Before Tories start celebrating (see post below), a former Conservative MSP has added his take to the David Cameron story (HERE). Writing in the Edinburgh Evening News, former Forest spokesman Brian Monteith, now policy director for The Free Society, comments:
There are days when I wonder how I ever was a Conservative. This Monday was one of them. Dawn Primarolo, the English Health Secretary announced she was considering banning cigarettes from being displayed in shops.
This prim paternalist believes that kids are seduced into smoking by the serried ranks of fag packets on walls – why cigarettes should have such an effect when shelves of toothpaste or condoms don't make them clean their teeth or practice protective sex hasn't occurred to her all-knowing mind. If this wasn't bad enough, David Cameron then said the idea is "worth looking at".
If the Conservative leader can't see that making tobacco smoking more mysterious, more rebellious, more unconventional will also make it more desirable amongst the young then he's in the wrong job. Cannabis smoking has grown immensely while being illegal and without the benefit of shop displays – just ask the question why David. I look at the political parties and I really, really struggle to say there's any that will get my vote next time round.
I have known Brian for 25 years. During that time he has never wavered from the Conservative cause and his political CV makes impressive reading. From his days as chairman of the Federation of Conservative Students to his nine-year stint as MSP for Mid Scotland and Fife, Brian has frequently been the most outspoken Tory on the block, always taking the fight to the opposition and never holding back.The idea that someone so committed to the Tory cause is having second thoughts about voting for the party should give even Dave "It's worth looking at" Cameron pause for thought. The Conservatives may be ahead in the polls but come the election they will need every vote they can get. Governments can lose general elections but it rarely happens by default. It needs a strong Opposition - as in 1979 and 1997 - so people have a genuine choice. Like Brian, I'm not sure that Cameron represents anything radically different. And why would we vote for more of the same?