Browse > Home /

| Subcribe via RSS

A big test for Cameron’s “Big Society” mantra

By Angela Harbutt
October 12th, 2010 at 2:21 am | 6 Comments | Posted in coalition, Personal Freedom

save-pubs-and-clubsDavid Nuttall, Tory MP for Bury North has tabled a 10-Minute Rule Motion to amend the smoking ban which will be presented after Prime Minister’s Questions on Wednesday 13th October. 

It’s a crying shame that this initiative has been siezed by a Conservative MP – not a Liberal. As has been said before, as a party we are in serious danger of being “boxed-in” by the Tories as the party of “wet-lefties” rather than the natural home of liberalism. If left unchecked, this will be a political disaster for the Liberal party’s future, but probably what we deserve, if we don’t pull their finger out.

(And if you listen to what David Nuttall MP sites as his reason for putting forward his motion – it’s actually “localism” -another Liberal watch-word that is being gobbled up by our coalition partners).

Considering the motion itself ….If David Cameron is serious about “the Big Society” then David Nuttall’s motion will receive wide-spread support from the Tory-side of the coalition. After all, as far as I can tell, treating people like grown ups, getting Big Government out of people’s lives, and in this instance giving responsibility back to the landlords is surely at the very heart of this particular Tory “idea”. As for the Liberals … there can surely only be one response… big fat resounding support . 

We will be watching………

You can get involved with the “save our pubs and clubs” campaign here.

Tags: , ,

The pubs that died after giving up smoking…

By Angela Harbutt
January 4th, 2010 at 1:48 pm | 18 Comments | Posted in UK Politics

save-our-pubs-and-clubs1You may not be surprised to know that I am a supporter of the excellent SAVE OUR PUBS AND CLUBS CAMPAIGN. If you have not come across the campaign I urge you to visit the site and sign up.

I also urge you to read this article that appeared in the Daily Telegraph on Saturday. Vicki Woods writes about how her local pub died as a result of the smoking ban. It touched a nerve.

When I spent a splendidly frosty News Years Eve down in my home village with family, I learned that my local too had been closed. This was the pub that I sneaked out to at lunch time when I was in sixth form; the pub that had its finger on the pulse of the village; the pub that had survived every previous economic downturn with the slightest of shrugs. Now its gone. I am told that it too closed as a result of the smoking ban. It’s a rural pub – populated mainly by the locals – but since the smoking ban fewer and fewer went there. It used to be heaving – full of farmers and accountant types rubbing shoulders with plumbers and postmen. The last time I went there it was a shadow of its former self with just a  handful of locals inside and a couple of resiliant smokers standing outside in the cold summer drizzle.

According to  52 pubs closed every week in 2009. You can read further information on the effect of the smoking ban here.

For those of you who have not come across it – the Save Our Pubs and Clubs campaign proposes amendments to the current smoking ban (not an overturn of the current ban) – that seem, in my book at least –  fair to both smokers and non-smokers alike – and include the following proposals….

Adopting the Spanish model – whereby venues with limited floor space can choose to be smoking or non-smoking, but venues larger than 1002 metres can have a designated smoking room if this constitutes less than 30% of total floor space, is fully partitioned and separated from the rest of the venue, and can be wholly avoided by non-smokers. smoking and non-smoking areas.

•    Allowing the smoking of tobacco only in venues that can secure a licence by ensuring an agreed level of ventilation and air quality in both

•    Allowing some discretion for local authorities in determining the nature and extent of smoking regulations.

I for one would like the mission to go further – to say that it should be the landlords decision as to whether one can smoke in any particular hostelry – not my decision, not the Governments, not the Councils.

But the Save Our Pubs and Clubs Campaign strikes me as something that smokers and non-smokers alike can get behind. It’s been running for a while now and gaining widespread support. Go have a look if you can..

Tags: , ,