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« Smoke-free movies: the next logical step? | Main | Time to make YOUR views known »

Why I would NEVER vote for Cameron's Conservatives

Cameron-100.jpg I have just received an email urging Forest to "mobilise smokers to vote Conservative". Er, why? First, Forest has a strict policy whereby we do not support any one party. Check out the information on our new website (to be launched next month) and make your own choice.

Second, given his latest, spineless comments, why on earth would we encourage anyone to vote for a Cameron-led Conservative party? According to today's Financial Times:

David Cameron, the Conservative leader, gave a cautious welcome to proposals for a further crackdown on smoking which would ban shopkeepers from displaying cigarettes and pubs from having tobacco vending machines. "I think this is worth looking at. As someone who struggled with giving up smoking, it helps if you take away some of the temptation," he told the BBC.

Full story HERE.

There are times when I have exercised my right not to vote. Every time I have voted, however, whether it be in a national or local election, I have always voted Conservative. If Cameron supports (or doesn't oppose) these ridiculous, patronising proposals, the Tories will never EVER get my vote, so long as he leads the party.

I know the Conservative party quite well and I know that libertarians are a minority, outnumbered by authoritarian or paternalistic Tories who will happily regulate and tell us what to do (in our own best interests) until they are blue in the face (no pun intended).

What is the point of getting rid of Labour if the alternative is more of the same? Is Cameron so blinkered he can't see what an incredible opportunity this is to establish clear blue water between a liberal Conservative party and the control freaks represented by New Labour?

Few Conservatives are going to jump ship in favour of Labour if Cameron adopts a laissez-faire approach on this and other lifestyle issues. (Education not legislation should be his mantra.) However, there are plenty of people (like me) who won't vote at all if we are denied a proper choice. Who knows, if Cameron adopted a more aggressively liberal attitude he might even pick up some disenfranchised Labour voters not to mention the handful of liberals who (unaccountably) continue to support the illiberal Liberal Democrats.

I can't imagine I am the only person who feels so strongly about this. As Alan Sugar might say (and if he won't I'll say it for him): "Cameron, you're a lightweight. You're fired!"

Reader Comments (73)

You are entitled to your views on David Cameron, but your other choice is Gordon Brown.

Forget the others, you are wasting your vote, in voting for anyone other than the two main parties.

You must remember, it was Labour, under Gordon Brown, who brought in the ban on smoking. 220 English Labour MPs voted for an outright ban. Only 45 English Conservatives MPs voted for it.

Anyone who believes in freedom, would be a fool to vote for Labour again. We can get rid of them, and we can get this ban amended. Please read the following:

Just 7,500 smoking voters can wipe out Labour's Commons majority

I have just added the following article to my website. Please check it out on and follow link

There are just 5 short weeks to go to get our message across. We must tell both parties that if they want our vote, they must promise to amend the law on the ban.

Gordon Brown has started his campaign, we need to start ours, NOW!

How the figures added up:

Voting figures for a total ban was as follows:

220 English Labour MPs
45 English Conservative MPs
32 Liberal MPs
1 Independent MP
TOTAL 298 English MPs

Scottish MPs 42
Welsh MPs 33
N.Ireland 11

MPs that voted against a total ban:

44 English Labour MPs
125 English Conservative MPs
6 English Liberal MPs
TOTAL 175 English MPs

Scottish MPs 7
Welsh 1

From a total of 644 MPs, there were 76 abstentions.

March 25, 2008 at 16:24 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

There's a Simpsons episode about this...

"Forget the others, you are wasting your vote, in voting for anyone other than the two main parties."

I am so fed up of hearing this. If everyone who didn't want to vote for the two main parties voted for one of the smaller parties instead, i.e. voted for people that they really wanted to vote for, then we might actually be able to break the stranglehold that Labour and Conservatives have on parliament.

As it is, even those who don't like either party continue dutifully to put a cross in their boxes simply because they think that no other vote is worth anything.

These people are, essentially, the voting equivalent of the HoC lobby fodder: useful idiots whose opinions can safely be ignored because they will continue to support the status quo, no matter the cost.

As a founder of the new UK Libertarian Party, this attitude irritates me beyond belief. If the Libertarians in this country actually voted for a libertarian party, rather than the Conservatives, then we might be assured of a good result when we stand in elections.

But, as usual, the Conservative libertarian lobby fodder will keep putting that cross in the Conservative Party box and desperately hoping that one day, the Conservative Party will break the habit of a lifetime and become libertarian.

It. Is. Never. Going. To. Happen.


March 25, 2008 at 18:01 | Unregistered CommenterDevil's Kitchen

Incidentally, if FOREST want to throw their weight behind anyone, then they might like to look at the Libertarian Party: we would repeal the smoking ban.


March 25, 2008 at 18:04 | Unregistered CommenterDevil's Kitchen

Cameron is so wet and pathetic it's unbelievable. I see no reason to change my vote from UKIP, Dave, now piss off!

