Friday, 1 July 2011

In The Belly Of The Beast

There was a friendly little gig at Westminster on Wednesday, you may have heard about it.

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. That's when I applied the cleverly-designed magazine to my mobile phone-shaped semi-automatic and shot every last one of the futhermuckers!.

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.


Anonymous said...

Another year or two and it may resemble Sygmata square.
Just sayin.

Anonymous said...

Phsycotic smoker alert

i.e ,and there's more ,total nutter.

39 minutes agoRecommended by
1 person You should only be allowed to pursue such habits if you can do so without affecting other people. The air is naturally clean of harmful tobacco smoke so anyone smoking is knowingly polluting the air. They have no right to do so where this affects other people. So, if you want to smoke do it in your own home or vehicle, it's only fair.

If about non-smokers get to do something which they enjoy, which calms their nerves, helps them concentrate and quite frankly they just like doing so tough to anyone who doesn't like it - that being smacking smokers in the mouth? Happy with that, nicotine addicts?

Tom Paine said...

"proper blogger" my **se! Thanks for the link, Dick and good to see you briefly behind enemy lines.

Mark said...

Did this help in anyway
& was the event a success.

Anonymous said...

"They've found ways round it" said Hilary Benn. Sure we have, like going outside in the cold, sitting in a chicken coop or staying at home!

They should try, just once, to get out.

Anonymous said...

We note that the Irish, like the French, are now planning to reduce VAT to support their ailing hospitality industries.

That's treating the symptoms rather than the disease - just repeal the smoking ban and watch the hospitality trade recover, at no cost to the Treasury. A no-brainer if ever there was one.

Anonymous said...

Too much pride invested in the smoking bans and it's impossible to overcome people who are proud of having turned a lie into truth. It's like telling someone their dear darling child is actually a criminal delinquent, parents won't want to hear it. Same way with the smoking ban - pride. It gets in the way and will cause them to do everything but common sense and decency. Wear down the pride and you erode the support for the ban.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Anon @ 13:02: We can but hope.

Tom: Likewise, your appearance was a pleasantly unexpected surprise.

Mark: We shall have to wait and see. I think any success is inextricably linked to the collective ability of MPs to give a shit about real people as opposed to state-funded blowhards.

Anon @ 18:42: Hilary Benn is a perfect example of the above.

Anon @ 19:59: Well, yes. But we're dealing with some incredibly ignorant and authoritarian jizzcrumpets in Westminster.

Anon @ 22:38: There's doubtless a lot of truth in that. Or they could be just vacant, of course. ;)

Anonymous said...

That sign really readz-'wnkrz'

Anonymous said...

"They've found ways round it" said Hilary Benn.

WTF is this pathetic woman on about ?

Sitting outside in the cold and rain or stay at home surely.

Those are the only ways around it.??

lleweton said...

'Smoking is forbidden on the Parliamentary estate'? But it's a Royal Palace. As I recall, all sorts of rules which might apply to other institutions don't apply to it. You're not even officially allowed to die there - something to do with complications involving the Royal Coroner I believe. Has the Queen ruled on smoking on her estates?