Main

Comments

The Times has listed how Tory and other MPs voted.

Rather amusing that Charles Kennedy voted for the ban.

Damn socialists. They have always believed that everything was either forbidden or compulsory. Prof Hayek would not have been amused.

I'm also reminded of what that great philosopher of liberty, Isaiah Berlin, wrote about 'enlightened' elites forcing the 'irrational' masses to be free:

"It is possible to coerce men in the name of some goal (let us say, justice or public health) which they would, if they were more enlightened, themselves pursue, but do not because they are blind or ignorant or corrupt. This renders it easy for me to conceive of myself as coercing others for their own sake, in their, not my, interest. I am claiming that I know what they truly need better than they know it themselves. What, at most, this entails is that they would not resist me if they were rational and as wise as I and understood their interests as I do."

If you wish to walk down the road to serfdom then please note that it is a no smoking zone.

John Prescott is listed under the noes.

"What happens if the state decides that alcohol is harmful?" - we already found that one out, they're called speak-easies.

Civil liberties won't go away, they'll just transfer into the public-spirited stewardship of the Mafia.

The sickest thing is that so many of the Sheep that make up the general population are happy with the idea.

I really think we should have put forward the alternative idea that pubs should choose one way or the other and then the public could make their own mind up about where to drink.

When tinpot fascists cheer the government's latest bit of totalitarian nonsense, I have found that most of them agree when I suggest that perhaps there should be a choice of smoking and non smoking establishments.

As for alcohol, they will ban that as soon as the UK Caliphate is proclaimed.

"pubs should choose one way or the other and then the public could make their own mind"
This is the status quo, non?

It's not all bad in its effects - hopefully a whole generation will not even think about smoking, apart form a rebellious few. Many smokers wish they had never started whilst wanting the right to smoke now that they have.

We may not be thankfully under dictatorship

I disagree, Robert. We live under an elective dictatorship.

I counted 46 Conservative MPs that voted against the right of an informed individual to smoke in a private members club, why I ask? Even the Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley spoke in favour of this ban from the despatch box!

This government has banned hunting with hounds, they have now banned smoking in "public" places, they want to introduce ID cards, lock people up without trial for 90 days, tap our phones and read our e-mail and in certain cases they wish to remove the right to trial by jury.

I seriously dread to think what this government will do next and what worries me even more is that there seems little if any opposition to this evil, over mighty state.

Interesting that Blair voted against the Labour manifesto pledge.

It seems that the two major changes brought in by Labour (smoking ban and handing over interest rates to the Bank of England) were not manifesto commitments.

Does this mean that prisoners will no longer be allowed to smoke or service men in barracks?

I've never smoked and don't go to pubs but have plenty of family members who do, I don't know how I feel about telling people that their legal habit is no longer acceptable. What are they going to stop next fast food joints?

A large proportion of the new intake of Tory MPs voted for the total ban. The others were on the left and social authoritarian wings of the party - a coincidence?

In addition to Prescott, other Ministers voting against included John Reid, Ruth Kelly, Tessa Jowell and Ben Bradshaw. So much for cabinet unity!

Unless I'm reading it wrong (and I very much hope I am), supposed 'open-air' venues like sports stadiums won't have to worry -- if so, the ban needs beefing up, pronto. Personally, I go out of my way to avoid smokers as much as possible but this is one venue where it's often impossible to do so and it's really miserable.

The ban is a brilliant move for the personal freedoms of the normal majority against a ghastly, invasive, acrid toxic fumes being blown into their faces simply because they had the cheek to walk into a room. There are plenty of less intrusive anti-social activities that aren't considered appropriate for public places. The ban is long overdue and will bring a lot of happiness to a lot of people who have had to put up with, and schedule around, a selfish minority for too long.

The ban on private members' clubs is problematic, but unless the club has been specifically set up with the intention of smoking, it seems logical; what does smoking have to do with golf? Or Conservatives, for that matter? the only question is, how would you enforce a compromise measure? Another bunch of bureaucracy? Much as I love bureaucrats with vast unfunded pension promises flexing their muscles on the taxpayers' dime, a blanket ban is simpler and better. Smokers will just have to do their thing at home.

a-tracy, prisons are going to be exempt apparently. So, prison staff can be exposed to smoke but bar staff in a private club can't.

"I seriously dread to think what this government will do next and what worries me even more is that there seems little if any opposition to this evil, over mighty state"

Worse still is the realisation that many Conservatives are enthusiasts for the over-mighty state.

