Monday, 9 June 2008

A welcome Stiffie

A welcome e-stiffie today from FOREST to join them for a civilised and smoke-friendly event at an upscale London venue to mark the first anniversary of the smoking ban. Which I will very graciously accept. I am reminded that it was February last year that I attended Lord Harris' memorial service in Smith Square; Ralph Harris was of course chairman of FOREST and there was no more zealous defender of personal freedom. Norman Tebbit warmed himself to the entire gathering when, as a lifelong non-smoker, he offered to light-up on stage in protest against the smoking ban. Bless him.

Ralph Harris was fond of quoting "There's not enough darkness in the whole world to extinguish the light of a single candle". This is always a great encouragement to me; those of us who hover around the 80 unique visitors a day in the blogosphere sometimes look with disheartenment at the two big boys with their 2,000 a day or more, but it shouldn't be so. Just a single reader of this blog delights me and makes it worthwhile. So thank you, if you're reading this. And for all fellow bloggers - imagine the combined effect of the light of all our candles.

There's another passage of Ralph's I like:
Collectivists (we didn't always say socialists; there are collectivists from all parties) are people who believe in free-range chickens but not in free-range people. There is this underlying contempt for other people and this assumption of superiority by the collectivist individual, who thinks that liberty is too good for ordinary people to use or misuse.
Free-range people? Yep, count me in.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Raedwald, some stuff for you to read...

A fascinating article in yesterday's Times:

http://women.timesonline.co.uk/tol/life_and_style/women/families/article4095977.ece

And this is her blog:

http://freerangekids.wordpress.com/

nomad said...

As quite a free-rage person myself, I have no objection to people smoking, the exception being "not near me, please, when I am eating", which is why I support a ban on smoking in restaurants, but not in pubs or clubs. Aeasonable compromise methinks.

nomad said...

A reasonable... [sorry, sticky keyboard today.]

Raedwald said...

Nomad - I am a great respecter of smoke-free eating zones with the exception of my own dining table. Even as a smoker, the fug of a cigar from a neighbouring table taints my eating experience and if I'm paying £15 for a main course I want to taste it properly. I have always been more than happy to not smoke in any proper eaterie - excluding suburban Indian restaurants after 11pm of course, which are like the pub but with cumin and coriander.