« Machine-gunner Flynn | Main | New lies for old »

November 10, 2008

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Matt Davies

"This is why these reports from They work for you.com are very misleading."


The most misleading part on that site, is its title.

Obnoxio The Clown

"This is still the best country in the world in which to live.

Get a sense of proportion."

With your John Lewis list and your expenses and your gold-plated pension, you're OK, aren't you? It must be hard for you to fathom what the rest of us are on about.

Get out of your insular bubble, Mr Flynn. Apart from your sycophantic coterie, people are not happy.

Paul Flynn

The daftest accusation is that I do not respond to the public. I can claim to do so more that all but half a dozen others MPs.

Get around this site. The proof is there.

You are living in a fantasy world.

Paul Flynn

No posts have been deleted. Obscenties and insults are deleted because they are only answered by further insults.

Your questions are absurd David Smith. It's foolish to blame Government for every bad news story in the papers. Will you give Government credit for the good news stories?

I see most of them are from Tory rags not objective sources.

Paul Flynn

Graham, I have always voted for an investigation of the Iraq War and asked for one on a score of occasions.

I voted against a political stunt by Adam Price which was gesture politics with no chance of success.

This is why these reports from They work for you.com are very misleading.

Paul Flynn

With so many issues of importance in the world, it's a suprise that a group of people can get so worked up by a perceived loss of liberties. There are good reasons for surveillance cameras and a DNA database. It's right that new technogy should be used to deter crime and to capture criminals.


It was the elected parliament that voted for these things by substantial majorities. Few if any will be changed if there is a change of Government.

I have always (in spite of what it says on They work for you.com) voted against the 90 and 42 days and ID cards and I have never voted against a transparent parliament.

Is this Liberation party in favour of legalising all controled drugs for adults? that is cause worth fighting for.

Meanwhile, there's global warming, international peace, developing world poverty, future world food and water shortages..etc. etc. These are all cause worth campaigning about.

But sex educatioon in schools?, surveilliance of neighbours from hell? Daily Mail propaganda exaggerations? Fabian infiltrating schools. Fabians?

C'mon get a life.

John Pickworth

"I have not noticed any political party raising the battle cry..."

My dear Sir,

This may come as something of a complete surprise to you, but you are not paid to look over your shoulder or strive to stay ahead of the 'other lot' - although that does seem to be a common trait of self-serving MPs in general and the modus operandi of the Government in particular. In fact, you're supposed to 'notice' our views sometimes too... you know, the public. Remember them? The impoverished folk who actually pay your wages?

While the gift of the 1984 book might have been organised by another political organisation (although I suspect largely financed by unaffiliated members of the public), its a 'stunt' that has huge and grewing support from ordinary people unable to have their voices heard any other way. And its not from a lack of trying either.

Sir, we're not irrelevant nor will we continue to remain silent - much as you might wish we were. If you don't understand the very real fear that people are beginning to have about your Government then I respectfully suggest you stop spending so much time with your friends and others within the political class and start actually listening to the man and woman on the streets of this country.

There's trouble brewing and so far you and your righteous colleagues seem so oblivious to it.

What I cannot figure out is if you're ignoring us on purpose or you're just casually out of touch with the public mood?

Tell you what. Instead of pushing your personal or party agenda or merely smoozing the masses with 'initiatives' and pointless drivel; how about using your blog to write a piece about how YOU personally, in your highly previledged job, might seek to increase the freedom and liberty of your fellow citizens? Go on, give it a try? You can even use a dictionary if you want to. Prove to the nation you're not out to simply ban or legislate our lives away.

Who knows, you might actually be the first MP to engage with the public instead of taking the sneery, evasive and dismissive route recently adopted by Tom Harris and Kerry McCarthy. The choice is yours, you can either raise to the debate or, like the above examples of so called Members of Parliament, attempt to shut it down?

I look forward to your response.

Matt Davies

3 in a row. 3 self righteous control freaks, who wouldn't look out of place in the Borg collective.

I can't believe we are forced to pay these people's wages.

They aren't listening. They still think they are special.

It's time to take them down a peg.

Andy

Flynn
"This is still the best country in the world in which to live":

I don't think most of us think that now; once maybe, but now, with children being stabbed and killed and with no consequences to the perpetrators. With our liberties being taken day by day, slice by slice. With the state attempting and failing to save even the most vulnerable such as Baby P.