March 25, 2008 at 19:46 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

I would tell David Cameron that you would only do that if he could give his cast-iron guarantee to expose the real truth behind the fraud and lies that were behind the passive-smoking issue used to brainwash the British public and to allow the truth to be printed in the nationals and exposed on main TV.
People can then make their own minds up using a balanced debate with the correct information, not just made-up bias from anti-smokers.
I would also ask for his cast-iron guarantee to allow ventilated smoking rooms in indoor public areas. After all, this is the 21st century.
I would then get these guarantees in writing and only then would I begin to 'mobilise smokers to vote Conservative'

March 25, 2008 at 20:01 | Unregistered CommenterHelen

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, I promise this is exactly what occured, very depresssing. I was in Boisdale's and it has
excellent food, wine and smoking room outside with a friend of mine. Space was tight at the bar where, most un-British like, we were sharing tables and talking to each other. The conversation got round to the smoking ban, she was a smoker too. She further mentioned she worked for the Conservative Party, the office is just around the corner. I immediately asked her who was the spin doctor who advised the Shadow Health Secretary on the smoking ban. Her reply was "me actually". So I asked her about the Tories plans for repealing or amending the smoking ban, her reply none. But..but..but, no matter what way I tried she said there was no way the smoking ban would ever be repealed.

I guess the best we can hope for is that us smokers are not put upon even more. Alas I did not get her name but she must be fairly easy to track down. I can only hope that if I can present that there are votes in a partial repeal we may get something. As they say when banging your head against a brick wall, it is nice when it stops. I offered her my resignation to the Tory Party, as somone who has (when I have renewed my membership, ahem) been a member for over 23 years.

March 25, 2008 at 20:01 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I have repeatedly said, the only way forward is to expose the truth in the Law Courts and to have those politicians forced to give evidence and be cross-examined under oath.

Then sue the bastards for subsequential loss of earnings, etc

March 25, 2008 at 20:31 | Unregistered CommenterBill Gibson

I'll never vote for David Chameleon I'd rather spoil my ballot paper.

March 25, 2008 at 21:11 | Unregistered Commenterali

Not a chance not labour not Tory either I am having a good think first not automatically voted as I once would have I have heard and seen too many lies and woken up, My local labour MPs standing with banners to protect the post offices then turning their backs. sickening truly sickening two faced bstads but typical, I wouldnt trust neither of them ever.... But I will not waste my vote, thats for sure.

March 25, 2008 at 23:34 | Unregistered CommenterCatherine.

Politicians are the most fickle of creatures, and there are NO certainties where they or politics are concerned, as history shows us. The woman who said that the bans would never be repealed does obviously not know the nature of the beast and is far too comfortable in this situation, brought about by a deplorable fanaticism. The ban WILL be repealed. They wont have no choice when the truth is out.

We will then see the squirming excuses akin to the WMD shame. Remember the certainty there? I can't wait.

March 26, 2008 at 1:05 | Unregistered CommenterZitori

Sorry Dave,but I would rather eat maggots,(and I would did not like that jungle program, because it made me feel sick) a bit like this government and the 3 main parties,but I will be voting.

March 26, 2008 at 1:19 | Unregistered Commentermandyv

We should not waste our votes in the May Council Elections. Voting is all we have at present. I have recently joined UKIP - who aim to repeal all this when WE finally get them into parliament. Please follow the links I give in my latest comment on the website. You'll then come across a listing of the actual benefits of smoking and how Big Pharma are feverishly trying to produce drugs using nicotine to mirror these. The plot thickens - no wonder they want to get rid of the humble cigarette.

March 26, 2008 at 7:42 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

My comment is at the end of Simon's article on the EU "...They couldn't make it up."

Patience. Patience!

March 26, 2008 at 7:46 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

No more main party voting for me either.

Tell Dave from me that it would be akin to a turkey voting for Christmas.

Since when were the Tories the party who supported policies that sent small business to the grave? Oh yes, that's right, it's since they became Nu-Labour clones.

I will only vote for a party that is prepared to treat smokers as equal to all other voters. Sorry Dave, but if you're prepared to freeze us out you can expect the same in return.

March 26, 2008 at 9:54 | Unregistered CommenterStruggling Spirit

I had quite a shock this morning, when I read some of the posts on here. For a moment, I thought that I had stumbled onto the Daily Mirror forum by mistake.

It seems that there is a disgruntled few that have a dislike for David Cameron, and because of this, they would be willing to let our country be dragged even further into the quagmire which Labour have already taken us.

When you vote in an election, you should be voting for a party, not that party's leader. As we all know, leaders can, and do, change.

Furthermore, smoking is not the only issue here. The ban on smoking is just the tip of the iceberg. Under Labour, more and more of our civil liberties have been eroded. Our rights to be free to choose are being taken away from us on an almost daily basis. We are being told what to eat, what to drink, not to smoke, not to travel, what type of cars we should have. Every day some new initiative is issued, and I for one, am fed up to the teeth with it. I want this Government out, I want our freedoms
restored, and the only way we are likely to get that is to offer the opposition a deal. Give us back our freedom, and we will vote for you.

We will not get anything at all, by voting for the likes of UKIP. I have yet to hear any proposals regarding the running of this country, which UKIP have to offer. I am sure they have some eloquently worded documents on their website, but there again, so do I and many others who own websites, but that doesn't qualify neither them nor myself, to run this country.

