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Eton fags not the only ones looking forward to life under Dave

Posted on 27 April 2010 | 3:04pm

Sometimes it is the little things that signal the kind of big change Britain will undergo if we get a Tory government.

When I say little, I mean not the driving issues of the economy and the future of schools and hospitals (safer under Labour on all counts) but the sometimes symbolic changes that indicate something deeper.

Like the news, which probably won’t make the national media radar, that the Tories are backing the efforts of tobacco companies to overturn the ban on display of tobacco products.

If we are talking health grounds, the argument against is overwhelming. If we are talking economic groiunds, the case for change is minimal.

But what it signals is that when it comes to standing up to vested interests, Cameron and Co won’t have what it takes, particularly if those vested interests are on the money side of the fence.

Oh, and there is the small matter of Ken Clarke’s large salary enjoyed down the years courtesy of one of the world’s leading tobacco giants.

If the Tories were serious about fighting cancer the last thing they would be doing is bowing down before the tobacco lobby, particularly after the hard won changes on this front made under Labour. (And before anyone shouts Ecclestone, let me remind you the tobacco advertising ban was implemented, and a large donation repaid).

But then whey should anyone think the Tories are serious about this issue when one of the first things they will do if elected is to scrap the cancer guarantee under Labour that cancer patients will see a specialist within a fortnight of being diagnosed.

It will not be the only change,  nor the only piece of Labour progress to be undone, but I thought it worth drawing to your attention.

Don’t expect to see Mr Clarke chased around on it, or the marginalised Mr Lansley (he who would be health secretary in a Cameron government now you ask)

*** Buy The Blair Years online and raise cash for Labour

  • hippnk

    you got it right Mr Campbell…..the tories will never resist their paymasters. The labour government don’t, you can tell that by the number of strikes and complaints by the union movement. I’m very satisfied with my union contributing to Labour Party funds, not because it gets us influence, but because this country is a much fairer society without tory rule. Keep up the great work!

  • Charlie Reynolds

    The moneys were just ‘resting’ in my account………….
    Chuck us a Bernie, Al! You are funny.

    When is Tony doing his next support act? We miss him. We will miss you all so much. Mandy too – what a good man. Sorry I may have become slightly confused there.

    But to POLICY – What will be cut under Labour’s £38 billion plan? Or will you be forced to raise income tax on all of us trying to earn the average salary? I suspect you don’t have (maybe literally won’t have) the Balls to repair our economy from the Brown debt disaster.

  • Mike Scott

    The Tories are hardly the only party in big business’s pockets. Labour are just as much in thrall to the media industry as the Tories are to the tobacco industry — witness the appalling Digital Economy Act that was written by the BPI and rammed through Parliament just before it was dissolved.

  • RIchard

    Oh for God’s sake – you really are getting desperate.

    This is woeful. Shame on you.

  • Mark Wright

    Any time Labour point out a discrepancy or contradiction in Tory plans others are quick to denounce it as ‘desperate’. But the fact remains there are real questions to be answered with the Tories.

    And if Labour can’t do it then who will?

    Not the Lib Dems. Nick Clegg’s still deciding who he’s going to let take him home at the end of the night when the lights go up.

    But you’ve got to watch out for that cheap champagne. It may make you giddy for a few hours as you stare into Cameron’s deep blue eyes as he tells you you’re the most beautiful thing and how he sees a rich and wonderful future together. But you’ll end up getting shagged rotten, woken up at the crack of dawn with the money for a cab home thrust into your hands so you’re out the door before his mates get home and left with the hangover from hell.

    Despite the constant media drum of a ‘desperate’ Labour ‘trailing’ in 3rd place maybe we should take stock and remind ourselves of two things:

    1) Labour are roughly 5 points behind the Tories and have been so for most of this year. If anybody would have said this was a possibility a year ago they would have been villified in the press for living in a land of fiction.

    2) The electorate are not convinced on the Tories by a long shot. Convinced of a need to change, possibly, but not to the Tories. How else can one explain their poll rating being no better than Michael Howard on 33%. The Cameron experiment has certainly not turned out to be the alchemy that the Tories were hoping for…and expecting.

  • forbeskina

    as Gordon says, get real! ofcourse the Tories will represent corporate interests and if there are health implications, well, hey thats too bad.
    By the way as a Law student what I’m concerned about, as well, is the commitment to the Human Rights Act which is now fundamental to our constitution. The Tories have never been keen on this legislation and given half a chance they may introduce a Bill of Rights, proclaiming it is better, because it is really British and patriotic etc but read the small print and you will find it is a weak and sickly thing.
    How on earth can anyone trust the Posh boys?

  • Simon Gittins

    Desperate stuff and absolute rubbish !

    The economy safer under Labour ?, what planet do you live on, it’s in it’s worst mess in over 50 years, largely due to Labour’s decade of spending money it doesn’t have. This country will suffer for decades as a result of Labour borrowing and waste and you still cannot be honest about it and the cuts this country will have to make.

    As for tabacco money, you hypocrite, Blair wasn’tt too fussy about taking tobacco tarnished money when Bernie wanted to keep their advertising in F1 was he (£1 million wasn’t it ?)

