Maybe on those occasions I really shouldn't bother saying anything at all, but I can't help myself ;-)
Excellent news yesterday, the House of Commons voted to implement a no smoking ban in all public places. Hurrah.
Already I saw on the news that smokers are protesting that this violates their civil liberties. Apologies but that is bull shit. They can smoke in their own homes and out in the street, just not in enclosed places open to the public. In addition what right did they have to impose their second-hand smoke on people who work in bars, pubs and clubs? On an unrelated topic McQ at QandO summarises this point rather neatly:
"Freedom does not spring from having or doing only what they 'need", but being able to do what they want as long as they do not infringe upon the rights of others when they do so."
Also the complaints about loss of trade are likely to turn out to be hollow. The ban has not killed off the pub trade in Ireland, nor in New York and other cities in America. I lived in Boulder Colorado for two years. It has a non-smoking policy and I can tell you that its bars and pubs were thriving! Our local was almost impossible to get a table at on a Friday night. And it was fantastic; I could go out, get completely plastered and come home and not stink like a dirty ash tray. It was wonderful and I look forward to the same experience in the UK come the summer of 2007.
It might also mean that the general population gets healthier if it encourages people to smoke less (certainly less second hand smoke problems). If that is so it might just save the NHS some money - the old adage of smokers supporting the health service by paying the tax on their cigarettes is worn out. It is just not accurate in this day and age where smokers who develop severe illnesses are treated long past the time they might once have died.
So hurrah for free votes in Parliament, why can't more be free?