There was an excellent piece on here a couple of weeks or so ago, written by a journalist, Pat Nurse. Part of Pat's article mentioned her applying for a job which was advertised in the Media Guardian, but the advert stated "Non Smokers Only" need apply. I was quite rightly enraged by this, and thought that I should try to do something. I remember seeing the UKIP MEP Nigel Farage, at a Boisdale do, and was told that he was very pro-smoking, so, with this in mind, I emailed him and pointed out this piece of "discrimination in the workplace", which had been allowed to go unchecked. I asked Mr Farage if he could bring this up, and hopefully do something about it.

Needless to say, I have not even received an acknowledgement from Mr Farage. This is the party, which some of you say, would repeal the smoking ban. If this is the case, I wonder why he didn't bother to do anything or even give me an answer? Could it be the elections were not just that little too far in the future for him to bother about showing how much he cared about little injustices as that, at that time?

I say again, to all the Cameron/Conservative, ranters on here, take another look at the figures of which MPs voted for a total ban. 220 English Labour MPs and just 45 English Conservative MPs. Read it again and again until it sinks in. Just 45 English Conservatives voted for this ban. And these are the people you do not want in power?

March 26, 2008 at 10:52 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Nice arguments Peter, but one cannot and should not trust Cameron because he shows a decided lack of principle being more interested in getting into power at any price. Also, it's time the Tory Party admiited it made a major mistake when putting him in as it fell for New Labour's ploy which gave the impression that copying Blair was the only route to power. It's not, and as someone has already made the point, now it's a choice between New Labour ans Blue Labour.

As for the figures of Tory MPs voting against the ban, I wouldn't trust them an inch either for politicians are indeed also a fickle lot and if they think their bread is buttered towing the Cameron line, then by George that's precisely what they'll do.

March 26, 2008 at 11:16 | Unregistered CommenterBlad Tolstoy

After being a Conservative voter for over 30 years and despite my absolute disgust at our Communist dictators running the country now, in the disguise of New Labour, I will NOT ever vote for Cameron. I will now vote UKIP even if it is a wasted vote. At least I can sleep with my principles and morals intact.

How I wish I could vacate this bankrupt and corrupt country I once adored. Sadly, family responsibilties do not allow me to do so.

Grumpy Bob. Bolton

March 26, 2008 at 11:34 | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy BoB

If DC is at least making some encouraging noises then perhaps it's worth asking him what he intends actually to do for voters and our human rights/civil liberties? I had the odd feeling only last week in my supermarket that the days were numbered for display shelves of tobacco. Spot on, as we have heard this week. Of course it has to be 'for someone's good' - that is the bye-word of nanny state. It isn't for mine, and young people buying anything - alchohol, mags, fags - should surely be under
parental control? Not the state? When are adults going to be left in a bit of peace to live their lives as they choose? Not under Mr. Brown and his ilk that's for sure. We have to ram this point home to DC. He MUST stand up for alternatives otherwise he may face disappointment at the next elections. I am a member of the Conservative Party and want them to win, but I do have serious worries unless he stands up to be counted on this and related issues of choice.

March 26, 2008 at 12:32 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Martin

You are right Beverly. But like all politicians, he will not stand up and be counted of his own volition. It is up to you, and me, and all the other Cameron knockers, to ask him for an answer.

All politicians need to be told that their lives are now in our hands, not the other way round.

March 26, 2008 at 13:11 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

So Peter, you think the Tories under Cameron will listen to us if we vote for them? Quite the opposite would happen, as they'd think they'd won the popular vote and would see no reason to change!

March 26, 2008 at 13:18 | Unregistered Commenterali

Regarding this latest development to force shopkeepers to move tobacco products off display, the area "under the counter" will have to be like Dr Who's Tardis to fit everything in! Take a look at a typical supermarket's cigarette display; I'd guess about 12-15 feet long and about 8 feet in height; where's that going to go?!

Unfortunately, Labour are with us for upto another 2 years. We probably have hidden displays, graphic warnings and no vending machines to look forward to later this year. What really concerns me is what they will have planned after that.....

March 26, 2008 at 13:25 | Unregistered CommenterSteve H

As a Tory voter for as long as I can remember I am coming to view that it doesn't seem to matter too much which of the main political parties is in power any more since so much of our legislation comes from Brussels. The smoking ban, home information packs, post office closures etc. - all as a result of EU directives.
If only people realised what was going on there would be uproar but the truth isn't exactly highlighted in MSM and neither Labour nor the Conservatives will openly admit it.
The only way to change this is to get out of the EU so I'll be voting UKIP next time.

As a related issue have a look at at this article which was on freedom2choose today. Lengthy but interesting.

March 26, 2008 at 13:46 | Unregistered CommenterBootboy

We would be far better off nameing the MP's who voted for the ban, then voting against them in the main election. This would then discourage MP's from taking action against smokers,as they could loose their seats due to a small proportion of people changing their vote from the standing MP to one of their main rivals. It would'nt matter which party they represented but would mean that we are not to be trifled with.

March 26, 2008 at 13:53 | Unregistered CommenterGazzer

I was one of those cheering in the streets when the Tories lost in '97. People like me naively believed that Labour were going to be an improvement and I think anyone who feels the same way about the Tories now is in for the same disappointment.

Though I'd be as happy as anyone to see Brown get thrown out, I believe it will make very little difference.

We're set on a course of steadily increasing authoritarianism, and we're going to stick to it, as far as I can see, whichever way we vote. We have a whole political/administrative class which is focused entirely on increasing it's own power and reach to the exclusion of all else.

