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« Campaign news for licensees | Main | Twelve good reasons »

The actress, her child, and a wisp of smoke

The Daily Mirror has asked me to comment on a "story" that a well-known actress has been photographed smoking outside a pub (I think it was a pub, it was certainly outside) with her child in close proximity. A wisp of smoke was caught drifting into the child's airspace and, well, you can guess the rest.

The Mirror asked me for 250 words so I gave them 254 which I will share with you in the morning. ASH have been asked to comment too.

Reader Comments (55)

Good God! Hold the front page!

July 21, 2010 at 19:47 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

I presume the Little One is now in intensive care ?

(Where can I send my teddy-bear?)

The State MUST do something to stamp out this particularly nasty form of Child-Abuse.

This one could run and run...............................................

July 21, 2010 at 19:57 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Disgusting, all actresses should be banned immediately. What is the world coming to?

July 21, 2010 at 19:58 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Targeting celebrity smokers! What next! Whoever "she" is. We must all be sure to try and find a contact for her to offer her support. I hate these people who try to equate a wisp of smoke with child abuse. Don't they see the smoke coming from people's BBQ's with children present every day ... etc... etc...etc ?

I wonder if Simon will mention the scientific report buried by the WHO which showed that SHS does NOT cause cancer and does, indeed, have a protective effect.

July 21, 2010 at 20:08 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

The EU or the WHO or whoever encouraged are encouraging or would wish to encourage certain celebrities being subjected to (whitch trials) ,(show trials) ,kangaroo courts, to make examples of when transgressing the laws against people who smoke.
Fortunately this is not yet law.
It is not illegal to smoke in the open air ,yet.
So this nuuuspapeeeeeeeer puts the unfortunate celeb on trial instead.
Reality ,we have some of the the biggest scientific scams in the history of mankind ,ever, a society somnambeling into a Franz Kafka book, wars and strife ,social injustices,......
All they can write about is an actress smoked a fag in the street while her daughter was ther.
So what !
No wonder nobody buys newspapers anymore.

July 21, 2010 at 20:52 | Unregistered CommenterSpecky

"It is not illegal to smoke in the open air ,yet."

Unless you happen to live in the happy little hamlet of Belmont, California.

Frankly, this whole thing is getting to be more bizarre than anything even Kafka could have dreamt up........

July 21, 2010 at 21:28 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

We've now slipped into Wonderland

July 21, 2010 at 22:01 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

Science to prove open air passive smoking is dangerous? Err, ...

July 21, 2010 at 22:03 | Unregistered CommenterDick Puddlecote

Banana skins, bowling the googlie, finger wagging and a poisoned chalice.

Rather you than me Simon, while I try and fit as many cliches into a sentence.

July 21, 2010 at 22:40 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

What's the bloody point? We should be doing something positive instead of just silly newspaper articles and such that achieve nothing of's like a Les Dawson sketch with Cissie and Ada. Smoking Hot suggests we target the Treasury by buying in the EU

July 21, 2010 at 23:10 | Unregistered CommenterSpartan

"while I try and fit as many cliches into a sentence..................."

You forgot the obvious one, Dave:

'Beyond parody'.

July 21, 2010 at 23:45 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Oh god, I hate to think of the headlines in the morning Simon, but I can have a pretty good guess.

July 21, 2010 at 23:51 | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYin

Specky said: "It is not illegal to smoke in the open air ,yet."

Oh but it is coming Specky, it surely is:

July 22, 2010 at 0:01 | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYin

And they said it was about health and wasn't a witch hunt....

What's next? Hearings? Blacklistings? When will someone in power put an end to this nonsense?

July 22, 2010 at 0:58 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

"Martin Dockrell, director of research for the charity Action on Smoking and Health, said: 'There are two good reasons not to smoke in front of children.
'First, especially in enclosed areas second-hand smoke seriously damages a child's health and even risks causing a cot death.
'The second reason is that the more a child sees adults around them smoking the more likely they are to try smoking themselves as they get older.
'In fact only one in five adults smokes but children often overestimate this and the more they do, the more they are likely to smoke themselves."

