Saturday, May 31, 2008

Iain Dale: Twaddle on Smoking Reduction Moves


Iain Dale wants to ban smoking outright and objects to an approach of sensible step changes, designed to reduce "recruitment" to the habit.

What exactly is Iain's objection? He doesn't actually tell us. But insofar as there is any logic ... we need to test it. So here is a small redraft on the second half of his post, inspired by Iain's friend Nads:

The real agenda of the people behind these authoritarian proposals is to ban abortion outright. At least that would be an intellectually honest position. As it is, the constant chipping away of the rights of women is typical of the authoritarian drift among so-called (ex-)health professionals.

Either ban it outright or leave people to make their own decisions.

UPDATE: Sunday, 15:22: Of course Iain Dale isn't calling for a ban anymore than the government is. When he apologises to the government for his LIES, LOL will apologise for the wind up.

12 comments:

Red Maria said...

And to extend the analogy even further, Labour MPs demanded and got a free vote of conscience on the smoking ban, didn't they?
And I presume, Chris, not only that you approved of that but that you would have taken a very dim view of any attempt to whip Labour MPs into voting against the dictates of their conscience on the matter.
Or did you take the position that anti-smokers should not impose their views on everyone else?

Chris Paul said...

Hi Maria, I am satisfied with the government's proposals on smoking as I believe that reducing recruitment and retention of younger smokers is a good idea, as is supporting established smokers in quitting, but I'm not minded to compel cold turkey.

I am also satisfied with the decisions of parliament on the human fertility and embryology matters, Including the parasitic abortion limit reduction attempts.

Iain isn't satisfied on either issue but his rhetoric can be applied to the other matter, and is indeed far more applicable IMO to that ... but for smoking it's twaddle.

There was no whipping on abortion ... just robust campaigning from both sides of the debate.

Red Maria said...

Hi Chris,

I'm glad you support the government's proposals on smoking; so do I and I am a smoker. Like you, I think incremental steps to reduce the incidence of smoking are a good thing. Restrictions on smoking may be difficult to get used to but we learn to adjust our behaviour accordingly.

However, I note that you have not answered my questions about Labour MPs getting a free vote on smoking, or, in the comments box of an earlier post, on abortion.

And before you mention it, I, like many other Pro-Lifers had reservations about abortion being tagged onto the HFE Bill. And before you mention Nadine Dorries let me say that I, like other Labour Pro-Lifers (I'm a Labour Party member too) deeply disliked aspects of the Alive and Kicking (or 20 weeks) Campaign, not least the way it seemed to focus on Labour MPs as well as Dorries fatuous comments about the BMA.

But that's only one side of the story. The other side is despite your bland assurances (and I don't see how you're in a position to give them, frankly) there are persistent and credible stories that Labour MPs are whipped on abortion votes.

You have very conspicuously failed to address my points on the matter, so I'll put them to you again:

Should Labour MPs have been given a free vote of conscience on the smoking ban?

Should Labour MPs be given a free vote of conscience on matters concerning the beginning and end of human life, including abortion and capital punishment?

If so, how do you explain that cabinet ministers no less, had to threaten resignation in order to secure a free vote at second reading on the HFE Bill?

What do you say in response to a past comment by Ronnie Campbell MP that "to say that Labour MPs have a free conscience vote on abortion is an absolute lie"?

And while we're about it, could you also tell me whether practising Roman Catholics are welcome in the Labour Party?

This week, Conor McGinn resigned as vice chair of Young Labour in protest at the party's anti-Catholicism.

Do you think that practising Roman Catholics should be discriminated against in front bench Labour politics?

And do you think that practising Roman Catholics can be represented by politicians who openly question whether they should be discriminated against in public life?

Fraternally,

Maria.

Iain Dale said...

Muppet. I do not want to ban it at all. I adopt a libertarian position on smoking and the last thing on my mind would be to ban it. I was against the smoking ban even though I hate smoking.

If I said Gordon Brown was the greatest living statesman you'd find a way of saying I was wrong. Quite why you feel you have to misrepresent me and disagree with me on every single issue I have no idea.

