Friday Spiked picks

Still busy, but here is my selection from this week's Sp!ked:

10 reasons why Gordon Brown is not fit to be prime minister
He’s yesterday’s man; And he espouses yesterday’s politics; He sees security as the highest aim of politics; He’s an enemy of liberty; He wants to change our ‘bad behaviour’; He’s a political coward; He’s a New Colonialist; He’s a politician of low expectations; He’s a miserabilist; He has a weird effect on commentators’ critical faculties

Despite the evidence that he is illiberal, interventionist and curmudgeonly – and despite the leading part he played in developing New Labour’s narrow and increasingly behaviour-based political agenda – some in the commentariat still believe that Brown will breathe life back into the British political scene. Others claim that he just has a personality problem, and if only he had a fashion, hair and conversational makeover then everything would be okay. This is wishful thinking in the extreme. This isn’t about personality; Brown’s problem is that his politics are dour and dull. He is now the face and voice of New Labour, representing its inherent values of austerity, interventionism and security-over-freedom better than anybody else. And yet, Brown is best known for what he is not: he became Labour leader on the basis that he is not Blair (despite sharing all of Blair’s political prejudices) and he will stand in the next General Election, possibly next year, on the basis that he is not David Cameron.
The global crusade against the ‘evil weed’
As of 1 July, it will be illegal to light up a cigarette in designated places of work in England. Across the world - from the pub-culture of Ireland to the formerly smoky cafés of Italy to the lager-swilling bars of Australia - smoking bans are being enforced with alarming uniformity. What’s behind this global crusade against the evil weed? spiked writers report from London, Paris, Galway, Rome, Stockholm, Glasgow, Brisbane and New York on the impact of enforced stubbing-out

Seeing through the smoking ban
The passive smoking issue has become a symbol of this disconnected state of affairs, a sort of metaphor for a mindset that always sees somebody else and their behaviour as the problem in your life. It is not just other people’s smoke that is now seen as toxic - it is other people themselves. And perhaps we can no longer even trust ourselves not to harm us without the professional help of the therapeutic state.