Another Ratchet Notch

Another Ratchet Notch

Or in the words of Simon Clark, creeping prohibition. Which is exactly what it is.

Bexleyheath town centre could become the first London Borough to implement smokefree zone

Time, and time again we see councils doing mad stunts like this. Bristol, of course, did it with voluntary bans in two town squares. Wales then banned smoking on a series of beaches. Swansea held a consultation (subsequently ignored, natch), Sheffield has done it, and of course, various NHS hospitals are banning smoking anywhere on their grounds, and finally, Birmingham Children’s Hospital proposed enforcing a smoke-free zone for nearby roads outside their grounds.

According to a recent report :

Bexley could become the first London Borough to have a smokefree pedestrian zone if the council carries out its proposals.

It’s the open air for crying out loud!

The council say the proposal is to “protect young people from the influence of visible smoking and second-hand smoke”.

Ah, so it’s all about layering on additional stigma to smokers (and vapers, ‘cos naturally this ban includes e-cigarettes - against all common sense). Or as one Welsh (former) Health Minister was fond of saying - “denormalising smoking”.

A Bexley Council statement read: “The proposed voluntary zone would initially run as a pilot for six months and cover the main pedestrianised areas in the town centre, including around Bexleyheath Clock Tower.”

There is a consultation which is open to residents and those that work in Bexley only. I can only imagine what the results will be. I think I can guess, can’t you?

Update it has been brought to my attention that you can still complete the survey if you visit Bexley. (H/T Mike Buckley for pointing that out)

If plans are acted upon - Bexleyheath Town Centre would be a smokefree zone and electronic cigarette devices would also be banned.

So much for the vaunted tobacco control plan, that is supposed to be more harm reduction focussed the cheesedicks at ASH lobbied so hard for eh?

I guess the cretins in Bexley have conveniently forgotten the debacle surrounding a proposal to ban smoking in pub beer gardens. Which, by the way, was nixed by the Government ‘after ministers warned the plan would infringe on peoples freedom and lead to pub closures’. Well, duh. The smoking ban implemented 10 years ago already accelerated pub closures - something the likes of ASH celebrate, natch.

Dr Anjan Ghosh, Bexley’s Director of Public Health, said: “Research has shown that even pre-school children who live with a smoker perceive that smoking is “the norm”. By urging people not to smoke in a busy public area that is frequented by school children, Bexley will support the government’s Tobacco Control Plan for a future smokefree generation.”

Smoking is normal you knuckle-dragging cretin. A lot of people still enjoy smoking. By proposing this authoritarian ban, and including e-cigarettes in there too, goes against the recently released tobacco control plan.

The council wants residents to take its online survey so they can gauge public interest in the proposal.

As with any survey, only like-minded people need apply, so I suspect the result is pre-ordained. All we can do is make our voices heard as loudly as possible. To paraphrase a (former) minister for local government, voters have a right to know the bad and mad ideas that are being peddled by their councillors.

Let’s send these illiberal, authoritarian twonks a message eh?