Spiked magazine’s recent round-up piece on the reactions to smoking bans in various cities of the world yielded some great one-liners from disgruntled citizens, like the one quoted above. But very disappointingly, Spiked missed the opportunity to put the issue into a wider political perspective for its readers.
Deputy editor Rob Lyons says the British government shows a lack of “vision” or “mission” by resorting to measures like smoking bans: “…isn’t there also something sad about a government that has to force people to stub out cigarettes in order to make a connection with us?”, he wonders.
Spiked editor Brendan O’Neill, in his contribution on the smoking ban in Ireland, also concedes the issue has political dimensions, but he reserves his comments only for the way Irish polticians are instrumentalizing the opportunity, noting that “the scandalised and corrupt Irish authorities are trying to fashion a sense of mission, to re-present themselves as altruistic and future-oriented. And they have chosen the issue of smoking on which to do that because they instinctively know that these interventions into personal health matters generate little protest or rebellion these days.”
And so on, as correspondents report anecdotally from the cities of Paris, Rome, Brisbane, New York, Stockholm. Only the headline of this article, “The global crusade against the evil weed” hints at the real core of the problem –- an international movement that, once having built momentum, moved on to abuse the inherently undemocratic mechanism of international treaties to “oblige” governments to go after smokers. If credibility-challenged national governments find anti-smoking authoritarianism a convenient “cause” to embrace, it’s partly because legislatures – although this is rarely pointed out – have treaty obligations which ensure they will vote anti-smoking measures and pressure local governments to enact complementary supporting measures. It’s too easy for them to jump on the bandwagon. Or, better said, since the band wagon is already on the move, their legislative rubber stamp only serves to legitimize the exercise in the eyes of the public as the product of a functioning national democracy.
In another recent Spiked article on the British smoking ban, editor Mike Hume calls the ban “a typical New Labour measure”, similarly missing the point that New Labour’s reach does not extend to California and Colorado, Australia, Bhutan (it went so far as to make tobacco actually illegal two years ago), all across Canada (the “tolerant” nation where a recent Supreme Court decision recently put “health” – whatever that may mean in practice – above the constitution), and step by step, all over Europe. New Labour? What has Mr. Hume been smoking?
“Follow the money,” is the investigative journalist’s trusty slogan, but who is following the money – nationally and especially internationally –- in the story of the world-wide anti-smoker movement? Spiked has contributed some thoughtful pieces on the issue, but it is missing the big story. Some media outlet, somewhere, needs to assign a decent budget and really do a deep investigative report into the international movement to police and micromanage our lifestyles irrespective of what party is in power in an individual nation, and done in a way that no change of poltical players, no lawsuits, and no constitutional challenges can touch.
The real story here is that a carefully crafted maneuver of “global governance” is being used to seduce all governments and screw the citizens of every nation before they even begin to understand the nature of the beast.