It appears that the British are having more problems with their understanding of Democracy. One time bastion of personal freedom, and still one of the only countries in the world where religious nuts can say anything they want almost, without flinching (so long as it is pro-Christian), the personal freedom and choice of certain (and not a small number either) British Subjects to smoke, ignoring other peoples wishes or feelings or health is at risk.
As a "non-convinced but condemned-to-giving-it-up" non-smoker, it may be strange that I defend the rights of these people.
It's a question of Democracy. It is the right of everybody to kill themselves if and how and when they see fit, and Mummy State should get out of it! Mummy State already gets loads out of it, and I'm sure that when everybody in Britain has stopped smoking, everybody will be enormously happy to pay the increased tax, to cover the loss of revenue. They tell me that the loss of revenue will be covered in a drop in Health costs. Rubbish - people will always find something to be sick with, and if they are paying higher revenues, then they will want a lot more back, in one way or the other. At the start, there will be such an increase in agressive behaviour (already enormous) due to nicotine withdrawal symptoms, that any hoped for savings in the Health system will be gobbled up by emergency surgery, and later by the increased penal system costs.
I know that "Democracy" is a many edged sword, if you ask 500 people their ideas, you'll get 500 different Democracies, but that's Democracy!
Over here, the French have solved the smoking problem in many different ways, one of the most agressive being to put all NON-smokers in a NON-smokers zone, normally outside on the pavement or on the terrace, if the bar/restaurant has one. This is great for NON smokers in summer, but a little harsh in winter. It's great all year round for SMOKERS, who appreciate this form of Democracy!
Actually the best way, being adopted by more and more establishments in France, is to respect the fact that in France (as in Britain, I presume)many bars/cafes/restaurants are actually PRIVATE premises and establishments.It is the owner who decides what is allowed or not within his 4 walls and roof. More and more places are plastering "smoking zone" or "smoking allowed" stickers all over the entry, and all over the interior. The NON-smoker is thereby warned, and makes his own decision - democratically!
I support this way of doing things, otherwise I can see the day arriving when Mummy State will decide what we do in our own 4 walls, and then we'll hear howlings of protest - but where is the difference?
I suppose NON-drinkers would like us all to be banned from drinking anywhere, not only in the establishments concerned, and from what I see on the TV about the situation in UK, they seem to have a point, BUT drinking is a Democratic choice, just as non-drinking is, and as a supporter of Democracy, I would never judge any decision as "undemocratic" if it was taken by a sane and responsable person, or by a majority of members. In these cases, I would qualify the individual as a nut, and the majority would see my backend! That's MY DEMOCRACY - to be respected by all!
weather at Vauvert, France
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