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« The Free Society ... on Today's radar | Main | Voices of Freedom 2011 »

Hemming: British culture "being eroded"

From today's Sunday Express:

Fresh from reducing Ryan Giggs’s injunction to a pile of ashes, Lib Dem MP John Hemming is lending his support to another campaign calling for urgent changes to the smoking ban.

He is joining Tory Greg Knight and Labour’s Roger Godsiff in demanding the Government amend the ban to allow struggling pubs and clubs to offer “well-ventilated rooms” for smokers.

The campaign believes it unfair that smokers are forced to stand or sit outside and that our laws are draconian compared with the rest of Europe. The pub industry claims the ban has had a “devastating” impact on trade and flies in the face of the Coalition’s philosophy to allow individuals to make their own choices.

Anti-secrecy crusader Mr Hemming, who fancies himself as a possible party leader and who will help host a reception for the Save Our Pubs And Clubs campaign in Parliament next month, said: “British culture is being eroded at the moment.”

See: Giggs's nemesis fumes over ban.

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Reader Comments (9)

I guess we cant get more on topic than this, an article by Peter Hitchens from the Mail on Sunday about how "Human Rights" are being abused in this country and how the public, John Hemming and Parliament are being systematically silenced. The smoking ban should be struck down by these type of laws but obviously not PC enough.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 11:31 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Dave - It's a question now of all of us continually pushing at that slightly open door.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 11:43 | Unregistered CommenterJJ

The pub industry claims the ban has had a “devastating” impact on trade

Does it? Source, please. I thought they blamed the closure of pubs on the economic downturn, cheap booze in supermarkets, the weather, and poor management. i.e. anything but the smoking ban.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 17:54 | Unregistered CommenterFrank Davis

Surely with other workable alternatives available, the smoking ban that denies people their basic needs of warmth and shelter is a clear breach of peoples human rights.

Sunday, May 29, 2011 at 18:56 | Unregistered Commentermark

The problem, Mark, is that such things as 'warmth and shelter' do not fall within the remit of Human Rights. Only stuff like 'religion' and 'family life' and 'human dignity' and 'torture' are considered. But when this idea of Human Rights was agreed, the reason for it was to stop persecution by States. Somehow, this basic, simple idea has 'crept' - thus, terrorists can claim 'human rights' to avoid due punishment for the misdeeds in their own country by claiming that they might be subjected to torture. It is very odd that our courts have accepted 'the possibility of torture' as a proven fact. The logic is wrong - if it is a 'possibility, then it is not a proven fact. In other words, a person who claims that he might be subjected to torture has to prove it. But what is even more difficult to understand is how there can be legal resistance to removing a person who is not a citizen of the UK to, say, Italy, if that person is accused of terrorist activity in Italy. It is silly to say that this person cannot be extradited for reasons of 'family life'.

On the other hand, there is a simple answer to this problem. Why should this person, a terrorist, not be tried in England? It ought not to be possible for a person to plot to kill people and avoid prosecution merely on 'Human Rights' grounds, merely because the happens to have moved from Italy to England. The simple answer is to allow Italy to try him in England. What is the problem?

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 0:48 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

@ Dave Atherton.

But did you observe his opinions about Cannabis?

I have no interest whatsoever in cannabis or any other 'recreational drug' (whatever that may mean).

He accepts the idea that cannabis creates mental health problems. He cites one person who is crazy, and says that the person is crazy because he was addicted to cannabis. He did not say that there is a possibility that he liked cannabis because he is crazy. He then builds a case which suggests that everyone who likes cannabis, or any other drug (such as nicotine or alcohol), is, de facto, crazy.

This thinking is what we are militating against. The fact that you enjoy tobacco (or cannabis, or heroin) does not mean that you are crazy. And yet, this idea is what ASH (the voice of the Royal College of Physicians) is aiming at - anyone who smokes (in view of the health hazards) is crazy. And therefore, the Government must interfere and stop them from behaving in such a crazy way - provided always that they do not do so too rapidly. Studies have shown that most people smoke only a little each day. Thus, demand for tobacco is rather inelastic. For the foreseeable future, people, on the whole, will continue to buy fags, and so tobacco duties will not flag significantly, especially if duties are continuously increased. Great! Except that people will, naturally, look for alternatives which cost less.

At the moment, smuggling (I do not mean people bringing back fags from holiday - I mean importation under the radar) is probably confined to the immediate environs of ports - who you know rather than what you know. But it will spread. People will have contacts. And, the more that Customs try to devise ways to stop smuggling, the more clever that smugglers will become. What is obvious to me is that no sensible person, whatever their status in life, will refuse to take advantage of 'duty free' availability of tobacco (or cannabis or heroin or whatever). There is a strong possibility that Customs officers themselves will wish to take advantage of the situation - why not?

The whole situation stinks. Stinks horribly. And why? Because the Government allowed itself to be seduced by the Royal College of Physicians - aka ASH.

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 3:02 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Perhaps the smoking ban should be addressed from the "human dignity" angle then.
There is no dignity in being a payed customer, forced to stand outside a public house
in the wind or pouring rain in freezing temperatures. Even with a fifty percent enclosed shelter.

Pub owners can no longer treat their customers with dignity because of the smoking ban.
Rights to " human dignity" I feel is definitely being abused here .

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 3:51 | Unregistered Commentermakr

The problem is that 'Health' supercedes all and has to be dealt with on this level. Its the 'catch all' phrase of the day. This is why it is necessary to show the paucity of the SHS theory and the disproportionate reaction to a theory that the ban is.

The question is not 'if' but 'how'. As I keep saying, weaken that and the rest falls over. Human rights and/or dignity do not come into it. This is why I'm strongly supportive of the likes of Simon and Dave Atherton.

I've no doubt that, sooner or later, the RCP will, one way or another, state that the biggest cause of self inflicted harm and hospital admissions is people 'Having Fun' with the accompanying plethora of machinated surveys to 'prove' 'it. Its a drain on the (bow 3 times and mutter I'm not worthy) NHS, they'll say. We must save the (bow 3 times and mutter I'm not worthy) NHS, they'll say - Again.

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 8:09 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Those of us who insist on pesky freedom and making our own decisions must be intolerable to our masters

Monday, May 30, 2011 at 19:22 | Unregistered CommenterSingle Acts of Tyranny

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