Mr Oaten also warned that some Lib Dems were failing to live up to their liberal belief in individual freedom by falling in with “nanny state” proposals to ban smoking or outlaw foxhunting.
He said: “A lot of my colleagues would support a ban on smoking, but as a liberal I’m uncomfortable with that, so I do challenge the party to be tough about its liberal values and stick to them even when it challenges something we believe in.”
This, I would remind you, is the mastermind behind the party’s opposition to relaxing the licensing laws, claiming that alcohol related crime was “out of control” (when it has been falling) and that we were to expect a “Christmas Crisis” once the new laws took effect.
Personally, from a liberal perspective, I would say that there is a much stronger argument for smoking bans than strict licensing laws. Passive smoking has a perceptable effect on people’s health regardless of who does the smoking while the effects of drinking very much depends on the individual. My point is, quite simply, the Oaten is in no position to lecture anyone about liberalism.