No, you've had your go, You've failed, as Obama has it, its time for change

Even Tony Benn, no doubt one of your heroes has said, on record that New Labour has systematically demoraised and frightened people in order to control them. He's right

patrick

Old Holborn
Had a look at your list. They seem like good ideas most of them. Was just thinking that if you don't like it you could-
A - stand for parliament and change the laws.
B - sod off to another country of your choice.


David Smith

Dear Mr Flynn

Was my one simple polite question beyond your ability to answer, or were you choosing simply to delete it without deigning to respond?

David Smith

Dear Mr Flynn

Was my one simple polite question beyond your ability to answer, or were you choosing simply to delete it without deigning to respond?

Katabasis

Another MP who simply doesn't get it and provides an off the cuff, disingenuous response. That's 3 for 3 so far. You're all responding almost identically.

I actually had some expectation beforehand that the MPs receiving the copies of 1984 might have had a better idea why they were receiving them and have more magnanimity to engage with people's concerns, but no.

Paul, I'm a non-smoker and *I* sent one of those books. There is a great deal at stake here, and the thinking behind, and application of, the smoking ban are simply one symptom of a terrible and systemic underlying disease.

Leg-iron

Mr. Flynn,

It was not my intention to browbeat or insult. I hoped my comments would come across as reasonable. It seems this was not so.

To read, to not read, to hear the concerns expressed here, to not hear them,is your choice and yours alone. It's your choice to dismiss as irrelevant, or as the shrieking of a hysterical few, the comments in response to your post.

There are a lot of those very rare occurrences. There are more each day. Are they all the inventions of the press? If so, what in the press can we trust, and why are your government so keen to impose controls on it? You might say they are not, that it is something else the press made up, but who do we believe?

I am rereading the book. In it, in the first few pages, children are uncontrollable monsters who are encouraged to spy on adults. I can breathe a sigh of relief that it's not like that here. I could go on but since you see my approach as nothing more than the ravings of a lunatic, I won't.

Thank you for your time. I see no purpose in my occupying any more of it, so goodbye.

Leg-iron

Obnoxio The Clown

Is that sophistry, ignorance or a lie, Paul?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V9wFD8TBvbQ

Old Holborn

Oooo, you've started deleteing posts!

How very Ingsoc

Paul Flynn

THERE IS NO TRUTH IN THE CLAIM THAT SMOKING IS ALLOWED IN THE BARS OF THE HOUSE OF COMMONS>

Three comments have ended up in the Spam because of the intemperate languages. they have been un-spammed.

Dick Puddlecote

... so you skipped the 30+ abuses of Government authority listed previous to that and instead focussed on a one liner at the end which obviously went way above your head.

Dick Puddlecote

"reading the document that came with the book I form the impression from the final sentences that the smoking ban was the main complaint."

The final sentence was a paraphrase of a popular eBay seller's cliche, personalised to you and your anti-smoking obsession.

Old Holborn

Leadership is required in most part I.e. the smoking ban, but also ensuring a balance is struck, i.e. the 42 day issue.

But the point is there is no balance. That tipping point was passed several years ago.

42 days is not required any where else in the world, so why here?
42 days is not a balance, its an abomination, and it will not just apply to terror suspects, it will apply to anyone a chief constable wishes to apply it to.

Smoking ban, merely forcing a point, and people to comply, based upon bad science and figures plucked from thin air, as admitted by government.

It is a matter of record that by banning anything, the result is merely to push it underground, into the hands of the criminal world. So these multitudes of bans create the problems, not fix them.

It is very easy to formulate an argument for single items, for things that only affect a very small proportion of the population, which is how the salami slicing works.

However, when we put it all together, 26,000 new laws, 3000 new criminal offences, then the laws are not for the good of the people, or for their protection but for the good of the state.

That is the balance that needs to be redressed.

For those who have not yet joined up all the dots, here is a list, albeit incomplete showing how you have eroded our rights and freedoms, for a perceived security that we have never needed before, and one that we do not believe we need now.

The 2006/2007 report by Privacy International tells us that The UK is now joint 1st place as the most surveilled country in the world, alongside Russia, China, Singapore and Malaysia.

