There oughtta be a law about it

Labour’s plan to make televised debates between party leaders compulsory in the run-up to a general election have been roundly mocked as critics asked if the Prime Minister would be jailed for failing to take part.

Ed Miliband has announced that if elected Labour would pass legislation creating a commission to put live television jousts at the heart of every future general election campaign.

Alex Salmond, the former SNP leader, said he supported having TV debates but added: “Could you actually pass a law which says that somebody has to turn up at a TV debate?

“What do you do when David Cameron doesn’t turn up? Shall we stick him in the clink, do we put him in Wandsworth [prison] or somewhere?”

Standard prodnose reaction to everything, isn’t it. And that, I’m afraid, is why I so despise Miliboy.

The English way is not to have a law about such things. It is to have some expectations, socially enforced, and open to reasoned argument. Law is about only those things that must be done. Which is why we’re so generally a law abiding nation. That’s always been the deal. Laws are only for things that must be done so we do obey them. The moment you open the floodgates and have laws about (say, whether you can smoke with a pint) trivia then that trivialises all the other laws.

We learnt this some centuries ago. When defacing Westminster Bridge carried the death sentence we found that juries would not convict for defacing Westminster Bridge.

The law is important so should only be for important things.

86 thoughts on “There oughtta be a law about it”

  1. Next up a law to force people to watch! The sight and sound of Milliboy has me reaching for the remote.

  2. A law that stops parties from suing broadcasters to insist they are included, and allows broadcasters to empty chair someone without risk to their impartiality would be reasonable.

    The DUP have already threatened to go to court, so a law to stop them doing that would not be a silly idea.

    Of course, Miliband’s usual inability to explain means that I have no idea what he is actually proposing.

  3. Sorry Tim, I must have missed something. Since when have we had a law about smoking with a pint?
    We DO have a law about going into a public bar, blowing foul smoke into other peoples’ faves and claiming it’s a civil liberty to do so.

  4. The Meissen Bison

    Ironman:

    oh dear! If you’re missing anything, it’s within you. Instead of invoking the protection of the law from foul smoke, find a pub owner who agrees with you and bans smoking in his pub.

    As a non-smoker I don’t have a dog in this race but it’s ridiculous to have laws regulating the consumption of a legal product.

  5. Yes smoking (in public) ban felt like a deprivation for some but felt like an emancipation for others.

  6. The crime here is that Miliband and his ilk occasionally let slip their misunderstanding of the fundamentals of a liberal democracy, in that the grateful population give their government the monopoly on violence in the belief it will use this wisely to enforce laws fairly and equally.

    Salmond makes the point, when a would be government say “do this”, you answer “what if I don’t”, and then it becomes clear the limits of power and reveals the megalomaniac waiting in the wings, Miliband has made a schoolboy error in politics, don’t let yourself get exposed like this even if you really are a megalomaniac (and Salmond should know).

  7. So Much for Subtlety

    The Meissen Bison – “As a non-smoker I don’t have a dog in this race but it’s ridiculous to have laws regulating the consumption of a legal product.”

    I am a non-smoker and I definitely have a dog in this race. Once they get around to banning something, they will go on to ban something else. They won with smoking so now they are moving on to the fatties. They will get to you and me in the end if they are not stopped early.

    I am intrigued by your second claim though. I note that AK-47s are legal in the UK. Just heavily regulated.

    Hallowed Be – “Yes smoking (in public) ban felt like a deprivation for some but felt like an emancipation for others.”

    Those others have a p!ss poor idea of what emancipation actually means I assume.

  8. No, it’s not within me. Would you say to parents with children on public transport(or just nice people for that matter) “If you don’t like foul language go away and find a little corner of the bus or train where you can’t hear. And if there is no such corner then.find a different train”?

    Or perhaps If yy don’t wish to be racially abused then go and sit upstairs”

    It is and was about imposing unpleasant -and unhealthy – things on other people. And “go and find a corner where I won’t be” is a pretty naked imposition.

  9. “It’s ridiculous to have laws regulating the consumption of a legal product”

    Yes! My thing is necking down vodka – red bull whilst driving (at 70 of course) around the M60.

  10. 7 or 8 politicians raving at an empty chair might persuade quite a few people to vote for the chair.

  11. So Much for Subtlety

    Ironman – “Would you say to parents with children on public transport(or just nice people for that matter) “If you don’t like foul language go away and find a little corner of the bus or train where you can’t hear. And if there is no such corner then.find a different train”?”

    That pretty much is the modern standard. You cannot reasonably expect anyone to do anything about anyone else using foul language on the bus.

    “It is and was about imposing unpleasant -and unhealthy – things on other people. And “go and find a corner where I won’t be” is a pretty naked imposition.”

    Passive smoking is not unhealthy. And it is not an imposition. If you come to my home and I have decided to let some people smoke, you are free to go elsewhere. I don’t see why a pub should be any different.

  12. So Much for Subtlety

    bloke in france – “7 or 8 politicians raving at an empty chair might persuade quite a few people to vote for the chair.”

    Worked for Obama.

  13. bloke (not) in spain

    Sorry, Ironman, but your argument falls at “Would you say to parents with children on public transport…”
    For people who don’t have children, why are you requiring them to share their traveling with your noisy, sticky, unpleasant disease spreaders?