Chris Paul said...

Iain: You do the job for yourself. What you wrote on this was arrant nonsense. there is no agenda to ban smoking completely. Just a concerted effort to reduce recruitment and retention of potential future addicts. Which I support.

You are presenting a flase dichotomy with no middle way. Perhaps you don't realise that. But you are no logician.

On the other hand it is absolutely clear that whatever she says the forces of Nadness are trying to ban abortion and she herself admits to wanting the limit reduced by two thirds.

I would be interested to see whether Nads' electoral address or selection speech announced that this (and her dishonest prattling) was/were going to be her main contribution to representing mid Narnia.

Chris Paul said...

Hi Chris,

Hi Maria

I'm glad you support the government's proposals on smoking; so do I and I am a smoker. Like you, I think incremental steps to reduce the incidence of smoking are a good thing. Restrictions on smoking may be difficult to get used to but we learn to adjust our behaviour accordingly.

Good

However, I note that you have not answered my questions about Labour MPs getting a free vote on smoking, or, in the comments box of an earlier post, on abortion.

A free vote on the latter seems to me to be more in keeping with custom and practice than the former. But I'm not an MP and as it goes am relaxed about my MP being given a free vote on these matters.

And before you mention it, I, like many other Pro-Lifers had reservations about abortion being tagged onto the HFE Bill. And before you mention Nadine Dorries let me say that I, like other Labour Pro-Lifers (I'm a Labour Party member too) deeply disliked aspects of the Alive and Kicking (or 20 weeks) Campaign, not least the way it seemed to focus on Labour MPs as well as Dorries fatuous comments about the BMA.

Again, good.

But that's only one side of the story. The other side is despite your bland assurances (and I don't see how you're in a position to give them, frankly) there are persistent and credible stories that Labour MPs are whipped on abortion votes.

I believe that both sides of this debate campaigned strenuously to support their cause. I don't believe Nads' claims that Labour where whipped on this. Because I don't believe a word she says and it was obvious poppycock to apply different tests to her activity and to Harriet Harman's.

You have very conspicuously failed to address my points on the matter, so I'll put them to you again:

Should Labour MPs have been given a free vote of conscience on the smoking ban?


Don't see why really. But am relaxed on the matter.

Should Labour MPs be given a free vote of conscience on matters concerning the beginning and end of human life, including abortion and capital punishment?

They are not being given any sort of vote at all on the latter. And several of the votes on the HFE bill were not strictly about the beginning or end of human life. Lesbian mums needing to rent-a-dad? Stem cells?

But on the abortion limit? It's a hypothetical but thinking hard albeit only for a few moments I don't think I would mind deep down if they were whipped. But there are political risks to that position.

If so, how do you explain that cabinet ministers no less, had to threaten resignation in order to secure a free vote at second reading on the HFE Bill?

Let them resign actually Maria. It is a tough one because I obviously don't want to create a Labour Party that is anathema to people of any faith or sub-faith. But I want church and state separate. Catholic MPs are not elected to represent Rome. They represent constituents and a party programme and philosophy. Including on average about five women constituents each year (and their families) who currently choose to have an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks, not recorded as for pressing medical reasons.

What do you say in response to a past comment by Ronnie Campbell MP that "to say that Labour MPs have a free conscience vote on abortion is an absolute lie"?

I don't know Ronnie Campbell from Adam and Eve. But I do say this. What is this MP scared of? What have been the repercussions for anyone voting against the supposed Labour line on this matter. Sounds like a naive hothead.

And while we're about it, could you also tell me whether practising Roman Catholics are welcome in the Labour Party?

Of course. But as elected representatives and candidates to represent their constituents and their party and not Rome. That needs to be clear. For all religionists in similar ways.

The Sikh hotheads who made a fuss over Ealing Southall wished to represent Sikhs in parliament rather than the people of Ealing Southall or the Labour Party.

I think Labour was right to act to keep them away from the candidacy. They were not suitable because of their agenda. And for other reasons.

This week, Conor McGinn resigned as vice chair of Young Labour in protest at the party's anti-Catholicism.

