An early start to my day in Cardiff. Smoking in enclosed public places was officially outlawed at 6.00am. Shortly after seven I'm on Radio Wales, broadcasting from the old Welsh Assembly building which is still used by the BBC. It's not a studio as such - just a spartan office with an ISDN machine on the desk. Apart from three security guards, the building seems to be empty. Mid morning (after a FULL Welsh breakfast) I'm back in Cardiff Bay for a live outside broadcast on News 24 plus a pre-record for the local lunchtime news. Channel 4 News want an interview this afternoon and I've been invited to appear on Wales Today in another live OB - this time from the Miskin Arms in Miskin, near Pontyclun, a few miles outside Cardiff.
The point I try to make - as reasonably as possible - is that we're not against smoke-free environments. In this day and age, when the majority of people are non-smokers, smoke-free should be the norm. But why does smoking have to be banned in EVERY pub, club and bar? What's wrong with smoking and non-smoking pubs, or separate, well-ventilated designated smoking rooms, or private smokers' clubs, all of which are now illegal.
Evidence from Ireland and Scotland suggests that most people will adapt and accept the ban (while continuing to smoke!!). But that doesn't make the law RIGHT. Legislation based on dubious research and inconclusive evidence (about passive smoking, for example), legislation that is out of all proportion to the actual (rather than the perceived) risk, is WRONG. Likewise, legislation designed to force people to give up a legal product is social engineering. Unjust laws weaken society because they bring the law in general into disrepute.
It's only smoking, some might say, it's no big deal. But they'd be wrong. Look at the bigger picture. After tobacco politicians and campaigners will target something else. They've already started. Little by little, bit by bit, the noose controlling our public and private behaviour will get tighter until we are all clones of Big Government. They can't help themselves. That's what they do. It has to stop.