15 February 2006


The decision to ban smoking in pubs and clubs is wrong. If I want to have a cigarette with my beer, it's nobody's business but my own — and I really resent being told I can't by a bunch of non-smokers who visit the pub at most once a month for a nice meal.

But the ban is also, from the point of view of the Labour Party, stupid. Most of the people who are going to be angry about the ban are people who smoke in pubs and clubs. And a very large number of them are working-class and hitherto Labour voters. Even though opposition MPs also voted for the ban, it will inevitably be associated with the insufferable Patricia Hewitt and the government. It might not be Labour's poll tax, but I think it will cost the party dozens of seats.

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