  14. Smfs.
    “Those others have a p!ss poor idea of what emancipation actually means I assume.”

    Well yes there are degrees of freedom. That this particular minute of freedom was gained at the expense of someone else’s was my point. I would prefer the market choice approach but since it has not been done like that I am consoled that from a utilitarian point of view it is probably neutral.

  15. So Much for Subtlety

    Hallowed Be – “That this particular minute of freedom was gained at the expense of someone else’s was my point. I would prefer the market choice approach but since it has not been done like that I am consoled that from a utilitarian point of view it is probably neutral.”

    No one gained any freedom. We used to have a choice whether to sit with smokers or not. Now we don’t. Everyone’s freedom has declined.

    Not to mention the precedent is appalling.

  16. It started to go wrong with Blair, when they began legislating against things they don’t like as opposed to things that are crimes.

    It is a crime for me to murder someone. It is not a worse crime for me to murder a person of colour. Some people just don’t care about white people killing white people, but they really dislike white people killing black people.

    Similarly, the smoking debate which seems to have opened here. Make cigarettes illegal on health grounds, after the case has been proven. But if you can’t prove it (and no, Roy Castle’s widow isn’t the arbiter here) and you don’t ban it, then don’t tell a landlord and a customer what they cannot do on the landlord’s premises.

    We have now, apparently, decided that buggery is a Good Thing and smoking is a Bad Thing, so we de-regulate the former and regulate the latter, and that’s just not how laws should work. Let the same basis exist for both, freedom for consenting adults to do as they wish.

  17. John Miller:” Make cigarettes illegal on health grounds”
    No–even if one gasp killed you –that’s your business. Other than that you are spot on.

  18. SMFS

    “I am a non-smoker and I definitely have a dog in this race”

    Yep, me too.. I love not having smoke blown in my face in a pub, and yet I would be the first to get rid of that imbecilic ban. Let the landlord decide, it’s his pub.

    Ironman – nice click bait..:) OK, my turn…

    It’s a pub – ie someone’s property – not public transport. There’s a difference.

    “Unpleasant and unhealthy”. I generally find people who want to ban things unpleasant, so let’s ban them too. Ironman promptly gets banned – and PF disappears into a circularity…

  19. SMFS- ok aka freedom to like it or lump it. Yes that works…. but haven’t we just swapped it around? The fumophobic had to lump it in the smoke filled rooms. Now the fumophilic have to lump it under the patio heaters.

  20. bloke (not) in spain

    ” Let the landlord decide, it’s his pub.”
    I can remember how this worked out back in the mid ’80s
    The village had four pubs. The skiing jumper wearing tendency largely colonised the Crown & prevailed on the landlord to introduce a smoking ban. He offered to give it a try, subject to a review after a month.
    It began on the Sunday & indeed, on that very first Sunday, the Crown was heavily populated with ski jumper wearers of both sexes reveling in the clear fragrant, atmosphere. Cheese, little biscuits & even crisps were available, to celebrate. Smokers largely kept to the Bell, Star & Anchor, Fetid evil smelling dens of iniquity. But by Wednesday, ski jumpers were starting to appear in all three.
    A visitor chancing to enter the Crown on Friday night would have found a quiet pub with a few ski jumpered couples sipping halves & fruit juices. Seeking better entertainment he could have walked to the Bell Star or Anchor & caroused with smokers & ski-jumpers in the blue tinged haze. If he could have got through the doors & reached the bars. But Sunday evening was the killer, when the Star hosted its “Blues Night” & the Crown got no custom whatsoever. Cheese or no cheese.
    Monday the whole idea was abandoned when the Crown landlord stated he’d no intention of going bankrupt “in the cause of a bunch of two faced bastards”. Smokers returned to the Crown to a welcome. As did ski-jumpers.
    Which proved, to my satisfaction, it’s ALL about enforcing your wishes on others.

  21. Hallowed Be, exactly. I do think this is nothing more than the “fuck off then if you don’t like it” tables being turned.

    I will repeat, so that those who choose not to notice don’t get that option: it isn’t about banning smoking; it’s about banning people from imposing their unpleasant will on others. I’m all for banning people from exercising the liberty to punch others in the face, driving whilst loaded up on alcohol or drugs etc. So I’m also for not giving people the right to impose tuis disgust. G habit non their neighbour, how very illiberal of me.

    I will accept this could be left the the Landord of the pub. Funnily enough my local pub/restaurant about 10 years ago did ban it. The number of smokers who would complain about the infringement of their liberties was really funny. “My place, my rules” didn’t seem to apply back then. But then that’s the point isn’t it; freedom is the freedom to do what YOU want to do isn’t it. It’s like freedom of speech, always invoked when I want to say things that will offend someone else; never to support that someone else’s right to offend you.

  22. Public transport, hospitals, schools etc are one thing. We all need to be able to use them and I have no problem with certain restrictions to improve the experience for everybody.

    Pubs are a private business and a personal choice.

    This is why the pub landlord should be allowed to decide.

    I am a non-smoker.

  23. “Pubs are a private business and a personal choice.”

