The Scottish Parliament shows contempt for its electorate

Many would view Scotland as the UK home of the nanny state - and for good reason

by David Atherton on 29 May 2013 14:19

The Scottish Parliament is rarely, if ever, noted for its desire to devolve personal responsibility to the individual; many would view it to be the UK home of the nanny state.

So when the Health and Sport Committee met, on January 22nd, with a request to allow a smoking room with ventilation in pubs, the reaction from the Scottish MSPs was off hand if not contemptuous.  They had four matters to review and last and most certainly least was a petition from Belinda Cunnison of Freedom2Choose Scotland and lifelong nonsmoker and Chairman of The International Coalition Against Prohibition (TICAP)* Bill Gibson.

The petition “Calls on the Parliament to urge the Scottish Government to review the smoking prohibition and control provisions of the Smoking, Health and Social Care (Scotland) Act 2005 in the light of new developments in clean air technology and the European indoor air quality standard Ventilation for non residential buildings, EN 13779.”

Regarding the petition, committee member Ailleen McLeod said, “Mr. Gibson….visited me at my regional office in Dumfries…when he presented eight years of research on two DVDs which contained audio and visual evidence to support the claims, and substantial evidence on the health effects of second hand smoke…” As you can see, the research was hardly done in his lunch hour on the back of a fag packet.

The petition was “debated” at 12.45pm (skip to 3.00.35 in the YouTube video), lasting not even eight minutes. McLeod waved a substantial briefcase of documentation which had clearly not even been touched by attendee MSPs Gil Paterson and Dr. Richard Simpson.

Simpson, after his pitiful contribution, seemed in a rush to go and have some lunch; Convener Duncan McNeil then ended the petition without any undue formality. 

Meanwhile pub closures run at six a week in Scotland and the abuse of private property rights, based on a rational of junk science, continues apace.

It seems the complete contempt of some of Scotland’s electorate is encapsulated in this microcosm.

*Full disclosure I am a Director of TICAP

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