Bright Shiny Packaging and Politics too

Plain cigarette packaging

Plain cigarette packaging

Last week I watched as a very uncomfortable looking Anna Soubry MP the Parliamentary under Secretary of State for Health who gave an extraordinary performance at the dispatch box clearly doing her best to hide her own discomfort with the announcement that the government has decided to shelve the proposed plain packaging for Cigarettes and this is alongside the announcement that the proposals for a minimum price for a unit of alcohol was to be scrapped, sorry shelved.

I digress, but in my younger days when TV was 4 channels and ITV was regional to boot, at home I could get a signal from the Central TV and one of its more interesting shows was Central Weekend Live which was a confrontational debate show in terms of its audience and topics, presented for many years by Nicky Campbell. It was broadcast late on a Friday night, and debated various topics and current affairs issues – usually subjects that had been featured in the week’s news. A young Anna Soubry was one of its fire cracker presenters and as I watched her performance at the dispatch box I wondered what that younger version of herself would have made of it all; a totally unfair comment but what I was thinking.

Now that Public Health has come across to Local Government and as a part of this responsibility transfer we are developing strategies in our Health and Wellbeing boards, so this is very much an issue for local government. Equally at the LGA Community Wellbeing Board we are debating our collective response and broadly speaking I think most of us involved in this, cross party on the political side, are not impressed with this step back. But we’re told it’s not a uturn as the matter is still under review pending the early results from the Australian plain packaging scheme, but hey we all know what that means.

Of course I get the politics of it’s all and the BBC is touting the line that Linton Crosby is at the back of it worried about the C1 & C1 voter kick back against a ‘nanny state’ and seeking to attack them as we run into the general election. Not sure if that’s true or not but the arguments against proceeding look rather weak to say the least, I suspect that up and down the county those of us who have seen reports to our Health and Wellbeing Boards would rather agree.

I would also say this is perhaps the first real test of Duncan Selbie, CE of Public Health England and what he has to say or does he tow the government’s line or will he speak out against this regression,  I am sure the many Directors of Public Health  up and down the country will be urging him to do, of what we all know to be true if you introduce a minimum price for alcohol and lain packaging for cigarettes there will be a significant improvement to public health and in the all-important teenage cohort a drop in the levels of drinking and the starting up of lighting up.

About askcolinnoble
I'm a Conservative politician-lite, I dabble a bit in Party Politics with my main focus of working hard and being a strong voice for my community making sure local government delivers quality services and fellow residents get value for money for their hard earned money they pay in Council tax | Where this Gravatar appears and I am expressing my views or liking something I do so in a personal capacity and does not necessarily reflect the views or policies of Suffolk County Council, Forest Heath District Council, the Conservative Party or come to think of it anyone else | But having said the above at an election time and to stay legal anything I write is promoted by Kerry Buist on behalf of Colin Noble, both at West Suffolk Conservative Association, Unit 8, Swan Lane Business Park, Exning, Newmarket, Suffolk CB8 7FN

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