I'm an incredibly busy bunny at the moment and have targeted limits on my time - as you will have noticed from the reduced output here - so ... of course I was there!
A highly-respected proper blogger has already eloquently described events, so I'll just chip in with the usual tabloid take on things to which you have become accustomed.
The day started on College Green with a gathering of people who didn't really know what they were supposed to be doing. It's to be expected really, since they are your normal men/women in the street, unlike the handsomely state and pharma-financed anti-tobacco lobbyists who are professionally accustomed to the ways of parliament, and probably on first name terms with Westminster security.
150 or so of pub and club industry personnel who have seen, up close and personal, the ban damage denied by ASH et al dutifully queued for their day passes - the ones not required by tobacco controllers who have laminated season tickets given to those who fly through the revolving doors on a regular basis - to be greeted with free food, beer, music and speeches.
It would be wonderful if this had been donated by a state which steals money off of every man jack of them on an ongoing basis, but it wasn't. Only tax-leeching anti-smokers qualify for such treatment, spending the money taken from us with the help of state threats and intimidation.
On a personal note regarding security, my jacket was scrutinised very closely on the X-ray machine when they spotted my e-cig battery (which does, admittedly, look like a .303 rifle shell), but just as I was about to pre-emptively explain, the female operator looked at me; smiled; and waved it through. It must have been one of my more pheromonically-attractive days.
Once within the ancient walls, those MPs who had been contacted by attendees and invited to discuss the possibility of an amendment - and who could actually be bothered to spend 5 minutes with real people - popped along. Mostly conveying the same message. It went generally like this (I could name names, but some such things are best left in reserve for now).
"Oh yes, the ban is OTT, and I agree with you that there should be an adjustment to the legislation, but if pushed to a vote I'd have to abstain. That's politics, sorry."The die is cast. Only certain minorities are worth championing. More than my job's worth etc.
A line with which the BBC obviously agree judging by this appallingly slanted piece on Brillo's show. Watch as the studio MPs exhibit an astonishing lack of imagination (or simple-minded ignorance) of the vast array of different options for allowing choice for all. It seems we are, indeed, living in the age of kakistocratic government.
They're not all that idiotic, of course. A healthy contingent of unblinkered MPs mingled with other attendees of a very good turnout for such an event, including many influential political individuals.
The fine weather was immensely welcome as many took in the terrace view over the Thames while a HoC employee informed us that "smoking is prohibited in the parliamentary estate" - a rule which was *cough* impeccably observed, natch. You see, it's only members who are allowed to smoke on the terrace, not the public. There really is one rule for them etc on that issue, it seems.
Later, after having decamped to the pub for a couple of hours of refreshing conversation, I headed off into the dusky evening to make my way back to Puddlecoteville. And as I did so, a sign on Parliament Square seemed to express sage advice to anyone who has sampled the stench of self-important paternalism and grotesque dismissive denial of personal liberties around Westminster.
If only it wasn't necessary, my electronic friend. If only.