Smoking in public

Butt out - social ostracism is working I just don't have the willpower. I try and I try, but I can't seem to get the habit. My smoking problem is that I simply can't take it up. Every time we go away, I pack this pathetic cigar, and every time I imagine myself firing it up at the end of dinner, and having a damn good smoke. I see myself as a more humane version of Saddam, glorying in my Cohiba, savouring the aroma of the world's finest tobacco, rolled on the thighs of whatever virgins there are left in Havana. And then dinner comes to its close. The crickets are crying triumphantly. The pousse-café is drained and it is time for the combustion and inhalation of this stonking great courgette. I ease it out of its case, and pinch it delicately between forefinger and thumb. I sniff one end. I sniff the other end. I take out my box of England's Glory (also specially packed), and prepare to strike a match. And then what happens? I don't know. I am overcome by some sort of akrasia, a weakness of will. Instead of striking that match, I find myself using it to pick my teeth, and the cigar is slipped quietly back into its silo, ready for the next holiday, so that it is drier than a relic from Tutankhamun's tomb. What is it with me and smoking? I am afraid it is partly a sense of guilt. The trouble with smoking is that it is not popular, and children in particular seem to be against it. There is a strident, ideological edge to their denunciations, rather like the pre-pubescent cadres of the Khmer Rouge. After a while their moralising is enough to drive the staunchest libertarian to throw in the towel and go for the whisky. Then I have this dreadful politically correct homunculus that squats somewhere in my limbic pathways. He is a miserable sod, this daemon, but he knows his stuff. As soon as I reach for that cigar, I can feel him tapping his feet and reminding me that 114,000 smokers are killed every year by smoking. "One person in four dies from cancer," this creep reminds me, and he goes on to point out that lung cancer is especially nasty. That, I am ashamed to say, is what stops me from smoking: a combination of social pressure and a pathetic terror of death - and I can imagine the snorts of derision from the serious smokers of this world as they read this. Wimp! they say. Milquetoast! Call yourself a freedom-lover! Call yourself a risk-taker! I hang my head before these brave souls. That is why I want now to reassure all smokers that in one way I am on their side. It is precisely my continued failure to take up smoking that leads me to oppose a ban on smoking in public places. Consider what happens to my will - my decision-making procedures - in that terrible moment between picking up the cigar and putting it down again. On the one hand I want nicotine. I want that life-enhancing buzz, and the luxurious sensation of smoke dribbling down from one's nostrils. I want that slow spread of pleasure through my brain-pan. On the other hand, I don't want to be a nuisance, and I don't want to die, and I am afraid the second set of desires beats the first set, more or less every time. By a combination of guilt, and the unforgettable picture I once saw of a smoker's lung (imagine a cricket ball made of stilton), I have been socialised into becoming a non-smoker. In other words, I have exercised a reasoned choice, and across the country people are doing the same in ever-growing numbers. The habit has declined hugely in the past 30 years, from roughly half the population in 1974, to roughly a quarter today; and that change in the numbers means, of course, that the majority is now in a perfect position to tyrannise the minority. It is extremely difficult, statistically, to contract a cancer from passive smoking - far more difficult than contracting HIV, and no one is going to ban HIV sufferers from having sex. But the general disapproval of smoking is so intense that the trumped-up fears of passive smoking are being used to drive smokers into ever tinier reservations, like poor, deluded redskins bullied from their ancestral hunting grounds. Airlines, hotels, railways, cinemas, pubs, even JD Wetherspoon, has now banned smoking, and I have to admit that I don't entirely regret it. As soon as you go into a non-smoking pub, you notice the improvement in air quality. The change is happening, and the persecution of smokers seems unstoppable. The question, therefore, is why does Labour have to legislate, to accomplish that which is already being accomplished by the market? Why does the law have to scurry in this cowardly way to ban that which is already on the way to complete ostracism? A ban on smoking in public places would not only take away discretion from the many establishments that want a smoking clientele - people who want to enjoy a legal substance in perfect understanding of the risks. Above all, a ban on smoking in public places substitutes the discretion of the state for the individual will, in a way that is morally sapping. If this stuff is legal, then people should be left to make up their minds. They have the facts. We can all read the cartons. If there is one thing wrong with us all these days, it is that we are so mollycoddled, airbagged and swaddled with regulations and protections that we have lost any proper understanding of risk. As long as tobacco is legal, people should be free to balance the pleasures and dangers themselves, as I do with my unsmoked Cohiba. The slow strangulation of smoking is being accomplished by the millions of decisions of society at large. We don't need the state to butt in, not least because one day soon I might decide to have a peaceful smoke after lunch in my office, and I want that freedom, too.

116 thoughts on “Smoking in public”

  1. A very good article. I personally hate smoking, but hate even more a government that keeps trying to make society better by criminalising everything.

  2. You tobacco lobby lackie you. Civil liberties are not a ‘God given’ right. They are privileges delegated by Government.

    Libertarianism is a trick. The people aren’t free. Man is a slave of ‘capital’, controlled and conditioned by corporate propaganda and ‘commercialism’.

    True freedom can only be acquired through collectivism. Human nature (un-alienated by capitalism) is inherently altruistic and dedicated to the ‘greater good’.