Department of Health medical advisers have just released the findings from their latest enquiry into possible health dangers. They have confirmed that sitting in front of a computer screen and typing entries onto blogs leads to an increased risk of (a) short-sightedness; (b) repetitive strain injury; (c) low-level radiation from screens; (d) reduced economic performance through time-wasting; (e) turning into an obsessive nerd; (f) passive nerd-ness being caught by bloggers' few remaining friends.

The Government have announced that in the interests of public health they will be introducing legislation to ban blogging and internet cafes will be shut down. Health Secretary Patricia Hewitt said: "The health dangers of the internet are now widely accepted. The Government have a clear duty to act to protect the health of innocent children from the evils of passive blogging. This legislation will be a major advance in producing the world's first nerd-free generation."

Shadow Health Secretary Andrew Lansley said: "The Conservatives have a principled stand on this issue. We will offer a free vote, and I, of course, will be voting with the Government. Patricia Hewitt is dodging the real issue, which is her Government's shambolic handling... etc etc etc."

The most astonishing thing is that prisons and hospitals are exempt from the ban. So prisoners enjoy freedoms denied to the rest of us and something which the government regards as deadly dangerous is permitted in places which are supposed to make people better. How odd.

The most astonishing thing is that prisons and hospitals are exempt from the ban. So prisoners enjoy freedoms denied to the rest of us and something the government regards as deadly dangerous is permitted in places which are meant to improve health. How odd.

Sorry didn't mean to post twice. How come someone has managed to post at 17.29 today ?
Am I stuck in a time warp ?

Not sure about the cock-up, but if right this message should appear above 'Michael' and 'Malcolm' - two posts seem to have got stranded at the end and about 6 hours ahead of the rest of us.

I seriously dread to think what this government will do next and what worries me even more is that there seems little if any opposition to this evil, over mighty state.

Richard I have bad news for you:
Blair has finally decided that he needs an enabling act.

As somebody who considers myself a liberal, I still hold to the dictum that the state can use it's power to prevent harm to others but no other incursion of freedom is possible. Smoking in an enclosed public place is likely to increase the risk of lung cancer amongst non smokers or bar workers even though they have taken a decision not to smoke themselves for health reasons. For this reason, I think that a ban is justified.

I personally think that the liberal arguments for decrinilisation of cannabis are considerably stronger than the liberal arguments against banning smoking in public places.

On the subject of political philosophy, I don't think this can be blamed on 'damn socialists'. Look at the debate on seatbelts in cars in the '60s and you will find that the most libertarian arguments were coming from the likes of Michael Foot.

Once we abandon the philisophical objection to forcing people to do what's good for them then every proposed new restriction on liberty becomes purely a public health issue. If any gain can be demonstrated, or even credibly posited, then we must act, following that logic.

I supported David Cameron's attack on WH Smith over the infamous Chocolate Oranges because I believe manipulative marketing preys on human weakness and that binge chocolate eating is harmful to health - as is smoking. That was exhortation. Anyone who disagreed could DC where to go (and some people on this site did!).

But the state has no business coercing us into not guzzling fat or smoking. It's now crystal clear that the ban on smoking in private clubs is a mere staging post towards the ultimate goal - making smoking illegal. That's what the health fascists really want.

The rot started when we accepted compulsory seatbelts and crash helmets for adults.

I'm torn. Uneasy with banning things (especially as it's yet another intrusion by this nannyest of governments and the nanny to end all nannies: "Ms" Hewitt).

On the other hand, I will no longer have to Febreze my suit before going to work after a drinking session the night before (Proctor & Gamble will be a big loser from this). And my eyes and throat won't sting.

On balance and apologies to Mr Hayek, who must be spinning in his grave, but I agree with this ban for my own selfish reasons. Try having a night out in New York and tell me it isn't a good thing and won't work...

"It's now crystal clear that the ban on smoking in private clubs is a mere staging post towards the ultimate goal - making smoking illegal. That's what the health fascists really want."

Nick Palmer MP was honest enough to admit that on Political Betting.Com

Sorry Simon - I don't like loud music so I'm really chuffed about the Government's new Protection of Eardrums Act which bans nightclubs from playing music. Obviously, there are arguments about what level of decibels causes harm but, hey, we can't take any chances when it comes to health.

