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« Politics and prohibition | Main | Up yours, Hockney tells Brown »

Forest by the sea

I am currently in Bournemouth where we are co-hosting, with Liberal Vision, a fringe event at the Lib Dem conference.

At 6.15pm tonight we are holding a meeting that asks the question: "How should liberals fight back against the nanny state?" We have spent the morning distributing flyers (aka invitations) and I am currently back in my hotel writing my speech. Any suggestions warmly welcome - I will check the comments on my iPhone before I speak.

The event, at the Royal Exeter Hotel opposite the conference centre, will be chaired by Liberal Vision's Mark Littlewood. Other speakers include Charlotte Gore which is quite a coup because Charlotte is currently the no 1 Lib Dem blogger.

We've also got a Lib Dem councillor from Liverpool city council (which is controlled by the Lib Dems) which should be interesting. The Lib Dems in Liverpool led the charge towards a comprehensive smoking ban and Smokefree Liverpool now wants to give films that feature anyone smoking an '18' certificate. How liberal is that?

The 60-minute speaker meeting is followed by a 90-minute drinks party featuring free wine and beer and live music by a local jazz trio. They have also agreed to play directly outside the conference centre from 5.00-6.00pm to help drum up interest. (I am told they will be extremely visible.)

What Stuart Holmes, the resident anti-tobacco campaigner, will say is anyone's guess. Actually I know exactly what he will say/shout because we've already had a small run-in with him this morning. He really doesn't like us very much!

The party will help promote the Save Our Pubs & Clubs campaign which has been given such a boost following David Hockney's comments at the weekend. Hopefully a few liberals (and Lib Dems) will sign up too.

Reader Comments (41)

Never mind Bournemouth; go to Wales, I beg you!

This just in on the ASH website....Christ almighty.....

"Shoppers smoking illegally in a town centre more than two years after a ban was introduced are being targeted. Torfaen council said members of the public in Cwmbran town centre were still ignoring the ban on smoking in enclosed public places.

Following complaints, patrols will take place to deter lighting up in covered areas. Anyone breaking the law may be issued with a £50 fine, or £30 if paid promptly.

The town's partly-covered malls have caused smokers confusion in the past about where they can light up. Posters and public address announcements have been used to inform shoppers of the areas where smoking is forbidden, such as the bus station.

But the council said despite more than 100 warnings, 10 fines and two successful prosecutions since the ban was introduced in Wales in April 2007, a small number of people continued to break the law. Council officers, supported by Gwent Police and shopping centre managers, will patrol the town this week.

Councillor Gwyneira Clark, council executive member for planning and public protection, said those choosing to smoke in covered areas were putting other people's health at risk from second-hand smoke. "We hope that by carrying out high-visibility patrols and informing people in advance of our visit that this will act as a strong reminder, without the need for fines to be handed out," she added.

Source: BBC News, 21 September 2009"

Source BBC news I see.........hmmmmmmmmmmmmm........

September 22, 2009 at 14:35 | Unregistered CommenterMax D

I see the NHS nearly have a new video about to be released it shows a smoker being beaten up in the street by invisible thugs see link to the Guardian story below.

I think encouraging certain weak minded people to beat smokers up in the street is repulsive and degrading to people who just so happen to smoke.

I'm sure someone like Stuart Holmes
probably thinks it's a good idea.
Why do I have to pay high taxes to pay for parasites like this ?
Explain Mr Holmes ,why do I have to pay high taxes to keep a parasites like you in a job .

September 22, 2009 at 15:07 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

"We hope that by carrying out high-visibility patrols and informing people in advance of our visit that this will act as a strong reminder, without the need for fines to be handed out," she added.

And some people STILL don't believe in Alien Life-Forms ?

You'd get more sense from a Talking Slug......

September 22, 2009 at 15:18 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Good luck in Bournemouth, Simon and all. I wish I could feel confident that the LibDems care - charlotte Gore or not, I really believe they don't give a damn. I hope you can prove me wrong.

September 22, 2009 at 16:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

I think that the point that all these nanny state laws have been made by the most corrupt bunch of politicians in living memory should be repeated at every opportunity, as should the way they exempt themselves from these laws, both in Westminster and Europe.

I see another domino is about to tumble. Spain appears to be moving towards a total ban.