    Up the workers!!!

  3. Finally a politician that speaks some common sense!

    I totally agree. It should be the individuals right to choose. We should not have to be told how to consume a legal product.

    Where will it end?

  4. What nonsense you speak, Smirnoff! Human nature is the same as the nature of other primates – i.e. dominance is required for the social group to perform well.
    Coupled with this, people are inherently greedy and power-hungry – everyone wants more than they have.
    Whilst you say ‘Up the workers,’ they are nonetheless compliant in working with large corporations, etc. and so can be labelled equally to blame as everyone else for any of capitalisms wrongs.

    Regarding the article, Boris does make a good point – anyone who wants to find somewhere non-smoking to go and drink, or do many other social activites, can easily find such a place.
    Whilst I do not appreciate sitting next to a smoker wherever I am, since the smoke does irritate my lungs, I can tolerate it because I know that it isn’t actually causing me that much harm. And if I *really* can’t stand it, then I’ll move away. Simple.

  5. Comrade Smirnoff – Good work, I’m sure that little excerpt from the student/sw guide to leftist brainwashing has converted Boris and everyone else in the forum; we now see the error of our ways! Down with capitalism! Property is theft! … Yeah, right :/ Take it elsewhere please!

    Regarding the article; Good point well made and I completely agree – it’s up to clubs/pubs/etc to make up their own minds, if the customers really want smoking banned then companies have nothing to gain by refusing.

  6. I agree with Boris, the ‘market’ is slowly doing the job. Legislation will only criminalise people. Either make the substance illegal (it has been pointed out that if eithre tobacco or alcohol were ‘new’ drugs they would be banned under existing laws) or allow it.
    I’m a non-smoker, I dislike smoke (not specifically for health reasons, except that the smell makes me sick), but I have no more desire to crimininalise people who smoke than I have to criminalise those to do other antisocial activities like cutting the lawn at 8am on a Sunday.
    But of course the government can’t resist being seen to “do something”, especially if that gives them an even tighter grip on the population…

    I vote for Boris as Emperor!

  7. I used to smoke. I gave up some 13 years ago. I pity those who crave the weed, but do not condemn them.It’s an expensive way to a possible bare existence on a nebuliser, or even worse, to total oxygen cylinder delivery dependency. It’s a pity our wannabe pseudo red satirist does not appear read that the last bastions of almost universal smoking in the Northern Hemisphere, are the former USSR and China. Ah China! Beloved of his sort as a paradise. The last time I was there, I was summarily reminded that another word for Paradise is Hell. It’s definitely changing now, there is more freedom, of a sort: to smoke yourself to an earthly Eden.

  8. It’s so nice to hear common sense on this issue. I genuinely feel like we are having our privates put in a vice by some kind of conspiracy between GMC and the government to disinfect and sanitise every last part of our already moribund lives until we finally give up and die (albeit at a ripe old age) of boredom. Although I recently quit smoking, with the exception of the occasional, mostly celebratory Cohibas, I will miss the days of sitting in a smoky jazz club, or sharing an after dinner cigar at the Savoy.
    Really isn’t it high time that our blessed government treated us as having a mental age of something over four. I mean next thing they will be shipping out bibs too us so we don’t risk damaging our torsos when we eat possibly bare chested on these sultry days.

  9. Boris: “I have been socialised into becoming a non-smoker.”

    Excellent. No doubt, like the rest of us, you have been also socialised into being a non-rapist, a non-thief, a non-murderer etc. This is entirely good. Modern society would not work if we all enjoyed hunter-gatherer style freedoms, walking into each other’s gardens, trampling on the flowers and shooting the dogs and cats.

    Smoking is the most offensive social activity that remains widespread. Nothing else compares with it. It is a form of physical assault, and like other forms of assault it should be ctiminalized.

    (The best thing to do with the cigar is throw it away. In 2005 it’s just a affectation. You are not Fidel Castro (promoting exports) or Churchill (different era).)

  10. “if we all enjoyed hunter-gatherer style freedoms, walking into each other’s gardens, trampling on the flowers and shooting the dogs and cats” –

    I didn’t know hunter-gatherers had either gardens or dogs and cats. But you learn something every day.

    I’m a failed smoking-giver-upper. I HAVE tried – I had to, after a bypass. The doc wouldn’t let me use patches (something to do with my heart). I’ve tried good old willpower, acupuncture, homeopathy and hypnotism. Finally one doctor said I could do as much damage from the stress of trying to give up as I do from smoking itself.

    When I took it up at age 19, nobody was talking about smoking being unhealthy OR addictive. In those days it was just “cool”. I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.

    And I’ve always suspected that the danger from passive smoking has been exaggerated, but that doesn’t stop me feeling guilty. I try not to impose my smoke on others, and never light up outside my own home without asking if it’s ok with those around me. In Dublin, on a night out, I smoke in the alleyways with the poor unfortunates who have the same filthy addiction as me.

    Boris cheered me up no end.

    Today I feel not guilty, your Honour.

  11. PS:
    Mac, I know I look forward to a bare existence on a nebuliser or a total oxygen cylinder delivery dependency.
    More likely I’ll go quickly from heart failure.

    But I’d like to know how you gave the damned thing up?

