Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Hide And Smoke

There's a degree of unwarranted optimism in the British Government's latest pro health fascist, anti-smoking crusade: according to the Telegraph, Ministers have said that cigarettes displays will be banned from shops by 2013. Yet, I haven't spoken to anyone in the past few months who thinks the NuLab NutJobs will still be in power after the next election, or who thinks that the election can come soon enough.

With any luck, they'll be out on their ear long before they can impose this further example of Nanny State bullshit upon us, but some of their fellow hang-wringing Nannies won't be happy:

The Telegraph goes on to report that Dr Vivienne Nathanson, Head of Science and Ethics at the British Medical Association, said: "We don't understand this delay. While we accept that new shop equipment is necessary to implement the new rules we still believe the delay should be shorter and the date should be the same for all shops. This legislation is vitally important to prevent young people smoking so the sooner it is introduced the better.

"The BMA is disappointed that the Government is not planning to ban cigarette vending machines. We hope the proposals to make vending machines 'child-proof' will be rigidly enforced and that if they do not work then this issue will be revisited by ministers."

Really? I'm disappointed that the BMA still exists and that Nanny Viv is still killing time there instead of doing what she was trained - at taxpayers' expense - to do, namely, get off her soap box and start treating patients. I don't understand how the BMA can justify poking its collective snout into free choice of the British public, and do so in our name, yet. I suggest they mind their own business, and get a propper job (if they should turn out to be employable). If we want them, we'll send for them, and in the meantime they should stop bothering us.

The same goes for Harpal Kumar and his colleagues from Cancer Research UK. Kumar reportedly said: "We are very encouraged by the announcement to put cigarettes out of sight but disappointed that vending machines will still be available."

"We urge the Government to introduce these measures as soon as possible, and to consider further measures that are needed. In particular we hope they will work quickly towards developing and implementing tobacco control plans that are ambitious, comprehensive and well funded."

Just get on with the research, guys. That's what you're paid to do, isn't it? Although, I must say, it's taking you an inordinately long time to come up with viable solutions despite being ambitious, allegedly comprehensive and well enough funded to afford a high(ish) profile Chief Executive. Hmmm.

On the other hand, Stephen Robertson, Director General of the British Retail Consortium, seems to have his head screwed on right. He said: "This will hit small stores, which lack the space and resources, particularly hard.

"The Government is right to try to stop children smoking but banning displays in shops is just not the way. It will impose thousands of pounds of pointless refit costs on stores, ultimately met by customers, and create delays and inconvenience for customers and staff."

Absolutely right, Stephen. I don't want to be waiting in line in a small newsagent (not that there are many of them left) while the poor sap behind the counter has to keep scurrying into the back room to get smokes for his customers. And what's going to happen when someone asks for a brand that's out of stock? Into the back to check, back out front to report the absence of smokes, around the back again for an alternative, while the rest of us quietly fume.

No, this is stupid, pointless, Nannying legislation from a Government that just can't resist the temptation to interfere in every aspect of its citizens' lives. Just like every other change they've introduced since the hard of thinking majority imposed them on us in 1997. Still, not long now.

Billy Seggars.

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