    No wonder your poll ratings are plunging.

  • David

    Hi Alastair

    Public Finance – Debt financing

    I am not an economist and am as concerned as everyone else by the measures needed to finance the £40 billion plus debt in the years to come.

    However, I was struck today by the news that Lloyds Bank and RBS made profits in the first quarter this year. I was also amazed to hear figures of £10 billion to £40 billion bandied about as possible profits for taxpayers when these banks are returned to public ownership.

    If profits of such magnitude actually materialize then presumably they would serve to reduce UK debt significantly in time or even wipe it out. If that is the case then why are economists not taking this into account in their present comments about black holes in public finance.

    Am I being too simplistic.

    Good Luck to Gordon on Thursday.


  • Andrew Holden

    Gordon Brown has to be more positive in Thursday’s debate.
    It’s not enough to just warn people about the dangers of voting Tory – he must also give people a positive reason to vote Labour.

    And please, LESS STATS !!
    People just don’t get them.

    If he must state any, then he MUST emphasise the fact that the NIC increase will not affect anyone earning under £20000.
    This is alot of people, and probably where most of the core vote lies.
    I’ve spoken to quite a few people who fall into this bracket who did not know this exemption existed.

    A. Holden

  • Trevor Taylor

    AC OK we know all this but it is not going to win votes. NLP need to be reminding the voters what is was like under past Tory goverment and keep banging it home-the country was decimated and has taken a decade to receover in some part. I shouldn’t have to list them, it’s too long any way. You have backed yourself into a corner over who can cut the most and as the banking crisis has cleverly been turned into a Brown one by your opponets aided by their supportas in the press, the electorate are going to punish you unfairly. Get tough, get real and get on the attack.The UK electorate suffer from amnesia wake them up whilst you have a little time left. You certainly have nothing to lose!

  • Graham Jones

    I’ve just read the Times article on the tory e-mail scandal, where they have been advised not to support Cancer Charities.
    For once I’m lost for words. It’s utterly reprehensible.

  • Djunfitforwork

    The latest Labour P.E.B is more like it! This is exactly what is needed to show the effects of the “sooner and deeper” Tory Cuts. New Labour itself would be better off not hassling the poor so much -but as ever -The Tories would be so much worse. Joan Ryan was out canvassing in Enfield today -and she has done a solid job -so signs of a fightback at local and national level -at last!

  • Andrew Williams

    The strongest hand Gordon has is on securing the recovery. Explain to people that the government will actually make up to 10 billion pounds profit from the RBS bailout.

  • Alan Quinn

    I didn’t know that the Chuckle Brothers were producing the tories election broadcasts. The latest one about hung parliaments was pathetic, Lord Ashcroft must be furious about his monet being wasted on rubbish like that.

  • Neil D

    God, this is desperate stuff – there you are banging on about focusing on policy and not personality etc. and your main headline goes straight for the petty class-war angle. I’m sure you chuckled about the Blog title when you came up with it but it really does expose you as a complete hypocrite. Desperate measures from a desperate party.

  • David

    Hi Alastair

    You have probably already been briefed on undermentioned article (Guardian) by Labour media centre. But I was struck by final 2 paragraphs which I found very revealing coming from Conservative leader of Leicestershire county council.

    “Cameron’s big society makes little impact on voters

    A frank explanation of the motivation behind big society comes from David Parsons, the Conservative leader of Leicestershire county council, who points out that since the area has to make £66m worth of cuts and savings over the next four years, the more that communities can step forward to help meet the shortfall the better.

    The lack of volunteers in Barwell was simply, he says, “a measure of the problem”. The council is already looking for volunteers to provide meals for the elderly and transport schemes for rural areas. “The rolling back of the state is already happening here,” he says.”

    Good Luck

  • Leo

    Andrew – I don’t think anyone should be counting their chickens on profits from the sale of bank stakes!

  • Dick Puddlecote

    “If we are talking health grounds, the argument against is overwhelming.”

    Err, not really, Alastair, in fact Labour’s MSP, Dr Richard Simpson, made it clear that there wasn’t sufficient evidence during the report stages of Holyrood’s version of this ridiculous policy. He said:

    “The fact that we do not have all the evidence is not a reason not to have such a ban”

    How an argument can be ‘overwhelming’ when there isn’t actually any evidence, only a spin doctor can say.

  • J Holmes

    Fact: display bans for tobacco displays have failed worldwide
    Fact: The world health org report of 1998 clearly states that there is no link between EST or passive smoking and any form of disease , and that if SMS/EST has any effect it is that of protection against lung cancer

    Fact: 21% of UK admissions for cancer are smokers

    Thank goodness for freedom of information, otherwise some idiots might believe a word you say

  • Roy Hall

    Mr Campbell,

    If you and the rest of the political anti smokers feel so strongly about our highly taxed product why do you not just ban them? You won’t of course because you need the money. So please leave us alone. Hiding the display is merely an irritation at best and a gross infringement of freedom at worst. But labour, which I once supported avidly, hates us. And now I hate them and with the 1997 ban they forever lost my vote.

  • Roy Hall

    I of course mean 2007 for the smoking ban but, for some strange reason, 1997 and New Labour is searingly etched on my senile brain.