    But they are not simply a “private business”, they are a public space. Otherwise, no doubt, you’d approve of landlords imposing notices stating “No Blacks, No Poofs, No wheelchairs etc”.

  24. Ironman

    Banning things: Banning someone from punching someone else in the face (what we normally put laws in place for) versus banning people from quielty getting on and living their own lives (a la New Labour) – I think we’re on the same side.

    “I will accept this could be left to the Landlord of the pub.”

    Fair enough – now who’s going to tell Dave…

    “It’s like freedom of speech, always invoked when I want to say things that will offend someone else; never to support that someone else’s right to offend you.”

    I agree completely. Which brings us on to “How do we rescind Harriet / New Labour”, and in full…

  25. GeoffH

    But we haven’t banned smoking, we have banned discriminating against minorities (??).

    Oh no, I can see this heading off to B&B and fruit cake shop territory…

  26. GeoffH – Otherwise, no doubt, you’d approve of landlords imposing notices stating “No Blacks, No Poofs, No wheelchairs etc”.

    Good thinking Geoff. If you think grown ups in a pub should be able to enjoy a fag indoors, you’re obviously a racist homophobe who hates Ironside.

  27. “Law is about only those things that must be done.” It’s better when it’s about things that must not be done.

  28. bloke (not) in spain

    “Otherwise, no doubt, you’d approve of landlords imposing notices stating “No Blacks, No Poofs, No wheelchairs etc”.

    Yep. Thoroughly good idea. Decided that Carnival Day when I wasn’t allowed in the Mangrove in All Saints Road due to my skin tint problem. Despite my African g/f being welcome. Their turf, their preference. There’s gay clubs & no doubt, disabled associations I’m not wanted either. Or the dog.
    Always better to know where you stand. Or not stand.

  29. Steve

    I was answering a point that somehow it is imagined that a pub is not a public space and need not, being the landlord’s territory, not be subject to the laws that apply to a public space.

    As for grown ups in pubs (and restaurants), well if smokers had always responded politely to requests not blow their foul-smelling fumes over the food and drink of non-smokers, it might not have come to this.

    But ’twas never thus, was it? Always, smokers took the aggressive response, often accompanied by threats of violence towards any request.. They brought the change in the law on themselves.

    But then the very act of smoking is a signifier of an attitude problem, a careless approach to hygiene and general dumbness.

  30. @GeoffH, have you tried to get into a gay only pub? Or a pub in a area whose population is black?

    Landlords are free to bar anyone for any reason. As it is at the moment, they can’t do it for obvious reasons of race, etc. But they can still bar people for the flimest of reasons.

  31. Lines crossed, BniS says the same point as me.

    About your smokers being aggresive, not in my experience. It was more the anti-smokers who were aggresive and complained loudly about the smoke rather than just leave.

  32. SadButMadLad

    We can debate until the cows come home to no effect who is or isn’t the most agressive. So let’s change the terms of this discussion. Let’s talk about trains, planes and coaches. Should you have the right to sit down next to a non-smoker in what is without question a public space and smoke if you wish.

    Oh, and smoking was banned on these long before it was in pubs and restaurants.

  33. I think it worth pointing out that on transport “You can go somewhere else” becomes you have the choice (possibly; possibly not) of finding another way of reaching your intended destination. This might be at a less convenient time, a less convenient route, a less comfortable journey, more expensive, or just suffer the discomfort of me smoking next to you. And all ease my wish to.smoke trumps your rights.

    So, should you have the right to do that?

  34. GeoffH
    “Public house” is a legal term. A pub is no more a “public space” than Waitrose is. The public has an absolute right to public spaces. The public has no absolute right to places open to the public, which always have the right to refuse entry.

  35. Hi GeoffH

    Been out and about and only just sat down at my rant machine. Wow, you lot have been busy.

    Thanks incidentaly for demonstrated so clearly what a ‘strawman’ is.

    You are right; I hate gays (especially lezzies), blacks, whites, heteros (shoot the bastards), punks, white trash (not the same as whites), spics, jews, lefties, righties and don’t get me going on about guys and gals on wheels (or with walking sticks, the pits). Down’s syndrome, not a chance. Don’t forget asians. Let any of ’em in a pub? You must be joking. I’d ban the lot.

    Remember I am a baby-eating, gun-toting, union-bashing, worker-sacking (love that one) neo-liberal tu*d. If only I was rich too!

    Others have said it clearly and with more wit. A restaurant owner and pub owner can (in a free society) decide that their restaurant/pub is non-smoking.

    It is their establishment. I disagree with the government telling them that a legal activity (on the back of which they collect a fortune in taxes) is not allowed on their premises.

    You and I have no unalienable right to go to a particular restaurant or pub. It opens, makes its offer and you takes y’ur pick.

    There would be a good chance of me choosing a non-smoking restaurant but the pub with jazz night gets me smoke an’ all.

    As you can see I differentiate between a public service and private entertainment businesses.

    And you are right. All those people where the ‘very act of smoking is a signifier of an attitude problem, a careless approach to hygiene and general dumbness.

    Careful there. There have been lots of interesting smokers out there. Some of them even brighter and more talented and more use to society than me.