September 22, 2009 at 16:22 | Unregistered CommenterSimon

I'm bringing rotten tomatoes for the Holmes fella.

September 22, 2009 at 17:01 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

You wouldn't Dick, surely you wouldn't? :¬}

September 22, 2009 at 17:53 | Unregistered CommenterJohn H Baker (F2C)

Go for it, Dick !

Just don't go lobbing any SHOES.........

September 22, 2009 at 17:59 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I know that I'm a bit late, but last night the Lib Dems said on radio Five, that they were against bans and the nanny state. So why did most of them vote for the blanket smoking ban?

September 22, 2009 at 19:45 | Unregistered Commenterchas

I have take a flagrant liberty and I have just googled Mr Holmes.

Specky's post states:- "Explain Mr Holmes ,why do I have to pay high taxes to keep a parasites like you in a job ." I may be wron but from what I have read, Mr Holmes is unemployed.

Which would explain a lot.....

September 22, 2009 at 19:48 | Unregistered CommenterMax D

"So why did most of them vote for the blanket smoking ban?"

Because, Chas, in LibDemWorld 2 + 2 = 5

It's that simple..........(as are they).

September 22, 2009 at 20:36 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Hope you do/did well at the conference Simon, sorry I didn't check in earlier.
There is a few more Conferences to go, I hope you do not get pestered by anties.
Please Simon if you get a chance remind people that the dying in hospital are being wheeled out into the open for a smoke in all weathers.
It is a pitiful, undignified, heartbreaking, abuse of our loved ones at the end of their lives.
I have personal experience of this, my mum 81.

September 22, 2009 at 23:31 | Unregistered CommenterMary smoker

Max D's report about Torfaen, Cwmbran is another example of the extreme silliness and wastefulness of Local Authorities.

I just looked at Cwmbran on Google Maps - unfortunately, there were no photos of the 'covered area' in question.

What I cannot understand is why on Earth these jobsworthies bother? Perhaps the answer is in the word 'jobsworthy'.

September 23, 2009 at 0:39 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


'JobsUNworthy', perhaps..................?

And what ARE these people's 'jobs' REALLY worth ?

A steady income and a nice guaranteed pension to THEM.

And a big fat ZERO to to the rest of us......

September 23, 2009 at 6:22 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Thanks for that MAX D September 22, 2009 at 18:48 .
Looks like he's trying to create a job for himself in the "smoker persecution" industry.
Not on my hard earned cash you parasite.
I just googled him too ,he's that nutter who jumped on the plinth in Trafalgar square.
My spelling was off in my last comment after I saw the latest "smoker gets duffed up", NHS video in the "Ghastly Guardian",(Isvestia).
I was shaking with rage.

September 23, 2009 at 12:09 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

Specky -

I've just watched the video. Thanks for the link.



And what, I wonder, will be the cheery theme for the next one ?

Ah yes:

High Street tobacconist's window being smashed by brick-throwing schoolchildren.


"Kids - don't get RAPED by Mr Tobacco !"

Like I keep saying, Folks:

National's the Future.


September 23, 2009 at 13:16 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

The first time I spotted Holmes in the background of a major news story was after his plinth episode.

Carrying his usual banner with the words "stop actors and children smoking" he butt in and stood behind a mother fresh from a court case which awarded compensation to families of some of the children of Corby who had been born deformed because of pollution from an old steelworks.

I'm guessing Holmes didn't get much attention because just for once, the media seemed to get it that there were much worse things than smoking to harp on about. Holmes just ended up looking like a nutter which is typical of the obsessive antis. GIve 'em enough rope ....

September 23, 2009 at 13:37 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"Give 'em enough rope ...."

And they'll hang ALL of us.................

September 23, 2009 at 13:47 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Technical Question.

Re the Rankin video:

Anybody know how I could save this to a DVD ?

All the normal methods seem not to work.

And all further comments on Youtube blocked.

September 23, 2009 at 13:50 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

To Specky and Martin V - Clearly, Mr Holmes is a "man" far too much time on his hands.

I, on the other hand, am working my balls off, 6 days a week to pay for this tool and his enjoyment of his nut-bar personal crusade. If this twat succeeds in being instrumental in a successful smoking ban, I and many others like me will have to work a 15 day week, 24 hours a day to cover the £10 billion pound shortfall that will be lost as result of lost tobacco duty for the the exchequer.

