Forest - Voice and Friend of the Smoker
Voices of Freedom to discuss smokers' rights

Peter Hitchens, Toby Young, Oscar-winning screenwriter Sir Ronald Harwood and David Davis MP are just four of the speakers taking part in The Free Society’s Voices of Freedom series of debates in London in June.

Hitchens, the Mail on Sunday's famously acerbic columnist, has been invited to discuss smokers' rights with Harwood, a member of Forest's Supporters Council. They will be joined on Wednesday 1st June by Alex Deane, former director of Big Brother Watch, and Simon Davies, founder and director of Privacy International, to address the question, ‘What are smokers’ rights in a free society?’.

Smoking will also feature in subsequent debates, notably 'Nudge and the nanny state: how far should government dictate our lifestyle?' (Wednesday 8th June) and 'Risk and the pursuit of happiness: is smoking, drinking, gambling good for you?' (Wednesday 15th June).

Toby Young, associate editor of The Spectator and founder of the West London Free School, will take part in a debate about 'Freedom, education and the state' which will address the question 'Is mediocrity for all preferable to excellence for some?’. The author of How to Lose Friends and Alienate People will be joined by David Davis MP. According to the former Conservative party chairman, “It has never been a kindness to teach the weakest pupils alongside the brightest.  It is unfair on both, diminishing the self-esteem of the weaker pupil and holding back the stronger.”

Others taking part in Voices of Freedom 2011 include Josie Appleton and Dolan Cumming (Manifesto Club), Dr Patrick Basham (Democracy Institute), Tom Clougherty (Adam Smith Institute), Dr Alena Buyx (Nuffield Council on Bioethics), Claire Fox (Institute of Ideas), Professor Dennis Hayes, founder, Academics for Acemic Freedom), Mark Littlewood (Institute of Economic Affairs), Andy Mayer (Progressive Vision), Tom Miers (The Free Society), economist Paul Ormerod, Simon Richards (Freedom Association), and many more.

Voices of Freedom: The Battle Against Big Government is organised by The Free Society, an offshoot of Forest.

The series is hosted by the Institute of Economic Affairs and supported by Participating groups include Privacy International, Manifesto Club, Democracy Institute, Adam Smith Institute, Liberty League, Forest and The Freedom Association.

Simon Clark, director of Forest and The Free Society, said: “The first Voices of Freedom series in 2010 was a great success. Every seat was taken and there was standing room only at four of the five debates.

“The Free Society believes in less government intervention in people’s daily lives. If we are to win the battle against big government we first have to win the battle of ideas. This is your opportunity to join the debate and make your voice heard.”

Mark Littlewood, director-general of the Institute of Economic Affairs, said: "Many members of the Coalition government have talked a good game on personal freedom. But they have yet to deliver anything much beyond further nannying.

“This series of Free Society events comes at a crucial time. Personal freedom is not an agenda that comes naturally to those in power. It needs to be thought and argued for at every stage."


Full programme:

Wednesday June 1:
Civil liberties up in smoke: what are smokers’ rights in a free society?

Wednesday June 8:
Nudge and the nanny state: how far should government dictate our lifestyle?

Wednesday June 15:
Risk and the pursuit of happiness: is smoking, drinking gambling good for you?

Tuesday June 21:
Freedom, education and the state: is mediocrity for all preferable to excellence for some?

Tuesday June 28:
Definition of a free society: how does Britain rate in 2011?

Venue is the Institute of Economic Affairs, 2 Lord North Street, Westminster. Debates start at 7.00pm preceded by drinks from 6.15.

RSVP or telephone Nicky on 01223 370091.

Visit The Free Society website for further information. See also Simon Clark’s blog Taking Liberties where you can comment.


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