gave people a choice of smoking, non-smoking, mostly smoking (with smoke-free areas), or mostly non-smoking (with separate smoking areas).

Indeed they did. And the question "do you think people should be able to smoke anywhere they damn well please?" is very different from "do you have a problem with sealed off smoking rooms?"

YouGov differs from other pollsters because its respondents sign up to participate and are able to invite their friends. Once they sign up they can pick and choose which survey to fill in. And since all surveys are done online, the third of the population who do not have internet access are excluded. No doubt YouGov does its level best to invite a representative sample of the population but it can't be easy when you're using a self-selecting group of internet users.

God knows, in these dark days it's quite conceivable that only 11% of Britain's bovine population would consider a ban on smoking in their own cars to be an illiberal, piece of shit idea but still I wonder. There is no indication of what the exact question was in the latest survey regarding banning smoking in cars. Nor is there any indication of why ASH keep employing YouGov to conduct their studies.

Perhaps you could ask YouGov's president. His name is Peter Kellner. Yes, that Peter Kellner.


Panopticon Britain said...

...Is there an epidemic of people smoking in cars? Is it a wide spread thing?

What the fuck? These cuntwipes are just nitpicking now, aren't they?

Mark Wadsworth said...

It's only a question of time, I'm afraid. Which is why I smoke in the car as often as is sensible, i.e. in slow moving traffic, make hay while the sun shines, etc.

Pogo said...

I suppose that they want, for some as yet undisclosed reason of their own, to undermine all the good work done in casualty reduction by "safety cameras"[1] by letting loose on the roads hoards of twitchy, bad-tempered smokers denied their fix.

[1] I am, of course, taking the piss.

Trixy said...

If they banned smoking in a car whilst an under 18 year old was present then Trixy's car would be followed by a group of children chasing her on foot. If I knew any under 18 year olds. Or had a car. Still, might be the answer to obesity.

I have found a new place to have a cigarette

Anyone fancy joining me?

Anonymous said...

I get the impression that the current economic situation is having some secondary tier effects. Namely that every cunt with a grudge to bear is either using it directly to attack their enemy, or using it as cover to propose some bullshit policy while everyone's looking the other way.

What other explanation can there be for the announcement that people will have to register PAYG mobile phones? So far Gordon has used it to nationalise the banks, now he's going to bail out people who default on their mortgages. He's used it to seize and destroy Kaupthing. Now he's using it to push through the rebuilding of every secondary school, two aircraft carriers and the Severn tidal barrier, presumbly curtailing any consultation.

The reins have been slipped, after spending half a trillion on the banks, he can spend whatever he wants on any pet project and everyone will be coming knocking looking for a handout. I notice the wind farm people are today looking for a pile of cash, which I'm sure they'll get, it'll create a few jobs you see.

Anonymous said...

It's divide and rule again isn't it. Smokers are a minority so although most people may not approve the think it "only affects the smokers." Except it doesn't. The media softening up operation getting the cattle ready for similar measures against the obese is already in full swing, then it will be drinkers, etc etc etc. It's not about health, it's about CONTROL.

Prodicus said...

First they came for the Jews...

Anonymous said...

Smokers were declared subhuman long ago. It's Government-approved behaviour to phone in and tell the authorities if someone is having a quiet puff at an empty bus stop in the middle of nowhere, or to simply go out of your way to harangue the smoker.

We were subhuman. Now we are not even that. We are a target to be reduced, nothing more. We are not free men. We are not even numbers. Collectively, we are a number.

And then they moan that we are buying our tobacco abroad and not paying tax to the people who have declared us even less than subhuman!

If we pay them more tax, they'll just use it to pay for more shop-a-smoker lines and more draconian regulations.

I hope the globe warms enough for me to grow my own here. I will henceforth increase my carbon emissions to the limits of my ability, just to bring that about.

I know the Righteous will declare me selfish and inconsiderate for saying that, but haven't they declared me worthless anyway? What other reaction could they possibly expect?

I think I'll buy a car, SORN it, park it on my drive and use it as a smoking lounge. I might even get one of those people-carrier things so I can fit a bar in there.

I'll run the engine once in a while, but never move it anywhere.

Trixy said...

Room for a Trixy shaped one in there? I'll bring lots of duty free.

Dick Puddlecote said...

More top blogging TFS if a little late on parade.

Why these anti-smoking fuckwits reckon any of this is any more enforceable than the ban on smoking in work vans beats me. If you are driving for about an hour, count how many work vehicles you see with the driver or passenger (or both) puffing away in the cab.

Of course, the ban had to be extended to work vans to give creedence to the lie that the smoking ban was actually about protecting workers. It's not and they know it, it's about humiliating and denormalising smokers.

The reason van drivers get away with it is that the big prize was the pubs. Once that was conquered (thanks to a compliant bunch of retarded cunts at Labour HQ), the sky is the limit and the full-on march toward prohibition can push on at full tilt.

As with the anti-terrorism laws in the past 3 years, the smoking ban was brought in on the back of ... err ... not a single death from SHS ... ever. Nor will there ever be one.

They're even suggesting that smoking in cars while driving is somehow dangerous in this latest push, but don't care too much if you intently watch your SatNav while doing 100 along a country lane.

Cunts the lot of them.

Anonymous said...

Trixy - plenty of room. I'm thinking maybe an old bus.It doesnt have to be in working order so it'll be cheap.

As a bonus, it'll really irritate the neighbours.

Oswald Bastable said...

Next step- fat fucks can't ride in cars.

Well... 25 years ago banning smoking in the workplace was considered just as laughable...

Anonymous said...

the next step is obviously anti "terror" laws used against smokers... well, smoking at the bus stop is just the same as releasing anthrax isn't it?

Anonymous said...

Kellner is married to the vile Catherine Ashton. He therefore deserves some sympathy.

Smoking doesn't make you impotent or infertile quite as effectively as having a fucking hideous wife. If I were him I'd be on 80 a day just to get it over with.

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