Wednesday, July 04, 2007

The Lingering Death of Common Sense

No Smoking
If only I had the artistic talent to replace
Uncle Sam with a moronic health minister
It's three days into the smoking ban already and in terms of the target which is its raison d'être, its impact seems to be limited at least as far as I am concerned. The same people are smoking, just outside in clumps round the doors and I've never thought having large numbers of people out on the street with glasses of alcohol is an especially brilliant idea. Everywhere looks like one pub that's renowned for being the Village's only underage drinking age hotspot, where sundry junior pikeys linger in scowling groups just far enough from the pub door to give plausible deniability over where they sourced their lurid coloured bottles of assorted alcopops, while they abuse passer-bys.

Never mind, I'm sure this practise will soon be banned too - this is what the current muppets occupying the corridors of power see as 'joined up government'. If one policy has unforeseen, if entirely foreseeable, consequences then just introduce further illiberal legislation rather than looking at the faults in the original policy.

I think it has cut down a little on the amount I smoke while I am in the pub but, just as when various places I've worked went no-smoking, the law of conservation of nicotine intake seems to remain unchallenged. In the absence of any other change, and given the fact that I seem to get through exactly the same number of cigarettes in any given 24 hour period, it can only mean I'm smoking more at home. The idea that this would happen was ridiculed by various ministers and I must admit I had my doubts, but albeit on a very small scale there does seem to be some evidence that the legislation may have a very significant downside. At least I see drinking primarily as a social exercise and so I haven't gone, and probably will never go so far to start drinking at home, the one missing vice that stops me becoming a fully-fledged alcoholic; I'm not convinced that there will not be people who won't be so lucky.

The only thing I've found utterly ridiculous though is the plastering of the compulsory 'No Smoking' signs on almost every shop door in the Village. There are a few that still do not sport one, but I'm sure before long some council jobsworth will be pouncing on them, bringing a little joy to their sad and meaningless little lives.

It made me stop to think when I last saw someone smoking inside a business establishment other than somewhere serving food and drink, or offices with a smoking room. It was a real struggle. I couldn't think of a single instance since I've lived in the south of England, but if I really, really strain, I can just about remember one old fashioned DIY shop back in Leeds where a few tradesmen would light up while chatting with the manager. The shop was not just as big as a church, it actually was a converted former chapel with a ceiling so high and a volume of air so large nobody really noticed anyway.

It's not just forcing churches to display the signs that is pointless visual vandalism, it's equally stupid for any business where there never was a culture of smoking within its four walls and for decades now that has been almost every establishment. It's just another little symptom of the dumbed-down Britain that seems to be the goal of every NuLab initiative, though given that that they seem intent on producing a generation of dumbed-down Britons, presumably because they will be grateful for the actions of their (relatively) more intelligent masters, there may be at least the merit of consistency in their actions.

Update, Just before Posting: I was listening to the rerun of Blogger TV on 18DS as I finished this off and heard someone, I think the ever enthusiastic Caroline Hunt, laying into the same moronic attitudes in reference to a missal from his Grace the Archbishop Cranmer. Go and watch it in the archive, or see the original post here

Update, Thursday: Zorba and his performing black bear have arrived at the Mother Ship and are distinctly displeased at having to smoke outside.

No comments: