There are lots of good things about devolution. One is that we in Scotland are not currently being asked
"Question 12: Do you believe that more should be done by the Government to reduce exposure to secondhand smoke within private dwellings or in vehicles used primarily for private purposes? If so, what do you think could be done?"
in a Government consultation. Mind you, there is some irony in the fact that the SNP Government seems to be following blindly the path of the English Department of Health in many ways - the move to put cigarettes under the counter being an example. Little corner shops don't really need to have to spend the £2000 this would cost them.
We may not be out of the woods on the smoking one yet, and I certainly don't trust Alex Salmond and Co to protect my civil liberties.
Now, I have some fairly strong views about the quality of parenting which results in exposing children to cigarette smoke. I don't think people should do it,end of story. I, who loved smoking, manaaged to give it up as soon as I saw a positive pregnancy test. I am pretty weak willed and if I can do it, I believe anybody can.
However, if we banned exposing children from smoke at home, what next? Banning anyone with a body mass index of 26+ from going to the chippy? Mountain rescue's expensive - shall we ban hillwalking? Most violent crime is committed by men - shall we lock them all up? Of course not!
There are loads of things I think are undesirable - regime orientated parenting methods for a start, which can do as much harm to mental health as smoking can do to physical health, and there is evidence to back up my antipathy towards them. However, I don't think the State should have the power to interfere at that level.
Apart from anything else, how on earth do you enforce a ban on smoking at home? Do you fit a smoke detector to every home, wired to every Police station?
I would hope that a Liberal Democrat administration would never even ask such a question because our core philosophy is to allow individual freedom unless there's a compelling reason to curtail it. I expect no better from Labour who relish in centralist control - a trait they, ironically, share with the SNP.