cigarette pack Which political parties have pledged to amend the
smoking ban. Another example of TCI fiddling poll results.
cigarette pack

I was asked to provide full details of each party that has a stated commitment to amend the smoking ban. Two are national parties:

UKIP.

Perhaps the best known because they're followed closely by several bloggers.

In September 2014 they made their position public by stating (way down the page under "Culture"):

"UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas (1)."

However in February 2015 they amended their position when they stated (number 51):

"Amend the smoking ban to promote choice for ventilated smoking rooms (2)."

The second statement is less specific, possibly allowing for greater wiggle-room.

Certainly there will be an awful stink kicked up should they get into a position to make this happen, so it could be they've decided to go for broke and allow smoking rooms anywhere. That would bring us into line with Belgium and the Netherlands. I don't do casinos or bingo halls and I've never joined a club, however I'd certainly welcome them in airport terminals, pubs and those non-franchise coffee shops I prefer.

BNP.

They were against the smoking ban from the off in Scotland and confirmed their position when the ban was imposed in England, however it took them until 2010 to actually put anything down in writing. It's in their party manifesto (note it's a fair sized pdf) (3), on page 45 under "Culture Traditions and Civil Society", where they state:

"The BNP will take legislative steps to protect Britain's pubs, which will include tax concessions, smoking rooms under strict supervision and a lowering of tax on alcohol served in public houses."

And in a separate e-mail they went on to state:

"The British National Party believes that individual choice is an essential element in a free society, and that is why it has pledged to abolish the ban on smoking in pubs. In place of the blanket ban on smoking, landlords would instead be given the choice to decide for themselves - according to their own business plans and circumstances - whether to offer a smoking or non-smoking environment to their customers. This will mean, in turn, that individual pub customers also have discretion over whether to direct their custom to a smoking or non-smoking pub, or perhaps a pub with separate smoking and non-smoking areas."

So they're nowhere near as ambitious as UKIP, however this was all conceived while the BNP was under the leadership of Nick Griffin, who wasn't especially responsive to rank and file supporters. Adam Walker has taken over from Mr. Griffin, who has been expelled from the BNP. Mr. Walker is known to be perfectly happy walking the job, mixing with the grass roots and getting his hands dirty doing leaflets and such. He's got the unenviable task of rebuilding the party as well as broadening its appeal and as a good many BNP supporters are club members, I expect to see the inclusion of clubs in due course.

The BNP may not be able to succeed in getting an MP into Westminster at the May 2015 General Election, however they are known to have a sizable support base in Scotland and under the Additional Member System (4), could get at least one MSP in Holyrood in 2016. (They managed to get 4.9% of the vote in the Glasgow North East by-election in 2009, and I suspect that with a reasonable amount of targeted effort they could get to the 6% threshold by 2016 (5)).



There are two parties that will only offer candidates in a limited number of constituencies.

English Democrats.

As their name suggests they have no interest in fielding candidates in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland

They replied to my email when I asked what their position is on the smoking ban.

"Exempt pubs and clubs."

However I have since called them direct and was told that the smoking ban will be a high priority in it's own right. It will be dealt with under the exhaustive list they have entitled "Political Correctness", with the final entry detailing how it will be done (6):

"3.19.5.3 Thirdly, the English Democrats will carry out a review of all laws and regulations, and will amend or, where appropriate and if possible, completely repeal those laws and regulations that foster and promote political correctness."

Certainly FCTC, the smoking ban and tobacco control all fall into that category.

Liberty GB.

Only established in 2013, however they're very specific about the smoking ban, stating in their manifesto (7).

"Allow pubs and restaurants the choice of operating as smoking or non-smoking establishments."

While I will vote for one of the parties available to us in Scotland, I never let my voting intentions be known to any pollster. I prefer to fib to keep the leading party nicely complacent, so this year it'll be the SNP. In 2010 I said Labour!



Another example of tobacco control fiddling with polls.

Kin_Free (8) did a superb job of following up on the Silversurfers poll that started out at 75% in favour of and 25% against repealing the smoking ban in pubs and bars. As he points out, UKIP have not pledged to repeal the smoking ban in pubs - and there's a huge difference between a full repeal and simply allowing separate smoking rooms.

Whether by accident or design, the question asked is "Should smoking be brought back into pubs?"

I agree with Kin_Free's statement:

"Even genuine, well designed, tamper-free polls have limited value."

however it seems others do not. Sometime during the period 09.20 hrs and 15.51 hrs of the 2 February 2015 the poll went from 75% in favour of the motion to 33% in favour. This comment shows when it was brought to our attention (9). Various individuals monitored the poll and this was the position on the 3 February (10). As at 12 March the poll stood at 43% in favour and 57% against (11).

Clearly there are forces that do not want it to be known that many people aged 50 and over are wholeheartedly in favour of repealing the ban on smoking in pubs and bars.

Time and again it's been shown that there are no votes to be gained from supporting this "war" on smoking. Those who like the smoking ban and further restrictions on smoking/smokers can vote for Labour, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Liberal Democrats, the Greens and the Conservatives in that order. Those opposed to the smoking ban and, to an extent, the whole tobacco control industry have four choices if they're English and two if they're Scottish.

Information like this takes an age to filter to all levels of society, some of whom do not have - or seldom use - a computer. It may seem glacial, but it does eventually get to those who matter - voters. Parties that want to shake up the system need not fear being taken to task for their position on the smoking ban. If anything they can be as bold as they wish, because the majority who actually frequent pubs and clubs are far more likely to want to see a full repeal of the ban, with the final decision resting with the property owner or membership.
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Smoking Scot
April 2015