  12. “Smoking is the most offensive social activity that remains widespread.”

    What about the Labour Party? ๐Ÿ˜‰

    On the subject though, I’m in two minds about this. On one hand, I detest smoking and so couldn’t be happier if it was banned altogether, but on the other hand, the idea of banning smoking in public places seems a ridiculously inhibiting one, nevermind a real challenge to enforce.

    Going back off topic again, I see Boris is going to be on Nigella Lawson’s new show. Any idea of a date?

  13. This is one topic I can’t keep quiet on I’m afraid.I have also tried and failed to pick up the habit a blessing in disguise, and when I was 22 and a drunken party girl it didn’t bother me at all but now I’m a tad older and more grumpy and yes it bothers me intensely. I can’t wait for the legislation to be introduced if I have to suffer various other sorts of nannying by the government then I consider it about time that at least one piece of legislation is going to work in my favour!!!!You’d think that society would be able to have enough influence to get them to stop smoking but how long is that going to take? another 20 years ?I’d rather enjoy the smoke free enviroment now thanks. There are not many non smoking pubs and restaurants to cater for the three quarters of the population that Boris suggest don’t smoke so surely it should be the other way round that there are specific restaurants for smokers only and the rest of the world is for us who don’t. All in favour ? say ‘aye’.

  14. Kaye: AYE!

    Nora: “I didn’t know hunter-gatherers had either gardens or dogs and cats. ”

    Some indeed do, but my point (directed towards Boris, not you) was that social behaviour has to change with the times.

    “I had no idea what I was letting myself in for.”

    I suppose it wasn’t common knowledge that smoking was harmful until the 1960s. Those who started before then have my sympathy.

    “I’d like to know how you gave the damned thing up.”

    I’ve never had to give it up, so I have no quick and ready answer, but maybe the way to change a life style problem is to change your life style? Three or four weeks relaxing on a tropical island, living in a small local hotel (not a resort), forgetting the time, day of the week, date etc. might do it.

    I have always thought the NHS could save an enormous amount of money by establishing a branch hospital in Indonesia to treat people for depression, allergies, skin diseases, substance abuse, whatever.

  15. What a wonderful and radical thought Simon – we could have NHS charter flights for the purpose. The only trouble might come with the inevitable long waiting lists…I am feeling very pasty-faced and think I suffer from a serious Vitamin D deprivation as there is insufficient sunlight streaming through my window. A visit, as you suggest, would be just the remedy.

  16. Aaron: “Could we have one in Iceland for the cold-lovers, such as myself?”

    Sorry, no. The Icelanders actually have a worse life style than the British. They rely on large quantities of alcohol, sex and staying up all night in order to relax. (Of course they are wonderful people . . .). The good news is that Indonesia is surprisingly cool and mild if you choose to live in the mountains.

    Melissa: “we could have NHS charter flights for the purpose. The only trouble might come with the inevitable long waiting lists.”

    True, but many of the patients would never come back so that would act as an incentive for GPs to get their patients on the flights.

  17. Simon

    That is a highly ingenious, logical and reasoned deduction.

    Simon * The shrewdest man North of the Border *

  18. Kay, you sound like such a lovely lady, I hope we are not losing you to the evil forces of intolerance and oppression (Nulabour).
    I fully defend your right to be passive smoking free, but why a total ban? Other options might be to license a few smoking pubs in all towns. Better still, if a landlord can satisfy the local council health and safety commisars that non-smoking parts of his establishment are permanently smoke free then where’s the problem?
    Smoking will undoubtably decrease substantially, so Gordon will be after you to make up the short fall. I hope you don’t have any vices.

  19. Kay: NAY!!

    If the 3/4 of the population that doesn’t smoke used pubs as much as smokers do, then the pubs themselves would regulate. The reality is that most non-smokers don’t really spend enough money in pubs (in comparison to smokers) to warrant this.

    Besides, there are many thing that irritate me…authoritarian idiots for one. But i will not see legislation against them. Unless, of course, they start telling me what i can and can’t do…whereupon i will set fire to their underwear. Fair enough?

    I expect that nuLabour will be telling me how many footsteps i must take a day, and how many breaths i am allowed to take, by this time next year.

    In fact, even more unpleasant than a smoker, those people who insist on spraying HUGE quantities of (supposedly) fragrant chemical bodysprays all over themselves. I know i’m not the only one that finds it impossible to breathe near them, and the irritation to my eyes in their presence tells me they* are far more noxious than is widely publicised.

    In summary: Live and let live.

    (*=both the people using them, and the chemicals themselves)

  20. My pet hate is people with BO, especially when it’s as hot as it has been this week. There are people who seem to have a cloud of stale body odour surrounding them. It’s disgusting and makes me want to be sick… but if I were to demand a ban on people leaving their homes without smelling pleasant, I wonder what the reaction would be.

    I’m a non-smoker but I’m afraid this is one of those issues – fox hunting is another – where the anti lobby are so smug and obnoxious that I’m inclined to side with the pros simply because they sound like reasonable people. Even without that bias, I don’t see the need for a ban on smoking in public.

    The chances of being harmed by passive smoking are negligible unless you’re constantly in a heavy smoke-filled environment – the most likely example is living with a smoker, something that this legislation won’t affect. You could puff around your wife and kids all day, 365 days a year and not be breaking the law.

