Thursday, October 27, 2005

Smokescreen

Pure genius.

How else do you describe this policy on smoking. 99% of employees in this country now get the right to be protected from tobacco smoke. The only exceptions will be a small number of poorly-paid bar staff. And the resistance to this came from a Scottish MP, all of whose constituents - even those who work in the pub - will get to work in smoke-free environments from April next year. It has confused the issue and we've missed a trick. We've also managed to annoy everybody - the legislation goes too far for the pro-smokers, but not far enough for the anti-smokers. This halfway house option just confuses smokers, non-smokers, publicans and councils alike. Unless a law is clear, it runs the risk of being ignored and that's not good for law in general.

People have the right to smoke, if that's what they want, but they also have the right to work without being unneccessarily exposed to poisonous gases. Why the population of England should be so much more sensitive to the 'nanny state' than the population of Scotland, Wales and both parts of Ireland escapes me.

I don't doubt that a total ban would lead to criticism from the right-wing press, but that's a risk worth taking. Stand up and say that for the sake of the workers, this party will protect them from second-hand smoke.

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