Stephen Pollard has just got back from New York and he liked the smoking ban so much he wants to impose it on Britain.
Years of leaving it to individuals to decide how to behave have had almost no effect for the better. In New York, the impact of legislation has been truly wonderful, reclaiming the city from smokers who, as experience clearly shows, almost never act considerately.
Where to start in dealing with this classic example of old-style nanny-state socialism?
I could link to some piece of sponsored American ‘scientific research’ maybe called “Debunking the Myths of Passive Smoking” showing that fags don’t really do much harm after all. I could recall the failures of prohibition. I could point out that thousands of workers for tabacco companies will lose their jobs (especially in the developing world that anti-globalisation activists pretend to ‘care’ about). I could compare the ‘damage’ from cigarette smoke with the impact of car fumes (I suppose you want to stop my right to drive a car as well Stephen?).
Then I could raise the frightening question of how Stephen’s ‘Orwellian’ lung police are going to enforce such a ban across the length and breadth of our once-free country?
The real question though is who will pay for the policing of this ban? Why the already over-burdened taxpayer of course. Where will the revenue from the fines go to? Why the state of course. So, surprise, surprise, Pollard’s legislation involves the state restricting the free choices of the individual and taking another chance to slip its already filthy paws into ordinary hard-working folks’ pockets. It’s back to the seventies. No doubt Stephen and other ‘Juice Bar lefties’ will be promoting this idea over a fry-up in a smoke-free greasy spoon with Arthur Scargill.
But wait there is more. Pollard actually praises the government of Norway for launching a (state funded) advertising campaign to prepare Norwegians for their own smoking ban.
Yes, you read it right. To prepare Norwegians for a ban. Not only do we have to fund the policing and enforcement of a ban on our free choice but we have to fund a propaganda campaign to make us feel ready to have our freedom taken away. Do these peope have no shame?
And how much will this illiberal propaganda campaign cost the British taxpayer? Well by my reckoning it could be anything up to £9.6 billion pounds. No, read it again, that’s not a misprint. Up to £9.6 billion pounds.
Well, here’s a radical idea. The solution is not spending large sums of public money. It is smokers cutting down and eventually quitting because they realise they need to.
I know what I’m talking about here. In the past few months, I have cut down to 15 fags a day with more to come. And I have cut down because I began coughing, not because a civil servant told me to quit.
The author is available for hire as a quit smoking consultant for £9.6 billion.
Update: Stephen Pollard responds
All I can say is, never in my 33 years…..