Emigration is very much on my mind.

March 26, 2008 at 13:56 | Unregistered CommenterMark

All this speculation and backstabbing, have you learnt nothing from History???? It's the same old same old, no matter who we vote in and who gets the majority in parliment, they will do as they have done since the year dot......exactly what they want!!!! We have to be politically correct (no matter what you think), count your carbon footprints and smoke, or not, at their whim...what else is new. Whether we vote a Labour, Conservative, UKIP, Libertarian or any other party with any other name in power, the laws that are in place now, will be in place in four years time. The voice of the people is NEVER heard.

March 26, 2008 at 14:06 | Unregistered CommenterTired

You didn't read what I said Ali.

I did not say the Tories under Cameron will listen to us if we vote for them? I said we should ask all politicians, including David Cameron, for their comments on the smoking ban and other issues regarding the taking away of personal freedoms.

I said we should tell them, that if they agree to make the changes we are looking for, then we will vote for them.

March 26, 2008 at 14:31 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I am 67yo and only voted three times at General Elections. I vote according to my circumstances. Most of the time I have thought that the parties were much the same, like many others. If any party proposed to get rid of the stupid ban, they would get my vote.

March 26, 2008 at 14:34 | Unregistered Commenterchas

You want to name the MPs who voted for the ban Gazzer? Then please look here, where they are all named both for and against.

But I think we should all write to these people first, whether Labour or Conservative or whoever, and tell them what we want, and tell them that if they are not willing to go along with what we are asking, then we will vote for their opposition.

March 26, 2008 at 14:36 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Simon said

"I know the Conservative party quite well and I know that libertarians are a minority, outnumbered by authoritarian or paternalistic Tories who will happily regulate and tell us what to do (in our own best interests) until they are blue in the face (no pun intended)."

Well, Simon, I know the Conservative Party quite well too - having been a member until their passive acceptance of the ban on smoking in public places ("It was a free vote", said my MP - Andrew Mitchell - "so we have to accept it"!). Well I don't!

But, despite this, I don't agree with your characterisation that libertarians are in the minority. This may be so when it comes to crime and punishment issues, but the majority of true conservatives have been social libertarians for many decades - it was this aspect above all others that first attracted me to the party in the 1960s (when I was waaaay too young to vote!!), and I subsequently voted for them at every single election, national and local, since then.

Peter Thurgood is right to point out that ony 45 Tory MPs (about a quarter) voted for the smoking ban, which bears out my own assertion that the libertarians are in the majority. Unfortunately, the majority are on the back-benches (you know, the ones who keep quiet whilst secretly hating what 'call-me-Dave' is doing to the Party). The Tory 'leadership' is very much a child of Zanu-Labour and its empty-suit of an ex-leader Anthony Bliar. Unfortunately this means that the inevitable demise of this government will see it being replaced by a blue Labour clone - at least in the early years.

I suppose one can always hope that there will be a leadership putschz shortly into the new regime, like the one that elevated Livingstone into control in the late and unlamented GLC? I fear this is too big an act of faith on which to pin one's valuable vote.

And that is why I will be voting UKIP - unless of course the Libertarian Party is able to field a candidate in Sutton Coldfield.

The other alternative is bloody revolution, though. Am I the only person who longs for the advent of a latter-day Guy Fawkes?


March 26, 2008 at 14:40 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

All most people on here seem to want to is moan.

You all moan about the politicians, but like them or not, at least they are proactive.
If we want to have our voices heard, we need to take a leaf out of the politician's book, and start being more proactive ourselves.

Write to them, phone them, email them, go to see them in their surgeries. Tell them what we want, and what we will give them in return if they go along with our demands.

Believe me, there are over 15 million of us, and they need our votes. Stop moaning and do something positive.

March 26, 2008 at 14:45 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Dave Webcam can rot in hell. He's no more a conservative than Tony Ben. At least Ben has principles and can be admired. No backbone, no vote! I'm a life long Tory voter and could no more consider voting for them again than I could consider eating poo!

I shall vote and it will depend on local issues as much as anything, although if I'm lucky enough to have the option of a local UKIP candidate I will put my cross next to them. I have Sir George Young as my Tory choice and that is no choice. He's told me I'm a disgrace to support smoker's rights!

March 26, 2008 at 14:53 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Button

Peter, I went to see my MP, (Andrew Mitchell) a few days after the smoking ban vote. He voted against, so I expected a fair discussion about future plans. What he said to me (the bit about the "free vote - must accept it") truly shocked me.

So the logic is that because 650+ MPs were allowed to vote with their consciences, rather than the party whip, then we must accept the outcome as overriding all other considerations!

In other words, the pious personal opinions of a mere 650 citizens (MPs voting with their consiences) count for more than the collective will of 15 million smokers - or even 60 million UK citizens. What does this say about how they relate to us:

"We are far more important than you, Joe Public".

Well I am not prepared to waste any more time with these b*st*ards. You write, email, go to surgeries etc. all you want to.

It is a complete waste of time, energy and blood pressure.


March 26, 2008 at 15:07 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

Peter, I do know that many people have tried asking Cameron about whether he'd repeal/amend the smoking ban and they've all received the same reply which could have been written by a Government spin doctor, namely that it was brought in to protect the public from the 'dangers' of SHS and the Tories support it. The reply won't change however many times the question is asked.