We know there are multiple studies contradicting this BS (as well as the "dangers of passive smoking are well documented" lie also in the article. Is there no legal redress to stuff like this?

I can't believe a newspaper could publish something like "the fact that having unprotected sex with prostitutes helps cure AIDS is well established" or similar without there being some kind of redress or avenue for complaint. After all, there are studies that demonstrate a protective effect of second hand smoke for children - they are actually offering bad medical advice! Surely this can be challenged in some way?

I'm sick of the info about passive smoking being out there but it's never being reported in the mainstream media. The JUNK SCIENCE is what everything is based on. Discredit the junk science, publically, and the whole thing falls apart.

July 22, 2010 at 1:07 | Unregistered CommenterMr A

That`s quite a weird picture actually.

July 22, 2010 at 3:21 | Unregistered CommenterKris

I have just read the Mail article. Oddly enough, there were no comments yet and so I have posted this:

"Beth Hale has a serious problem. She does not seem to understand that no one with any intelligence at all believes a word that ASH and co say. Everything that they say is crap. Why? Because what they say is PURE STATISTICAL MUMBO-JUMBO. What they say takes no account of family ties, friendly association, deprivation of social contacts, pub closures, the creation of distrust between publicans and their customers, the imprisonment of publicans who dare NOT to force people to obey, and so on.

The picture that the Mail has printed clearly shows that Billy Piper is blowing her smoke AWAY from the child's face - as any smoker would, child or adult. No one blows smoke directly into the face of another person.

When are the people of this nation (and more especially those 'useful idiots' in parliament) going to realise that mumbo jumbo statistics are NOT the ethics that we wish to take note of in the way we live our lives?"

Go to the Mail site and thrash them!

July 22, 2010 at 4:45 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Spartan: I don't see we should be so dramatic. The review has already been waived, in my opinion as the DH are reluctant to have exposed the garbage they used to justify a ban 4 years ago and also know that their agenda for this review, of further controls, would, likely, lose. I see it as a gain.

If the display ban is overturned or made insignificant, its an even bigger gain, as it would have shown the lies and machinations the likes of ASH and their 'employees' in the DH, have attempted to use.

With this as the base, the focus then turns to the ban itself and the bollocks used to justify it. This will be more difficult as MP's would have to accept they were wrong, conned, or voting for their own preferences, but they will continue to be forced into a corner and whose only defence will be to try and ignore it. -'Its a success, innit?'

Slowly but surely, the right direction but the continual pressure by the likes of ourselves and Simon must be kept up.

July 22, 2010 at 8:03 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Mr A -

You rightly ask (and we all share your exasperation):

"When will someone in power put an end to this nonsense?"

Well, there were some who - despite all evidence to the contrary - had high hopes that David Cameron was going to be The One.

And this is the same Cameron - now nominal PM - who has recently just remarked:

"We were the JUNIOR partner in 1940 when we were fighting the Nazis."

That the heir to Walpole, Pitt, Palmerston, and Churchill should be even capable of such MASSIVE historical ignorance just about says it all for me.

People have been punched for far less.......................................

(And, by the way, Dave: 'we' only beat The Germans in 1945. The War aginst the Nazi Mindset is FAR from over.)

July 22, 2010 at 8:08 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V


Who (or what), exactly IS 'Prof Britton' ?

Is Ignorance-In-A-Supposedly-Good-Cause now a necessary qualification for academic preferment ?

I'm seriously considering the possiblilty that Daleks have found a way to adopt human form.

If so, then we should work out a way of EXTERMINATING them (preferably WITHOUT the assistance of anyone with the word 'Doctor' in his name - Phil Button excepted).

Otherwise, they'll take over the Planet - mark my words............................

July 22, 2010 at 8:32 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

BTW 2 -

Billie Piper has gone WAY up in my estimation.

July 22, 2010 at 8:39 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Massive overreaction from the MSM again. So the back of the head counts as a face now where smoking is concerned. If only they put the same effort into exposing the lies told by Arnott et all.