    In places like pubs and nightclubs, sure I see the benefits of having smoke-free establishments but surely the answer is a balance of smoking and non-smoking ones. if you must legislate, why not force individuals or companies that own more than one pub or club to make a certain percentage non-smoking. It would be up to them which ones. Let the breweries work the details out. I don’t see why there shouldn’t be places for smokers.

    On the street, I don’t see a problem at all. You aren’t going to be harmed by someone smoking on the same street as you for god’s sake. If we’re that sensitive, let’s take all the old, pollution-belching buses and lorries off the roads before we start on smokers. If someone’s deliberately or carelessly blowing it in your face, then can’t we find some law against anti-social behaviour we could charge him with?

    I’m getting as fed up as you Boris with all this legislation aimed at my personal liberties. I suppose the bright side is that Labour are finally giving the Conservatives a real issue to fight over rather than cravenly backing down or moving the goalposts on anything that might make them lose votes to you (eg: Europe). At this rate I can see the next election being fought on civil liberties vs state control. I do hope the rest of the Tories feel the same way because a lot of people are behind you on this and it would be nice to have a political voice.

  21. Lori – that is SO clever of you – though I would steer well clear of it

    >The Easy Way to Start Smoking: A Step-by-Step Guide to Smoking Twenty Cigarettes a Day

  22. Kevin T.: I agree fully with your BO analysis…but the solution is soap and water, not chemicals! Personally, i don’t suffer from BO. Then again, i guess not everyone knows how to wash!

    I also love the way that we keep getting told that “smokers put an unnecessary strain upon the NHS”. At least they are prepared to pay extra taxes for the pleasure…tobacco tax revenues MORE than pay for the NHS. Who will be paying these extra taxes when smokers are no longer allowed to voluntarily sacrifice their health for the benefit of the country?

    Excellent point on the much greater danger of diesal fume pollution, too!

    ;0)

  23. It has been proved that cigarettes are the most common cause of statistics

    What next? Drinking beer in public will be shamed;-?

    As in so many other countries and in so many other times, the rise of a newly educated intellectual class in the 19th century polarized the society with ethnic identity politics. All over Bohemia, the new Czech intelligentsia urged Czechs to think of themselves as Czechs, not Bohemians or Budweisers or anything else that would transcend their ethnic identity
    http://www.capmag.com/article.asp?ID=4269
    [ We Are All Budweisers: If only the grievances of past centuries had been left in the past! If only they had all remained Budweisers or Bohemians]

    CODA: The Tory party has not quite diminished to a level of importance at which its affairs are of concern only to members of its dwindling associations. But it has certainly declined to a point that is dangerously close to effective disappearance http://politics.guardian.co.uk/print/0,3858,5219562-107980,00.html
    [The Tory party faces an unenviable choice of leadership candidates]

  24. Nora! You asked a question. think on this!
    ———————————————
    Conas ta tu? Your lungs doing overtime?
    Pulling like train on a freshly lit weed
    Lungs slowly blackening; bronchia kippering
    Half way to be ‘cured’: for oak chippings; no need

    What does it cost now; a packet of poison?
    Many times more than the filth can be worth
    Most of the price goes to pay for the jollop
    To help the poor sufferer stay here on earth

    They say the converted make much better preachers
    Because they were blinded when they saw the light
    If you; like St. Paul, on the road to Damascus
    Could see just a spark: you’ll stop smoking tonight.

    I Hope it might help

  25. Statistics are like a bikini – what they reveal is suggestive, but what they conceal is vital.
    – Aaron Levenstein

    Psimon, it was proven beyond reasonable doubt that 77.7% of all statistics and poems are made up on the spot by all kinds of characters ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Here’s some exciting medical news from the Chinese government: Smoking is great for your health.
    In China, cigarettes are a kind of miracle drug
    By GEOFFREY YORK

    Saturday, June 11, 2005, Page A14

    GUIYANG, CHINA — Here’s some exciting medical news from the Chinese government: Smoking is great for your health.

    Cigarettes, according to China’s tobacco authorities, are an excellent way to prevent ulcers.

    (<ahttp://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/ArticleNews)

    PS: I used to smoke pipe, but I gave it up in 1984 when I got married. I now have a cigar at Christenings and bucks parties. One lives only twice so let us be less risk averse – who wants to live till 100? Ach, Fags have never been my cup a tea ๐Ÿ˜‰

  26. Jozef: ” Who wants to live to be 100?” Someone who’s 99.5 ,I would say. My home spun philosphy:- “Time is like petroleum; the more there is available; the bigger the wastage: the shorter the supply , the more valued it inevitably becomes.”
    Like they say nowadays in all the stores, ” Buy now: when it’s gone ;it’s gone.”

  27. One should be asking why nicotine is a legal drug. If it had not been discovered until now it would be immediately ‘A’ classified.

    When smokers offer me compensation for the laundry bills they cause I will have more sympathy. I have no sympathy for smokers with lung cancer and I do not believe the National Health should foot the bill to make them more comfortable.

    Smoking is deeply unpleasant and unnecessary. For one I agree with Blair; a very rare event indeed.

