Poor old Charlie Kennedy. He's headline news at the moment for breaking the smoking ban and smoking out of the window of a train to Plymouth. But what's this I hear? Charlie voted for the smoking ban? No, surely not. Yup, HERE's the evidence.
He also told the Daily Star "The way the world is moving, in terms of people's awareness, perception, concern about health, as well as the liberties of those who do not smoke. I think it is inevitable frankly that is the way it is going to go. And it is something I personally would support." (Daily Star, 20 June 2005).
I have very mixed views ont he smoking ban. I would never have voted for it, but I'm quite happy not to have to put up with cigarette smoke in public places. That probably makes me as much of a hypocrite as Charles Kennedy. The lack of consistency in the policy is astonishing. Surely the logical step is to ban smoking completely. I'm not saying I am in favour of that, but if, from a public health viewpoint it is so bad, that is surely what they should be doing.
Of course the other point is that alcohol can be just as damaging, obesity too. But far from restricting the sale of alcohol the government is happy to make it more easily available. Again, I am not saying I would restrict it as I believe people should be responsible for their own actions. But the mixed messages being sent out from the Department of Health are odd to say the least.