March 26, 2008 at 15:15 | Unregistered CommenterAli

I agree wuth Gazzer. All parties are the same but I disagree with Bootboy about blaming it all on the EU. The only chance left of getting rid of the ban and of equal rights for mental health patients is via Europe, as parliament has already closed all doors. The original partial ban proposed was hardened by MPs and was not even in Labour's manifesto.

There will be by elections between now and the next election and turnout is notoriously low. It should not be beyond the capabilities of some likeminded people to influence the outcomes. An alliance of shopkeepers, publicans, cinema owners, drivers etc demanding to know how each candidate stood on the ban would unsettle the parties. It is possible that more smokers could be mobilised than antis and while it would not ultimately affect a general election it would keep the issue alive.It may also unsettle any MP in a marginal if they know that anti smoking legislation can only be a vote loser.

March 26, 2008 at 15:43 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

Brian Bond is completely right - it is a waste any more time with these b*st*rds and it would be a complete waste of my time to attempt to speak to my local Lib Dem MP who voted in favour of a blanket ban and has subsequently spoken and written in favour of it. I'd get more sense out of talking to a garden gnome. Most politicians simply do not appear to possess the ability to LISTEN to ordinary people and, judging by current events, they seem to be more interested in themselves, their ambitions and claiming expenses. The social commentator, Taki, expressed (back in 1997,I believe) words to the effect that "Guy Fawkes was the only person to enter parliament with sincere convictions." A repeat performance would be welcomed by a lot of people including me. Any politician with an ounce of common sense, reading the newspapers' letters pages and comments on websites, should realise by now that the general mood of the people is a very very unhappy one, and especially amongst tobacco smokers.

For very many reasons, including my support for the people to be given a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty as well as my opposition to the blanket smoking ban (and after 25 years of being a loyal conservative party voter) I have joined UKIP and put my name forward to STAND in the forthcoming rural seat elections. Being realistic I will be a straw candidate, but at least I am offering the voters the opportunity to vote for something different. UKIP should not be dismissed as irrelevant or laughed at because throughout history, minority parties have made ground and become majority parties. UKIP is the only party which has publicly criticised the blanket smoking ban. The major parties, including the conservatives, have never spoken out against this legislation or mentioned that they would amend or repeal the same. Most of the conservative MPs including David Cameron now appear to support this ban and seem to believe that they can win votes by supporting this legislation. A vote for a fourth party such as UKIP would not be a wasted vote. Votes add up and these votes would a vital step towards protesting actively against the current complacent regime.

March 26, 2008 at 16:08 | Unregistered CommenterJenny

Sorry - first sentence from me should read: Brian Bond is right - it is a waste of time with these b*st*rds (ie. MPs) and it would be ....

March 26, 2008 at 16:14 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire


Having just re-read your original posting here I need to ask you, who sent you the e-mail?

I was under the impression that it came from 'Call-Me-Dave' himself - but that isn't what you say.

If it was from the Party, as opposed to a private individual, then it would have some (not much, but some) significance.

If not, then .....


March 26, 2008 at 16:37 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

Many thanks for that little gem, Simon.

By way of a response, I've just penned the following to Conservative Chairman Caroline Spelman (one of the 40-odd Qusilings who voted with the Government for the Smoking Ban):

"Dear Caroline,

As Chairman of the New Conservative Party, you will doubtless be aware (or should be) that Simon Clark of FOREST has just received an e-mail urging his organisation to 'mobilise smokers to vote Conservative'.

Surely that should read: 'mobilise Conservatives to be kind to smokers' ?

Now, clearly, it's too early for April Fool's Day.

The only rational conclusion one can draw is that there are people STUPID enough at Central Office who believe that smokers (qua 'smokers' - and ideally all 14.5 million of them ) are actually going to vote Tory, because........................................?

Well, the preferred answer, of course, is that they are going to do so because the party that I (and millions of others) used to vote for at last understands the not-too-subtle distinction between Authoritarianism and (true) Liberalism, and will - if elected to power - reverse much of that particular manifestation of Nanny-State fascism that has brought misery, loneliness, and depression to countless numbers of law-abiding citizens by virtue of the Smoking Ban. All done, of course, in the name of the Great God Health (Number Two in the firmament to The Great God Europe) - to whom we weak-willed mortals must (under the guidance and 'liberal paternalism' of the New Priesthood) sacrifice all our precious freedoms.

Well, sorry, Caroline: I'll leave YOU to go on your coronary-inducing Fun Runs For Charity, and you can leave ME to have a quiet smoke down at my local with a pint. Not too much to ask for, is it ? Not in a Free Country, at any rate. I believe it used to be called 'Live, and let live' - a homely little phrase that once summed up so much of what made us a civilised and tolerant nation.

But (as Mr Cameron never tires of reminding us), times have changed. Though it seems to have escaped him that the true conservative (of whatever hue) welcomes and adapts to 'change' that is manifestly good, but sternly resists (and reverses) 'change' that is manifestly bad.

He once declared his desire to see an end to 'Punch and Judy politics'. Well, I for one would welcome a little more 'Punch' and rather less 'Judy'........................................

