Today we saw the release of the manifesto for the Liberal Democrat Party. Oh my word. The manifesto is a delightfully dull read (that’s an hour of my life I’ll never see again), but the part that I want to take a closer look at is this bit.
Support effective public awareness campaigns like Be Clear on Cancer, working closely with charities to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of killer diseases.
Great, more charities sponging our hard-earned cash. Expect to see a lot of really dubious science claims about weird things causing or being related to cancer.
Restrict the marketing of junk food to children, including restricting TV advertising before the 9pm watershed, and maintain the effective ‘Five a Day’ campaign.
Hmmm, OK restrictions on advertising of junk food to, wait for it, children. You know what will follow that don’t you? More plain packaging insanity.
Encourage the traffic light labelling system for food products and publication of information on calorie, fat, sugar and salt content in restaurants and takeaways.
OK seriously? Fuck. Right. Off. I’ll eat what I want to eat regardless of the fat, sugar or salt content. I haven’t even gotten to the best bits yet.
Reduce smoking rates, including by completing the introduction of standardised packaging for tobacco products. We will introduce a tax levy on tobacco companies so they fairly contribute to the costs of health care and smoking cessation services, subject to consultation on the detailed design and practicalities.
“Reduce smoking rates”, how pray tell are they going to manage that?
- Completing the plain packaging for tobacco products
But hang on a tick. Plain packs hasn’t prevented take up in Australia has it? In fact, “no significant within-group differences were observed for design and marketing features of tobacco products”. Christopher Snowdon covered this pretty well over on his blog, but basically the packaging didn’t influence people to take up smoking.
- Introduce a tax levy on tobacco companies
Huh, sounds like they want to try to do a Master Settlement Agreement type arrangement doesn’t it? Look how well that is working over in California.
- subject to consultation
Oh, like the public consultation that was over %90 against the plain packaging ? That’s the “we’ll ask you, then ignore you” mentality.
Carefully monitor the growing evidence base around electronic cigarettes, which appear to be a route by which many people are quitting tobacco, and ensure restrictions on marketing and use are proportionate and evidence-based. For example, we support restrictions on advertising which risks promoting tobacco or targets under 18s, such as those introduced in 2014, but would rule out a statutory ban on ‘vaping’ in public places.
So Rebecca Taylor is trumpeting that the Liberal Democrats are supporting ecigs and vapers. Really? After all, not one single LibDem voted against the TPD when they had the chance. Of course, reading the “press release” on Ms Taylors blog, it does read differently.
The party has also ruled out a ban on vaping in public places.
Oh really? They are aware that Article 20 is a de facto ban on the current e-cig devices that many of us use right?
I am very glad that my party has taken a Liberal and pragmatic position on e-cigarettes and vaping. I hope that other political parties will see through the misleading research put out by some (3) and come to the same conclusion.
It wouldn’t appear so from this pretty pathetic attempt at trying to win vapers to the cause.
I do have a few questions regarding the manifesto statement.
- How do they plan to monitor the evidence base?
- How are they going to restrict marketing?
- What evidence is needed for any marketing?
- Would they encourage vapers to vape where smoking is currently banned?
Those questions are going to be difficult to answer come May 2016 when the TPD is enforced. Technically, they can enforce it when they like but they decided May 2016 was a good time. Guess they didn’t want to bring it in this year, you know it might affect the General Election.
Of course, the LibDem manifesto has received mixed opinions in the general public, and probably more so within the vaping community.
It seems that Ms Taylor may be slightly more lukewarm than most MPs are, but even so the divisive opinion within the community is pretty clear. There are many (like myself) that simply do not believe that the LibDems will keep their promise, not whilst the TPD exists in its current form. To be fair, most governments don’t keep their promises.
There is also zero evidence of action to reduce the amount of regulation that the TPD requires. That for me personally would be the single biggest factor. If any Party is willing to stick their neck on the line and actually tell the EU to fuck off they might win a vote from me.
I am of course being slightly unfair to Ms Taylor, but my opinion of the Party (which has never been particularly good anyway) is far lower than the gutter and they would need to do a heck of a lot to convince me anything they say can be trusted, to which point I think Fergus sums it up perfectly.
To Ms Taylor I say this:
Words are wind. If you and your party truly support vaping, then do something about Article 20 of the TPD.