Lifestyle Economics

Smoking ban a sinister statement of intent

Christopher Snowdon writes in Spiked

IEA Head of Lifestyle Economics Christopher Snowdon has written in Spiked on the prospect of a future Labour government further expanding the frontiers of the nanny state after it was rumoured that a New Zealand-style smoking ban would be included in the party’s 2024 manifesto.

Christopher wrote:

“Sir Keir keeps his party on a tight leash. Wayward MPs have been cast into the wilderness and Labour successfully fought this month’s local elections with the apparently novel strategy of ‘No more piss-poor candidates’.

“It is therefore curious that one of the few policies he has allowed to be flown up the flagpole is the total prohibition of cigarettes. More curious still is that this highly controversial idea is being proposed by Wes Streeting, the shadow health secretary, whom Corbynistas consider to be to the right of Ann Widdecombe. Streeting first announced that he was in favour of ‘phasing out the sale of cigarettes altogether’ back in January.

“The idea that banning cigarettes would be a ‘great signal of intent from the Labour Party’ is intriguing. What, exactly, does Labour intend to do when it gets into office? Assuming that Starmer is who he says he is today, rather than who he told the membership he was during the leadership contest in 2020, he will not be seizing control of the means of production. Given the state of the public finances, he says he will not go on a spending splurge, either. This does not leave much room for fundamental changes to society, except in the areas of identity politics and lifestyle regulation.”

Read Christopher’s full piece here.