Then we have the databases. UKLiberty tells us these are just the major ones, there are loads more public sector databases:

1. ContactPoint is to record our interactions with state agencies from the day we are born until we are 18;
2. the National Identity Register takes over at 18 (even earlier if the child is given a passport), recording our names, addresses, and so on, as well as every interaction that requires us to prove our identity (from collecting a parcel at the Post Office to getting a new job to using non-emergency health care to crossing international borders) - also we will each be assigned an identity number, which will be used as an index in other databases (that is, if I am 10365 in the NIR, someone could draw together all the data on 10365 from all the other databases to find out everything about me - precedent suggests this isn't a good idea);
3. the Department for Work and Pensions Longitudinal Study links tax, social security, benefit, pension, ISA, TESSA, PEP information with names and addresses;
4. the Intercept Modernisation Programme is to record every detail of our communications (except for the content, probably only because this would be practically impossible), who we talk to, when, for how long, and using what (see Article 5 European Data Retention Directive);
5. the ANPR is to record all our vehicle journeys nationally and the PNR (see also this and this) is to record all our international journeys (currently its just journeys by air);
6. the NHS medical records database, with our names, addresses, medical issues, health care workers etc;
7. the CRB database and the Independent Safeguarding Authority database, which not only have details of our proven convictions (which I have no problem with) but also unsubstantiated allegations;
8. the National DNA Database, which is recording the DNA of not only convicted criminals and suspects, but also innocent people including volunteers and witnesses, along with other details.

All adding up to an almost complete picture of our lives - and all for our own good, of course.

Do not forget that the information collection for marketing purposes by Corporate institutions, whether Google or Tesco, is a further part of the erosion of the liberty of action with unseen monitoring or intervention. The using of private companies to collect this data is just insidious.

CRIMINAL JUSTICE AND PUBLIC ORDER ACT 1994
Abolishes a suspect's right to silence (by permitting Courts and Juries to draw inference from a suspect's refusal to disclose matters to the Police at the time of arrest.

POLICE ACT 1997
Allows the police to break into property and install electronic surveillance.The chief constable can make such authorisations.

The occupier of the property need not be under suspicion of a crime. The decisions can be taken without a warrant. (Sections 91 to 108)

CRIME AND DISORDER ACT 1998
First facilitation of ASBO's and the conception of causing Harassment, which makes everyday perfectly legal activities illegal for the target subject.

Distress or Alarm. Introduction of Parenting Orders and Curfews on Offenders released on Licence.

IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM ACT 1999
Among other matters, facilitating the establishment of Detention Centres.

TERRORISM ACT 2000
Definition of "terrorism" close to catch-all..
The government can proscribe organisations or persons without having to prove that they have committed any offence.

REGULATION OF INVESTIGATORY POWERS ACT 2000
Authorises Surveillance and disclosure of Communications largely without warrant.

Authorities able to do so range from any Police Force to include any Local Authority and the FSA. (now extended to over 700 organisations).

FOOTBALL (DISORDER) ACT 2000
Enables courts to place banning orders on people, prohibiting them from travelling when a football match is on, without proving they committed an offence.

Allows the police to prevent a person without a banning order from leaving the country if the police have "reasonable grounds" for believing the person may cause trouble at a football match.

HEALTH AND SOCIAL CARE ACT 2001
Enables the Health Secretary to authorise disclosure of confidential patient information to anyone he chooses if he believes it is in the public interest or will improve patient care.

ANTI-TERRORISM, CRIME AND SECURITY ACT 2001
Allows government departments and public bodies to disclose confidential information to police forces for the purposes of investigations of any crime anywhere in the world.

Permits the Home Secretary to certify any foreigner as an "international terrorist" if he/she decides that they are a risk to national security.

Terrorism is defined as in the Terrorism Act 2000.
Section 29 prevents courts from challenging the detention of foreigners under sections 21 – 26,.

SOCIAL SECURITY FRAUD ACT 2001
Officials authorised by local councils and the Department of Work and Pensions can demand that banks, credit card companies, utility companies, any company providing financial services and phone companies hand over any data they think is necessary for the purposes of preventing or detecting benefit fraud, without a warrant.

These officials can also demand that telecommunications companies tell them who owns a particular account, when given only a number or electronic address associated with the account, again without a warrant.

THE PROCEEDS OF CRIME ACT 2002
Under this Act, the Criminal Assets Recovery Agency is set up and in Part 5, it is given the power to seize a person's assets via civil procedures in court. (now updated to allow police to seize assets and bank accounts BEFORE charge or conviction).

