[Wiltshire] OT: Tolerance vs. PC [Was: Meeting place]

Andrew Meredith andrew at anvil.org
Tue Apr 29 12:59:40 BST 2008

David Fletcher wrote:
> The fact that the taking of a drug - in this case alcohol - is an accepted 
> part of the proceedings at LUG meetings makes, I think, the subject 
> completely acceptable on this list.

If somewhat OT as per title.

I'm sorry if the reader finds this thread to be too off topic, but there 
is obviously some strength of feeling here and every post in it is 
clearly identified by subject after all.

> There seems to be a misunderstanding here. Andrew, Matt, Jim, Michael and 
> anybody else, I absolutely respect, accept and would defend your right to 
> smoke and/or take any other drugs you choose to partake in.

Excellent. That's a great place to start from and a place I would 
happily stand with you. In a wider context, my grandfather and great 
uncles stood there a while ago and only half of them came back, so it's 
worth fighting for .... but not about, if we can finally understand each 

> The trouble is, 
> all drugs tend to have different effects on the people taking them and others 
> who happen to be around at the time. Therefore out of respect for others, we 
> have to accept that there are certain restrictions associated with their use.

There is a difference between "restrictions associated with their use" 
and the current very expensive propaganda driven demonisation exercise; 
see below.

> For example, in the case of alcohol:- When I drink a pint of beer or a glass 
> of wine, the entire drink remains inside me until I go to the toilet to 
> dispose of the remains in the proper manner, so it has absolutely no effect 
> on the other people around me when I am drinking it. However, it does have 
> the affect of impairing my judgement and reactions, so I have to accept that 
> I must not, for example, drive a car or pilot an aircraft for some hours 
> after drinking, because there is a greatly increased probability of me 
> accidentally killing somebody with my car/aircraft.

For my part I am not far off tea total, to all practical effects. I tend 
to go most places on my (motor)bike and anyone who rides a bike under 
the affluence of incahol deserves ..... erm .. "Very Bad Things"(tm) to 
happen to them, as they probably will.

#include <respect-your-right.h>

The effects of second hand drinking are indeed antisocial, damaging and 
expensive. For one thing, the alcohol is quite regularly "Exhaled" again 
.. all over the pavement. Getting piss-head puke all over your shoes ... 
and if you happen to be wearing sandals ... Urgh.

Chat with anyone who spends any time in A&E. They will tell you 
harrowing tales of patients, completely out of their trees banging 
around, threatening people, beating up staff and generally being 
dangerous A-holes.

Many people of my acquaintance .. and not just females, have said they 
do not go down town these days on a Fri or Sat night like they used to, 
because of the packs of marauding "Binge Drinkers" rolling round doing 
the old "Hello Daarrrning" act and making the whole experience more than 
uncomfortable. This always used to go on of course, but until the home 
office comes up with a speed camera to move on beligerent drunks, their 
current mania for automated policing is making this situation untenable.

I also, as per #include above, will stand up for the drinkers' right to 
get wrecked if they want to, but don't for one minute fail to compare 
the massive cost in lives, health, NHS costs and police time associated 
with passive drinking.

Oh and here's a warning. President B and the rest of his high minded 
morally superior bigots have already started the pogrom against the 
drinker. The "Binge Drinker" is being demonised with carefully picked 
and edited shots of pissed up proles fighting and passing out, and the 
medical definition of binge drinking is slowly being lowered. Expect 
more on this front, mark my words.

> Nicotine is the exact opposite:- It does not apparently have an adverse affect 
> on a person's ability to drive a car, but when taken in the form of a smoke, 
> it is inhaled, held for a couple of seconds, then blown out into the air. In 
> an enclosed space, it has a horrible effect on other people. The smell is 
> very noxious, it makes eyes go sore and watering because of the chemical 
> irritation, and following exposure every item of clothing has to be laundered 
> and the person has to shower and shampoo in order to get rid of the stink.

So in short, tobacco smoke smells. Yup. That's why separate areas are a 
good plan. The "Tap Room" for smokers (as it was originally) and the 
lounge bar and restaurant for the rest.

I am allergic to garlic and onion .. to the extent that a good whiff of 
garlic will confine me to the smallest room for a little while and an 
inadvertent bite, for the rest of the evening. I am not alone in this 
genetic affliction either. Maybe us "Transylvanians" should join up and 
campaign for garlic to be banned on the grounds that the smell is 
noxious, needs to be washed off after and can do actual harm.

Sorry but garlic, newly started catalytic converters, some aftershaves, 
most curry houses .. they all stink and stick to your clothes. If this 
ban is an attempt to make the world smell universally sweet, it has a 
way to go yet and is a bit on the harsh side.

> Unfortunately the inside of a person's lungs cannot be washed clean of the 
> contamination. Long term (or if unlucky perhaps short term) exposure can, we 
> know for certain, cause horrible diseases such as lung cancer, which can kill 
> you just as surely as, but far more slowly and painfully than, a drunk 
> driver.

