Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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No Voice, No Rights
H/T Junican and Chris Snowdon for this ONS study:

ONS is developing new measures of national well-being. The aim is that these new measures will cover the quality of life of people in the UK, environmental and sustainability issues, as well as the economic performance of the country.

To develop better measures of the nation's well-being we want to ask what matters most in people's lives and what is important for measuring the nation's well-being.

I signed up (just name and email address required) and wrote my answer to the following question:

What things in life matter most to you?

The simplest of things in life: to be able to sit in a pub and drink a pint of beer and smoke a cigarette and talk to friends. This simple thing brought pleasure and laughter, and allowed networks of friendships and pub communities to grow and flourish within a shared culture.

It's illegal now to do this, of course. And so the happiness it provided, and the friendship, and the community, and the shared culture have all been crushed. With them also, needless to say, freedom and democracy were also crushed.

There was no indication that the above would be published anywhere, or even considered. Still, no harm done by writing something.

It will almost certainly be ignored. Smokers are people whose opinions are systematically ignored. They have no voice in this 'society'.

Chris Snowdon's piece is tagged 'pretend consultation', and he's almost certainly right. The British people will be found to be deliriously happy about everything.

Along similar lines is Michael Kelly's comment on Stewart Cowan's Facebook page:

Stop defending smokers' rights. They have none.

michael kelly

I took the trouble not only to check the Facebook page, but also to find out a bit more about Michael Kelly:

Michael Kelly - Celtic director (1990-1994)

Michael Kelly is a Scottish politician and businessman. He held the position of Lord Provost from 1980 to 1984, and was Lord Rector of Glasgow University from 1983 to 1987.

It's one thing to hear such vicious sentiments from some anonymous online commenter. It's quite another to hear them from someone who has held a number of senior posts in public life.

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On Happiness.

Why is the government even asking? They must have some public policy in mind. Otherwise, why ask? Happiness or overall wellness is not the business of government. There are too many dimensions, many of them private, and the mix of these dimensions is individual.

That it has to ask its constituents for what makes them happy means that the government does not know - hasn’t a clue. Is it going to use 52% of a common response as the basis for “national happiness” policy? What of the other 48%? Do many people even comprehend the question or even how to go about addressing it? Is this some sort of deranged government market-assessment exercise? What is the government trying to “sell”?

This all stinks of “State-approved/sponsored happiness” programs, control over constituents, and the death of individual autonomy – which we are already coming ever-closer to. The State should be told that as minimal interference as possible from the State would provide a good basis for individuals to pursue happiness as it makes sense to them: In other words, keep your snout out of where it does not belong.

As others have indicated, a reasonable approach to this governmental sticky-beaking is not how government can “produce happiness” but how its conduct (e.g., smoking bans) has inhibited or quashed the pursuit of happiness for a considerable portion of its constituents, conduct that it should immediately desist from.

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