Monday, October 01, 2007

Teens: old enough to bear arms, but not smoke?

It's hard to imagine what it's like to be 17 years old in Gordon Brown's petty authoritarian Britain - if you're 17 you can legally have sex, get married and start a family, you can even volunteer to join the army. At 17 you have the right to bear arms and be professionally drilled and trained in lethal fighting and killing techniques. Indeed, according to Matthew Happold, the author of Child Soldiers in International Law, under-18s 'were deployed during the first Gulf War, where nearly 500 British soldiers were aged under 18, and in Kosovo'. Yet, in Brown's Britain, these teenagers will not even be allowed to purchase a simple packet of cigarettes.

Oh, come on Courtney I here you say 'how on Earth can you oppose the raising of the minimum age to purchase cigarettes'? Don't you know that smoking is bad for your health and can kill you? Yes, I'm well aware of that, being a smoker myself, and I suspect like most other smokers, we don't smoke for the benefit of our health. And in any case, there is no law on Earth that can stop teenagers from smoking - none.

Don't take my word for it, professional health bodies from the Department of Health to the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh publicly admit that 'there is no evidence that raising the age of purchase on its own will influence tobacco sales to young people'. Indeed, even the World Bank agrees that in wealthy nations like Britain 'such restrictions have not been shown to be successful'.

This doesn't mean that I'm in favour of more teenagers smoking, of course not - but the facts are, if teenagers want to smoke, they will, and there is nothing that New Labour, or anyone in the world can do to stop them - so why the new 'crackdown'? It appears that the British government have completely run out of ideas about how we should go about building the Good Society - instead, what we have is a Supernanny state that is addicted to anti-smoking - I think it's high time we stubbed them out.

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At 5:47 PM, Blogger Lord Higham-Johnson said...

That's as maybe, Courtney but I'm furrowing my brow trying to remember 17.

At 7:33 PM, Blogger Matt M said...

Not sure where I stand on the issue of drugs (which nicotine really fails into).

I don't think that prohibition works; in fact it probably just provides organised crime with another source of income. But, on the other hand it's difficult to defend as it's not really a chosen activity (depending on the degree of addictiveness of the particular drug) for many people.

I've seen it proposed somewhere to make the use of drugs legal, but the selling of it illegal - so it'd only really be those trying to make a profit out of it that'd be in trouble.

At 9:07 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

Well, I can remember (just about) being 17 - and what comes to mind is whenever someone told me not to do something, I damn well made sure that it was placed on the top of my To Do list.

At 10:33 PM, Blogger Courtney Hamilton said...

Your right Matt, prohibition in the Western world doesn't work whether it's alcohol, soft drugs or the harder stuff.

But the thing is Matt, if teenagers smoking cigarettes is a problem, there is nothing we can do about it. In a practical sense, we should admit it's unsolvable.

I think this is precisely the reason the government have initiated this 'crackdown', because it appears as if they are trying to do something, when in reality, there is absolutely nothing they can do about it.

If anything, what we need is a much more liberal, pragmatic state policy to deal with soft and hard drugs in Britain. I believe that such a policy would take the market for soft and hard drugs out of the hands of criminals, therefore reducing crime at a stroke in the process.

At 5:47 PM, Blogger Stran_ger said...

It is been one year since the project Wall of speech started. Just passed by to thank for all the help and good articles that you wrote and to say that the project will start running again.

Best Regards


At 4:39 PM, Blogger bob said...

Hey Courtney, it's good to see you back in the blogosphere again - you've been a little less active than you were. I don't know if this is your thing, but I've tagged you with a meme about political influences. (If you're up for it, feel free to post it to whichever of your blogs you want - I'm going to post this comment at the others now!)


At 11:59 AM, Blogger Daniel said...

I'd ban arms too! But well put! your headline says it all!

At 12:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Daniel, actually arms are banned.

Which is why criminals never use guns and why no-one ever gets shot in the uk.

Likewise smack, crack, crank and what not; banned and unobtainable.

Fairly intense effort involving much compromise of civil liberties is needed to maintain even the pretence of "banning" things. To utterly and completely remove things from underground markets eluded even the likes of the KGB and Gestapo in full swing.


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