Robert Halfon is a great man, but I'm afraid I can't agree with him on this issue. The right to poison yourself is not a fundamental liberty. And as for poisoning others that is no sort of liberty at all. The opponents of the ban go on about choice -- but whose choice? I've been in private members' clubs where dining companions have politely asked the non-smokers if mind if they smoke and being equally polite we say of course not, when of course we do very much mind. Needless to say, I don't absolutely have to attend such events -- I could just stay at home. But the complete ban has increased my options and therefore my freedom. I can stay at home or go out and still get the chance to breath smoke-free air. I know this is being selfish, but then that is something that smokers should know all about. Payback time, guys. But cheer up, you might just get saved from lung cancer as a result.

"The ban is a brilliant move for the personal freedoms of the normal majority against a ghastly, invasive, acrid toxic fumes being blown into their faces simply because they had the cheek to walk into a room."

"Smoking in an enclosed public place is likely to increase the risk of lung cancer amongst non smokers or bar workers even though they have taken a decision not to smoke themselves for health reasons."

These "public spaces" are privately owned. It should be up to the owners of this private property to decide whether or not smoking is permitted. If customers don't approve they can go elsewhere and boycott the smoking establishments. I am surprised that few Tories have made a private property rights case against the ban.

I would have voted to ban smoking in public places.

Why was there no real alternative proposed by the Tories? In Spain they have a ban on small places but large establishments can establish non-smoking and smoking areas? Why did they not propose effective regulation (i.e. ventilation systems) as an alternative. I would have preferred such an option.

Personally, given the choice between no ban and having to stink whenever I go out I would have banned it.

But it is true that the ban on private clubs is worrying - such groups are run by their members and the government has no right to interfere in them. After all, surely some members don't smoke - it is in their interest to have non-smoking and smoking areas. They should raise the matter with those in charge of such a club.

As a non-smoker who isn't bothered by people smoking in the slightest I am torn on this one. I can see the health reasons for the ban but I just can not help thinking this looks like the thin end of a wedge. If we encourage government to ban things which are as ingrained in society as smoking, where will they draw the line?

Today is my two year anniversary of quitting smoking, however, I would much rather that consenting adults could smoke together in a private club than at home in front of the kids.

Surely a simple licence system could have been developed where those establishments those choose to allow smoking have to pay a suitably high fee?

This would prevent non-smoking establishments from complaining about losing business to the smoking ones as the high licence fee would make it a fair choice.

Then we could protect children from smoking (I would ban it anywhere children reside) -difficult to poilce but no more so than other legislation like sexual abuse)

Personally, I'm against a ban on smoking in any pub or club but it's simply not true to suggest that an important principle was breached last night. The state has long fettered our freedoms in all sorts of ways. The defamation laws and laws against inciting murder and/or violence and/or racial hatred, have long fettered our freedom of speech. In the past we had the blasphemy laws. We have also long accepted other restrictions on our freedom in the name of health and safety - the seatbelt laws and speed limits come to mind.

MP's have certainly taking nannying to new heights, but Robert is just wrong to suggest that a principle was breached last night.

I'm surprised at the number of people on here prepared to admit that they are in favour of limiting our freedoms and picking on a minority for selfish reasons. I don't like smoking either, but we should trust the market to deal with this sort of issue, not legislation that dictates what free individuals can or cannot do. It is deeply worrying that so many Tories were in favour of this, including the dire Shadow Health Secretary (though at least he stopped short of private clubs).

"It's now crystal clear that the ban on smoking in private clubs is a mere staging post towards the ultimate goal - making smoking illegal. That's what the health fascists really want."

Will these people also be fighting for the recriminalisation of cannabis?

I hope so Richard,I hope so.

"I'm surprised at the number of people on here prepared to admit that they are in favour of limiting our freedoms and picking on a minority for selfish reasons"

This debate does reveal something pretty depressing about our national character.

T"his debate does reveal something pretty depressing about our national character."

"I'm surprised at the number of people on here prepared to admit that they are in favour of limiting our freedoms and picking on a minority for selfish reasons. I don't like smoking either, but we should trust the market to deal with this sort of issue, not legislation that dictates what free individuals can or cannot do."

Yes, untramelled freedom! Legalise all drugs, incest and bestiality now. Abolish seatbelts. And in fact, all safety regulations around cars - if I want to drive a dangerous vehicle, it's my choice! And if I crash all the time, well, that's my choice too. Unless I kill someone. But we can't stop freedom.

