The car smoking ban: A cure worse than the disease

The Left has always seen the independent family as a ‘bourgeois’ obstacle to total state control. That is what the car smoking ban is all about - political interference in private family life

Vincent Cooper
On 4 February 2014 20:11

The late, great satirist Auberon Waugh used to say he had an unbudgeable suspicion of political motives. All politicians, he said, were power crazy, and would do anything to secure political authority. What would he have made of Ed Miliband’s latest power assertion to ban adults smoking in cars with children?

Mr. Miliband, of course, is desperate to make a favourable impression on the public. Most of the electorate can’t take him seriously as a leader of anything, never mind as a possible prime minister. Furthermore, he has no economic policy whatsoever, with Labour’s tax-and-borrow, life-style-choice welfarism having being exposed as a con.

What better way then for a threadbare, mediocre politician to sell himself to the public than to pose as a defender of the most vulnerable?

Mr. Miliband’s proposed smoking ban in cars is obviously a desperate move by a desperate man to look serious. But if it weren’t Mr. Miliband eroding personal freedoms it would almost certainly be someone else in the Labour Party.

For years now, the British Labour Party has gradually ceased to be the party of the working class and has become a vehicle for narrow identity politics and selective group rights, with a mission to convert mainstream working-class society to the claret-bibbing politics of the liberal metropolitan elite.

Hence the finger-wagging bullying tone of many front bench Labour MPs, such as Harriet Harman campaigning against betting shops, and now the controversial Luciana Berger, the Londoner shoehorned into the safe Labour seat for Liverpool Wavertree, leading the charge against smokers.

It should be understood that Labour’s proposed smoking ban in cars with children has little to do with any genuine concern for children’s welfare, and everything to do with the power itch and anti-family mentality of many on the Left.

As proof of this, consider that the car the child would be travelling in is highly polluting to the public, including children, yet Berger and Miliband are blithely indifferent to this particular health hazard.

The truth is that a smoking ban in cars with children would give the Left the leverage it craves to replace parental authority with the diktat of the leftist bureaucrat. That’s what this ban is about.

Consider the power-crazy implications of a smoking ban in cars with children. What would be the definition of a child? Up to 12 years of age? 16 years? 18 years of age? Enforcing the legislation would require the police to demand birth certificates of car passengers. Already, right there, we have the makings of a police state.

And what would be the punishment for an offence? Would the child be put on a “health risk” register? Would social workers be engaged to assess the suitability of smoking parents to bring up their children according to the Berger-Miliband ideology?

Some may think this is to exaggerate, but it is not. Remember Rotherham council’s decision to remove children from their foster parents because they were sympathetic to Ukip? If leftist bureaucrats would remove a child from parents for political reasons, all the more so would they do it if they had a health certificate on their clipboard.

And why stop at cars? Isn’t smoking in the home with children also a health risk? Without doubt, the logical next step would be agitation from the same people to ban smoking in the home. And how would a home ban on smoking be enforced?

Short of installing CCTV cameras everywhere, the only possible way would be for state-employed teachers to encourage pupils to report their parents for smoking.

Enforcing such restrictions on personal freedom is what gives leftist bureaucrats the intrusive power they crave. It provides them with the excuse they have long wanted in order to interfere in family life.

And that’s what this smoking ban is all about – political interference in private family life.

The Left, from Marx onwards, has always seen the independent family as a ‘bourgeois’ obstacle to total state control. The family, with parental responsibility for passing on traditional values, has always posed a threat to the totalitarian ambitions of political bureaucrats.

This proposed smoking ban in cars, if it becomes law, will very likely result in unprecedented powers of interference by armies of clipboard-carrying state jobsworths. Almost certainly, they will have the authority to enter homes with smoke-detecting equipment. It could well result in children being removed from parents who smoke.

To say this is not in any way to deny the health risks of smoking. Smoking is unhealthy, but giving power to bureaucrats is not the answer. Those ignorant enough or indifferent enough to smoke in a confined space with children will continue to smoke, even with a ban. All that a legal ban will do is give yet more intrusive power to the state.

A condition of any free society means allowing parents to take responsibility for their family. When state bureaucrats attempt solutions to personal life, the cure is usually much worse than the disease.

Vincent Cooper is a regular contributor to The Commentator

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