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The message from Stony Stratford

I was wracking my brains last night trying to remember any kind of public protest against the smoking ban in its seven year history of failure.

It seems strange that a law that targets a third of the population unfairly could be proposed and passed without a whimper of opposition on the streets. Certainly in 2003/2004 Saint Michael Martin knew he was taking a gamble with it, but he'd handled the health portfolio so badly anyway, I suspect he thought that if his ban proposal failed it wouldn't make things worse than they were.

As it panned out he got away with the ban, left the HSE in a shambles, and was rewarded with Foreign Affairs by that other Saint, Bertie Ahern. And if further evidence of the 'success of failure' in modern Ireland were needed, he was also elected as leader of Fianna Fail.

Mind you, senior individuals in our private banks enriched themselves using a combination of malpractice and reckless borrowing, brought the country to bankruptcy and then handed the impossible debt to the people with little opposition.

There are frightening similarities. In the case of the ban, Michael Martin cited fabricated figures on the alleged effects of ETS and concluded publicly that there was no other choice. On debt, Brian Lenihan quoted fabricated figures supplied by the banks before offering the debt guarantee and also said there was no other way. Our betters must be laughing at us as they rack up their pension pots on the backs of our children by continuing to take away our money and freedoms.

In the UK, though, smokers are beginning to hit back. In a small town called Stony Stratford a councillor, Paul Bartlett, proposed a motion that smoking be banned everywhere in the area. This was based less on health than Mr Bartlett's personal preferences. He hated smoking so he wants it banned. But private individuals decided to protest. The result was that the motion to ban smoking in the town has been withdrawn (for now).

When are we going to put manners on our public representatives? Their fat salaries and cushy lifestyles depend on us, the very people they persecute (because they have little else to do with their time).

The British protesters realise that their government want to have the tax revenues from the legal sale of tobacco products whilst penalising smokers with restrictions, and they have started to say, "You can't have it both ways".

In Ireland, our message seems to be, "You can do as you like with us and we'll never object". Those who fought and died for our freedoms must be turning in their graves in disgust.

Reader Comments (2)

The vote in Stony was 148-2, a complete slaughter. There were 3 parts to the proposal, part 1 being about health and smoking, part 2 being about people and business " participating" in better health and part 3 being the ban itself. Bartlett withdrew part 3 until Sept. but 1 and 2 went ahead, were hammered and therefore discarded. Part 3 is still up for discussion in Sept. but unlikely to be even considered as a result of the vote and, importantly, he can't find anyone to second the proposal.

What price Kellner's ASH surveys after this? every time one is brought up this will be fired at them, an actual vote. Of course, the problem remains that our Lords and Masters will still think we're too thick for our own good and try to discount it.

July 21, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterFrank

Too true, not one word of protest, nor any organisation of protest set up, since the Irish smoking ban was introduced in 2004 by our inept health minister Mickey Martin, who then left the health dept in a shambles after being promoted to the cushy number in foreign affairs and now leader of the decimated FF party. LOL
In comparison to our neighbours in the UK who gathered their troops together and fought their smoking ban on every level since it was introduced there in 2007, the Irish have behaved like lambs to the slaughter over the past decade, accepting everything that's thrown at them.
During the so called boom when things were going so well it didnt seem to affect the trend setters, who had pots of money and could go abroad on multiple holidays and the trend became 'staying in is the new going out' when dinner parties and drinking at home, to show off their palatial new homes, became the norm in our era of compliance.
That is, all except the poor aul fellas who had no clout or 'celtic tiger' money or anyone to champion their cause apart from one noble journalist Declan Lynch, who highlighted their plight from time to time.
And unlike the English government where a minister from ALL parties have stood up and asked for an amendment of the smoking ban, not one Irish politician, apart from John Deasy who was sacked by Enda for smoking a fag, are prepared to speak out for us smokers in case they would alienate the worried well or loose votes.
Apart from the economic downturn, due to the corruption and mismanagement of our resources, we now have a situation where a sizeable proportion of the population (smokers) have little enjoyment in going to any functions where you are forced to go outside in damp and chilly and now miserable Ireland.
And the Irish still seem to very happy to be marshalled by EU diktat.
What goes around comes around

July 21, 2011 | Unregistered Commenterann

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