Tomorrow I shall spray everyone I meet with 'crudspray', a foul smelling concoction that I think is akin to stale smoke. And setting off stinkbombs wherever I go in a public place.

This is a finely balanced debate about the rights of smokers vs the health rights of everyone else, the right not to stink whenever you go out, and the right of people like chronic asthmatics (like my flatmate) to be able to go out in the evening (and its simply hard to tell a group of a dozen people, often friends of friends we can't go into most of the pubs we go past)).

Can we stop treating it as the worst infringement of human rights since Pol Pot go up on the wrong side of bed.

It is a weak argument to point to our defamation laws and the law against blasphemy as some form of precedent for banning smoking. Our medieval libel laws, where the burden of proof is placed on the defendant who cannot be legally aided, are a draconian curtailment of free speech. Ditto our law on blasphemy of which the Catholic Church in the 15th century would have been proud. Of course we know that our Government can curtail the liberties that underpin a liberal society. The question is whether it should. Many Tory MPs seems to think that the answer is "yes", on the strength of last night's vote.

I find the number of Conservative MPs voting for a complete ban depressing. It does not bode well for future fights against, for example, compulsory fluoridation of our water supplies.

Editor, what has happened to the time clock on this blog. Has ConservativeHome joined some common European time zone? As a deep Eurosceptic I am not impressed!

"hopefully a whole generation will not even think about smoking, apart form a rebellious few"

Unfortunately Sam, I think this ban will have no effect on school kids smoking behind bike sheds. A lot more than just a rebellious few then.

EU Serf - that's a good point. It's truly depressing that the public want the state to curtail their own liberties.

The only consolation is that Labour will feel the backlash from all those Labour clubs.

Labour will never learn to trust the people. But people should learn to trust themselves.

Can't get worked up about this at all I'm afraid.I suppose in the end we are all influenced by our personal experience.My mother had lung cancer after smoking for many years and I have fought a very long and sometimes unsuccessful battle to quit smoking myself.Now as a father I am of the opinion that anything that helps persuade people to give it up is a good thing and had I been an MP I would have voted to ban it.

Not sure what happened to Malcolm and Michael's posts timewise, other than that I haven't seen any problems.

"Tomorrow I shall spray everyone I meet with 'crudspray', a foul smelling concoction that I think is akin to stale smoke. And setting off stinkbombs wherever I go in a public place."

Except that the "public places" you speak of are privately owned and I doubt the owners would allow it.

Those who smoke in public places ‘pick on’ a majority for selfish reasons. For their personal enjoyment, they force people to put up with ghastly acrid smoke, irritate people with respiratory conditions, give people sore throats and foul-smelling clothes or just force people to change their plans to accommodate the selfish minority's pursuit of a leisure activity. I support personal freedoms, but only to the natural limit. Smokers have been immune to this limit more by habit than good sense; and good sense has finally caught up. So for the record: I don't think urinating in public should be legal. I don't think indecent exposure should be legal. I think excessive noise pollution should be illegal, Tory T. I think there should be penalties for people who litter. I don't think calling for people to be beheaded should be legal. I don't think smoking in public should be legal. I realise this offends the sensibilities of the newly-converted libertarian evangelicals -- the same ones, no doubt, who are petitioning for Abu Hamza's release, and who want cannabis decriminalised.

""Tomorrow I shall spray everyone I meet with 'crudspray', a foul smelling concoction that I think is akin to stale smoke. And setting off stinkbombs wherever I go in a public place."

Except that the "public places" you speak of are privately owned and I doubt the owners would allow it."

The only reason making people stink of smoke is not seen as the imposition it is is historical accident.

Further, as I wander round the (public) streets of Islington should I be allowed to spray my 'crudspray' and drop my stinkbombs?


Well, Ed, I'm not a smoker, but I don't regard the world as being ordered to suit my convenience, nor would I presume to tell private property owners what they may or may not do, or allow, on their own premises.

1AM - No because you would be interfering with other peoples' use of public property.

OTOH, what people choose to do, or allow on their own property (such as pubs and clubs) ought to be up to them. That distinction ought to be an easy one for a Conservative to understand.

TC 10:17 "prisons are going to be exempt apparently. So, prison staff can be exposed to smoke but bar staff in a private club can't."

When I arrived at work this morning and my colleague said "it comes to something when you have to get locked up to have a smoke with your mates" I thought he joking. I hope to hear the announcement soon that all the bars and clubs that the MP's attend have all accepted a smoking ban too - all for one and all that.

