Monday’s speech and today’s announcement show them choosing their ground for the next election. And since Hunt may find no money for further tax cuts next spring, the option of a May general election is opening up.
Sales of cigarettes and vapes to under 18s are already banned. Young people are likely to continue procuring them on the booming black market, unless there is rigorous enforcement of any new legislation.
I’d say it’s about saying things how they are, avoiding sugar-coating matters, and not denying reality because it’s inconvenient or because it doesn’t fit your ideology, world view or political agenda.
Reviewing Rishi Sunak’s legislative programme, one becomes aware of a government studiously committed to batting out time, and which places its hopes for re-election not in legislative innovation, but in crossing its fingers and hoping for an economy recovery.
This perhaps reflects the fact that with the Speech happening on 7th November, there will be little actual time for legislation in the final session of Parliament in any case.
As his options narrow, Sunak has little choice but to get back to first principles, which would be the right course anyway.
Not only would it be another shot in the arm to the burgeoning black market, but the real long-term pressures on the NHS arise from obesity and an ageing population.
Decriminalisation has been a disaster wherever it has been tried. The Government needs to start enforcing the law and ensure it serves as a proper deterrent.
On education, high speed rail and smoking, he will allow our country to pursue an ambitious and optimistic future for people, whoever they are and wherever they come from.
The elephant in the room is that, unless something significant changes, it is unlikely that the Prime Minister will be able to see through any these plans.
Consumed by HS2 and stalked by critics, he has put his faith in his instincts, and what he hopes will be three big, historic offers – none of which can be delivered without victory at the next election.
Voters clearly want it – and the recent past suggests he’s a more credible agent of it than Sir Keir.
Too many other countries, and the World Health Organisation, remain stubbornly wedded to one-size-fits-all approaches that ignore the latest evidence.
The industry itself has called for all vape retailers to be licensed. This sounds like a sensible step to stop illegal products being sold in shops.
A Better Tomorrow™, one where smokers who would otherwise continue to smoke switch to less risky alternatives, such as vaping, is once again within reach. We must grasp this opportunity with both hands, or risk it slipping between our fingers.