This law applies civil proceedings to a dispute between the state and an individual, with the state as the adjudicator.

ANTI-SOCIAL BEHAVIOUR ACT 2003
Extends the thinking behind ASBOS and includes premises closure,
obligations on landlords, parenting orders, dispersal of groups, public assemblies (the 1986 Public Order definition of an assembly reduced from 20 to 2).

EXTRADITION ACT 2003
Part 2 - unratified treaty with USA. No prima facie evidence required for extraditions from the UK to the USA, but still required for USA to UK extraditions.

Part 1 of the Act implements the similar European Arrest Warrant extraditions.

There is no requirement for evidence to be heard before a UK Court.
Also refer to the Home Office website.

THE CRIMINAL JUSTICE ACT 2003
Facilitates the elimination of Juries from complex fraud cases.
Removes "double jeopardy". Permits hearsay evidence.

THE CIVIL CONTINGENCIES ACT 2004
Authorises any cabinet minister to make "emergency regulations" Emergency regulations may make any provision that can be made by Royal Prerogative or Act of Parliament.....

the FIRST of the real shifts towards Enabling Act thinking.

THE PREVENTION OF TERRORISM ACT 2005
Under this Act, the government can impose "control orders" on anyone they suspect might be involved in "terrorism-related" activity.

The person subjected to a control order does not get a trial, is not charged with anything, and may have the evidence or accusations against them withheld from them or their lawyers.

Terrorism is defined as in Section 1 of the Terrorism Act 2000

THE SERIOUS ORGANISED CRIME AND POLICE ACT 2005
Sets up the Serious Organised Crime Agency (SOCA).

All offences, no matter how trivial, are now arrestable, granting powers to obtain DNA, intimate samples, fingerprints and photographs of those arrested, to be retained on file regardless of whether the suspect is charged with or convicted of an offence. (Don't discard your cigarette butt).

Protesters, even a single protester, must apply at least 24 hours (and more normally 6 days) in advance for a permit to protest within 1km of Parliament, or any other designated place.

LEGISLATIVE AND REGULATORY REFORM ACT 2006
Originally drafted in terms which would have made this an Enabling Act, the diluted text with some safeguards introduced remains the second part of Enabling Act thinking.

By this, Ministers can, with minimal Parliamentary scrutiny, modify and enact regulations, interpretations, resources targeting and law.

IMMIGRATION, ASYLUM AND NATIONALITY ACT 2006
Further powers tor restrict the rights of immigrants and asylum seekers.

Sections 56 and 57 modify the British Nationality Act (1981) to permit the Home Secretary to deprive a person of citizenship or the right of abode.

TERRORISM ACT 2006
Further clarification of offences of glorification etc.
Extends detention period. (currently 28 days, government planning further attempt at 42 days).

IDENTITY CARDS ACT 2006
Well publicised. Read and weep.


I could go on, and on, there is just so much more.

If I began to start listing all the abuses of the above legislation, being used for purposes other than it was designed then this posting would be so long......

I could mention the Orwellian Newspeak introduced by NuLabour, I could mention the Targeted Messaging and propaganda, I could mention the perpetual war against an ever changing enemy, I could mention the big brother TV Licencing warning ads, I could mention that every Government department now encourages you to shop your neighbour, I could mention government sponsored health facists telling us what to eat and drink, how to live, I could mentioned a lost count of bans for things from fox hunting to smoking, I could mention local authorities using children to spy on parents, I could mention that we may no longer simply live by the rule of law, but by legislation for everything we do, legislation for everything we cannot do, and legislation for what we might do. No longer free thought, the state will do that for you.

Are you are so far removed from reality that you cannot see what harm you do.

The State does not need this information, the State abuses this information, and the State has no right to this information.

If I am not your master, why am I paying you?

Guthrum

As it was proved today, people as young as twelve have the autonmy to refuse hospital treatment.

Thirteen, What are you talking about!, a child dying of cancer, her parents were taken to the High Court by the Health Authority !! to try to force her to have a heart transplant against her will. The State knows best

Ye Gods

Guthrum

Very interesting and revealing old Hoborn. I assure you that you are not my 'master, nor I yours. It says a great deal about you that think that you are.

