First They Came For the Smokers

Despite declaring an interest as a part-time smoker who isn’t bothered by cigarette smoke, I can appreciate the case for a smoking ban in pubs and cafes. Tobacco smoke is very intrusive and for a large majority of patrons of pubs and cafes, it’s deeply resented. That’s fine. Stop people doing it, make it a criminal offence, fine by me – if I want to smoke, I’ll go outside. It’d be great if you’d less us go to places where smoking is the main activity, but I’ll let this one go.

Something I do resent though, is a creeping tendency toward authoritarianism in this country. Don’t stress, I’m out of tinfoil, but I do think we are excessively obedient to authority in this country.

Si walked past this sign today.


There is no rationality for this whatsoever. What possible reason could there be for putting up a sign in a park telling people they can’t smoke? Personally, I find having to look at this this petty-minded edict far more of blight on my existence than cigarette smoke ever could.

“Oh, it’s the litter issue – we don’t want cigarette butts everywhere.”
That’s already covered by the ‘No Littering’ sign. I don’t litter – I put my carefully extinguished butts in the bin. Next question.

“People still have to walk past you or share a bench with you.”
Sorry – we’re outside. I understand that cigarette smoke bothers you, but by it’s very nature, this park is a wide open space and you can move away from me at any time you like.

Er.. they’re the only two I can think of. Any ideas? Maybe it’s something to do with terrorism, the blight of our times. Not the thing itself, but that fucking WORD. Terror. Terrorists. Terrorism. Ooh, scary. Daddy, the brown man with the beard wants to hurt me. What can I do? Well, son, we’ll spread fear and mistrust in people so they will obey authority without question and allow us to detain people without charge and invade any country we like as long as we keep talking about terror and terrorists. And if we we kill, injure, humiliate and dominate people, it’s collateral damage. It’s a neccesary struggle. It’s ‘clashes’. It’s ‘insurgency’.

At Westminster station, it’s got to the point where going through the ticket barrier whilst wearing a rucksack is akin to entering a bank with a balaclava on. How long until we ban reading in a public place? A few weeks of ITV news stories about terrorists using newspapers and magazines for cover and concealment when engaged in reconnaissance of potential targets for attack and people will lap it up.

“Ello Ello. May i ask what you’re doing, sunshine?”
“I’m reading a book, officer.”
“And what is the title of that book, might I ask?”
“It’s ‘The Conquest of the Middle East‘ by Robert Fisk”, I reply.
“Did you know you can be arrested and held for displaying subversive literature in a public place, sir?”
“Why’s that, officer?”
“You’re promoting terrorism, sir.”

This trump card is getting frayed around the edges.


SJ tells me it’s worse in certain districts of Toyko where you can smoke in public only in designated areas. No-one apparently gives a fuck though.


One Response to First They Came For the Smokers

  1. McKinley says:

    Know what really pisses me off? No cycling in parks and other random pathways. I know, I know.. they don’t want walkers to feel threatened by aggressive cyclists. But come on. We’re not all ass-riding wanker bikers and I need a break from the stress of riding on the streets!

    I have chosen to interpret the bicycle-with-a-circle-round-it sign as an invitation to cycle. When confronted I blame my foreign ignorance.

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