I knew nothing of this until now.

Do you think that practising Roman Catholics should be discriminated against in front bench Labour politics?

They should not be unfairly discriminated against. As long as they have the best comparative advantage for the role in question that should be the criterion. Discrimination on that ground is absolutely vital.

And do you think that practising Roman Catholics can be represented by politicians who openly question whether they should be discriminated against in public life?

This is a strange question. Are you proposing a Catholic Party? And communalist politics to deliver representatives in areas of high catholic density?

I think the separation of church and state or faith and state is very important indeed. It is not a principle that applies only to catholics. Though as I've alluded to before catholics have every reason to doubt that any congruence of the established church and the state is a good idea.

Fraternally,

Maria.


Hope this is helpful.

Comradely greetings

Chris P

Paul Pinfield said...

Chris Paul, you are simply wrong. Iain is complaining about the authoritarian nature of this government.

If they want to stop people smoking, they should be honest enough to ban it.

If Broon & Co came to me and told me how to design the packaging of my products to reduce sales, I would tell him to f**k off, and with some justification.

Anonymous said...

The Ealing hotheads wanted to represent turbanned sikhs not just any old sikhs. But good point.

Chris Paul said...

The government do NOT want to ban smoking. They want to reduce recruits. And the ways they are seeking to do this are logically reasonable, have a certain balance when it comes to liberties, and should be effective next steps.

Iain has claimed the government wants to ban smoking with no arguments or evidence for that specious claim. And he is a very easy man to wind up.

The government want this vile and dangerous habit to reach a tipping point where there are very few recruits and hope it dies out.

Diablo said...

I know this is a late comment but I can't resist making it.

You are such a twunt of the highest order, Chris Paul, that I don't think there are enough words to describe the large vacuum that is between your ears. You couldn't put together a coherent argument for voting Labour if your life depended on it.

No wonder you are rejected by those of your ilk who are at least literate and able to recognise that you are a minor, but embarrassing, irritant on the back of the declining Labour dinosaur.

Chris Paul said...

Cheers Diablo, feel better now?

Red Maria said...

Hi Chris,

A few replies to your comments:

[I believe that both sides of this debate campaigned strenuously to support their cause. I don't believe Nads' claims that Labour where whipped on this. Because I don't believe a word she says and it was obvious poppycock to apply different tests to her activity and to Harriet Harman's.]

As I said, I'm not so interested in what Nadine Dorries has to say on this because she is a Tory. I am more concerned with what Labour MPs say about abortion votes being whipped.

Should Labour MPs be given a free vote of conscience on matters concerning the beginning and end of human life, including abortion and capital punishment?

[They are not being given any sort of vote at all on the latter. And several of the votes on the HFE bill were not strictly about the beginning or end of human life. Lesbian mums needing to rent-a-dad? Stem cells? ]

No, they are not being given any sort of vote on capital punishment but the convention is that all the main parties, including Labour give their MPs free votes on the matter, hence my citing it as an example.
You refer only to stem cells without distinguishing between embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. The use of embryonic stem cells involves destroying the embryo, so yes a vote on the matter very much does qualify as one on the beginning of human life.

[But on the abortion limit? It's a hypothetical but thinking hard albeit only for a few moments I don't think I would mind deep down if they were whipped. But there are political risks to that position.]

Would you not mind deep down if they were whipped at all or only if they were whipped to vote in a particular way?

If so, how do you explain that cabinet ministers no less, had to threaten resignation in order to secure a free vote at second reading on the HFE Bill?

[Let them resign actually Maria. It is a tough one because I obviously don't want to create a Labour Party that is anathema to people of any faith or sub-faith. But I want church and state separate. Catholic MPs are not elected to represent Rome. They represent constituents and a party programme and philosophy. Including on average about five women constituents each year (and their families) who currently choose to have an abortion between 20 and 24 weeks, not recorded as for pressing medical reasons.]