We are your masters to dismiss as we surely will, this was a phrase used in 1945 by a Labour member of Parliament Hartley Shawcross 'WE ARE THE MASTERS NOW'- you may think you are our masters by telling us what we can do,think, smoke drink, fine us, watch us take our fingerprints and DNA. You simply do not get it do you, at all

Paul Flynn

Legion, I read the book 54 years ago. A local hip-hop group New StaTe radio recently produced a song based on it.

The list of things that worry you seem to be very rare occurences (if they happened at all) or tabloid exaggerations. The one I agree with is surveillance of neighbours who might be 'from hell.' What's wrong with that?

As it was proved today, people as young as twelve have the autonmy to refuse hospital treatment.

If all your claims are true, what has this got to do with 1984? I think it's you that should (re)read the book.

This is still the best country in the world in which to live.

Get a sense of proportion.

ekalf

A* for doublethink, Paul:

"The smoking [ban] does not deny anyone the freedom to smoke. I have advocated that adults should have the freedom to use any drug of their choice.

All it does is retrict pollution in public places that gives the rest of us the freedom to breathe clean air. Tha's a minor restriction for smokers that will produce health benefits for non-smokers."

F for spelling, typing, and independent thought. Explains your baffling response to the receipt of 1984, I guess.

Are all Labour MPs useless?

Paul Flynn

Very interesting and revealing old Hoborn. I assure you that you are not my 'master, nor I yours. It says a great deal about you that think that you are.

I have never voted against a trasparent parliament. The rest of the stuff is pretty accurate and a record that I am proud of.

Paul Flynn

my reaction to the suggestion, Cyprus Grump, that UK 2008 is similar to Orwell's 1984 is that it is such a ludicrous comparison, it is meaningless.

Previously, the anti-smoking ban people have traded on the concept of 'freedom' rather than the ban.

Reading the document that came with the book I formed the impression from the final sentences that the smoking ban was the main complaint.

CyprusGrump

Pathetic…

If it wasn’t the day when we honour our dead that fought for the country it would be hilariously funny…

646 members of the public send their elected representatives a copy of 1984.

Only three (so far) actually acknowledge receipt and are completely dismissive of the gesture.

The media refuse to cover the story although it was sent to them – presumably they didn’t receive permission to do so.

We have a lot of work to do.

swindon_alan

So that's now three out of three MPs who don't get it.

Now that you have the information that your receipt of the book was not about smoking in public, but a statement about ever increasing authoritarianism, would you be so kind as to address that please Paul?

darren

@Graham Marlowe,

I don't want to bring this back round to the smoking ban, since only the willfully blind could imagine that was the message behind this gift.

However, I do take issue with your comment about it only affecting smoking in public places. Public Houses, despite the name, are in fact the private property of the owner and people can choose whether they frequent them or not. That is the travesty of this ban: Government dictating what lawful activities people can partake of on their own private property.

Old Holborn

Paul,

Can you still smoke in the Strangers Bar at the House of Commons?

Yes, you can.

Maybe I'll send you a copy of Animal Farm next.

Ian Shephard

Oh dear. The tactic of reducing the 1884 campaign to nothing more the 'smoking debate' is surely no more than a disrespectful means to defect the true meaning of the 'gift'; which I've no doubt would've been made clear to you by the sender.

The 'drip-drip' erosion of our freedoms; the interference by government encroaching more and more into or everyday lives; the realisation that the political class now beleive its for THEM to tell US what to do regardless of public opinion; rather than for THEM to represent what WE want as constituents.

Have you forgotten that you're elected to serve; not to govern? 1984 was sent to you as a reminder that the totalitarianism contained within, is the 'sure-fire' destination for us all, if you continue your odious authoritarian ways.

Please have the courage to face the REAL debate head on; without the flippant diversions.

The pub issue is a 'no brainer' anyway; each landlord should decide his or her own policy; to allow smoking or not; then staff and customers; in full knowledge of the policy, can freely enter (or not) at their own risk...It is called freedom. And I do not smoke; but I'd rather breathe other peoples smoke than see the landlords/patrons freedoms eroded.

Guthrum

Let me see- you were sent a copy of 1984 and YOU think it was sent by some pro-smoking group ??

I suppose you don't know how the Green card system works either do you

1984 was a warning by Orwell as to what would happen if the State and the ' Party' started invading the private space of the citizen. CCTV cameras,monitoring where people are, thought crimes- is any of this starting to ring any bells in your head now ??

I will go on- perpetual war, control of the media, the eternal threat of terrorism etc etc

We knew that MP's were out of touch, but you think that being sent a copy of 1984 by members of the public and the Libertarian Party is about smoking ??