July 22, 2010 at 9:32 | Unregistered CommenterAdam

Well done Billy Piper, a lot of mothers could do with a ciggy break to cope with a cranky child.
The Antis never let up do they, how pathetic to hear that the media themselves are getting in on the anti smoking act as well.
I suppose one has to make an allowance for a rag like the Mirror whose sales rely solely on sensation and manufactured gutter type scoops.
Not satisfied with getting a photograph of a lovely actress like Billy Piper with her new baby, they have to wait under a rock like a sniper to catch her in an off guard moment and like headless chickens, give more fuel to the finger wagging brigade, regardless and without a thought as to what dangers or damages the consequences will have on their fellow mans freedoms or civil liberties, they have no integrity and only foster further repression.
These guttersnipes and Antis should be taken on and held to account for every sensational lie they utter and publish, before we all end up like North Koreans.

July 22, 2010 at 10:08 | Unregistered Commenterann

Prof Britton of ASH is 100% wrong when he says "Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals and around 60 that are known to cause cancer"

Tobacco doesn't contain any chemicals at all.

Tobacco is a naturally grown leaf from a plant.

Some cigarette manufacturers add certain chemicals to the tobacco, which they use in their products, in the same way that food and drink manufacturers do.

Look at what is being claimed here. Would anyone in their right mind, add a cancer causing chemical to a product, which they wish to keep on selling, so that it eventually kills off all their customers?

Imagine a board meeting at British Tobacco, "How many customers have we killed this week Smith?" "Er just a minute sir, at the last count it was nearly a million". "Jolly good Smith, keep up the good work"

Yes, preposterous isn't it!

The chemicals that Prof Britton talks about, could arguably cause cancer in some people, BUT, only if used in huge amounts, which they most definitely are not, in the case of cigarettes.

To equate these chemicals with causing death, is akin to pouring a pint bottle of cyanide into the English Channel, and stating that anyone who swims in the channel would most certainly die, and that all our fish stocks would be exterminated. Anyone with any sense at all, would know this to be ridiculous, and likewise, so is Prof Britton's statement regarding the chemicals in cigarettes.

I personally do not smoke any cigarettes that have chemicals in them. I smoke a certain brand of Spanish cigarette, which states very clearly on the pack "100% Natural Tobacco". I also smoke (from time to time) decent Cuban cigars, which also contain, just natural tobacco.

Likewise, as Billy Piper stated in today's article, which I read in the Daily Mail, she expressly said that she didn't want to smoke cigarettes any more as they are full of chemicals, which is why she has turned to "roll-ups" instead.

The point that I am getting round to is that Prof Britton of ASH is not only wrong, but he is knowingly telling lies about this.

1. There are no chemicals in a tobacco leaf.

2. Any chemicals found in manufactures cigarettes, are so minute, that they cannot possibly cause any harm.

3. The chemicals that are used in manufactured cigarettes, can also be found in our tap water.

July 22, 2010 at 10:17 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood


I always enjoy reading your common sense articles - Thursday suddenly got better.

Off for a puff traa, laa...

Pensioner Ellie

July 22, 2010 at 10:47 | Unregistered CommenterPensioner Ellie

What`s actually the link between smoking and causing asthma?

July 22, 2010 at 10:50 | Unregistered CommenterKris


None, infact the opposite. Children exposed to SHS have a reduced incidence of asthma and all other allergic reactions (atopy), by a factor statistically significant 50%-80%.

Smoking reached its peak in 1950 when 66% of the population smoked and now it is 22.5%. However asthma has risen ny a factor of 2 or 3.

Children of mothers who smoked at least 15 cigarettes a day tended to have lower odds for suffering from allergic rhino-conjunctivitis, allergic asthma, atopic eczema and food allergy, compared to children of mothers who had never smoked (ORs 0.6-0.7)

CONCLUSIONS: This study demonstrates an association between current exposure to tobacco smoke and a low risk for atopic disorders in smokers themselves and a similar tendency in their children. 11422156

July 22, 2010 at 11:05 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

@Dave A.
I admit I am not a native speaker but as i read it:"Breathing in other people's smoke is not just unpleasant but can cause serious harm for children including bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma."
The claim is secondhand smoke causes asthma.
Or do I really have to attend some English classes again? :)

July 22, 2010 at 11:30 | Unregistered CommenterKris

"but he is knowingly telling lies about this."

Well, that's the question, isn't it, Peter ?

If he merely believes the crap he's fed by those with a well-advertised bias against Tobacco, then he's not a liar - but a LAZY FOOL.

If, however, he's aware of many of the factual innacuracies in his statements (esp the one about asthma) then he IS a liar.

Either way, he has no right to be a 'professor' of anything.

Unless 'Bullshit Studies' is now an option at some of our newer 'universities'.

(Which wouldn't surprise me)

When you reach the stage - as I believe we have - where you can trust scarcely ANYONE in Public Life (Academia, the Sciences, Politics and so on), then Public Life suffers.

And so does Society itself.

And that is anything BUT 'healthy'........................................

July 22, 2010 at 11:35 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Another thing that strikes me as odd(or ood as Billie probably would say)on this "story".
Some people have been asked questions about this but somehow nobody thought about asking those questions (or at least if she wanted to comment on it)to the main "culprit"?

July 22, 2010 at 11:53 | Unregistered CommenterKris

He is obviously a fool Martin, but there is no doubt at all that he is also a blatant liar.

He states categorically that "Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals and around 60 that are known to cause cancer"

This is impossible. As I said earlier, Tobacco is a naturally grown leaf from a plant, and as such does not and cannot contain any chemicals at all.

If the lying idiot stated that certain manufactured cigarettes contained this or that, it might have some credence, but an organically grown plant leaf - Never!

July 22, 2010 at 11:56 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

I'm a pro photographer (not press, landscape). I'd say that picture was taken with a telephoto lens, and for those that don't know, that means a narrow angle of view, which makes objects seem closer together. I'd guess there's a few feet between Billie and her son. She is definitely not blowing smoke in his face, unless she's got lungs like bellows. Bear in mind your average paparazzi snapper uses a fairly long lens (300+ mm) for this sort of candid shot, and the longer the focal length, the greater the effect. Despite what the tabloids want people to think, the camera lies all the time.

July 22, 2010 at 12:07 | Unregistered CommenterDavid

Peter -

Quite so.

Let's just hope that he doesn't become a regular guest on 'The One Show': he's just the sort of prat they'd LOVE to have on.

These people are like bloody weeds.

No wonder the lawn's dying.............................

July 22, 2010 at 12:14 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V


All you need to know are these quotes:

Dr. Alvan Feinstein "Yes, it's rotten science, but it's in a worthy cause. It will help us to get rid of cigarettes and become a smoke-free society" Yale University epidemiologist writing in Toxological Pathology in 1999 on passive smoking."

Dr. J Arnett.

"The abuse of scientific integrity and the generation of faulty "scientific" outcomes (through the use of pseudoscience) have led to the deception of the American public on a grand scale and to draconian government overregulation and the squandering of public money. Millions of dollars have been spent promoting belief in SHS as a killer, and more millions of dollars have been spent by businesses in order to comply with thousands of highly restrictive bans, while personal choice and freedom have been denied to millions of smokers. Finally, and perhaps most tragically, all this has diverted resources away from discovering the true cause(s) of lung cancer in nonsmokers."

July 22, 2010 at 12:27 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

I have a problem with that photo. Billie is clearly and obviously inhaling so why that amount of smoke?

lt simply doesn't look natural ... Enhanced? Photoshopped?


July 22, 2010 at 12:47 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

Great article Dave.

I especially like the part which states "But the problem posed by SHS is entirely different from that found with mainstream smoke. A well-recognized toxicological principle states, "The dose makes the poison."

"The dose makes the poison, are you listening Prof Britton? THE DOSE MAKES THE POISON.....

July 22, 2010 at 12:54 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

If you look at the photograph in the Daily Mail article, Piper has blown the smoke into the space behind the child's head. So the article appears factually incorrect, as if they had proof of her blowing it into the child's face I'm sure they would have used that photo instead.