  28. Dear John
    After my little rant the other day I felt so much better I nearly needed a cigarette….but if I started smoking my husband would leave me and he pays for my other vices (like red wine and shoes)I stand firm by what I said though, I can hardly believe a ban on smoking is going to be the end of civil liberties. Dying from smoking related diseases is going to be far more restrictive to my liberties as will forking out the extra ยฃ’s to NHS to support all this lot through their emphasema and lung cancers.
    Finally , if people will insist on voting for labour then Gordon is going to be in a position to steal my money anyway.

    ps. I’m also keen on a ban on poorly behaved children in restaurants but thats another story altogether. he he he he

  29. I could not agree more Macarnie,

    I wrote the snippet after a few glasses of red – I should have qualified my state of being … I would love to live till 100 provided the society lets me enjoy naughty but nice things …

    CODA: (Melissa) Happy-slap politics – During most of the eight years of New Labour government, The Spectator has been edited by Boris Johnson, Conservative MP for Henley. Johnson is a fluently witty writer and The Spectator in his time has done well: it

  30. Kay,
    I’ve decided to keep you classified as a “Lovely lady”, but only because of your attitude towards poorly behaved children in restaurants.

  31. J Cimrman is a heavy drinker, but a light smoker and now a greatest Czech of all Times ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I am such a complete atheist that I am afraid God will punish me. Such is the pithy wisdom of Jแฒก Cimrman – Existence cannot not exist. Fictional Cimrman is so beloved because he is that most prickly of ironies: a Czech who was greater than all the worldย’s greats, but who for some hiccup of chance has never been recognized for his achievements. I like to think that the vote for Cimrman says something about the country’s rousing enthusiasm for blowing raspberries in the face of authority. Czech out the two things about the Czech nation: that it is skeptical about those who are major figures and those who are supposedly ย‘the greatest.ย’ And that the only certainty that has saved the nation many times throughout history is its humour. When optimists should be shot:

    J Cimrman: the Greatest Czech of All Time

  32. Jozef: let’s hope we have a long and enjoyable time before the century has been scored.If I had to declare my status every time I sat, when not in his arms, but at least on Bacchus’ knee, , I really would be a diarist.( RS)

    Your fictional hero, Cimrman; if my phonetic reading of the word doesn’t let me down, must be related to Bob Dylon, in that he was in an earlier existence, in translation , was a Zimmerman: a carpenter. ( aber kein Czar, nehme ich an)

  33. Dear Jozef

    I saw that link with ref to The Spectator and thought that the reason why Boris is breaking records by being a long-serving successful Editor is because there just isn’t anyone close to his calibre in sight. And, yes, they did see sense over the Iraq war in the end.

    I like the Spectator and the only bone I would pick is about cartoons reflecting content of the page. I need to go on a ‘understanding cartoons’ course as I can’t seem to understand the relevance of most of them. Pauvre moi!

  34. Kay + John

    So you would only ban Poorly behaved children (ie any child with the sheer front to actually play in a non-designated area) from restaurants: together no doubt with their equally feckless parents.

    Get the breeders into their own restaurants and leave the singletons in peace, eh? Not at all authoritarian or smug, my friends. And we know how the Brits just love kiddies like the Continentals, right? Or am I right?

    Perhaps if there were more public spaces in thus miserable country and children weren’t generally regarded as a life form from another planet (Seen + Not Heard), they might be better behaved, hmmm? Or shall we have another go at the chavs?

    Just a thoughtette.

  35. Boris, your comment comparing the smoker’s rights to smoke and HIV sufferers rights to have sex is wrong! HIV sufferers can be charged with GBH or even attempted murder for having sex (if they knowingly infect someone without letting their partner know their status).

    Smoking is one of the single most harmful things you can do to your health. As it is the same carcinogens being breathed in by passive smoking, it is not unreasonable to assume that it too is very damaging to health. Indeed every week more scientific evidence appears to support this!

    It’s fine to say non-smokers have a choice, but this ignores the actuality. What does a non-smoker do if he wants to see a certain band that more likely or not will only play in smoky venues?

    There are in practise hardly any pubs that are smoke free or even properly ventilated. In practical terms it is still a choice between coming home stinking of cigarettes or avoiding pubs altogether. Why are the non-smokers right not to have a smokers cough in the morning less important than a smokers right to pollute?

    Then what about people who have to work in smoky environments?

    In my opinion non-smokers have been oppressed for far too long. Smokers will still have the choice to smoke outdoors or in their own home, let them have the inconvenience of having their rights taken away for a change! Its either or, there is no compromise on this one!

  36. In my extended family there is a multitude of children, and they are all, without exception, well mannered. I believe in benign parental control; but control nevertheless. Respect for others is, sadly, on the wane; (whilst thanks to George ‘Respect’ is virtually ignored.)

    It is, in my opinion,not the badly behaved children which should be barred from restaurants: on the contrary, it is, rather, their self centred parents , whose inconsiderate, egotistical expectation it is , that their offsprings’ shenanigans are to be tolerated, or even applauded, by others who wish to dine, at not inconsiderable expense, in peace.
    Is hat not their right?

