Sunday, 10 July 2016

This Debate Really Is Over

Back in 2010, radio presenter Jon Gaunt was fired by LBC radio for calling a Redbridge councillor - who had banned smokers from adopting children - a 'health nazi'.

It prompted something of a debate at the time, with the BBC predictably weighing in with an article that almost audibly tutted while you read it. I, of course, disagreed and explained why the term is entirely justified when it comes to treatment of smokers recently.

I think this week saw the debate put to bed though because how else does one describe behaviour like this in Australia?
Enforcing a smoking ban in two key public areas in Sydney, Martin Place and the Pitt Street Mall, the City of Sydney council is pushing ahead with plans to arrest and fine smokers who defy the ban. 
Announcing its plan to turn Pitt Street's busy shopping mall into a smoke-free area, the council initially claimed its rangers could demand the name and address of people caught smoking and then arrest offenders who refused to give their details when faced with a $110 fine.
Papieren bitte?
The council plans to enforce the smoke-free zone later this year in the Mall and at Martin Place, which has undergone a 12 month trial as a no smoking area. 
During the trial, City of Sydney rangers were given the power to demand a smoker's details, and if they didn't comply, to follow them into their workplace and pressure them into providing their information.
It's important to note that there is no credible science - even of the junk variety - to show that secondhand smoke outdoors is any harm to anyone, and even Australia's smoker-hater-in-Chief admits the idea is bonkers.
"fleeting encounters with cigarette plumes" in wide open spaces pose "a near homeopathic level of risk to others", [Prof Simon Chapman] says. 
So this is not anything to do with health, merely the wilful and blatant bullying of smokers, for no other reason than to denormalise and humiliate them. Ring any bells?

Yet no-one in authority in Sydney, it seems, is able to step back and see how vile this is.

I wrote something about this last summer and I think it bears repeating.
This is why when I say we are on the side of the angels here, and that tobacco control tax spongers deserve prison time for encouraging such hate and division in our population, I really do mean it.
Now, read those fascistic measures being employed in Sydney again and tell me I'm wrong.

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