A small but important detail, not that matters to the smoking zealots (or the Daily Mail) I'm sure

July 22, 2010 at 12:58 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

Sorry John but l don't see it. She would have to have exhaled and then immediately inhaled in a matter of a second or so ... that photo is just not right.

July 22, 2010 at 13:12 | Unregistered CommenterSmoking Hot

"Yes, it's rotten science, but it's in a worthy cause."

This is the one I simply don't get.

If the Science is 'rotten', then on WHAT basis can the Cause be considered 'worthy' ?

I suggest a powerful combination of three factors:

1) Personal distaste for the enjoyable habit of others.

2) An addiction to managing and controlling the lives of others.

3) Financial reward at both the personal and the corporate level.

And that, I believe, is IT.............................................

(The sad regret at a Lost Love undoubtedly plays its part, too, of course)

July 22, 2010 at 13:57 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

The most disturbing thing here is that the Mail, to sell newspapers, has no qualms about attacking Billie Piper by publishing what it must know is a misleading photograph. She is at least a yard behind the child. It's like happy slapping: going up to a completely innocent stranger in the street and attacking them. I don't know what to say. She should sue them. Piers Morgan did a similar thing with fake photos and he was forced to resign/was fired.

July 22, 2010 at 14:15 | Unregistered CommenterJon

Now it has been mentioned, I just had another look at the photo in the Mail, and firstly, the cloud of smoke is lying somewhere towards the back of the child's head, and secondly, there are some very strange marks (flesh coloured) showing on the child's tee-shirt.

These marks suggest to me that the photo has been doctored, in all probability bringing the child in from a more distant location, as there are even some very strange marks, also flesh coloured, around the back of the child's head.

July 22, 2010 at 14:36 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

And could somebody please explain the need for the pixellated face on the victim-toddler on the 'Mail Online' ?

The hair's different, and he seems to have shrunk a little, but I'm wondering whether it mightn't be Chris Evans (hence the need for anonymity).

He seems to display the same dress-sense, at any rate............................

(Of course I'm taking this episode seriously).

July 22, 2010 at 15:57 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

i love the way billies kid is called winston

July 22, 2010 at 16:55 | Unregistered Commenterjpsks

There seems to be some real hate from the anti smokers on that comment section. What's so annoying is the fact that there are enough smokers in the country to bring London to a standstill if they all joined forces. It would seem we are the only minority group that haven't protested about being demonised.

July 22, 2010 at 17:18 | Unregistered Commentermark

So what have we ended up with here?

We have a picture in a couple of daily newspapers of an actress, Billy Piper, smoking in what looks like a pub garden, while her young son is present. Is she breaking any law? I don't think so, in fact I know she isn't.

The picture and the story, were ready to go to print the day before publication, as we all know, due to the fact that the papers concerned questioned both ASH and our own Simon Clark of Forest on Wednesday.

Half a page in the Daily Mail, and presumably the same size in the Mirror, usually warrants quite an important story, but if this story was so important, why did both papers keep it on hold for a day, and publish it together? Was it at the instigation of a "third party" I wonder, and if so whom? (guess, guess)

The Mirror asked Simon for his comments on the story, and then misprinted them, adding the word "caution" instead of "courtesy", which gives the sentence a completely different connotation. In other words, The Mirror lied in stating that these were the words of Simon Clark, managing director of Forest.

Next, we come to the illiterate ramblings of Prof Britton of ASH, who has also lied in his statement which claims that Tobacco contains over 4,000 chemicals and around 60 that are known to cause cancer. As I have previously stated, tobacco does not contain any chemicals at all, as it is a naturally grown leaf.

Lastly, we come to the photo itself, which has been looked at by a professional photographer, who has stated the following "I'd say that picture was taken with a telephoto lens, and for those that don't know, that means a narrow angle of view, which makes objects seem closer together. I'd guess there's a few feet between Billie and her son".

I also noticed that there are strange marks on the photograph, which also point to it having been doctored by a photo-editing programme.

