Fun in the Pleasure Zone

This campaign has received some criticism in the past from Simon Clark, director of Forest, for appearing to throw smokers out with the bathwater in favour of vapers' rights. I can assure him that this is not the case. The Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco, to give Forest its full title, rightly stands up for smokers' rights against a barrage of nanny state and illiberal policies emanating from the Government and the Government's friends in ASH. I, on behalf of The Freedom Association, have regularly taken to the airwaves to criticise, for example, the silly ban on smoking in cars with under-18s present. The ban is unenforceable, as is the silly suggestion that smoking is banned on Brighton beach. We have campaigned against the plain packaging of cigarettes which, ironically, will mean it is easier to sell counterfeit cigarettes. It is a policy that is damaging to public health, yet those who advocated plain packaging appeared not to appreciate the irony. Continue reading

Watching the Lords debate Brexit was like intruding on private grief

Watching and listening to the second reading debate of the European Union (Notification of Withdrawal) Bill in the House of Lords over the past couple of days was like intruding on private grief. For the most part, their Lordships were engaged a in wake, and those of us who campaigned for Leave in the referendum last year were not welcome. Continue reading

The Australian Taxpayers' Alliance blasts decision to maintain ban on e-cigarettes

Aussies are renowned for plain speaking, and you have to hand it to the Australian Taxpayers' Alliance - if plain speaking were an Olympic sport, they would be gold medallists. Here is a flavour of their response to the Australian Therapeutic Goods Administration's (TGA) decision to maintain the ban on e-cigarettes. It make my response look very tame!  This pro-cancer decision by the TGA has demonstrated - without question - that the TGA has no interest in evidence, or in fulfilling its statutory obligations. It is - to put it frankly - an absolute disgrace. Continue reading

Brexit does not mean we will stop cooperating on security, no matter what the Liberal Democrats say

As I was just about to put pen to paper, I received a news alert that at least 48 people have been murdered in a car bomb attack in Baghdad. Another reminder, as if we needed one, that the world is a very unstable and volatile place. The world looks very peaceful as I look out of my office window at home. The bare trees, still showing no sign of an early spring, move from side to side very gently. The odd car moves past my house. Other than being quite literally in the middle of nowhere, you would struggle to find a more peaceful spot than where I am at the moment. The people of Baghdad would love to have that same peace this afternoon. Continue reading

More misery for Southern commuters. When will Grayling act?

It feels like Groundhog Day. Each night commuters who have the misfortune to rely on Southern rail to get them to work, fall asleep hoping tomorrow will be different. Perhaps the unions will end the industrial action that has been going on for longer than anyone can remember? Then they wake up the next morning and realise that nothing has changed. Continue reading