This certainly holds true for the smokers themselves, no argument there.

However, there have been shedloads of attempts to prove that the same 
holds true for second hand smoke, but that's been a bust so far. This of 
course is of little concern to the likes of Presidents Blair and Brown. 
They don't need proof, they just decree that it is the case and their PR 
machines convert that into the truth. Enough money spent on shock tactic 
posters and TV ads will do that for you.

The "Truth" as far as can be determined amid the noise caused by the far 
higher quantity/quality polutants from vehicles and factories, is that 
it might be marginally dangerous, but might actually have a prophylactic 
effect, the later coming out marginally more probable (eg +2% vs -0.2%) 
but that neither result rises above the noise. They've tried, very hard, 
but can't actually prove anything.

> The term yuk was, I thought, pretty mild.

I find yuk the fact that obviously intelligent and normally considerate 
people have been drawn along into this witch hunt and fed these new 
"Truths" by a few rabid health nuts that have been able to use the 
"Political Correctness" agenda to bend the ear of those in power and 
inflict their totalitarian approach to personal choice on the population.

In case people forget, we were promised a "Partial" ban. Something to 
make the *default* state non-smoking, but with controlled exceptions .. 
not a mandatory blanket ban with no way of accommodating both parties in 
a fair and equitable way.

> So, smokers now have to 
> accept the restriction that they cannot indulge in their habit in an enclosed 
> space, such as pubs, shops and offices.

Once again, the thrust of my point has been diverted to suit. To requote 
a section from my original mail:

: It might have helped if they had allowed publicans (et al) to
: apply for smoking licenses for specific areas with suitable access,
: atmospheric separation and ventilation; but then that assumes the law
: was passed on public health grounds, rather than Nanny State Dogma.

A smoking room, or controlled numbers of smoking pubs, or some similar 
way of allowing smokers to smoke away in their own space, 
atmospherically separated from the non-smoking areas.

Then none of your doomsday scenarios apply.

> Everybody has been banned from drinking and driving for so many years that it 
> is now generally accepted in society.

Drink driving is a clear and present danger. I can personally bear 
witness to the fact that drivers under the influence are a lethal risk 
to other road users. Friend killed on his bike by piss-head in van.

The two are, quite simply, not equivalent.

I know I am probably overly emotionally involved in this one, but I'm 
sorry, I find the attempt at equivalence between drink driving and 
passive smoking to be insulting.

> The ban on smoking in enclosed public 
> spaces has taken many more years to be implemented, but I rejoice that it has 
> finally come to be, and that the insidious effects of passive smoking have 
> been brought to an end.

You do keep going on about passive smoking as if it is a proven fact.

Sorry. It isn't. If anything was shown at all by these wholly 
inconclusive studies, it would be that the opposite is true.

I am also sorry that you feel like rejoicing because you now don't have 
to think about the fact that someone in the same building as you might 
be smoking a cigarette. You wouldn't be able to see them. You could not 
be affected by their smoke. You don't even have to know who they are, 
but it would apparently cause your joy to be dented just to know that 
they are there and doing this terrible thing to themselves.

There goes that old "Tolerance" rubbish again .. don't know why I keep 
banging on about such archaic principles.

> So, everybody mentioned above, and anybody else, as I said before, I respect 
> and defend your right to smoke if you want to, but in return I expect you to 
> respect my right to breathe clean air.

We DO ! The majority of well brought up smokers always have.

As was shown by the surveys I spoke of earlier, smokers were quite happy 
with the idea of being corralled into smoking rooms if that's what was 
on the table. Yup, better ventilation, proper atmospheric separation its 
all good. You are welcome to all the "Clean" air you want. Where clean 
is redefined as; poluted with particulates and sulphates and smelling of 
BO, bad breath, beer by-products and quite often vomit.

The non-smokers however, weren't happy with that, or at least sufficient 
numbers of them with the ear of government waved their PC flags at the 
psychological moment and President Blair blinked.

Smokers are now only allowed to smoke inside if they live there and 
nobody else can go there, even if those others are all smokers 
themselves. This is not balanced, is not well thought out and most 
certainly is not fair. It is not even consistent across the country. 
Examine the rules for the palace of Westminster and indeed the City of 

All of the issues and concerns you raised can happily be accommodated 
without the need for the current draconian approach. It just depends 
whether you want what you actually asked for above or if you just want 
revenge for having to wash your shirts so many times in the past.

.. and I haven't even mentioned the butchery currently going on in the 
pub trade as smokers get sick of being treated like lepers and take 
their wallets to Tescos and their drinks to the expanding, unregulated 
"House Party" scene. Wait for the current (ISTR) 4 pubs a week attrition 
rate to spike in the summer when people break out the garden chairs and 
cancel the pub crawls in favour of loud, stinky, unregulated BBQs.

> End of rant.

Ditto :)

Andy M

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