And do please reassure him that not all Mail, Express, and Telegraph readers necessarily support the shooting of dark-skinned immigrants, crucifixion for homosexuals, or the renewed fire-bombing of Dresden. Penal servitude in New South Wales for Patricia Hewitt will be quite enough to begin with.............................

But if a Conservative victory now seems to depend on the warm-weather friendship of precisely the same people who (all 22% of them) foisted Blair and his toxic cabal upon the rest of us, then where - exactly - does that leave 'the rest of us' ?

Now, one of your most trenchant and articulate critics, Peter Hitchens, refers to you habitually (and not without some cause, I fear) as 'Blue Labour'.

Believe me, I'd love you to be able to prove him wrong......................not least as regards his assertion that you are - for the most part - TOTALLY clueless as to what our nation needs right now. And it's not a massive oestrogen injection in the arm of a future Conservative Cabinet - or the benediction of Little Miss Polly Toynbee.

Moreover, if your sole raison d'être nowadays is merely the Pursuit of Power, then may I politely suggest a walk across the floor of the House, or emigration en masse to Pyongyang ?

So - to put it bluntly (and by way of a Libertarian Litmus Test of your good intentions): what's in it for the Smoker ?

Or have I misread the calendar, after all ?

I trust that you will honour me with the courtesy of a reply in the not-too-distant future.

Kind regards,


If I EVER get a response, I shall of course share it with everyone.

The thought has struck me, however, that since the Conservative Party has now clearly given up on Serious Politics, perhaps it's turning its attention to Satire..................

After all, we all enjoy a Good Laugh.

March 26, 2008 at 16:45 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

When I next cast my vote, a deciding factor will be to inflict my revenge upon the control freaks who voted for the ban. In my constituency (Wakefield), the seat could conceivably be taken by the Conservatives. This would deprive Mary Creeagh (who voted for the ban) of her seat.
One of our major problems is that anti-smokers have suffered precious few adverse consequences as a result of their activities. Another is that on the rare occasions when smokers have retaliated, it has been ineffective (the Publican Party is a prime example in Scotland) and gives the Conservatives little incentive to support a change in the law.
So my view is we should inflict as much misery as possible on the guilty, and hope it encourages the others.

March 26, 2008 at 16:55 | Unregistered CommenterDavid J. Anderson

Your comments, David, are exactly what I have been advocating on here, but what I have been lacking in getting through to most people.

Maybe I have not made myself clear enough, or maybe those answering, are so enflamed by the whole situation, that they just want to get everything off their chests in one fell swoop, without taking the trouble to really think about it.

As you say, in your constituency, the person responsible for voting for the ban was Labour, so you have rightly decided to vote against her, and along with many others, to hopefully deprive her of her seat. Well done, this is what it should all be about, no matter what the politics are. If the offending MP is Labour, vote them out, if they are Conservative, vote them out, if they are Lib Dem, vote them out, and use your vote to vote to install a suitable MP for your area, whom you think would do a better job.

But, this is where I believe the majority on here are wrong. All I keep hearing, is that they are opposed to the Conservatives, and even more so, to David Cameron.

Are these people really saying that they would oppose the Conservatives, and by doing so, in all probability, let Labour back in again, just because they have a personal grudge against David Cameron, and because he hasn't given a personal undertaking to amend the smoking ban?

We have a Government who has harmed our country beyond recognition, we have a Government who sold our gold reserves for one quarter of what they are now worth, we have a Government full of crooks and scroungers, we have a Government who could not run a p**s up in a brewery. Does none of this matter to anyone here? What they are saying, figuratively speaking, is that if Norman Wisdom came along and said he would allow smoking back in pubs, they would vote for him.

I am a strong believer in the right to freedom of choice. I am also a smoker. But I would never put my personal taste for smoking, in front of my children's right to live in a free society, and that is exactly what I think a lot of people on here are doing.

I have already explained in an earlier post, how much help the UKIP MEP Nigel Farage was regarding a smoking issue which I raised with him. None whatsoever!

So please, anyone, explain to me the reason we should vote for his party?

March 26, 2008 at 17:48 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I cannot vote for any of them. Buy doing so I would indicate some sort of support, and doubtless they would feel free to use my vote as an indication support for whatever policy, however far it diverges from what I think, that they are currently championing. Having moved recently I'm in the happy position of not being on the Electoral Register, and despite various threatening letters from the Council, intend staying that way for as long as possible. I supported the Countryside Marches, I drive an off-road vehicle (on and off road), I used to make legitimate use of the unsurfaced rights of way as was my right, I smoke, I used to like to go to the pub, I like loud live music, I eat quite well but love a good fry-up now and again, and until recently I lived on a sink estate. I am self employed. I also try not to disturb the neighbours and I *never* tell others how they should live their lives - I have no right to do so. Can anyone name one politician, local or national, that would represent me - or even champion *one* of the issues that have ruined my life? No, didn't think so. I am effectively disenfranchised - there is no point in me voting, there is no one for me to vote for. Judging by the perfectly understandable apathy at elections I believe I am not a alone, yet do the politicians even *try* to see my point of view? No. We may as well go back to the Rotten Boroughs of yesteryear, since politicians are more than happy to ignore the wishes of so many in favour of the few that elections are effectively pointless. Welcome to Third World Britain.

