Thursday, July 21, 2011


Bryony Gordon at the time she wrote about the indoor smoking ban (note in the comments that some prick is just abusive because he or she has nothing of value to add.)

The reason I am copying below a brilliant article on Stony Stratford by Ms Gordon, which is in today's Telegraph, is because I'm so grateful to finally hear that rare journalistic voice of reason, fairness, and common sense on a very acrimonious issue.

Enjoy - her work is is better than smoking in a Bohemian restaurant after a fantastic meal - something I haven't done in Britain since 2007

The tiny town that refused to give in to a fresh-air fascist - Stony Stratford is a jewel for standing up for the right to smoke outdoors.

Stony Stratford calls itself the jewel of Milton Keynes, a real corker of a catchline, a bit like rebranding Nunhead the pearl of Peckham. Yet putting aside jokes about applying lipstick to a pig (and then turning the ear of said pig into a silk purse), Stony Stratford is the jewel of Milton Keynes. As it turns out, it is the jewel of the whole godforsaken country.
This is why: last month, councillor Paul Bartlett announced his intention to create a new bylaw that would outlaw smoking in open places. “Stony Stratford is a historic town which is blighted by cigarette butts,” announced Mr Bartlett, as hordes of fag ends ran behind him, wearing hoodies and tanked up on cider.
“Why should people have the freedom to smoke in my face, pass on diseases and spoil the environment?” At that, a giant ciggy strolled up to him, puffed its poisonous smoke in his face, and ashed all over his suit.
Mr Bartlett’s proposal is not the reason Stony Stratford is a gleaming jewel. It is the town’s dogged refusal to accept it. On Tuesday night, smokers and non-smokers alike protested with a “mass light-up”, forcing the council to postpone a public meeting to discuss the bylaw.
As one resident told a newspaper: “People who don’t smoke don’t support him. People who have kids and don’t smoke don’t support him.”
If residents are walking up to Mr Bartlett and puffing in his face, then I am ashamed of my fellow smokers. But I suspect the truth is somewhat different: that the councillor falls into that tiny minority of fresh-air fascists who happily drive cars and fly away on holidays, but simultaneously believe that those who choose to smoke the odd fag are as evil as former editors of the News of the World.
The smokers I know are among the most courteous people around. They agree with the smoking ban and apologise should anything blow in the general direction of those who do not indulge in the habit.
They tend to put butts in ashtrays, and if there is no ashtray available, they stub it out and place it in their cigarette packet for later disposal. If the Buckinghamshire town really is blighted by fag ends, then surely the solution is simply to provide smokers with more places to throw them away.

And yet another voice of reason HERE from Simon Cooke. I urge everyone to read it and take the steps that Mr Cooke urges. The revolution against the puritans, their lies and their unbearable view of the future world starts here and now!