Labour enjoy banning things, it's what they do.
There is an upside though, as local councils always find an ultra vires way of making money out of them. Reading Council have thought up a natty little wheeze, pavement smoking licences.
Pubs and clubs may have to buy a licence to allow punters to smoke on the pavement outside premises if a new condition is introduced by the council.
A proposal is being put before the licensing committee on Tuesday to suggest pavements used by premises who do not have a private smoking area will have to be cordoned off and staffed during opening hours.
It would mean all who use the public highway as their smoking area would have to pay an annual £220 fee and have additional staff supervising the area.
They would also be responsible for emptying bins and sweeping the cordoned area, and would have to use barriers that met council requirements.
Payment for doing something that is perfectly legal? With additional business costs imposed too? Inspired!
As is the sleight of hand mendacity from the proponent of this measure.
Jean Champeau [?!?], who wrote the report on the proposals for the meeting, said: “The introduction of the recent smoking legislation has now resulted in a number of unauthorised smoking areas on public highways."
Pas de merde, Monsieur Sherlock. Did you raise these concerns before the law was enacted, espèce de chatte?
And unauthorised? Exactly when did smoking in the open air require authorisation? The outside is the outside, which, last time I looked, wasn't covered by the Health Act 2006. If it was cordoned off and staffed, it could be termed as an area that might need to have authorisation.
So what this fuckwit is saying is that where smokers stand must be cordoned off as the council demands it, so becoming an area which needs authorisation ... and therefore a licence. Brilliant!
Oh yeah, I nearly forgot the hold-your-hands-over-your-privates, butt-naked lie.
“The licensing trade are keen to have areas which have been approved to a set standard."
Yep, that's right. This cocktard is truly trying to assert as fact that, at a time when pubs are closing at a rate of 39 per week, where there is a campaign which has been taken to Westmonster itself to save pubs, that the pub trade is crying out for rules such as this which require them to; pay for a licence; buy equipment to cordon off an area which is not their own; and employ extra staff to police and clean it.
With all due respect. Bollocks.
Is there a chance that this could be defeated? I doubt it. Labour and the (Il)Lib (Un)Dems have the majority.
There won't be much resistance from the locals either. The majority will smile glibly and nod in righteous agreement as something they don't personally like is restricted, completely oblivious to the fact that the cross hair will, sooner or later, be levelled at something they enjoy themselves.
So fuck the pubs. Fuck the British legal model of 'everything is permitted except that which is expressly prohibited by law'. And congratulations Reading council in contriving to ride the wave of righteousness, on a surfboard of misdirection and porkies, to garner extra funds to throw at diversity and road humps.
UPDATE: Lawson Narse has responded with an artistic commentary on the future of Reading council officers.