Most seats in Parliament are already spoken for at a General Election. We all know that, and we all know that it is the ‘swing’ constituencies which matter as regards which political parties’ candidates will outnumber another. The ‘swing’ constituencies are those which are most evenly divided between Tory and Labour. The constituence with the lowest difference is the one most likely to ‘swing’ from the present party political incumbant to the other party, and the likelihood of a ‘swing’ gets smaller and smaller as the difference increases.
Prior to smoking bans, there was generally no specific issue which ‘hit on’ a specific group of people in quite the same way. Sure, there were huge groups of people who felt that they were losers, and huge groups who felt that they were winners. Those who feel that they are winners with the status quo will vote to maintain the status quo, and those who feel that they are losers will vote to change the status quo.
But what if there are millions of aggrieved smokers who are confronted with a situation where both the major parties are intent upon persecuting them more and more?
As we saw, the Brexit vote was very even. One might ask how it was that the vote was so even. You would have thought that there would have been a big majority either one way or the other – either there would have been lots more people who saw the EU as benefical to them, or lots more who saw the opposite. Because the vote was so close, it is reasonable to look for people who were really, really aggravated by the EU. Thinking smokers was one group. But we should also not forget that the TPD Directive, which attacked Vapers, had recently been promulgated. Thus, it is not unlikely that Vapers had an immediate incentive to vote for Brexit. Smokers are in the gutter, but Vapers have dragged themselves out of the gutter. It is reasonable to assume that they were much incensed by the TPD.
So, combine thinking smokers and Vapers, and you have a very great number of people who resent the intrusion of the EU into our lives and our lifestyles. As far as I know, the British Government does not have a specific ‘tobacco control’ department, but the EU has. The UN also has such a department, known as the ‘FCTC Conference of the Parties’. That department demands world-wide obedience from everyone who is involved with it. But, it is not OWNED by anyone, so who decides what should be obeyed? Note the very, very important point – decisions of the Conference, and the votes, commit everyone involved to certain actions. And yet, the Conference has no such authority. No wonder that it excludes the press.
But we are seeing cracks in the edifice. Brexit has been one, and it has been a HUGE crack. The ‘Leading Beyond Authority’ of ‘Common Purpose’ is breaking down. Gradually, ‘Leading Beyond Authority’ is becoming seen as imposition, which is what it is.
But one might reasonably ask this question: “If, say, the Tories vote against a Bill which is introduced into Parliament, and the Bill becomes an Act because Labour has more MPs, and, at a subsequent GE, Labour is dislodged, why does not the new Tory Gov repeal the law which it voted against?
It never happens.
But Brexit is a different kettle of fish. It has thrown the Political Establishment into a tizwas. I suspect that that is because they were not aware of the ‘marginal propensity’ of smokers and Vapers.
Let me put it this way. If you were to ask a smoker who is smoking just outside his local pub, the question: “Do you resent the smoking ban?”, he might well say “No”. Who knows what thoughts might produce that answer? But if you asked him: “Would you prefer to be indoors out of the cold, wind and rain?” He would certainly say, “Yes”. The two ideas are contradictory. A person who would rather be indoors ought to resent the smoking ban since it forces him to go outside.
Some seventeen million people voted to Brexit and some sixteen and a bit voted to stay. What swung the vote? In my opinion, from very brief conversations in the pub, it was “CONTROL”. ‘Control’ in every sense of the word.
But why did so many people, the minority, vote for EU control? That is what I cannot understand, especially since various politicians have stood up in Parliament and justified Government actions on the grounds that ‘the EU said so’.
So it depends upon PM May and her Cabinet to decide what to do. I only hope that they exclude the opinions of academics.