The European Union’s Tobacco Products Directive (TPD) and the regulation of electronic cigarettes has tipped the Conservative Party into complete disarray, with the Liberal Democrats standing just close enough to stab them in the back (H/T to my colleagues on Trending Central).
As if increasing the font size on a packet saying “smoking kills” will immediate have the effect of shaming the EU’s 100,000,000 smokers into throwing their packs into the nearest poubelle!
The really quite awful Europhile Linda McAvan (a Labour MEP who has a problem with companies making a profit), has posted a letter written to her by Secretary of State for Health Jeremy Hunt. In it, Jezza implored his MEPs “colleagues” to understand the “…Tobacco Products Directive to be crucial to more effective tobacco control across the EU… The UK Government supports the regulation of nicotine-containing products, including e-cigarettes, as medicines.”
Meanwhile, Norman Lamb, the Lib Dem Health Minister, seems to want a light touch regulation. But regulation is regulation.
It is so unedifying. The only party who has consistently opposed this arrant nonsense is UKIP. As Paul Nuttall quite rightly pointed out, the proposed legislation is “Ill thought out, counterproductive and contradictory.”
I can hazard a guess as to who is behind this: my suspicion is that is Andrew Black, Programme Manager for Tobacco Control at the Department of Health, and Jeremy Mean Group Manager of Vigilance and Risk Management of Medicines, of the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).
Black is career civil servant who makes Sir Humphrey Appleby look like the minister’s right hand man. If you want to understand how unelected pen pushers run government, Black is an object lesson.
Junior Health Minister Anna Soubry, can be seen in this video squirming, blustering and finally grovelling in front of the European Scrutiny Committee for failing to report one keystroke of information from January to June 2013 to the Committee let alone the electorate. Black, sitting next to her throughout, does not get away scott free as Ms Soubry constantly asks him for information and a helping hand. You can tell who really sets the UK’s smoking policy. Clue: never been seen wearing a blue rosette.
Mean at the MHRA is a regulator of medicines who wants more… regulation. One can only imagine that strongly worded letters and arm twisting behind the scenes means Hunt has had to pop down to A&E for a plaster cast.
The situation is quite ugly. The whole Tobacco Products Directive was not demanded by anyone except EU politicos and bureaucrats. In the UK, as tobacco control has led to alcohol and food control, the electorate is tired of the bully state poking into everything that goes from hand to mouth.
Hunt is at odds with his party and coalition partners. His illusory, mystical crutches are paper chasers who are a parasite on the taxpayer. The EU madness and LibLabCon party machines who want gold and diamond encrusted legislation should be brought to account.