Friday, February 29, 2008

Conservative Party Pressure

Ever considered applying pressure to the Conservative Party on the matter of smokers rights using the power of smokers votes?

I stumbled upon a new publicity campaign launched by the Torys and sadly noticed no mention of my overriding political concern - Smokers Rights! The site encouraged me to send comments and so I quickly rushed the following email to David "Web" Cameron via the campaign's site form system:

Do the conservative party have any intention of considering a review or reconsideration of the smoking ban in The Health Act 2007?

Have the party considered the voting power of approximately 13 million smokers who are at present forced to spend their leisure time and work breaks outside whatever the weather?

Do the conservative party realise that wherever possible smokers will seriously consider voting for UKIP who are the only party to have a policy addressing this matter?

Incidentally, I am a previously dedicated conservative-voting smoker who happens to be a doctor, loyal to the NHS. I will be voting UKIP unless the party can address my concerns and I believe there to be many people of a similar persuasion.

The reply I received was peppered with the standard platitudes, but begs a reply, so as to attempt disabusing the author on some discrepancies or variations from fact. So I will reply with some considered thought. I will next disclose the email response I received for your interest:

Dear Phil,

Many thanks for your email regarding the smoking ban.

The Government’s ban on smoking in public places came into force on 1st July 2007. Smoking is now banned in all enclosed public spaces and workplaces. Whatever one’s own views, it is very clear that public opinion has demanded a ban on smoking in public places for some time. There is also a considerable body of scientific evidence to point to the harmful health effects of second-hand smoke.

While the smoking ban certainly does place restrictions on where people can smoke, it does not ban what is still a lawful activity and people are free to smoke in their own homes and outdoors where the impact of their smoke on others will be minimal. The Government has published five sets of regulations which set out the detail of the smokefree legislation. You can view these within the policy and guidance section of the Department of Health website: http://www.dh.gov.uk/PolicyAndGuidance/fs/en.

Conservatives have expressed some reservations about the ban, for example about smoking in prisons and mental health units, and about the requirement on all public places and businesses to display no smoking signs. The Government Minister previously responsible for the smoking ban, Caroline Flint, has assured us that the Government are committed to a review of the legislation, so if any problems occur which were not expected while the legislation was being formulated, the legislation may be reconsidered.

We hope that the new measures will play a positive role in reducing exposure to second-hand smoke and, in turn, help to improve public health.

Thank you, once again, for writing to David Cameron on this matter.

Yours sincerely,

Anna Biles
Correspondence Secretary
David Cameron's Office
House of Commons
London
SW1A 0AA
It will be plainly obvious to regular readers how this email is composed by the party, contains pasted phrases and shows contempt for the rights of smokers. It cannot therefore go unanswered and I will keep you posted as to future volleys in this exchange.

However without nagging I wandered if any of you enlightened folk fancied visiting the campaign site, completing a "send us your comments" email form or even writing directly to Anna "I'mDavidWebCameron" Biles.

So here is the site link: Conservative Campaigns

And here is the email address: mailto:CAMEROND@parliament.uk