    I could probably find a lot of other unhealthy things that indicate a similar problem. Drinking for one (Pubs shut down please). Lots of associated problems there; like getting the sh*t kicked out of you on York Street in Bath for having the wrong length of hair back in the day.

    Ban ’em all, I say.

    Incidentally, if I were a baker and somebody asked for a cake with a giant-sized phallus sticking out the top, I would refuse to bake it (or maybe not). If I ran a bed and breakfast, I wouldn’t (knowingly) let a ‘citizen’ of the Islamic State stay. Might be other people I would refuse to take. Yeah, I would almost certainly end up in prison or bankrupt.

    As you can see, today has not been a good day and it’s made me irritable.

  36. Fascinating discussion (I lean toward landlord’s call, myself). But I’m wondering if it’s not missing a point: one thing that’s obvious is that trying to *practically* regulate civil behaviour is a complete nightmare.

    We’re struggling to agree how such restrictions could be justified, but even if we managed that it would have to be enforced by our extant police force and justice system.

    Poorly motivated/managed bobbies (if you can find any) making this call many times a day? When they seem to have enough trouble finding the resources to manage serious crime.

    Shunting it all into the courts system. I really don’t want to think what overheads and side-effects that would add to a £100 fine, or whatever. If done ‘properly’, you’ll be up to your armpits in technicalities on day one. So corners would be cut everywhere.

    Councils? God no, worst of both worlds.

    So not only should law be reserved for ‘important’ things, it pretty much has to be. The cost of managing the system defines the granularity at which it can operate.

    I agree with John Miller, Labour’s ASBOs crossed the rubikon (Tories seem quite happy to (ab)use them too, of course). Back-of-an-envelope law-making, showing up the futility of trying to work at this level.

  37. The public space argument neatly side – steps the smoker needing to consider whether he/she should have a right to smoke if it is affecting other people. ‘The Public’ may have an absolute right to public spaces, but individual members of the public do not have an unfettered right to do anything they want in public spaces regardless of the effect kn others. Should you have the right to play music at 120 decibels in a public park, %thereby ruining everyone else’s enjoyment? Do you have the right to strip naked and have sex in a public park, in full view of the public? In short, do you have the right to have a complete disregard for the effect of your actions on everybody else?
    Has liberty become nothing but an expression of antisocial selfishness and misanthropy?

  38. Those things are all illegal, Ironman. So no, obviously.

    But you are quite right. There is a quote I can’t be bothered to look for that says the less people control themselves the more they will controlled.

  39. bloke (not) in spain

    Ironman’s comments about smoking on public transport seem to have gone above everybody’s head for a while here. Let’s not forget it wasn’t that long ago airlines asked if you wanted “smoking or non-smoking”, trains & Tubes had non-smoking carriages, buses only allowed smoking upstairs. It wasn’t non-smokers were obliged to share space with inconsiderate smokers. It was; avid non-smokers weren’t content with holding sway over a portion of the public space. They insisted on colonising all of it. It’s not the smokers rejected live & let live & consideration.

  40. Bloke (not) in Spain

    With respect, the absence of cigarette smoke does not waft from the non-smoker to the smoker in the way that the smoker’s fumes waft to the non-smoker. The non-smoker’s objection is not imposition. There is no equivalence here.

  41. I’m against the smoking ban, but my God, some of its opponents speak some shite.

    > I disagree with the government telling them that a legal activity (on the back of which they collect a fortune in taxes) is not allowed on their premises.

    It’s legal to have sex. So the government shouldn’t be allowed to tell a pub landlord the waitresses aren’t allowed to fuck the customers on the tables? It’s legal to perform surgery. It’s legal to masturbate. It’s legal to drive tractors. Etc.

    Personally, I thought they should have allowed benefits claimants to turn down offers of work in places where they can’t avoid smoke. But of course so much casual work is bar work, that would have pushed unemployment figures up.

    Roue,

    > Those things are all illegal, Ironman. So no, obviously.

    Er, no: those things are all legal, except in certain places. Just like smoking, then.

    BNIS,

    > it wasn’t that long ago airlines asked if you wanted “smoking or non-smoking”, trains & Tubes had non-smoking carriages, buses only allowed smoking upstairs.

    The difference in cost of cleaning the smoking and non-smoking areas had an effect on how enthusiastic the operators of those services were for the ban.

    Also, the distinction on trains and the Tube only gave people choice outside rush hour. During rush hour, you crammed into whatever space was available. And got smoked on. I mean, seriously, we all know this, yet you’re actually arguing that, on the Tube, you could always go to a different carriage? On the Tube?

    Look, the “thin end of the wedge” argument is perfectly sufficient to argue against the ban, especially as it turned out really to be the thin end of an actual wedge. You don’t need to invent a fantasy world in which the poor and terribly considerate smokers were busy respecting the rights of non-smokers when they suddenly had the carcinogens ripped out of their lungs against their wishes. Jesus, I remember getting home from nights out and having to wash that disgusting shit off me. I know smokers are unaware of it because they have no sense of smell left, but it is fucking awful. It is also, once it goes stale, a migraine trigger. You don’t have the right to rub foul-smelling tar into other people’s clothes and hair. Why should you have the right to blow it there instead? Oh, and those little circular holes burnt into one’s clothing by people who can’t even be arsed being careful with the fire they’re waving around: that was always nice too. Ironman’s right: this was always about the competing rights of two groups. The militant obnoxiousness of the anti-smoking crowd pisses me off so much it makes me want to take up smoking just to annoy them, but it arose exactly in reaction to what they were fighting.