    Behaviour in private AND in public is primarily instilled in the home, and parents who wish to be able to take their children anywhere; not just in restaurants; are responsible for their offsprings’ behaviour.

    It is my contention that others; anywhere; be it Golders Green or Glasgow; should not be subjected to ad hoc exhibitions of the inability of parents to control the behaviour of unruly, loud or in some cases, downright rude chldren . The children are not to blame.

  37. Jozef: I was surprised to learn from the article on Great Czechs, that Martina Navratilova has been playing with green balls: I was always under the impression that she played for the other team.(Implants of this nature must surely be rare.)

  38. I am so inspired by this thread, i am now going to force myself to smoke 40 fags a day.

    Strangely, i was also against foxhunting…until the government decided to ban it!

    Come the revolution….

    :o)

  39. Macarnie? am still waiting for the ‘ode to bratty kids and ignorant parents’
    c’mon that would make my day .

  40. Macarnie you might have to invade the Spectator and sort out the cartoonists for Melissa. I envy you your sense of humour and timing ๐Ÿ˜‰ You seem to follow my carpenter (zimmerman) father’s philosophy measure twice cut once. I am having a ball reading your ping-pongish punchlines replies … Bacchus’ knee, balls, the huge moon is the limits ๐Ÿ˜‰

    [BTW, Melissa the Spectator is the best read on earth and available to all MPs at the NSW Parliamentary Library as well as in all good agencies in Sydneyrella]

  41. Kay. I didn’t really want to go there, I’m in trouble already. However your Clint Eastwood impression was too good to resist. This really needs a bit of polishing , but here goes nothing:-
    ————-
    The doting, loving father; the overworked young mum
    Must needs take little junior to fill his little tum
    Instead of choosing somewhere, where kids are welcome too
    They convert your favourite restaurant to a pet shop or a zoo

    The parents then take umbrage, when John or Jane just screams
    “Don’t WANT a children’s portion: want to taste grown up ice creams”
    But they are not embarrassed, quite the opposite in fact
    They don’t care if others grumble as to how their children act

    You don’t let a learner driver start to drive a racing car
    They must learn to drive sedately, no matter who they are
    And when they’ve passed the orals and driving test as such
    They’re deemed fit to take the wheel, with brakes and horn and clutch

    But restaurants and children, perhaps excepting Burger King ( Couldn’t say MacDonalds)
    Don’t form a loving partnership; it’s the nature of the thing.
    When kids have learnt quite neatly, and eat with fork and knife
    You can safely dine with children: quiet children: happy wife

    ————————————

  42. …the genius of Mac

    Jozef – great to hear your up-to-the-minute reports, I feel more in touch with your hemisphere now

    (ps Jozef – very dicreetly put – sorry about the links you posted that seemed to go over the edge and make one’s eyes zig zag over to incomplete lines – I don’t think it’s happened before and hope it won’t again)

  43. Neil. You say, that there are in practise hardly any pubs that are smoke free or even properly ventilated, and you express sympathy for people who have to work in smoky environments.
    As long as the legislation addressed these and any other specific grievances I believe that it would get near universal support. However, it is beyond me how many have so little appreciation of freedom and liberty that they are happy to call for complete bans without even exploring the alternatives.

    Macarnie, your philosophy of child care is spot on. Whereas Kevin bloody b (strange name?) came across as one who knows his rights but has no conception of responsibility. Kevin I wish for you a very very large family. Perhaps spending more time with numerous examples of Screamus Braticus will cause you to reflect on your comments above.

  44. The only way to ensure a smoke free environment is not to smoke. Even smoke extractors leave a lot of carcinogens in the atmosphere!

    Even this would be progress admittedly (as long as smokers have to foot the bill of the cost of these extractors), but smokers have had it perfect for far too long at the expense of everyone’s health and comfort.

  45. Just popped in to say “thank you” to Mac.
    I’ve been MIA.

    This discussion seems to have got people’s dander up. I must awa’ and read about the ID cards. More fun and games, and lotsa money!

  46. John East

    Ah rights and responsibility, very New Labour.

    The feckless undeserving poor must learn to be responsible, just like the responsibly wealthy who of coure attained their wealth through bloody hard work and the poor just aren’t trying.

    As I posted in the past, there are also the undeserving rich, who we don’t hear so much about. (Except for period genuflections towards the altar of ThiS HaS Gone Too Far when Corporate Fat Cats award themselves massive bonuses and salary increases while their companies go down the tubes.)

    Now what has this to do with brats in restaurants, gentle reader? Well, it’s the dialectical sleight of hand whereby children generally are characterised in the public domain as Poorly Behaved children: we must therefore restrict their access to public spaces to spare the irritation of the responsible citizenry going about their own business quietly and being British, jolly good show.

    I hope I do not have to spell things out further. OK I will. John, I am a father with charming children who have on one recent occasion encountered the misanthropy of a bitter lonely man in a so called child-friendly cafe.

    A one-off perhaps, but I will never forget the venom of this bloke who obviously needed an anger management course pdq. (If he’d been in a car he’d have been genuinely dangerous.) The frenzy of an evangelical non-smoker paled in comparison with this repressed Brit’s enraged sense of entitlement not to be disturbed in the slightest respect by Bloody Kids.

