'No plans' for smoking ban review
The government has dropped a planned review of the smoking ban in England.
The previous Labour administration had promised it would be looked at again in autumn 2010, but the coalition says it has "no plans" to do so.
Publicans - who feared a review would extend the ban into beer gardens and doorways, damaging trade - backed a campaign to partially lift the ban.
What can we make of this? A three year review was promised on several occasions but earlier this year it became crystal clear that the Department of Health was in no mood to carry out a genuine review (ie. with the possibility of the law being relaxed in the light of ASH's broken promises).
On the contrary, the review seemed set to open the door to even greater restrictions. (It was always absurd the have the DoH review it anyway since it was DoH-funded groups like ASH who campaigned for a total ban in the first place.)
In that context, The Publican is taking the cancellation as a sign that even if things do not get better for the pub trade, at least they will not get significantly worse.
As the BBC points out (in a fairly balanced article, albeit buried deep in their website):
The issue remains controversial with the public - with calls for the ban to be reversed among the most popular suggestions on a new government website, Your Freedom, asking the public for ideas on which existing laws and regulations should be repealed.
Ah, the Your Freedom website! Now up and running, it has already fallen victim to the ignorant, the illiterate and the mentally deranged, as well as the large chunk of the British public who don't take these things entirely seriously. Various people seem unable to come to terms with the idea of a UK government repealing laws and instead have suggested yet more stupid pieces of legislation to bring in. No doubt David Miliband has been taking notes.
It's worryingly difficult to tell the spoof suggestions from the sincere. Amongst the gems so far...
I think that all Baked Beans served in Europe should be made by Heinz.
Cyclists should be insured and carry a registration plate
Why should criminals be incarcerated in prisons in this country. We could buy land in Africa and put the offenders there.
Impose a 100% 'environmental' tax on all fireworks sold
Ban drinking in pubs. This will cut down on anti social behaviour. Make them all drink tea instead.
Smokers & Obese Pay For Respatory [sic] Related Illnesses on NHS. I take care of my body and its hard work. I don’t see why I should pay for people who don’t do the same.
dont ell [sic] me how to disipline my kids. iwas [sic] smacked it has not hurt me any.
Invade France. Lets face it, it will be easy enough won't it? Lets just send half a dozen troops over on EuroTunnel and watch the french try to surrender to them as soon as they arrive.
Get rid of all landlords. Everyone should own their home.
Maximum 20 mins work then a break at school. Students only expected to work for 20mins before having a 5 min break at school
Finally, and inevitably...
Removal of pointless government websites
To better use taxpayers' money, the government should close down all of its websites that function merely as talking shops, since they are a waste of server space and everyone's time. Asking people what laws they want changed is an open invitation to waffle at length about things of which we have little understanding. All that happens is that people are conned into thinking they have a stake in the decision-making process. They don't. This is a waste of everyone's time.
Wouldn't it be better if - instead of participating here - people went back to work and did something to help the economy?