Forceful and moderate puts the Liberal case against the smoking ban.
I can't bring myself to feel as strongly about this as once I might have done. But there are perhaps two reasons why I continue to be against the smoking ban:
1. It is a measure entirely dreamed up by professional campaigners – groups such as ASH which essentially get government money to lobby the government about new legislation. In 15 years as an elected representative, during which time I must have knocked on thousands of doors at election time, I have not had a single ordinary voter raise the issue of a smoking ban with me.
The pressure for this does not come from publicans, those who drink in pubs, catering or bar staff, most of whom I suspect would be happy to live with the current arrangements in which market forces are increasingly dictating a greater presumption in favour of non-smoking areas in public places.
2. I suspect there will be unintended consequences, in particular that small village pubs or backstreet boozers, which are dependent on the custom of a few regulars for survival, will lose enough of their clientele to drive them out of business. Then exactly the same people who supported the smoking ban will lament the loss of important local facilities that are at the heart of local communities.
My vote would have been to leave things as they are! In the end I am instinctively against banning things!