History is Written by the Victors

Isn’t that the saying? Instead, the Mayor of Greater Manchester; one Andy Burnham, is looking to make Greater Manchester “the first City Region in Europe to make smoking history.”.

Not sure how well that is going to work sunshine.

Y’see, on the eve of the ten-year anniversary of the most illiberal and damaging legislation which saw an accelerated decline of the British Pub, Mr Burnham wanted to drive down the smoking rates in Greater Manchester ‘faster and further than achieved anywhere else’:

Plans by Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership to drastically cut smoking rates in Greater Manchester ‘faster and further than achieved anywhere else in the world have been endorsed by Mayor Andy Burnham on the eve of the 10th anniversary of groundbreaking smokefree laws.

Great progress has been made over the past ten years to help people quit the lethal habit, or not start in the first place. In fact, since 2007 there has been a reduction from 25% of the Greater Manchester population smoking to just over 18%. That’s a reduction of almost 7% or just over 140,000 people.

Slogans eh? A bit like ‘Strong & Stable’, or ‘For the many, not the few’.

“We want to involve the people of Greater Manchester in a serious conversation about how far and how fast we should go to firstly get down to the England average. But I think we could be more ambitious still and lead the way to work towards an even more smokefree Greater Manchester now that we have full responsibility here for our health and social care delivery.”

Now, if this new website and the accompanying survey is the result of this ‘serious conversation’, it’s taken a while. Somehow, I doubt this is the culmination of a ‘serious conversation’, instead it seems that Andy Burnham has a pole up his ass about smoking:

The health secretary, Andy Burnham, now favours extending the 2007 landmark law which banned smoking in pubs, workplaces and other enclosed places, to prevent non-smokers having to walk through clouds of secondhand smoke.

The move comes as part of a wider attempt by Burnham to set out the case for state intervention to improve public health, insisting it does not amount to a nanny state.

It seems Mr Burnham’s vision from his time as Health Minister is entirely undiminished:

People are being asked for their views about plans to cut the number of smokers in Greater Manchester by 115,000 over the next three years. Proposals will include extending smoke-free areas and licensing of tobacco retailers.

The licensing of tobacco retailers has reared its head in a few other places, notably Wales & Scotland. As has the extension of smoke-free areas appeared before. Not content with just banishing smokers to the outdoors; where they are far more visible to The Children™ than ever before, the likes of Andy Burnham now want to make it impossible for people to smoke (and vape, because that’ll be included in the various policies, natch) anywhere.

Naturally, ASH believes this strategy “is a solid foundation for the future.” Funnily enough, the Greater Manchester Tobacco Plan is based on the, now outdated, WHO MPOWER program. Birds of a feather.

Thing is, as we’ve seen before, once one domino starts to fall others will surely follow.

See how it works yet?