March 26, 2008 at 19:44 | Unregistered CommenterRichard

The only party that I will be voting for is the one that is prepared to amend the draconian smoking ban that 67% of the population didnt want (ONS stats) whilst at the same time returning to publicans their private property rights and returning to members of clubs their right to vote what they want their club to be. If the Conservatives are not supporting this basic democratic freedom they wont be getting my vote - end of story.

March 26, 2008 at 19:50 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

Peter Thurgood is an admirable and erudite person who has my respect in very many ways. However, he keeps on about this one letter he wrote to Nigel Farrell of UKIP and gives Nigel's non-response as a reason for not voting for UKIP. I say this to him:-

WHAT exactly could such a busy man have said or done about that particular subject at that particular time? One can barely imagine the pressure that such an emerging party has to contend with. I doubt they have a well established well funded Conservative Front Office-type infrastructure in place yet.

Does David Cameron always reply personally and in detail to your letters? Or is he too busy and important to be written to in the first place? And if you did write to him, what good would it do?

March 26, 2008 at 20:55 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Peter Thurgood asked

"So please, anyone, explain to me the reason we should vote for his party?"

How about because it is the only one with a manifesto that is committed to upholding all of the values and national traditions that have been put into the "too controversial" bin by the new pink Conservative Party?

I understand how you feel, Peter, and I truly commend your loyalty - but I cannot share it. I am a Conservative to my inner core, and have never voted for any other party. Indeed I have only abstained once, that being in last year's local elections. I even have the happy memory of taking out a bet for £10 with a senior health official in the Peoples Republic of Scotland on the eve of the 1992 general election before I headed off home, arriving just in time to vote. My bet - which I seriously expected to lose - was that the Tories would win! I never got my tenner, though!

Sadly, though, it isn't me that has deserted the Conservative Party, rather it is the other way round. I would dearly love to be able to 'come home' as I feel extremely politically disenfranchised now, but I'm afraid I can't and won't ever cast a vote whilst holding my nose at the same time.

Neither is it just an anti 'call-me-Dave' issue either - in fact I quite like the guy at a personal level. No, it is the whole attitude that his 'Notting Hill' sect demonstrate, smugly rejoicing at the pain inflicted whilst they trample all over the traditional values of their core electorate. It is not just about the smoking ban (although I should remind you that that is precisely what this whole thread is about) but the Tory policy towards the (non-reversal or even modificaton of) the ban speaks volumes for where the political priorities of his Tory party now lie. Look at what it says about the current Conservative Party 'leadership'; it is:

- Too timid to speak out in defence of the individual.
- In thrall to the vile propaganda of single issue fanatics.
- Cowed into the acceptance of left-wing dogma and political correctness as a credo.
- Committed to 'big government' public spending in perpetuity
- Obsessed with occupying the 'middle-ground' of politics. Why?
- Frightened to say anything that the main-stream media may misrepresent
- Seemingly devoid of the basic intelligence to see through hysteria founded on junk science (NB 'vote blue, get green'!)
- Out of touch with the views of the man in the street.
- Couldn't care less about the views of the man in the street.
- Contemptuous towards the views of the man in the street - and in the Conservative Party membership.
- Disinterested in any policy that doesn't accord with regaining power.
- Metropolitan, elitist, complacent and pompous. And nannyingly authoritarian.

So please, Peter, explain to me the reason we should vote for the Conservative Party?

My vote for UKIP or UKLP (should the chance arise) won't elect the next government? So what? (Balls, Ed) It is my vote, and it is precious to me. Whoever deserves it will get it.

And it won't be Call-Me-Dave and Blu-Labour!

March 27, 2008 at 1:20 | Unregistered CommenterBrian Bond

Well, I'm glad that at long last the issue of voting raises its head ! - barely time enough left before the local elections to mobilise the troops....and it's the only thing that we can do that will make any difference. Politicians are not going to amend the ban out of the kindness of their hearts, however much we try and persuade them with logical argument (since that's something most of them try to avoid)

Three key points need answering:-
1. Who should smokers vote for?
2. How do we get all smokers, and those who support smokers, out to vote (say 10 million or more) with some proper advice that they feel they can follow?
3. How do we make sure the politicians know it was the smokers that swung the vote, and not other factors (Iraq war, tax on beer, etc, etc).

United, 10 million smokers could make a major difference - as long as they all move broadly in the same direction - but which direction?

A lot has been said about who we should vote for by the comments above - and it's obviously damned complicated. But, first let's be clear about what we want to achieve by voting? I suggest we would all agree :
1. to obtain an amendment to the smoking ban
2. to decimate the Labour party for what it has done (and continues to do) to our society.

We need to use the local elections in May to demonstrate our strength, frighten them to death, so that they will become more smoker-friendly in their policies in the run up to the next general election. No matter how much it sticks in their throats, they need to be shown that there is only one way they will survive - and being good politicians, they'll bend with the prevailing wind.

But how do we get politicians to appreciate that it is the smokers votes that have made the difference? This implies we need them to be put in a position where they go on record as saying they will support an amendment to the ban or not. It's doubtful that we could get the Tories to do so at this stage, so that leaves the pro-amendment parties/individuals getting the vote.

However, if you don't have such a candidate to vote for, where do you place your vote then - and in a way that the politicians know that it is a smokers vote?