    Oh, and apparently fag-ends aren’t real litter. You can just throw them anywhere, and no-one will mind. The cigarette fairies take them away, probably.

    Ironman,

    > Should you have the right to sit down next to a non-smoker in what is without question a public space and smoke if you wish.

    More to the point, should you have the right to sit down next to someone who is clearly and obviously reading a book and have a really loud chat? There is no hell hot enough for those fuckers.

  42. “Ed Miliband has announced that if elected Labour would pass legislation creating a commission to put live television jousts at the heart of every future general election campaign.”

    If they do win… I hope they get a good draughtsman otherwise elections could get very medieval on our ass.

  43. Squander Two

    Bleive it or not I started today unconvinced that the Law was a necessary step. Planes, buses, tubes, all were reaching a conclusion without recourse to law. Restaurants and pubs were following suit, slowly, but they were.
    However, you do need law where there is no goodwill. So today has been interesting.

    Hallowed Be

    I’d completely forgotten the post. Yes, what a feckin eejit the boy is.

  44. @ Ironman
    When pubs had a smoking-allowed and a smoking-not-allowed bar, I could sit with my pals.
    I am a life-long non-smoker so I don’t have all the hang-ups of ex-smokers. If you don’t like the smell of smoke use the Lounge Bar. Or find a pub which specifically accommodates non-smokers.
    Public transport has, as long as I can remember, had areas set aside for non-smokers. No smoking in non-smoking cxomparments, no smoking on upper decks of buses: in fact the current universal ban on smking on trains is illegal since the law requires train companies to set aside *separate* spaces for non-smokers which the current universal ban fails to do.
    “The non-smoker’s objection is not imposition.” You sound like Murphy – of course it is.
    “it’s about banning people from imposing their unpleasant will on others.” EXACTLY – in this case *your* will.
    A dozen years an unpleasant little person, who described himself as “Managing Director” although he wasn’t actually a director according to Companies House, walked into my office and proposed a vote on banning smoking in that room: I immediately reacted by saying that I should vote against whereupon he retreated and after he did so my non-smoking colleague said that he would have done the same.

  45. Squander

    And by coincidence…

    Mr Chat-Over-Book’s sister, Miss Speak Loudly Into Mobile And Don’t Ever Stop, is on my train.

  46. Hallowed Be – I dunno, there’s a certain honesty in having prospective PMs that are heavily armored toffs with poor peripheral vision trying to knock eachother off horses.

  47. John77

    And if the pub doesn’t have separate rooms where the smokers can go? (Please note my language is all about accommodating the smokers; non-smokers don’t impose and so don’t need ‘accommodating’). And it’s a single decker bus? And if it’s an open plan office? What then?
    Because, believe me, plenty of non-smokers really are discomforted by smoking.

  48. SQ2″ So the government shouldn’t be allowed to tell a pub landlord the waitresses aren’t allowed to fuck the customers on the tables?”

    They’re called brothels and yes they should be legal. That is to say outside of a small number of laws derived from the Golden Rule–everything should be in a state such that the law has fuckall to say about it.

    Ironman: As for the public place bollocks–the fact that piss-poor “public” (ie state-owned and controlled) transport cannot provide enough room/facilities at busy periods when they are both needed more–too bad. Leaving aside the degree to which modern cities are the product of state meddling–would London have the pre-eminence and size/teeming millions it now “enjoys” without the presence and antics of the so-called UK govt?.

    Still you have to start from where you are and a notice asking–asking mind you– people to refrain from the weed at rush hour is my only suggestion.

    “Has liberty become nothing but an expression of antisocial selfishness and misanthropy?” In what way are your demands any different? Your peace of mind is all that you care about–you want what you want and fuck smokers, loud talkers and anybody else you don’t like.

    “It’s like freedom of speech, always invoked when I want to say things that will offend someone else; never to support that someone else’s right to offend you.”

    You offend me every time you press enter to inflict some more of your fairweather-friend-of liberty tripe on the world. But I haven’t called for you to be put down by law–nor would I or any of the others on he who disagree with you–about almost everything.

    If you want more peace of mind try Buddhism.

  49. bloke (not) in spain

    @SQ2
    ” smoking on the Tube wasn’t banned because of any sort of “Oo, that smells so awful” campaign by ASH; it was banned after King’s Cross.”
    Smoking had been banned on the sub-surface London Underground since the Oxford Circus fire of ’84. The Kings Cross fire, although likely initiated by a lighted match discarded on an escalator, brought criticism on London Underground for lack of maintainance & indifference to fire precautions & training of staff to deal with fires.
    Of course, with the exception of the blaze in a contractors store at Oxford Circus, there’d never been a fire on the Underground. Despite several decades of smokers.

