I blogged about the stories regarding National’s Associate Health Spokesperson Jonathan Colman yesterday, but somehow the post never appeared, so I’m retyping my thoughts up.
My first reaction is that the man who whinged to the media is a pillock and should be facing criminal charges. According to their own testimony (ie without even hearing the other side of the story) they:
(a) yelled abuse at Colman for him smoking a cigar in a private box which was not theirs
(b) squirted water at him
(c) then punched him
If some **** stranger squirted water at me, I’d tell them where to go also. Sadly though MPs have to be more restrained, which is just one of many reasons why I would not be a good MP.
I do think it is a bad idea for anyone with the portfolio of health to be smoking, and/or accepting tobacco hospitality. That’s not a good look.
For other MPs though, I do not believe there is any real issue. I’d sure as hell not turn down U2 tickets from BAT. Hell I’d even accept them from the Labour Party.
Now some get excited that MPs are somehow getting “brought” when they accept minor hospitality such as rugby or concert tickets. That is ridiculous. You don’t buy policies for $200. The going rate is at least $500,000 🙂
As one example I have in the past been the recipient of some lovely hospitality from BAT. Nevertheless I am quite avidly anti-smoking and if I was ever an MP I would happily vote to increase taxation on it to as high as possible, without creating a black market in it. I would of course balance that with tax cuts elsewhere!