There's going to be a consultation in Liverpool about smoking and films.
The PCT (health service) wants the Council to use its licensing powers to make sure that films that show smoking (with some exceptions) get high age certificates. The argument is that children are influenced into taking up smoking because of what they see on the screen.
I say - rubbish!
I was 100 percent behind the smoking ban in public places for good Liberal reasons (second hand smoke does clear harm to other people). I am 100 percent against this other move for good Liberal reasons too.
Let's say a film maker makes a new film about the "Wild West". There is a battle. Then a truce. The two sides want to smoke the pipe of peace. Well under what the PCT wants if this is to be viewable by children the sides either have to eat the biscuit of peace instead or a warrior leans into shot to deliver a health message. So much for artistic integrity! So much for avoiding censorship.
The PCT will argue that this is a step worth taking because of children smoking. But surely what influences children is less an hour at the pictures and more what their parents, friends or role models do.
Hopefully most people will realise this is a step too far!