I know, cliché but it kind of makes sense. You see, today is the day that all the idiots that supported the Public Health (Wales) Bill in its entirety are now bleating about missed opportunities with regards to the health of the public in Wales. Thing is, as Dick Puddlecote has amply explained here and here, the Public Health (Wales) Bill wasn’t ever truly about health, more akin to the brainwashing of the Orwellian Party in his single-minded, ideological quest to have e-cigarettes banned everywhere. Or to put not too fine a point on it, treat vapers (as in former smokers) exactly the same as smokers.
Indeed Drakeford’s own response to the utter failure of his “baby” is really rather telling in itself:
“There will be widespread anger that opposition parties, who had exerted a real influence on the Bill, failed to support it into law and abandoned all the important protections for the public it would have put in place, preventing a range of public health harms. They chose not to do so and they must answer for their conduct.
Anger at who Mr Drakeford? Methinks you doth protest too much, it was your Bill, you could have easily accepted the amendments put forward by the Welsh Liberal Democrats or the Welsh Conservatives, or you could have stripped the e-cigarette related gumpf out at any stage – considering how divisive that topic is in the Welsh Assembly – but no, you had to be an arrogant single-minded idiot.
The thing is Mr Drakeford, you’ve already angered the vaping community by considering a widespread ban (and yes you old duffer it was a ban in all but name), now you’ve angered a lot of other folks that actually wanted the Bill to succeed for the public toilets, and the tattoo stuff too.
“Today was also an opportunity to protect a generation who have grown up in a smoke free environment from re-normalising smoking.”
There, of course is the real reason for his “disappointment”. Apparently Mr Drakeford spent five long years putting this Bill together, and (from the e-cigarette aspect at least) ignored the public at every step of the way. But of course, you wouldn’t lie in the Assembly Chamber would you?
No of course you wouldn’t – “It puts to waste five years of careful preparation and constructive work with a very wide range of stakeholders and supporters.”
All stakeholders with one glaring exception; the consumer. The BMA had two sessions with the committee, yet us as consumers were denied. Why is that?
Commenting on the developments, Dr Phil Banfield, BMA Welsh council chair, said:
“Both doctors and nurses are deeply disappointed that the Bill has fallen at this stage, in this way, ending what has been a huge collaborative effort over a number of years, to improve the health and well-being of the nation.
“As professionals, doctors and nurses put patients before their own personal positions; we are experts in assessing evidence and highly trusted to do what we believe to be in the best interests of the health of the population.
“Sadly, with the fall of the Public Health (Wales) Bill, Wales has stepped back from the vanguard of public health policy.
“We re-iterate that failure to prove harm is not evidence of safety, and we are sad that the opportunity to shield our children from the possible re-normalisation of smoking behaviour has been squandered.
The BMA statement goes on for a while, but tellingly make no mention of any other aspect of the Bill except for being copy-cats of Mark Drakeford in the “re-normalisation of smoking behaviour” bollocks.
ASH Wales of course took a dim view of the Bill’s failure too:
ASH Wales Cymru is disappointed after the Public Health Bill fell at the last hurdle meaning robust tobacco control measures contained in the proposed legislation maybe lost.
Thereby highlighting their true self. This Bill was never about health, it was about control and, if the reports are to be believed (take that with a huge grain of salt), it was all because of one (in Drakeford’s words) “throw-away comment”. There are rumours (as there always are) that some of the Government were actually relieved the Bill failed.
If the e-cigarette portion of the Bill had been removed in the early stages, then it would likely have passed without raising an eyebrow, as it is the Bill was mere fluff with the single intention of banning e-cigarettes and “strengthening” tobacco control measures.
Somehow I doubt we’ll ever know the real reasoning behind the Plaid Cymru change of heart that caused this Bill to fail as sadly, this victory for vapers in Wales wasn’t won by science alone, it helped but it was more a game of political schoolyard name-calling.