Monday, October 10, 2005

Blair government in "ill thought-out legislation" shocker! Yep - once again a supposedly bold initiative is being dropped because they didn't think it through properly - this time the pub smoking ban. Which for those of us who like a fag with our pints is good news, as we get a bit of a reprieve before the near-inevitable blanket ban on smoking in public places. Although quite why they couldn't leave it to market forces, perhaps offering incentives to pubs along the lines of reduced licensing fees for those which voluntarily ban smoking, I have no idea...

4 Comments:

Blogger MatGB said...

Market forces no good, they're not in control then. Nannies are good, remember?

Good job I'm at work, else I'd have ranted for ages.

10/10/2005 02:55:00 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

Well, when I got home, I saw a friend mention how annoyed he was it was dropped on his journal, so I questioned him on it. There are reasons for not just leaving it to the market, some of the problems he's had have been a little worrying really.

Still fundamentally opposed to the idea of a ban, but at least some of the supporters have valid concerns.

10/10/2005 09:34:00 pm  
Blogger Nosemonkey said...

Meh - I get the guy's problem, and feel sorry for him - but his is a rare case. To ban smoking all over the shop because of the tiny proportion of the population who are seriously affected by other people's smoke is akin to banning flowers in parks because of the people who have hayfever, or banning using nuts in any food served in any restaurant for that tiny section of the population who are allergic to them. If you have an illness that's triggered by certain things then it's very sad, but it's no one else's fault, and no one else should be forced to change their lifestyle on the off-chance that your own condition is adversely affected by it.

If they came up with any truly conclusive evidence that passive smoking is actually significantly harmful (which they haven't, despite what many claim), then I'd be slightly happier with a partial ban. But considering we already know that smoking itself is severely harmful, the double standards of allowing it anywhere (while still banning other self-harming stuff like heroin, crack and umpteen other things) are shocking.

They managed to ban opium entirely - why not cigarettes? Purely down to the tax revenue, so any government anti-smoking initiative that doesn't scrap them entirely (or at least provide free nicotine-replacement treatment to help people quit) is insanely hypocritical - especially while not legislating heavily against the automobile industry, which churns out far more harmful gasses every day than every smoker in the country put together.

The same people who complain about cigarette smoke never seem to complain about exhaust fumes, and a sizable chunk of them drive. I don't drive, but I do smoke. My harmful gas emissions are therefore negligable in comparison. So I've got nothing to feel guilty about.

Having said that, I'm one of those nice smokers who doesn't light up if people are eating nearby, and who'll ask politely if people nearby mind if no one else is smoking. All that's needed is a bit more courtesy and sensitivity to others, and there wouldn't be a problem - and it works both ways: if a militant non-smoker comes over and asks me to stop in the typically aggressive way they tend to employ, my reaction is generally "Fuck you" - especially if they try and give me a lecture about how it's bad for me (like I don't know...). But if they ask politely, I'll have another puff and put it out.

Final aside - in certain parts of Japan they haven't banned smoking, but they have banned people from smoking in certain ways, and put signs up to remind people why. In Tokyo you aren't allowed to smoke while walking down the street - and the signs point out that this is because you might burn someone's arm or coat with your fag, or hit a small child in the eye with it or something. In Yokohama you're allowed to smoke on the street, but they're very tough on throwing your butts away to cut down on streetcleaning costs, so everyone carries portable ashtrays around with them. Makes people think about HOW they're smoking, and so stops them from causing other people so many problems. Perhaps they ought to try that sort of stuff over here - if they genuinely wanted people to cut down, that is.

Rambling - avoiding doing the work I've got to get shifted. Will stop now.

10/10/2005 11:04:00 pm  
Blogger MatGB said...

Just came back to this one as I'm trying to get trackbacks to work, so I'm checking out every blog I've linked to to see if I can ping it. Didn't know Haloscan lets you run trackbacks without their awful commenting system till I tried it.

Anyway, while you've been away, they've managed to agree an even more restrictive set of proposals. Then disagree, etc.

They're even trying to stop us drinking on trains. I give up.

Can't stand the militant "you mustn't do that" type in any situation. Non-smoker freaks are worse in many ways to militant veggies; I've been a vegetarian for ages, but it's a personal choice.

Nannies to the 'left', island staters to the 'right'. What's an honest liberal to do? Gah!

11/01/2005 01:43:00 am  

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