    It’s fascinating how an incident only peripherally arising from smoking, whilst a ban was already in place, can be said to justify preventing someone lighting up on a wind & rain swept platform at Fairlop. But that’s the bansturbators, isn’t it? Anything, however irrelevant, to support the cause.
    If you’re so worried about fugging up people’s space, I do trust none of you are motorists

  50. @ Ironman
    “And if the pub doesn’t have separate rooms where the smokers can go? (Please note my language is all about accommodating the smokers; non-smokers don’t impose and so don’t need ‘accommodating’). And it’s a single decker bus? And if it’s an open plan office? What then?”
    I cannot remember a time when most pubs did not have separate saloon and lounge bars. I *do* notice your language and have never in more than half-a-century of visting pubs (sometimes I wasallowed to drink lemonade inside, sometimes cider outside) have I observed a need to specially acommodate smokers.
    The major bus routes do not have single-decker buses because on high-usage routes they are uneconomic.
    I have already answered the “open-plan office” question. You want to abolish smoking in my office: I, as a life-long non-smoker, do not. As a bachelor with two-bedroom flat in the City where family could stay during visits to London I had some high-quality ashtrays for use by any vistors.
    I am prepared to believe that plenty of non-smokers are discomforted by smoking – are *you* prepared to believe that getting on for 30 million (in the UK) of us are *not*?

  51. bloke (not) in spain

    On reflection, I find myself returning to the thread from a couple days ago where I & others expressed our desires not to darken these shore again. It is this sort of attitude. I suppose there must be people like this in Spain. But I’ve never come across them without they’ve had that distinctly English whine attached to them.

  52. B(n) in S

    There must be setting good happening in these Isles. The number of bright young Spaniards I see working In Liverpool testifies to it.

    John77

    Well you DID SPEAK of kon-smokers being accommodated. And in the case of buses you spoke of them being sent to the upper deck. And in the open plan office they like it or limp it. These are the people remember who are not imposing any smoke, smell or physical irritation on anybody else.

    This is why the Law needed to be changed. It has been changed and there will be no change back. We are not talking about harmless enjoyment leaving others alone; we are talking obnoxious antisocial attitudes.

    So your answer to the open an question

  53. This is why the Law needed to be changed.

    No, the law was changed because of a concerted campaign by your comrades in the Anti-Fun League. There was no ‘need’ for it to be changed, because companies who don’t satisfy the demands of their employees and customers soon find themselves out of employees and customers.

    Instead, pubs are declining because the people who used to drive there were mostly smokers or friends of smokers, who’ve decided they can find better entertainment elsewhere. But at least you can drink smoke-free in an empty pub until it goes out of business.

  54. BNIs : your complaining about people complaining is so touchingly ironic there’s no way you can be fully appreciated by the (not) spanish.

  55. bloke (not) in spain

    HB I’ve absolutely no problem with people complaining. Complain all you like. I’ve take a lifetime’s pleasure in ignoring people complaining. The reassuring knowledge one’s presence is being appreciated 😉
    It’s the whinging getting listened to & acted upon.

  56. Edward M Grant

    I’m sure it would suit you if it had just been an anti – fun brigade campaign, so by alleans carry on telling tourself thay. It ust ain’t so though. Smoker’s are and we’re a minority. A minority whose having, whose fun, is not conducted quietly on its own terms but instead imposes discomfort on the majority. A minority which, as demonstrated with brutal clarity on this head, feels itself entitled to have zero regard for others, even believing it can push the majority to the margins – sorry, “accommodate” them.
    Personal freedom is to be cherished. When.personal freedoms butt up against each other then compromise must be reached. When somebody’s love of HIS freedom trumps all others’, however, then compromise isn’t possible; only the law will do.

  57. Ecks,

    > a notice asking–asking mind you– people to refrain from the weed at rush hour is my only suggestion.

    This was tried — not on the Tube, but in lots of other contexts. And the result was always the same: hordes of smokers reading the sign, saying “Fuck off,” and lighting up. This is why we ended up with a law: asking smokers not to smoke fails, every time. Asking smokers to be considerate fails, every time. Quite often, they responded by pointedly blowing smoke in the face of whoever had asked them — something which has now largely stopped, funnily enough. I remember the smokers who treated the non-smoking carriages of trains as the “smoke, glare at people, and shout aggressively at anyone who asks you to stop” carriages, even if some of you have chosen to wipe your memories.

    Again: if smokers had been considerate, we might not have ended up with a law. The fact is that asking someone politely if they would mind not smoking basically meant the odds were your day was about to be ruined, either by an obnoxious cunt being obnoxious at you or by an obnoxious violent cunt threatening you with violence. Occasionally, you might get a considerate smoker who’d be polite, but that was rare enough that it wasn’t worth running the risk. It is very sad that smokers should have created a world in which such a simple request should have required police back-up, but they did. And now they complain about the imposition. You did this to yourselves.

  58. Life long non smoker, non drinker as well.

    As far as I’m concerned the small minded little twats who want to ban everything they don’t like can fuck right off. No one made me attend more smoky pubs in my youth than I care to remember. Yes I came home smelling like a ash tray. I didn’t have to go out to those venues. I could have stayed at home like a good little boy and breathed in all that lovely fresh air. As it was I preferred to go out with my mates talk a load of rubbish, and try to get laid (by and large unsuccessfully, but I don’t think smoking was the cause of that).

