As I’ve said before, politically active doctors are the most immediate threat to personal liberty in Britain. Now today the British Medical Association (in the name of "no platform for fascists", I won’t link to their website) want to ban smoking in cars:

The British Medical Association (BMA) is urging ministers across the UK to extend the ban on smoking in public places introduced in 2007 to all vehicles in a further effort to protect people’s health.

Children are at particular risk from secondhand smoke in cars because they take in more of the chemicals from cigarettes than adults and may not be able to refuse to travel in a smoky car.

Ah, the Helen Lovejoy argument: won’t somebody think of the children?? Of course, if they really believed that rationale, they’d want to ban children from cars altogether. Or, better yet, why not ban cars? A tweeter has an ideal solution:

Let’s ban parents! They regularly neglect, abuse & murder their children. I say this menace must be stopped!

Well, quite. Chris Snowdon has the low-down on the figures used by the BMA to justify this piece of health fascism. Basically, they’re made-up. And Joshua Lachkovic has written a good broadside against the proposals at the TFA website. But I can’t help but wonder if this is a tactical move by the BMA. The best way to shift the centre ground to where you want it might be to take an outrageous, extreme position, so that your true goal seems moderate. Shoot for the stars and you may just reach the moon.

My theory is that this ludicrous proposal is designed to make a politically achievable target seem moderate. The BMA wants plain packaging laws for cigarettes to be brought in, and today’s furore will only distracts civil liberties campaigners from that objective. Clever stuff; though I might be giving them too much credit. Maybe they really are what they seem: anti-individual, anti-liberal, anti-choice paternalists who think that nanny knows best.

I wrote about plain packaging laws earlier this week: Plain packaging laws are stupid and illiberal.

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