    By all means genuine diruptive behaviour by children is not to be tolerated, let alone indulged by doting parents. But let’s have some honesty about motivations here. Brits generally do not like kids in public spaces and feel threatened by them: the implications of this sweeping generalisation must be faced and processed, not shuffled off as people are wont to do.

  47. Calm down dear; it’s only a blog, albeit an eclectic one. Not that I doubt your sincerity and obvious anger at some sad old f.rt’s explosive behaviour as protest against your offspring’s alleged misbehaviour.( It wasn’t I , I promise you.)It is too far to go for a chip buttie.
    At least half of those concerned thought it was correct to behave that way.1 table v 1 table…. Whatever the difference, you are obviously a man of reason, ergo; be reasonable! As for the continentals having greater regard for their young, they have code of behaviour; based on respect; that is both the young, and the not so young. Unfortunately,another norm is in force here: that due to the almost total lack of respect; from all parts; to all other parts, of the age spectrum, result: what you breed is what you bear.It appears to be particularly cogent where PC-ness has taken over fom common sense.

  48. I never did understand why schoolkids bikes get locked in a cage, whilst the children are let to roam free.

    Free the bikes!!!

    ;o)

  49. Macarnie, thanks for the poem , seemed polished to me and you made the right point.

    Kevin b- my comment was on POORLY behaved kids in restaurants not against kids altogether.I am well aware that some parents have mastered the art of teaching their children manners and are thus able to go out for pleasant meals without inflicting the rest of the patrons with the screaming demands of their child.

  50. Interesting to read all this and guess who has kids and who hasn’t …

    I do. And I know that even the best-behaved child at 3 or 4 years of age can throw a tired, cranky fit in the middle of a meal. Parents of young children, not to mention the children themselves, have as much right to eat out as anyone else, and they shouldn’t be confined to McDonald’s, Burger King, or Abrakebabra.

  51. OK. Bring on your big guns , why don’t you? Today is the re-enactment of battle which changed the course of history. The forces on opposite sides are the Red Force and the Blue Force. Now you are bringing on another , unexpected body: the Green Force. I know what Nelson,my particular hero would have done, he would have, reckoned that the better form of valour is discretion, and made a tactical, if temporary, withdrawal. This I do now, in order to re-muster my forces, before giving the coup de grace, in the form of a penetrative , withering broadside. If there should be a ‘Redoutable’sniper in the shrouds as we engage…..Kiss me Hardy. I am going.

  52. Kevin b
    This thread only got on to the subject of badly behaved kids in restaurants because of a passing comment from another poster, which I subsequently made a joking reference to, so I’m not sure just why you are jumping up and down on me.
    Anyway, I’m even more puzzled why you then went on to talk about wealth and poverty in the context of children in restaurants, and certain peoples desire to exclude all children from these places, because you will find no mention of these topics in my posts.
    You then go on to say, ‘By all means genuine disruptive behaviour by children is not to be tolerated’. Well to the best of my knowledge, this is all any of us have been saying.

  53. John, and to think it was a tongue in cheek comment to start with , who would of thought at this can of worms eh?

  54. Calm down dear; it’s only a blog. ๐Ÿ™‚
    Sorry for messing with the colour scheme, today of all days, Mac. I look forward to your return, with or without eine tรถdliche Wunde!

  55. Tot bin ich nicht; jedenfalls nicht ganz. Difficult to achieve an Umlaut without the requisite keyboard.I gave up a long time ago: I simply employ the diphthong and all is clear.

    That beggar Hardy actually took me at my word, the bounder.( exits scrubbing lips with Lye soap.)

  56. *Animated waving back* to E WENMAN and MUM from Boris Johnson’s Office. Good to have you on the website. Thanks and hope you keep coming!!!

  57. Keep coming? What sense of that word did you mean? Coz those pictures of Borrie just get me SO excited! And as for “Kiss me Hardy”? Kiss me WHO? In comparison, Boris is the true hero!

  58. If EWenman is a nom de plume, I would guess that you come from Wales, and that your nearest and dearest friend is not Boris , but Barbara. As for ‘Kiss me who?’ the good captain was the erstwhile chubby partner to Stanley;grandparent to Francoise; and a scion of that well known trio, Freeman ,Hardy, and Willis, footcladders to the rich and the indigent

  59. …apologies in advance for any faux pas – that’s what blogs are all about aren’t they? you risk it every time you commit your thoughts to the blogosphere and then never quite know what might come crashing down on you – and yet we all keep risking ….because we must and it is the way forward

  60. Is that a barely hooded reference to the generally supposed size of my mouth Nora? Size is not the question here.

  61. Nope. I was talking about the lye soap. See above, yours.

    (sniff) Can’t even be nice to someone …

  62. Leg pull !The said soap was mentioned above, as a contrast to Lie soap, for which this regime so often reaches. (I reckon lateral thought is a terrible affliction…. thinks!! Vaseline: sounds like an American C& W singer.)Seriously , the way to keep the chaps from the lips,is to eat lots of Garlic.

  63. *Blink* An adolescant, me? Never! Welsh, however, now THAT is perhaps a little more likely. Who knows??? Erm… how did you know about barbara?