It seems to me that the only way to do this is to spoil your vote, write NO SMOKE - NO VOTE across it.

One could say this might let Labour back in (God forbid), but it seems that a good proportion of smokers could have voted labour in the last election, so the labour votes should drop substantially, and let the Tories in, who, as pointed out above, have more supporters of smokers civil liberties than Labour. We can then put the squeeze on the Tories.

The benefit of this approach is that smokers would then be seen as a force to be reckoned with.

Hence, points 1 and 3 of the 3 key points could have been dealt with. This leaves us with point 2 - the most difficult - How do we mobilise every last one of smokers and their supporters to get out and vote?

Someone else can pick up on this - but I suggest that an approach such as described above (if we could ever agree one - but we must if we want success!) needs to be brought to the attention of the daily newspapers. The only groups with enough organisation, influence and coverage to do this immediately are Forest and Freedom2Choose. (They may know of others).

So, Simon Clark and Colin Grainger - this puts you both on the spot. Could you please, please co-operate and join forces with one common message for smokers. After all, we all want the same thing and, UNITED, SMOKERS CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.

March 27, 2008 at 1:25 | Unregistered CommenterIan Crofts

Congratulations, Ian Crofts and Brian Bonds. Superbly stated and every point covered. So it really is over to you now, Simon Clark and Colin Grainger.

And let's hear from UKIP now. Hope you haven't been softened up by the cushy life in Brussels. Do you have sufficient candidates in the field to cover the May elections? If not, you will find willing souls to represent you if you put out a call on these pages.

March 27, 2008 at 2:00 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Cameron is just a peternalistic Tory. His policies, ideas and ideals are not that different from Labour especially Blairite Labour. Brown is drifting socialist (Northern Rock et. al.) but don't let that fool you about a vast amount of clear blue water between the parties. Its the 70s all over again.

March 27, 2008 at 9:18 | Unregistered CommenterAndrew Ian Dodge

Smokers MUST become a political force to be reckoned with. Peter is right of course about writing, emailing, phoning, visiting our MPs. Then again, mine in Thanet South wrote one thing to me and voted another. Neither do we hard-pressed middle classes have very much time .. We are not being taken seriously and the whole campaign needs to step up its pressure. Why is there so much apathy (and betrayal) by political leaders who seem to think that 12-15m votes don't matter much? If they think it's the equivalent of being nuzzled by a dead sheep then they really won't bother. It's up to our campaigning groups to make much more impression. It needs money, promotion, advertising and high-level negotiation. Where is our advertising campaign and what is its budget????????

March 27, 2008 at 11:23 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Martin

I'm new here. It is refreshing to see such passionate and well-presented arguments in the wake of this ban.

Spoiling ballot papers and threatening to vote UKIP will not help, sad to say. As Cameron knows, the only way to bring about change within the system is to make your policies palatable to the middle ground.

What is the most common objection to smoking in pubs? You see it everywhere in forum debates: "It's so nice not coming out smelling like a kipper". So the answer is to tackle that concern, not ban smokers altogether. I believe Freedom2Choose has the best approach, which is to push for indoor smoking room(s) ventilated to the outside; a return to the Tap Room, if you like. The Tap Room has a nostalgic and comfortable ring likely to appeal to people's senses. The other alleged concern - exposure of staff to SHS - can be dispelled immediately by making them customer-only if necessary.

On top of this, a strong case can be made for member-only clubs deciding on the matter themselves. Indeed, it beggars belief that any government could over-ride the principle of property and privacy rights to this extent, and I'm surprised it hasn't been challenged in law.

Cameron was in a difficult position over the ban on shelf displays. It is probably the most benign measure in the whole sorry saga of war on smokers; to have resisted it would be seen as defending any form of cigarette advertising - not a winner with the public these days.

On the question of protests, by far the best idea I've seen - one that would attract proper media attention for a change - is for pubs en masse to ban the whole Labour cabinet as customers. A symbolic gesture, of course, but a gift to headline-writers. And it might, at last, get people thinking about the devastation this ban has caused.

March 27, 2008 at 11:46 | Unregistered CommenterPaulD

I agree with most things you say Paul, including pubs to ban politicians in general, not just Labour, but all politicians. In fact I submitted that very idea this morning on F2C, with the intention of giving the pub owners - landlords, a kick up their rears, and hopefully galvanise them into action.

After all, it is them that are losing their businesses, and apart from a few, they seem to be doing nothing. We, as the customers, seem to be having to do everything, and it isn't good enough. They must help, not just by banning politicians, but by marching to Downing Street and presenting them with petitions, by polling all the clientele and publishing the figures, by advertising in local and trade papers.

When a bank is in trouble, the Government, (i.e us) have to bail them out, when a motor company is in trouble, the same things happens. We have our pubs, our restaurants, our clubs, our bingo halls, our tobacco industry, and now our retail outlets, all in dire trouble, and what does this pathetic bunch of left wing ninnies do? Instead of throwing these industries a lifeline, they knee them in the groin, and tell them they are doing it for their own good, just like Nanny with her spoonful of foul tasting medicine, which she assures the poor child will cure everything.

Well I am fed up with Nanny, I am grown up now, and want to make my own decisions on what is good for me and the country I live in. Labour voted this dire law in, let us vote dire Labour out.

March 27, 2008 at 12:41 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

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