Wednesday, June 6, 2007

Smoked out in the U.K.

Now this is more like it!

I've written several posts about individual bars here and there overtly or covertly defying smoking bans imposed by control-freak politicians or bullying voters. While commendable, these acts of civil disobedience are generally quixotic crusades destined to garner a few headlines and then fade away. Honestly, what's one bar going to do by itself when city and state officials decide to put the squeeze to the owner--or revoke the establishment's license?

But, in the U.K., of all places, pub owners have joined together in a mass "piss off" to the nanny-staters.

A campaign of civil disobedience against next month's smoking ban will see hundreds of pubs flouting the new laws.

Landlords at up to 200 pubs are planning a "day of defiance" when the legislation comes into force next month, allowing customers to light up on July 1. The number involved is expected to grow and some publicans have vowed to continue to break the law beyond July 1 if customers want them to.

While still symbolic--most pub owners aren't saying that they won't ever knuckle under to the government--this mass action carries more weight than an individual protest could. It's a statement by a large segment of an entire industry that it resents the imposition of an oppressive regulation and is willing to break that law. As such, it's drawing respecful press coverage and is certainly gaining the government's attention.

What will be more effective is if the pub owners can keep the defiance campaign going. The state needs frequent reminders that its intrusive reach is very unwelcome.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

I like the idea of not having to put up with smoke in my bars and clubs. I'll probably drink more if I know I won't smell of fags each time I come home. Actually, maybe I'll open a chain of private smoking clubs, and make my milllionsssssssss!

June 13, 2007 8:10 AM  

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