    Now the decent pubs are all shut, all the interesting people are at home smoking and drinking there, and what pubs that are left are full of boring twats.

    Thanks for nothing.

  59. bloke (not) in spain

    SQ2 Ironman etc
    Let’s, for a moment, move this away from public transport. We had areas for those who didn’t want to suffer smoke & a lot of us, contrary to claims, will remember them generally being observed.
    Let’s deal with the other places you reckon are public spaces, pubs, clubs & similar. Well, sorry, you can just fuck off.
    If you’d ever run a pub or a club you’d know it’s just not a building with a sign outside. Try that & you’ve an empty room with a drinks selection. All places worth going are worth going because of the people who go to them. They’re sociable people. People who offer & expect give & take. Compromise. Easier going people are, better the place.
    If you want a jazz cellar without air blue & thick enough to cut up & stack like logs, you open one. But don’t come to ours & expect us to stop smoking to suit you. That’s why we go there. To be with people like us, not people like you.
    And that’s why non-smoking pubs, bars & clubs don’t work. Are closing now smoking’s banned. Because we, the easy going, don’t go to them anymore. And who want’s to spend an evening with a bunch of anal retentives?

  60. BNIS,

    I said I opposed the ban, so not sure why you’re blaming me for it.

    But the idea that smokers are easy-going can be easily refuted by reading this thread.

  61. SQ2–I am a non-smoker but not strident about it and back in the 80/90s travelled thousands of miles on UK trains. And never once saw a smoker light up in non-smoker carriages.

    You must have been travelling on the wrong trains.

  62. Squander Two

    “Small minded little twats” ” you can fuck off” “areas they (the non smokers) could go to”.

    All this from those who swear blind that compromise occurred and smokers were considerate; can’t help but be skeptical.
    When.Russel Brand ruined your lunch he wasn’t there to protest about banking; he came to shout at BANKERS, as he once said on Question Time, to “punish” the bankers. Richard Murphy doesn’t rage at neoliberal thought as much as Neoliberals. The Left personalises everything because it genuinely believes we are antisocial shits. Reading this thread, it is impossible to say they are wrong.

  63. ” all the interesting people are at home smoking and drinking there”

    and

    ” And who want’s to spend an evening with a bunch of anal retentives?”

    You see, this is why smokers rarely, if ever, politely accepted a request not smoke in a restaurant. Because you’re all such arrogant, self-opinionated selfish ingoramuses

  64. Jim

    There are plenty, plenty of bars thay frequented by young people. They are open much later than pubs used.to be and ate generally better places than I remember. You wouldn’t perhaps call them decent, but does thay say more about you than them?

  65. bloke (not) in spain

    I’m sorry, but all I see is people want to come to our pub & then tell us what to do when you get there. It doesn’t actually have the slightest to do with smoking. Whether we smoke or not is not of interest to US. It’s having the freedom to chose.
    If you don’t like smoke you had what you always had. The opportunity to have your own smoke free places to enjoy your smoke free lives.
    Except that wasn’t good enough for you. Because we had all the interesting places to go, you chose to go there & then moan about the atmosphere instead of staying on your own turf. Which is why there were very few smoke-free pubs. There wasn’t ever anyone wanted to go to them.

  66. > There are plenty, plenty of bars thay frequented by young people.

    Well, of course. One of the big mistake the banners made was their belief that people who had been avoiding pubs because of the smoke would start going to them. Of course they didn’t, because, at the crucial age of their late teens, they had developed other ways of spending their time and other things to do, and weren’t about to change those habits because pubs became smoke-free. But the new generations, reaching drinking age after the ban, are a different matter.

  67. And OUR train? And OUR plane? And OUR bus, with of course the upstairs where the majority can be “accommodated” (thanks John, I just love that word)

  68. And if you don’t like it then you’re not interesting like us so you can just fuck off Fuck Off FUCK OFF.

    Richard Murphy meanwhile has all his prejudices confirmed.

  69. bloke (not) in spain

    ” I do hope you run a pub, otherwise that term is really quite unfortunate.”
    Almost. I’m co-owner of a bar. Thankfully not in this country. The family’s owned pubs, though. Several.

  70. bloke (not) in spain

    But on reflection, yes, our pub. Because pubs are the property of the people who use them. You soon find that out if you run a pub. Upset them & they’ll find another pub. Then you don’t have a pub. You have a room with a drinks selection.

  71. “it’s about banning people from imposing their unpleasant will on others.”

    No one is imposing anything on you – you were (and are) free to leave a pub. Anyone voluntarily in a building that allowed smoking was self harming in the same way a smoker was. For me the issues of property rights, self ownership and consent (implicitly given) make this issue clear cut; smoking in pubs is up to whoever owns the pub. Lester’s reply to Amartya sen summarises the classical liberal position on smoking in pubs very well;.
    http://www.la-articles.org.uk/smoking_and_libertarianism.htm

  72. “We weren’t imposing because you were free to leave” brilliant.