To sum up the whole situation. It based upon lies from beginning to end. So what, if anything, are we, or Forest, going to do about it?

July 22, 2010 at 17:45 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Mark - check out the Nothing2declare blog. A resistance has started. It seems a good protest campaign to me. Spread the word, deny the Govt our tax on tobacco, and stop the funding to ASH et al.

How about Forest organising social trips for smokers abroad where they can then legally buy their UK tax free tobacco?

July 22, 2010 at 18:13 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

To put matters into some sort of perspective, Peter, the whole silly non-story is probably just a hook to hang some more anti-tobacco propaganda on.

Any celebrity-smoker would have done, really. Billie just drew the short straw.

Even if she'd eaten the child whole after finishing her fag - "Infanto-phagia is a very rare condition in this country" says a psychiatrist - that would probably only have made paragraph three or four, behind the Main Story.

The moralising tone of the 'reporter' was enough to make me vomit.

Whilst that of some of the commentators was enough to make me want to emigrate.

Since when did hatred of the innocent become SO virtuous ?

July 22, 2010 at 18:27 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

I have read all the comments on the Mail site re Billy P. I have been heartened by the amount of support for the view that the smoking ban is iniquitous.
It is not easy to pick out those posts which are purely about the ban, rather than about the use of telephoto lenses. The comments about the fakeness of the pics have enormous support (1500 votes on some), and we must also bear in mind that the ‘approve’ vote is a NET vote.

There are lots of comments which can be construed as being ‘against the ban’. Almost everywhere, the net vote is against the ban, which, of course, means that THE MAJORITY is against the ban. It is also heartening to see that the usual whingers (Oh! My asthma!) receive short shrift (the net votes being ‘disapprove’), as also do the ‘smoking should be banned everywhere’ crowd and the ‘no such thing as a safe level of exposure to second hand smoke’ gang, and the ‘your right to smoke ends at my nose’ lot. So much so, that in the most recent posts, the anti smoking zealots were starting to complain about the number of ‘red figures’ that were coming up (red figures being the ‘disapprove’ votes – ‘disapprove’ their anti smoking blandishments). These posts amused me because they seemed to indicate a level of panic – like, “Oh my God! What’s going on? Why is my disapproval of smoking not being applauded?”

This can only be good news from our point of view, even if the Mail takes very little notice – for the time being. A swell of public opinion which is against the ban, if cultivated, COULD sell more papers! We must also remember that newspapers must surely be aware of the vast predominance of votes and comments against the ban on the Your Freedom site. The prominence of the Save our Pubs and Clubs Campaign in the Morning Advertiser (even though its circulation is low), WILL add to the pressure on the government indirectly. What a great idea to acquire 1000 copies to circulate to MPs etc!

I think that we should continue to press our agenda (!) on the Your Freedom site. Even though the MSM are ignoring it, the shit must hit the fan sooner or later. Would it not be the greatest thing if a Pubco went bust! It is an awful thing to say (jobs and all that), but think about the knock on effect! 2000 pubs closing overnight! No matter what ASH and co said, the smoking ban would have to be repealed. In those circumstances, there would almost certainly be people marching in the streets. Is that scenario likely? Probably not, but just a small ‘unintended consequence’ could tip the scales as regards some of the Pubcos. Their share values are already very low. Think about Northern Rock and Lehman Bros. Too big to fail? Also, the demise of these ‘magnificent edifices’ might just open up the market for small bars, a la Espana. In ‘Cuidad Jardin’ in Malaga (a suburb of the city – like a suburb of London, I suppose), there are lots of apartment blocks. Each block has its little bar (or more than one). Do not think scruffy – think about 100 square meters, with terrace, nicely but not ostentatiously furnished, offering tapas type meals and snacks and a selection of drinks. Cuidad Jardin is not an opulent area of Malaga, but the people certainly know what they want!

