The overlooked Isle
I have been doing a little light reading.
People tend to forget that Great Britain extends a little beyond England, Wales, Scotland and Norn Iron. The likes of the Channel Isles and the Isle of Man tend to be overlooked in the rush and people overlook the fact that each has its Legislature Assembly.
The Isle of Man Tynwald has been holding a "consultation" with a view to tightening its anti-tobacco laws.
I say a "consultation" but it appears to be the usual whip around between the usual suspects, though they have included businesses on their consultation list so either this was a mistake, or they are considerably more liberal than the countries that surround them. Apart from the odd brewery, the rest seem to be the usual suspects of "charities", vested interests and QANGOs.
The questions they pose have the standard yes/no/don't know options which nicely reflects the black and white mindset of governments everywhere. This allows for considerable leeway on the interpretation of the responses, which again is fairly typical.
For example they ask "Do you believe that there should be further restrictions on the advertising and promotion of tobacco and related products?". This is nicely vague and can mean anything from not having the word "tobacconist" on the front of the shop through to forcing the retailer to sell tobacco down in the basement behind steel doors, where no one can see the transaction.
The results of the consultation surprised me, I confess. I thought they would get the usual "overwhelming support", but in fact the answers seem remarkably honest. For example when it came to the "further controls" questions, they barely got a majority of 55% which would tend to indicate that people have become somewhat weary of the constant push for further legislation.
The question on plain packaging was interesting –
Do you believe that plain packaging of tobacco products (e.g. cigarettes and bagged tobacco) would help reduce the uptake of smoking by young people?
The response of No – 61.6% against Yes – 27.3% does seem to reflect the general public apathy to this notion. What is more remarkable is that this result came despite a declaration in their original documentation that –
"There is good evidence that tobacco advertisements and ‘cool, fun and attractive’ displays do influence young people to take up smoking, and studies have shown that impulse buying of tobacco products as a result of seeing a display remains high, especially amongst young people."
As an aside – I would love to see their "studies" on impulse buying, and surely "young people" can't impulse buy if they are underage?
Some of the questions give an insight into the probable future "salami slices" legislation that will come down the line – banning smoking in all private vehicles, and banning smoking in private homes.
No doubt the results of the "consultation" will have little or no impact on the final laws that are introduced. I get the impression that these procedures are in place merely to judge the level of backlash when the Draconian measures are introduced, and to give them a chance to spin their response in advance.
The full result makes interesting reading.
The Isle of Man is not part of either Great Britain or the UK (as far as I know). It is a self governing Crown dependency.
Meh! You're right of course. My apologies. Probably explains why it's so often forgotten?
The UK is a self governing crown dependency, The City of London State is the crown upon which all countries with a crown court system are dependent.
What might also interest you is that a couple of years back one of the lead government agencies involved in the Bill, our Department of Fair Trading, actually recruited under-age kids to try and buy fags in order to try and get a showcase prosecution and 'prove' the need for more restrictions. As they couldn't be paid in cash, the kids were offered I-pods or similar rewards. In the only case I know where they succeeded, a shop owner and his assistant were made to turn up at court and hang around for a whole day something like 3 times only for the DFT not to show before the case was dropped.
I suspect because, if it had, firstly the CCTV in the shop clearly showed the kid used was so tall and bulky she looked at least 18, secondly the shop assistant conned was a non-smoking teetotal lad who knew all the local kids, some of whose parents were so disgusted they asked to testify he would never knowingly sell cigs or alcohol to their kids and would let parents know if they tried, and thirdly, the defence lawyer's opening question was to be 'have there been any other prosecutions on the island for underage fag sales' (answer was no) and second one was to be did the DFT think a government agency should pay kids to knowingly break a law, even in order to prove a point?
Lifelong non-smoker myself, but the way this one is going has caused me to have every sympathy for those who like a relaxing ciggie. If any group of folk at a house party can come to amicable agreements about where to smoke without a fuss, downright disgrace the government don't think grown adults can do the same anywhere else (or everywhere if they get their vinegar-titted way).
As far as I know, they try the same trick here. They get underage kids and dress 'em up to look older and then send them on a shopping spree. It's all a bit sick and pointless, and in my book the "authorities" who do it should be prosecuted for inciting a crime. What's the difference between a seventeen and an eighteen year old anyway, apart for a few months?
Being retired and not having to enter a workplace the various bans don't affect me that much. The reason I detest them so much is threefold.
1. The bans were brought in on the basis of a blatant lie,
2. I despise the whole concept of someone telling me how I should live my life.
3. Having got their way with smokers they are just going to start introducing laws forcing people into eating, drinking and generally living the way they see fit. They won't be happy until they have turned us all into meek obedient little drones who do exactly as they are told by The State.