The point about the cabinet ministers having to threaten resignation adds weight to claims that Labour MPs are whipped on abortion votes. And, no Catholic MP aren't elected to represent Rome and neither do they or the Vatican claim that they do. But MPs do come with consciences and personal opinions, don't they, which may or may not be in alignment with Roman Catholic teaching on life issues. If Roman Catholic Labour MPs take a pro-life position, why the suggestion that they are marching according to Rome's orders rather than having arrived at their decisions following their own considered judgement? Why the unique suggestion therefore, that that particular position be excluded from the debate, simply because it is in alignment with Roman Catholic teaching? Does this hold only for the abortion debate or is any position which happens to be in alignment with Roman Catholic teaching to be excluded from politics on the grounds of the separation of Church and state? For example, The Roman Catholic Church teaches that workers should be paid a just, living wage and that labour has the right to organise. It adheres to the doctrine of Just War as set out by Aquinas and De Vitoria in which war is only morally permissible if a number of conditions are met. Roman Catholic MPs who advance such positions could equally be accused of following Rome's orders.

What do you say in response to a past comment by Ronnie Campbell MP that "to say that Labour MPs have a free conscience vote on abortion is an absolute lie"?

[I don't know Ronnie Campbell from Adam and Eve. But I do say this. What is this MP scared of? What have been the repercussions for anyone voting against the supposed Labour line on this matter. Sounds like a naive hothead.]

I doubt Ronnie Campbell is a naive hothead. He's a bit too long in the tooth for that. I didn't read his quotation as expressing personal fear at the possible repercussions of voting for a lower abortion time limit. Rather he expressed the view that in practice there isn't a free vote on abortion in the PLP. As I said, that cabinet ministers had to threaten resignation to get free votes on the HFE Bill adds weight to the notion.

And while we're about it, could you also tell me whether practising Roman Catholics are welcome in the Labour Party?

[Of course. But as elected representatives and candidates to represent their constituents and their party and not Rome. That needs to be clear. For all religionists in similar ways.]

But they don't claim to represent Rome and neither does Rome! Why is this charge always levelled at practising Catholic Labour politicians?

[The Sikh hotheads who made a fuss over Ealing Southall wished to represent Sikhs in parliament rather than the people of Ealing Southall or the Labour Party.

I think Labour was right to act to keep them away from the candidacy. They were not suitable because of their agenda. And for other reasons.]

Ruth Kelly, Des Browne and Paul Murphy are hardly hotheads.

This week, Conor McGinn resigned as vice chair of Young Labour in protest at the party's anti-Catholicism.

[I knew nothing of this until now.]

Do you think that practising Roman Catholics should be discriminated against in front bench Labour politics?

[They should not be unfairly discriminated against. As long as they have the best comparative advantage for the role in question that should be the criterion. Discrimination on that ground is absolutely vital.]

I don't think anyone quibbles with appointment on the grounds of merit. The question is should practising Catholic MPs like Kelly, Browne and Murphy be discriminated against because of their religion? A certain Labour MEP openly queried whether they should be.

And do you think that practising Roman Catholics can be represented by politicians who openly question whether they should be discriminated against in public life?

[This is a strange question. Are you proposing a Catholic Party? And communalist politics to deliver representatives in areas of high catholic density? ]

The question should be a strange one. But when a Labour MEP pens a Titus Oatesque piece in which she coyly queries whether Roman Catholic MPs should be excluded from front bench Labour politics solely on the grounds of their faith, it acquires some relevance.

I'm not advocating communalist politics or communalist parties, I'm asking whether an anti-Catholic can represent their Roman Catholic constituents without their personal prejudices getting in the way.

[I think the separation of church and state or faith and state is very important indeed. It is not a principle that applies only to catholics. Though as I've alluded to before catholics have every reason to doubt that any congruence of the established church and the state is a good idea.]

The separation of faith and state seems to be such an elastic concept it's difficult to tell what it means in practice. If it means that any time the Roman Catholic Church expresses a view on a matter of public policy she is accused of "interference", or that the right of conscience is ignored or that Roman Catholics should be excluded from public life because of their religion, then no, I don't think it is a good thing.


Fraternally,

Maria.