Looking at the various "anti" sites and articles, they don't seem to understand that that is what is likely to happen and refer to the the costs in "millions" rather than the actual billions that are involved. Am I being too obvious/simple minded here? Is it me? Help.....!

Also, viz a viz that utterly REPUGNANT ad on the Guardian website. Christ I nearly puked. Not only because of the gratuitous violence of some bod strolling down the street minding his own business (maybe ging to get a packet of cigs, the dirty deviant) and getting his head well and truly kicked in but moreover, the complete inappropriateness of the whole thing. And this, from the Grauniad of all papers; the right on brothers and sisters at the Grauniad!

Homosexuality could lead to AIDS, theoretically. Can't wait to see that video of some geezer giving his boyfriend a friendly peck only to be set up on by an army of invisible "queer bashers". A likely ad? No, didn't think so....

For the record, I am heterosexual nor am I a homophobe, so I'm not playing the "pink card" here. Please take note any "anti's" who may be reading.

September 23, 2009 at 13:57 | Unregistered CommenterMax D

I've registered a complaint about the video with the ASA.

September 23, 2009 at 15:14 | Unregistered Commenterjon

Jon -

Good for you (saves me the time).

Do let us all know how you got on.

Some health-care professionals are plainly in need of THERAPY.

Max -

Have some heart, Mate: they can't pick on Jews (as opposed to'Israelis') or homosexuals any more. Whom else CAN they persecute (for now)?

England, My England.............

September 23, 2009 at 15:44 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Flood them with complaints about that sick video.

September 23, 2009 at 15:48 | Unregistered Commentermark

Thanks for that Mark. I was going to complain to the Birmingham NHS and the ASA - Jon - do you have a link or an address?

September 23, 2009 at 16:36 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

Martin V et al. Thanks for the feedback and info. My registration and complaint regarding that digusting piece of violent exclusionist porn (as far as I'm concerned) goes to the ASA NOW!

Also to Mark; thanks for that info. Going to have a scooch round there now.

To all: FYI I am (wait for it) part English, Scots, Irish, Welsh, Jewish, Spanish, have gay friends, drink and smoke. And I'm from "the noooorth!" So I'm pretty fucked on at least 3 counts. I'm also a part time musician, have long hair and wear "funny clothes"; a "Bohemian" if you will. Oh shit; I really am off to the gas chamber now!!!

That's all I know so far until the New World Order deploys some DNA test together to tell us all where and what we are and where we come from and whether I am allowed to live and breathe. HOWEVER I am "lucky" enough not be fat
and am, therefore, not a burden on the NHS in that capacity. So that's something........

September 23, 2009 at 16:46 | Unregistered CommenterMax D

Cigarettes beat up smokers. It's obviously a sick attempt at putting the idea in ciculation that smokers are fair game for a beating.
Every time I think they have gone too far, they go a lttle further. Let's hope the day is coming soon when they blow their proverbial foot off.

September 23, 2009 at 17:04 | Unregistered CommenterZitori

Just got back myself from Bournemouth and attended the debate. I won't steal Simon's thunder but I thought it went very well. I am also badly in need of some sleep.

September 23, 2009 at 17:47 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Have just seen Nick Clegg's 'I'll tell you why I want to be Prime Minister' speech (ha! ha! ha! ha! - no, stop it, Nick: you're making my sides ache...........).

Well, the first ten seconds, anyway.

He's not David Cameron's brother, by any chance, is he ?

The same hand gestures, the same carefully-crafted sincerity, the same cadences, the same Blair-like let-me-speak-slowly-so-that-you-can-all-understand-me delivery, the same suit.

Or maybe he IS David Cameron.

So hard to tell these days..........

September 23, 2009 at 18:42 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Max -

Thanks for the profile.

I can only claim Anglo-Hispano-Germano-Italian ancestry, I'm afraid.

But I AM coming back as a Brilliant Blues Guitarist.

Or a World-rank Loss Adjuster.................

September 23, 2009 at 18:50 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Hey Martin - Thanks for reminding me about this point; litrally, "point".

Me and the missus (especially the Missus) find this whole, bizarre thumb pointing hand gesturing most irritating, staged and frankly, weird. So much so, that she is happy to vote for the first party who says they will desist from this wanky practice of body language, and obviously the party that offers and promises choice to smokers etc etc etc etc.