    Then there’s the staff. Squander Two thinks there should be ab opt – out for those who don’t want to work in bars. I agree, but most on this blog don’t agree. They think anyone refusing ANY work should have their benefits stopped. So we don’t have a voluntary decision on the part of staff. And so we need law.
    Anyway, I can sign off this little chat on this note: there is no public clamour to bring back smoking g in pubs or anywhere, it won’t happen. This is the country in which we Iive. It is a thriving g country importing young talent from around Europe. Those who don’t like it, we’ll you’ve answered your own question many times. Please enjoy life in your crumbling economy with its ageing population of dinosaurs..

  73. bloke (not) in spain

    Here’s a poll for the smokers & their allies in the “I don’t but I don’t object if you do” camp. Have you ever felt you’ve lost out, big time, because an avid tobaccophobe has refused to join your social circle?

  74. “It is a thriving g country importing young talent from around Europe. Those who don’t like it, we’ll you’ve answered your own question many times. Please enjoy life in your crumbling economy with its ageing population of dinosaurs.”

    The eternal squark of BluLabour clowns. “We’re young dynamic thrusting–the wave of the future. You are all old men, dinosaurs etc”. Bull-fucking-shite.

    You are a bag of cretins peddling ZaNuBluLabour Keynesian and socialistic shite that was shite when it came out 100 years ago. We have a bankrupt state that owes vastly more money that it (ie we) can ever pay. As well as being part of the Western tapestry of utterly corrupt and bankrupt states that are all going to fall sooner or later. We live in a “culturally enriched” shit-hole that grows more tyrannical by the day and will require a licence to sweep the fucking street before they are done. Creatures like Ironman and Theo–ie the crawling, tyranny-sucking pork of the state might have a bright future ahead of them–for they are just the type of fantasy wrapped, forelock-touching stooges the political scum crave.

  75. One of these days Mr Ecks is going to tell us what he really thinks 🙂

    And back on topic, I’m a life-long non-smoker. Can’t stand the smell of tobacco smoke. But I like personal freedom more, so am totally opposed to banning smoking on private property. Pubs, despite the ‘public’ part of the name, are private property.

    Before the ban came in it was clear that customers preferred pubs where smoking was allowed. We know this, because non-smoking pubs were tried. We had one around here – it had bouncers on the door to try and persuade people to stay in, it was so sparsely patronised. Wetherspoons tried non-smoking pubs too, and found their sales in those venues dropped 7% (a 10% increase in food sales, but a 10% drop in drink sales.)

  76. Misterex (A male-focussed halitosis-concealing spray?) says:

    …they are just the type of fantasy wrapped, forelock-touching stooges the political scum crave.

    But what are you, Mr Ecks, and who craves you?

  77. You’re a fucking philosopher now Armald?

    And don’t worry about your halitosis pal–like most supporters of socialism the stench of blood on you will mask your bad breath.

    All in all Armie your only hope is that the Big Lebowski has you killed before the Germans cut your dick off.

  78. bloke (not) in spain

    When you get a chance from your busy social whorl, Arnald, you must tell us about all the parties & other social gatherings you’re implored to illuminate with your presence.

  79. It would be interesting to see, should the ban be repealed, whether the population of fumophiles has dwindled sufficiently for most places to stay smoke free inside without compulsion.
    Smokers and non smokers were to be found across all strata of society. If smoking coincided with a particular social niche then it would be attractive for business to set themselves up to serve that niche. As that was not the case for a publican to ban smoking he would risk losing maybe 30% of his clientele. Whereas through long acclimatisation the non-smokers didn’t expect an outright ban.
    However nowadays the smoking population has dwindled- is it 20% and falling? So the risk of a voluntary ban to a landlord’s business is altered. Plus the fumophobic population will have risen not just because non-smoking but through the lack of acclimatisation.
    Having recently had a fairly late night round the house of a whole family of smokers I can confirm that it is a shock to the system. Don’t object- his house, his rules. I know for the fact I wouldn’t have batted an eyelid at that 15 years ago, but it made me more likely to seek out a non-smoking pub should the ban be repealed.

  80. Ironman

    “Then there’s the staff. Squander Two thinks there should be ab opt – out for those who don’t want to work in bars. I agree, but most on this blog don’t agree. They think anyone refusing ANY work should have their benefits stopped. So we don’t have a voluntary decision on the part of staff. And so we need law.”

    Disagree – the law is still a disproportionate interference in private property since there are other ways of protecting staff – for instance, not cutting the benefits of those who don’t want to work in a smoky pub.

    “Anyway, I can sign off this little chat on this note: there is no public clamour to bring back smoking g in pubs or anywhere,”

    Not sure I buy that, although there is no question that there is a well funded temperance lobby which has the ears of the political and media establishment. Even if it is true its irrelevant. As a classical liberal I care about individual liberty, rather than mob rule.

    “This is the country in which we Iive. It is a thriving g country importing young talent from around Europe. Those who don’t like it, we’ll you’ve answered your own question many times. Please enjoy life in your crumbling economy with its ageing population of dinosaurs..”

    What does Europe have to do with this? It wasn’t Europe that imposed this prohibition on us – the UK imposed it on itself. I’m also not sure how you square telling people to fuck off out of the country with your view that being told to fuck off out of a pub is an infringement of your rights. There is a bit of a difference between being asked to leave someone’s property and being banished from a country. You don’t have to be a dinosaur to recognise this.

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