The quality of lobby fodder is not what it was

Obnoxio The Clown

See that thing way up there over your head, Paul?

That was the point of the gift.

Graham Marlowe

Paul, Could you tell us please WHY you are against "a transparent Parliament", because you seem very concerned that the rest of us should toe the line. Sauce for the gander, and all that. When you were having a pop at benefit claimants yesterday you said they played the system. Well, until a few months ago, an MP could claim expenses of up to £250 without producing a receipt. Most of us would not be able so to do with our employers. Why would you not want Parliamentarians to face a transparent Parliament?


Also how can you be both for and against an investigation into the Iraq war?

I don't wish to sound as simplistic as George Bush, but surely you either want one or you don't?

Leg-iron

If your sender commented on the smoking ban, that was an example. It's not about the smoking ban at all - indeed, in the book, smoking isn't banned. The book didn't come to you from a pro-smoking group. While it was organised by the Libertarian Party, many of those who sent books were not members of that or any other party. Like me. I didn't send yours but I did send one, and signed it.

You did not receive the books because of the smoking ban which applies to everyone except criminals. While that removal of choice (if I owned a pub, I could not allow smoking on my premises whether I wanted to or not. Forget smoking. Think 'choice') is an example, that's not what the sending of the book was about.

It's about schools infiltrated by Fabians. It's about children spying on adults. It's about people watched by councils in case they put one bag too many in their bins or put them out ten seconds too early. It's about photographers stopped and searched, even arrested, by police officers and PCSO's who make up their own laws and enforce them. It's about fifteen-year-olds made to sign the terror-legislation forms for taking a photo on a school trip. It's about councils installing cameras in homes in order to spy on neighbours. It's about a thirteen-year-old girl being pressured by the threat of law to have a transplant she doesn't want.

It's about being ordered what to do, what to eat, how to speak and how to think. It's about reducing the educational level of this country to the point where the BBC news spells 'wreath' as 'reef'. It's about censorship of the media and the internet. It's about control of the population, full stop.

Those are only a few examples from recent reports. Just a sampler.

The smoking ban is a distraction. Please, read the book. You might still laugh it all off afterwards, that's your choice.

It's a free book. That's really all you have there. Go on, open it. I dare you.

darren

At least the government has now recognised the fact that the smoking ban is a material change to the trading position of pubs.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/politics/3405482/Pub-trade-suffering-from-smoking-ban.html

It's just a shame that the VOA are keeping quiet about the possibility of a reduction in their business rates.

At least the conservatives are trying to bring this to the publics attention.

this reduction may not save all the pubs that are in danger of closing, but it might save a few, which in my opinion is better than nothing.

Old Holborn

Hello Paul,

You were sent 1984 because you are an authoritarian buffoon.

You and your 645 colleages need reminding that for every one of you, there are 92,500 of us. And we are reaching tipping point with your endless legislation. WE are your masters, YOU are our servant.

Children are now being taken into the States care because they are overweight. You are now telling us that we can't eat what we want to eat. You are telling us that we are not fit to control our own lives and make our own decisions. We must leave them all to you and your 645 colleagues.

Over my dead body Paul.

Let's have a look at what you've been up to:
Voted against a transparent Parliament.
Voted strongly for introducing a smoking ban.
Voted a mixture of for and against introducing ID cards.
Voted a mixture of for and against introducing foundation hospitals.
Voted moderately against introducing student top-up fees.
Voted moderately for Labour's anti-terrorism laws.
Voted very strongly against the Iraq war.
Voted a mixture of for and against an investigation into the Iraq war.
Voted very strongly against replacing Trident.
Voted strongly for the hunting ban.
Voted very strongly for equal gay rights.


People should never be afraid of their governments, governments should be afraid of their people.

Graham Marlowe

Well you could always have a smoking and non-smoking section, like you used to get in trains. I might add, I don't and never have smoked, but I think it reasonable that people should be able so to do if they wish in comfort.

But what might New Labour ban next? They are far too fond of telling people what to do.

By the way Paul have you any comment to make on the proposal to make council tenants second-class citizens (even more!) by giving "fixed term contracts", which is yet another two fingered gesture to poorer people?

Paul Flynn

What are saying Graham. The smoking ban does not deny anyone the freedom to smoke. I have advocated that adults should have the freedom to use any drug of their choice.