Something else that needs eridcating then. Bullshit body language,pointy, gesturing "sincerity" from politicians.

Oh, and DO come as a brilliant Blues Guitarist. Lord knows, we all got the Bules right now brother......

September 23, 2009 at 19:32 | Unregistered CommenterMax D

Amen to that, Max:

"Woke up this mornin'..........."

September 23, 2009 at 23:18 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Here is the sound file of the speech by Liverpool councillor Colin Eldridge who is behind the move to give films with smoking scenes an 18 certificate.

September 23, 2009 at 23:28 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

“Let me share with you a vision of MY kind of Britain. A Britain in which EVERYBODY feels that he, or she, or it, can play a part – even if he, or she,or it, is NOT a politician. A Britain in which ALL those children who feel that they would benefit from an education stand quite a good chance of getting one. In which there’s a hospital bed for EVERY sick person who needs it – and even for those who don’t. A country in which the words ‘I care’ MEAN something. Even if the speaker doesn’t.

But, you know, it’s not just enough to ‘care’. We all ‘care’ about the Environment, for example. I know I do. But we also need to DO something.

And that’s EXACTLY what I intend to do. Something.

A Britain in which EVERYBODY is welcome – even foreigners. Look, this is a nation of immigrants. For centuries, people from across the world have brought special talents which have enriched our land: Flemish cloth-weavers, Dutch engineers, Jewish merchants, French onion-sellers – all have helped make us what we are today. I myself speak as the son of an accountant from Pontypridd.

But, above all, a country of Freedom. Yes – Freedom ! In which ALL are free to think, to speak, and to go about their daily lives without oppressive restraints. Except, of course, where they are not.

As Frank Sinatra once said: “I have a dream”. Well, so do I. Let us now go forth and make that dream a reality. Because - we can !”

September 24, 2009 at 1:31 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Onesize-Fitzall MP

I wonder if JOFMP will tell us what he intends to do. It would be most interesting.

September 24, 2009 at 2:01 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


Don't expect such a busy and important person as Mr Fitzall MP to respond to your question in detail.

I, for one, am inspired by his speech and glad that our future lies in such capable and caring hands.

We already know from our three great leaders, Cameron, Clegg and Brown, that before we can aspire to such a better life, we must suffer misery and poverty to pay off the enormous debt we have all accrued.

It's all our own fault. Thank goodness we have such inspirational men as Mr Fitzall MP to selflessly lead us out of it.

September 24, 2009 at 14:42 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson


Don't expect such a busy and important person as Mr Fitzall MP to respond to your question in detail.

I, for one, am inspired by his speech and glad that our future lies in such capable and caring hands.

We already know from our three great leaders, Cameron, Clegg and Brown, that before we can aspire to such a better life, we must suffer misery and poverty to pay off the enormous debt we have all accrued.

It's all our own fault. Thank goodness we have such inspirational men as Mr Fitzall MP to selflessly lead us out of it.

September 24, 2009 at 14:43 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson


That's all very well, but Mr Fixall MP has a cunning plan, and I would like to know what it is. I am sure that he will consult his colleagues, Mr Nosentroff MP and Mr Woffler.

September 25, 2009 at 1:26 | Unregistered CommenterJunican


Now you've spoilt it! I thought that was a brilliant speech by Mr Fitzall. Will the real perpetrator please stand up and be counted - and congratulated?

Speaking of perpetraitors, I'd also like that annoying "er" to be irradicated from politic-speak. It's well past its sell by date. Far from achieving the hoped for fresh from the heart and mind effect, it just makes our politicos look woolly and absent minded.

Mind you, come to think of it....

September 25, 2009 at 10:32 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Couldn't POSSIBLY comment.........

September 25, 2009 at 12:42 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Martin V.

Respect. GREAT respect!

September 26, 2009 at 7:14 | Unregistered CommenterMargot Johnson

Dear Mrs/Miss/Ms/Other Johnstone,

Mr Onesize-Fitzall has asked me to convey his gratitude for your kind comments.

He regrets that he has not been able to respond to you personally, however, since he has only just been called away at the last minute on an all-party fact-finding tour of high-class brothels in the Far East.

He anticipates his return sometime in the New Year, probably before Easter.

Kindest regards,


September 26, 2009 at 10:32 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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