Personally I think the latter; this MP is one of those that when he finds a populist band-wagon to jump on – he will do so without thinking. Stephen Williams, is chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Smoking and Health, he recently wrote on this blog: “This morning I was pleased to help launch Europe’s first major campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of glitzy tobacco packaging to children. The Coalition Government will shortly launch its consultation exercise on whether to follow the example of Australia and introduce the plain packaging of cigarettes.”
I like the use of the phrase “The Coalition Government will shortly launch its consultation exercise…” Yeah, right. It will be nothing of the sort, this bunch of politicians will do what all the others have done in relation to the smoking issue…they will simply ask themselves what they think through the myriad quangoes that they’ve set up with taxpayers money, whether the taxpayers likes it or not. Quangoes aren’t going to disagree with the government are they now?
Anyway he says he will go head to head with Simon Clark of Forest over the issue of plain packaging and other peripheral issues which surround this vexed subject. I do hope it comes about, and we can see from the Forest website that mostly all commenters are hoping this will happen. I wonder what stringent criteria Williams will set, perhaps in order to try and stack the deck. Will anyone from ASH dare to turn up and take on people with different opinions to their own...somehow I doubt it.
I say this because, I can’t possibly imagine it being a true and fair debate involving the pro-smoking side. Never once, in any meaningful way, has the pro-smoking side been asked to give their opinions, or been allowed more importantly, to ask detailed questions about ‘passive smoking’ killing people which we know there is no evidence for.
Nor do select committees ask detailed questions of those presenting so-called evidence to these select committees - and that's because they're too stupid or just a bunch of rubber stampers with no imagination. What do you think?
If it does come about I hope the media will be there to see fair play.