As for enforcement, the landlords will self impose it. I feel sure that once they find their employees can bring legal cases against them for exposing them to a health risk or a client could inform on them they just won't allow it.

I'd just love all the smokers to organise themselves and all give up for a set month - no taxes, save a fortune and some of them might even give it up full time.

"I hope to hear the announcement soon that all the bars and clubs that the MP's attend have all accepted a smoking ban too - all for one and all that."

The Palace of Westminster is exempt. Funny that.

The question of a smoking ban is actually quite difficult. My immidiate reaction was, despite my dislike of smoking, that landlords should be able to choose. However Ed R makes a good point, "I support personal freedoms, but only to the natural limit". The principle of self-ownership, that no other individual has greater claim over your body, your life than you do, could perhaps be extended to smoking. By one individual smoking, they are unitentionally through passive smoking taking away a small part of your life and indeed your liberty. As Edmund Burke said "The true danger is when liberty is nibbled away". Whether this justifies a full smoking ban is questionable. But definately worth some thought.

"Further, as I wander round the (public) streets of Islington should I be allowed to spray my 'crudspray' and drop my stinkbombs?"

Letting off a stink bomb is an act of aggression. Smoking is not.

I find some of the hyperbole on here quite depressing, and would regardless of my view on the actual issue. Some regulars on here choose the oddest topics to spout as if the world is ending tomorrow.

Iain - if a group of adults want to set up a cigar club to meet and smoke together they should be allowed to do so. Parliament has infringed the rights of association of citizens - because it can. Not the end of the world but an intrusion into private space.

Iain - if a group of adults want to set up a cigar club to meet and smoke together they should be allowed to do so. Parliament has infringed the rights of association of citizens - because it can. Not the end of the world but an intrusion into private space.

There was a chap from one of the cancer charities on the radio this morning who made it quite clear that fatty food was next to be targeted for a ban.

Presumably Conservative MPs will be supporting this too?

I remember once hearing a Tory MP claim that the Conservatives were the natural party of freedom.

Perhaps we should be renamed the Cancervative Party?
Standing up for the freedom to choose an early an painful death.

Or the Damagedliver Party - if we allow people to drink. Or the Spinalinjury Party - if we allow people to play rugby, eh James?

Surely the logic of the Government's position is a ban on the sale of all tobacco products? I am a smoker and would accept that logic, but no, I suppose they want to have it both ways collect the tax and appear virtuous about the health issue.

"Perhaps we should be renamed the Cancervative Party?
Standing up for the freedom to choose an early an painful death."

What is "freedom" if it is not the right to choose to do things which some consider to be undesirable?

Should we have the government decide what foods we should or shouldn't eat?

"What is "freedom" if it is not the right to choose to do things which some consider to be undesirable?"

Smoking isnt something that other people just consider undesirable, it harms others through passive smoking.

We are only free to do what doesnt affect the freedom of others. Banning smoking in private clubs is another matter entirely.

I haven't smoked for years, but I am astonished at the speed and diligence with which this government have pushed this smoking legislation through parliament. They waffle - oh how they waffle! - about things like relieving poverty in Africa, providing more police, more nurses, improving the standard of education, but what do they DO, ban fox-hunting, ban smokingand if they get their wish open lots of casinos, which will of course provide lots of nice lolly for Chancellor Brown and yet more debt for everyone else. I think it was in a discussion that Tony Benn had with William Hague some years ago on Channel 4, where Mr.Benn asserted that we already have a dictatorship - this was after 1997. He has certainly been proved right!

True, workers in private clubs should be able to consent to having their health damaged in smoke filled rooms. Maybe we should allow factory workers to operate machines without guards if they so wish

"True, workers in private clubs should be able to consent to having their health damaged in smoke filled rooms. Maybe we should allow factory workers to operate machines without guards if they so wish"

I can't imagine why workers would want to do that. Besides, it's up to the owners of the factory.

I have nothing against pubs or restaurants banning smoking on their own free will. What I object to is that they are compelled to.

Read John Stuart Mill - this argument will die in the water.

Read John Stuart Mill - this argument will die in the water.

The comments to this entry are closed.

#####here####

Categories

ConHome on Twitter

    follow me on Twitter

    Conservative blogs

    Today's public spending saving

    New on other blogs

    • Receive our daily email
      Enter your details below:
      Name:
      Email:
      Subscribe    
      Unsubscribe 

    • Tracker 2
    • Extreme Tracker