All it does is restrict pollution in public places that gives the rest of us the freedom to breathe clean air. That's a minor restriction for smokers that will produce health benefits for non-smokers.

Graham Marlowe

I don't read or like the Daily Mail, paul if you are getting at me. I have never smoked myself, but I do think adults should have the freedom to do so if they wish.

Smoking relaxes some people: alcohol others, Diazepam still others - let's face it, people need all the help they can to get through life in this dull, grey, damp miserable petty-minded country, where in the 21st century we still go through the absurd ritual of "putting the clocks back" (by an hour but lately it seems we've put them back to about 1950), and we are saddled with a Tory government disguised as "New Labour" where public schoolboy "toffs" tell the rest of us how to behave - without bothering to practice what they preach.

Paul Flynn


Beer sales are the lowest they have been since the 30s depression. The smoking ban is one factor. It has accelertaed the process that was already happening. But there are more important ones such as the greed of the main pub owners. .One of the main drivers of closures is the current churn in pub operating companies: the giants such as Enterprise Inns and Punch are swallowing middling companies, with smaller ones grabbing their leftovers and the occasional Free House. Most of this activity is driven by private investment groups and banks.

A current example is Enterprise Inns, which has become the UK's largest pubco (over 9,000 pubs) upon taking over the Unique Pub Company. To satisfy competition rules, they have to sell 250 pubs: the usual rule is to own no more than 25% of pubs in any licensing area.

Enterprise Inns is selling the pubs to a new group, Admiral Pub Company, for £62.6M. The Evening Standard (19-Mar-2004) said 155 of the pubs will immediately be sold on to County Estate Management, a pub and property company, with the rest turned into apartments and other uses.

Paul Flynn

Would you John and Valleylad really want the ban reversed?
Pubs have had their old smelly carpets and furniture thrown out and replaced. They are all more pleasant than before. Pub drinking has been slowly replaced by home consumption in recent years.

It is fashoinable Daily Mail moan about the nanny state. The smoking ban in the Welsh Assembly was approved by a majority of all parties. When it is reviewed in 2010 I believev a majority of all part will vote for it to continue here. It is encouraging to read that one of the results of the belief among young people that smoking is naff has been a reduction in cannabis use.

The ban is supported by public opinion

Graham Marlowe

One of the reasons I disliked Blair, apart from the camp self-importance and hypocrisy (how can a man who acted as bag carrier for George Bush possibly be taken seriously as a "peace" envoy?) was the way he seemed to turn into the headmistress of St Trinians and treated the rest of us like naughty schoolchildren. "Nanny knows best": be it smoking, or any of the other "you-musn't be-naughty" measures. We now have local councils carrying on with encouraging neighbours to spy on their neighbours in case they putr their dustbin out a day early.

Brown is no improvement: like Blair he is far too willing to take up any and every tabloid cause. We now have the Dutch auction going on about tax cuts. Just how they are paid for without reducing public services...God alone knows. Of course we'll borrow but it will all have to be paid back some day. - the former "Iron Chancellor" turns out to be made of plaster of paris.

valleylad

I'm not a smoker either, and broadly concur with John. Smoke-free pubs have been around for a long time, the smoking ban however has killed many locals. The family/food type establishments were already non-smoking. Whether smoking is banned or not does not affect me, but I disapprove strongly of the ban. It shows the socially conservative and controlling nature of the govt.

John

I am not a smoker it killed my Grandfather yet I feel vaguely drawn tot he smokers cause!!
I main thing that I have noticed since the ban is that on the rare Saturday night that I go out those once busy albeit smelly pubs are now eerily quiet yet smoke free.
Pubs are the heart of a community they encourge responsible drinking and social interaction of a community. It seems that we may have inadvertantly ripped the heart out of many communities by destroying the pub trade by this smoking ban. The landladies and landlords that I speak to lay the blame squarely on the smoking ban hwo am I to argue.
I ma not suggesting that we reverse the ban to return thing to as they where but surely we need to take steps to revitalise our pubs. What about reducing considerably the duty on draught beers and lagers and increasing the duty on shop bought alcohol.
I would like to see a £1.50 pint in my loacl and a £1.50 pint from my supermarket maybe then we will get people back in our pubs.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Working...
Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been posted. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.

Working...

Post a comment

Your Information

(Name and email address are required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)