  64. Barbara always sounded like rhubarb to me, do you by any chance have a fondness for rhubarb? Particularily welsh with a tub of vaseline smeared over it

  65. Wow… loving the sex sells link. hehe… You have to try it for yourself ;). No, I don’t think barbara sounds like woolly guess, although I do see a certain likeness to rhubarb.

  66. My secret lover, apparently. But I am trying to hide this by saying that I love Boris. Again, apparently.

  67. Is ” Who is Barbara?” ,to be sung to the same tune as ‘Little Bo Peep’, or perhaps more properly to. ” Who is Sylvia”?
    And , Melissa, you really don’t want to know. Nur Wortspielerei.

  68. I don’t think the assumed Ewe man would rue Barbara. It’s the nature of things in some parts.
    Teuchters of the world ! Unite.

  69. Little Bo Peep has a tune? And there was me, thinking it was simply a poem. Someone enlighten me.

  70. Melissa: think “sheep”.
    There’s so much lateral skidding here it’s like standing on stilts in an ice rink.

  71. “loving the sex sells link”
    I don’t know what this means, but I didn’t post a link to a sex site! So I hope it didn’t get redirected by some Trojan.

  72. “loving the sex sells link”
    I don’t know what this means, but I didn’t post a link to a sex site! So I hope it didn’t get redirected by some nasty Trojan.

  73. Hi , Jason here. I think that Ewe n Man should come clean. I have a bet on , and I don’t want to be Fleeced.

  74. Nora:

    Your link opens a page of links re. Lip Balm.

    One of these links is marked “sex sells”, and refers to a well known highstreet purveyor of smellies.

    Panic not!!

    :o)

  75. Note for The Pedant General: In an earlier addition to this thread,there is an allusion to “Sex” sells: I would point out that at this latitude, this has nothing to do with the hessian containers in which the tatties are delivered; in case you were wondering.

  76. Cigarette as torch of liberty – interesting idea…

    It’s a disgusting habit but not quite as disgusting as making a bonfire of our freedoms.

    But it’s probably the wrong ground to make a last Custer-style stand on. ID cards are probably a better strategic bet. Smoking – like fox hunting – just offers too many weak points to the enemies of liberty. BUt I suppose Boris has to do his job and fight the good fight every time.

  77. To revert to the original smoke theme: Is the old adage true that ” There is no smoke without fire?”
    I read today, one day after we assumed the Presidency of the EU, that no less a person than Jack Straw, has declared the Federal State of Europe DEAD. If Federation , as we were so often told, was never on the cards, how can such a non- existent thing die?
    Will the funeral take place with wailing and gnashing of teeth? Will the assembled -mourners be led by the French contingent, baskets of strawberries in hand?
    Les poubelles de mon esprit.
    —————————-
    Is the crop of farming money, sown when France was in the lead,
    Still ripe for Gallic harvesting; or will it go to seed.
    It was fertilised by manure, which France supplied en gros,
    Now contrary Frenchman; how does your garden grow?

    Mister President ,
    Sir, Britain trusts that you intend to continue to make the point about the inequability of balance of payments made by Britain, against amounts received. Can you confirm your resolve in the matter of our rebate?
    How can Chirac and cronies, with typical French verbiferocity,(now that IS a new word) claim rural poverty for the limousine driving ‘fermiers’, whilst arguing that Britain should still pay for wastage due to their inefficient farming methods?
    Should we pay for the cruelty involved in producing the tonnes of patรฉ de fois gras, and the inhumane rearing of calves for veal, not to mention the cruel transporting of live horses across the channel?

  78. Macchillieconcarnie

    Apropos Teeth, Wailng and the Gnashing of, are you familiar with this old joke?

    Father O’Feckwit addresses his trembling, fearful and extremely elderly congregation at Sunday mass:

    Fr O’Feckwit: ..AND I TELL YOU THEY SHALL BE CAST OUT INTO THE OUTER DARKNESS WHERE THERE SHALL BE WAILING AND GNASHING OF TEETH!

    Aged Congregation (gums all a-flap): No Teef! No Teef!

    Fr O’Feckwit: TEETH WILL BE PROVOIDED!!

  79. Kevin: You make me sound as I were a certain mincemeat based Mexican dish garnished with beans, but yes, I have heard it before. Doesn’t take away its fun though.

  80. Eugene… Not quite – but close! In a way! Hahaha. Sex… sells… lipbalm. Does it? Hmm… interesting idea, though. Mr BORIS Johnson, have you ever considered selling this? Sex, or lipbalm, actually. Heee. Smooth those lips the BORIS way. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  81. E. Wen. Man
    How about Ewe Jean: the Ram-ifications are legion, and in view of your possible, or even probable,Cymru connections, not too far fetched

  82. Opposable thumbs, I trust? Or Sir or Madam or Person of the Third Sex, are you in actual fact an IMPOSTER??

    I say let’s debag the rotter!

    (Mob of bloggers with flaming torches appear as if by magic and mercilessly hound the Man of Wen.)

  83. The clue might be in the name used by the man (?)of thumbs.

    Def. Wen. n….(1) An unusual growth on the skin: (2) an indolent or benign or encysted tumour , usually on the scalp or neck;(3) A fleshy protuberance: could this, / these, be hidden references to thumbs?

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