I am sorry to go on, but these things are complex, are they not? We KNOW that the Health Dept has been infiltrated by the antis. We KNOW that MPs are regarded by the antis as ‘useful fools’. We KNOW that the Ministers of the Crown in the Health Dept are hopelessly out of their depth when it comes to making decisions (the weight of ‘medical opinion’). But we also know that one Minister with guts can turn the whole thing around. The hold that the antis have on the Health Dept is very fragile. It would take only one Minister to say to Sir Liam D, “Erm….tell me again about the SCIENCE which supports the smoking ban? No…No….Not what the COMMITTEE says. I want to know what YOU say. Etc, etc. “ .

I personally wonder sometimes what drives me as regards the smoking ban. I am retired, and so it really does not matter that much. I have cut down on my attendance at my locals by over 50% (reduced to 5 ‘sessions’ instead of 9) – only because my locals no longer fulfil the functions that I want. IE. To be a place where I could go, away from home, have little conversations with acquaintances, sometimes meet with real friends (which for me was the Golf Club), and sometimes merely to read my paper, have a pint and enjoy my tobacco, but also sometimes to really rack my brains about some problem – most of my best ideas have originated when I was thinking in the pub.
I cannot do that any more. I am forever thinking about my next fag. Prior to the ban, I never thought about it.

One can see why it was that the blatant trickery of the overturning of the intentions of the Labour Manifesto cut me, as a socialist (small s), to the quick. I was quite prepared in my mind to accept that both my local pubs might opt to be ‘food led’, as opposed to be ‘wet led’, or whatever the phrases may be. There were other pubs (even if they might be a mile or two away) which would elect to be ‘wet led’. But the BETRAYAL by the Labour Party was too much to bear.
Also, there was the out and out crap that the likes of Patricia Hewitt and Caroline Flint were spouting, with smiles on their faces, about the lives that were going to be saved. Erm……..right……….then why did you not say so in your manifesto?
Also, there was the fact that our elected representatives (those ‘useful fools’, the MPs, with their noses in the trough) could not be bothered TO CHECK THE FACTS (like the WHO study).


This last consideration is far more important than at first appears. Statistics are OK in their place - for example, in polls regarding voting intentions, but have no place in the ethics that we, as individuals, use to decide how to live our lives. In that respect, each man is an island.

July 23, 2010 at 3:53 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

" we also know that one Minister with guts can turn the whole thing around. "

Isn't that what makes this business so frustrating, Junican ?

ALL it takes is ONE strong man or woman to stand up to their underlings, and remind them WHO's boss (and it's NOT the WHO, either !).

Both Clem Attlee and Margaret Thatcher had to face the entrenched battalions of the Can't-Be-Done Brigade - as well as the back-stabbers in their own team - but pressed on nonetheless.

(Admttedly, that WAS before the Matinee Idols took over).

I don't think there's be too many Arnotts and Donaldsons throwing themselves from tall buildings.

Just one.

And enough people in the country to offer support..........................................

July 23, 2010 at 5:49 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

"Would it not be the greatest thing if a Pubco went bust! It is an awful thing to say (jobs and all that), but think about the knock on effect! 2000 pubs closing overnight! No matter what ASH and co said, the smoking ban would have to be repealed. In those circumstances, there would almost certainly be people marching in the streets. Is that scenario likely? Probably not"

I wouldn't be too sure about this now Junican; with the end of 24 hour pub opening times on the cards, and pubs that do want to stay open later having to pay for the extra police that are needed to control the hooliganism on the streets, this could just tip the balance.

The Pubcos have had it all their own way for too long, they are usually large pubs, attracting large crowds of usually young people, offering outside areas and food, as well as bouncers on the door, and cheap drinks for girls etc. But if they now have to start paying out to fund police, this could start hitting them, just like the smoking ban has hit the small pubs with no outside areas.

Like you, I don't want to see people out of work, but I would like to see a few of these monstrosities closed, so that they would climb down off their high horses, (the smoking ban hasn't affected us) and admit that yes, the smoking ban does effect all pubs.

If they do not have those extra hours and the cheap drinks etc to offer their clientele, then they will be in the same boat as the "real pubs", and I say bloody good job!

July 23, 2010 at 9:58 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

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