Wednesday, 29 June 2011

The Last Ditch: Advancing liberty, one smoke at a time

A good post from Tom Paine:

The cross-party group of MPs hosting this afternoon's sunny reception on the Commons Terrace comprised only non-smokers. Two, like me, had never smoked but felt strongly about liberty. The Labour host Roger Godiff- to cries of "don't give them ideas" - suggested it would be more honourable for antismokers to call honestly for abolition. Until then, if it was legal, it was wrong to proscribe it. It was nostalgic to hear a Labour man talk in such terms; an echo of the days when the working-class members of that party at least, were not looking to replace one boss class with another.

They all spoke eloquently enough to a good crowd, but I was most moved by the plain speaking of Mick McGlasham, General Secretary of the Workingmens Clubs & Institutes Union (CIU). He was genuinely baffled that, when pubs and clubs are ready to make ventilated smoking areas, anti-smoking fanatics are still determined to shatter the institutions at the heart of working-class communities. "Just give us the technical specs", he said, "and we will comply. It's time for some commonsense on smoking legislation". He also pointed out that young children are being more exposed to cigarettes because their parents now have nowhere to smoke but at home.

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