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« Smoking: hospital rebellion grows | Main | Caught between a pig and a poke »

From bully state to Stasi state

Thanks to everyone who came to the London leg of The Bully State book launch. Last night's drinks party at the Westminster Arms near Parliament Square was attended by a wide range of politicos from a variety of groups including the Adam Smith Institute, the Taxpayers Alliance (and its sister campaign Big Brother Watch), Liberal Vision, The Freedom Association and several more.

Guests also included a number of bloggers – among them Guido Fawkes and Dick Puddlecote – plus one or two corporate visitors, including a consultant to the oil industry aka Big Bad Oil.

Last night's event was noticeably more political than our party in Edinburgh which felt more like a gathering of friends and family (which, in some cases, it was). Within the Westminster village I detect a far stronger desire to fight back against the nanny/bully/Stasi state. In Scotland, one or two individuals aside, there seems to be a general acceptance that nothing can be done about it and we just have to lump it.

BTW, I was driven to refer to a Stasi state by Duncan Bannatyne's article in last Sunday's Observer which I have already commented upon HERE. This passage in particular stood out:

Smoking should be banned in cars, and particularly any vehicle with children in it. On a school visit I met a 12-year-boy who wanted to be an athlete who told me that every morning his mother lit up when she was driving to school, even though he'd begged her to stop. He should be able to report her to the police.

It should also be illegal to smoke at home in front of children. I accept that enforcing such a law would be difficult, but it would send a message that such behaviour is unacceptable.

Last night I pointed out that the only way this could be enforced is for neighbours or family members to report people who smoke in front of children to the police. It makes you wonder what sort of society Bannatyne wants to create. Smoke-free, undoubtedly, but the means of achieving that are so terrible to contemplate that it beggars belief that anyone in public life would promote such policies.

Actually, I think Bannatyne has done us a favour and scored a huge own goal. As president of No Smoking Day he has demonstrated the lengths to which the anti-tobacco will go to achieve a "smoke-free" (sic) world.

Roll on No Smoking Day 2010. Thanks to Bannatyne's appalling comments he has given us all the ammunition we need.

PS. The Bully State: The End of Tolerance can be ordered on Amazon HERE.

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    While state-paid policy wonks, and glammed-up secretaries from Chelmsford and Croydon happily indulged in much of what the government would prefer we didn't do

Reader Comments (8)

All comments like this sicken me! I detest the one that comes on in the break of Emmerdale where a child is asking her mum to stop smoking. I feel like replying for her mum and saying, yes, ok darling, I will stop smoking, but I just might throttle you tomorrow! The guilt that this disgusting propoganda causes in some people is absolutely tantamount to condoning child abuse! Many people who smoke live on their nerves and without that bit of comfort can become edgy, snappy and intolerant. No fault of theirs, but something they are being continuously driven towards by this joke of a government and all its cohorts!

October 15, 2009 at 12:58 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I think these ads are appalling. Simon Clark hasn't mentioned the awful "viral" anti-smoking video made by Birmingham NHS EN PCT which shows a smoker being beaten to death as he is kicked and punched and shoved into an excluded place. This came out when Simon was profoundly busy with the party conferences.

I will be having a meeting with the PCT as soon as a date has been fixed to register my complaint face to face and then I hope to take it to the Ombudsman. I said it was an incitement to violence, health propaganda and not health information, and it's distribution should be stopped immediately. I said it added nothing to the health debate but could encourage a smoker to be beaten by an anti-smoker in a climate where people on both sides of the argument are beating each other to death because of the smoking ban. .. Totally irresponsible and not something that I think tax payers should be funding.

That aside, I wish that the current "Mummmmm, I know you're watching corrie ...." ads were a bit more realistic. Children should be more worried about their parents getting in a car everyday as they are far more likely to die from a car accident than smoking.

As for Banal-tyne. What an idiot. This man is despicable. I guess he knows he can buy his way into policy with the current govt that cares nothing for freedom and would indeed encourage neighbours to report "non-compliant" parents . Personally, I think smokers should demand that this particular Dragon is taken off air for his inflammatory views. Why should I pay a licence fee to enhance the financial gain of this particular anti-social maggot?

October 15, 2009 at 14:43 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Here,here, Pat Nurse.
That disgusting add by Birmingham NHS should be banned immediately as incitement to hatred.
What will they come up with next, maybe a smoker being given a lethal injection because the wouldnt stop?
They are loosing the run of themselves lately, with these disgusting ads not to mention the appaling ones showing young children, that is tantamount to child abuse, being used for scaremondering purposes for anti smoking ads against their parents.
They should be reported to the human rights commission on the grounds of abuse of a legal habit and children.

October 15, 2009 at 15:33 | Unregistered Commenterann

Pat. Perhaps that smoker was beaten up by one of Bannatyne's drunken drinking mates. Bannatyne approval of drinking could be the cause of binge drinking amongst our youngsters.

October 15, 2009 at 16:03 | Unregistered Commenterchas

I have not seen that as Pat, but totally agree with you.

What would happen if racists were allowed to put out ads like this but with 'ethnic minorities' being kicked and punched to the ground? It just would not be allowed - where is the difference? Since when have the tv stations, the press or indeed any government of this country been allowed to incite such violence on anyone, never mind a minority group who pay so much into their coffers?

October 15, 2009 at 18:24 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Thanks for the link, Simon. It's a good book, I can recommend it. The reference above is my small take.

October 15, 2009 at 22:06 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

It seems that Scotland have grown their own Stanton Glantz, ie Duncan Balantyne.

As far as the ads feauring 'real children' asking their parents to give up smoking is concerned, I always think of possible consequences. Here is just one. Let us imagine that the parent gives up, then in ten years time the child begins smoking. Think of the hidden guilt the young person feels remembering what they did on TV. Think of the anger that parent feels towards their now grown up and smoking child who had at one time appeared on TV to lay the guilt on them for smoking.

October 16, 2009 at 19:49 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Thats why when Duncan Ballantyne organises his protest against BAT we need an equal opposite reaction!!

October 17, 2009 at 3:04 | Unregistered CommenterCarlo

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