Alternative to tobacco
Since a constituent told me how e-cigs (electronic cigarettes) had helped him break his addiction to smoking tobacco, I have tried to ensure that e-cigs are as available as the conventional cigarettes that cause so much harm to health.
Yet because of their nicotine content, the European Commission and most national governments (including our own) have wanted e-cigs classified as pharmaceuticals, increasing their costs and potentially restricting their availability.
I am pleased to say the European Parliament has succeeded in overturning these plans.
On December 16, proposals for EU-wide mandatory medicinal regulation were seen off by MEPs.
Instead, e-cigs can be sold in future with nicotine concentrations of up to 20mg per ml, in units of up to 2ml, with a wide range of flavourings, and with refillable cartridges (subject to a later review).
Some e-cig users may argue that there should be no restrictions at all, but most governments did not share this view.
Some have even banned e-cigs entirely.
The deal MEPs have negotiated means that there is now an EU regulatory framework for the whole of Europe.
If the UK chooses still to introduce pharmaceutical controls it could face a legal challenge from manufacturers or e-cig users.
MEPs took on the European Commission and virtually every government in Europe.
We have succeeded in persuading them to agree to alternative plans they would have rejected absolutely just three months ago.
E-cigs will continue to be widely available.
Liberal Democrat MEP for the North West
Paving is ‘hideous’
Is it surprising this hideous paving is cracking up here and there? It’s all over the place.
To my mind it’s absolutely hideous and only goes to emphasise the bareness and desolation of what was once a thriving town centre.
Give me the old Blackpool with its busy roads and thronging pavements when shopping was a pleasure.
This rush to lay piles of bricks (for in essence that’s all they are) seems to be an epidemic among councils all over the country for some reason.
In your photograph of Church Street opposite St John’s Church, there were just four people walking by.
So it’s obviously not excessive footfall causing the damage.I rest my case.
Councillor stepped in
I’ve just had the best Christmas present ever given to me by Coun Amy Cross.
I happened to mention to her at a meeting that I was very worried about the speed of traffic on Ashfield Road, just outside my house.
It didn’t take her long to get two of our fantastic police officers on the job – even sending one to my door to take away the stress.
I worry every day that someone else will get killed.
There are not many like you Coun Cross.
You actually listen to an old age pensioner, keep up the good work.
After hearing about the end of the Blackpool Festival, a wave of nostalgia came over me.
In its day, the festival was regarded as the blue riband for amateur musicians from all over the country.
I was a keen competitor but never a prizewinner, although I did have success elsewhere.
It was certainly a thrill to perform in the wonderful halls and theatres which are unique to Blackpool.
The judges were eminent like the composers Herbert Howells and Leighton Lucas and singer Astra Desmond.
I remember a contingent from the Isle of Man came over for a week and seemed to get more than their fair share of silverware.
Some of the Rosebowl winners went on to highly successful professional careers like the late John Lawrenson, originally from Fleetwood, who won it at the first attempt.
I was fortunate enough to meet him when he came backstage to meet me when I was in a show in Cleveleys.
Another local institution which is no more was the Blackpool Forum which debated serious topics in a non-partisan way and attracted many famous speakers including Barbara Castle MP and Toby Low MP for Blackpool North.
A leading light of the Forum was the late Harry Hague who nearly won Blackpool North for the Liberals in the early sixties.
My late brother Philip, a local JP, eventually became honorary life president.
I get the impression many local groups and clubs are struggling and choirs and am-dram groups are finding it difficult to keep going.
Here in Yorkshire I keep busy playing the piano and I’ve also started to paint and give talks on the theatre.