Outdoor cigarette ban is yet ANOTHER drag on our freedom

Outdoor cigarette ban is yet ANOTHER drag on our freedom

06/05/2021

OXFORDSHIRE wants to become the first county to ban outdoor smoking.

But this dumb idea makes the skin crawl, even for those of us with deeply personal reasons to loathe cigarettes.

Fags are old-fashioned now. But what feels horribly modern is the leaders of the land believing that their prissy interference in every aspect of our lives is infinitely more important than anything resembling personal freedom.

From your local council to the corridors of power at Westminster, they all believe Nanny knows best.

Oxfordshire County Council ­— a nightmare coalition of virtue-signalling Labour, Lib Dem and Greens — has proposed new laws to ban outdoor smoking. How long before some prudes ban outdoor drinking?

Or decide smoking in the privacy of your own home is criminal?

Five local authorities — Northumberland, Durham, North Tyneside, Newcastle and the City of Manchester — have already banned smoking in pavement pubs, cafes and restaurants.

The bans are a particularly ludicrous gesture because cigarette smoking has been in terminal decline in the UK for decades. But if we have lost our taste for smoking, then our masters are becoming dangerously addicted to bossing us about.

From your local council to the corridors of power at Westminster, they all believe Nanny knows best.

I am far from a fan of fags. I watched both my mum and my dad die of smoking-related lung cancer, although both had packed it in years before they died. But my 18-year-old daughter has never shown even the slightest inclination to start smoking.

My parents were typical of their generation, believing cigarettes to have the cool cachet of Bogart and Bacall lighting up in films — just as their teenage granddaughter is typical of her generation, seeing smoking as a filthy and pre-historic habit.

But not smoking, inside or outside, is her personal choice.

I grew up in what felt like a fog of fag smoke. But I smoked my last Marlboro in 1987 when I watched my father die of lung cancer at 62 because he was partial to his Old Holborn roll-ups.

And no matter how good Dad’s soggy roll-ups tasted, they were not worth losing decades of his life, and being deprived of seeing his grandchildren grow up, and the excruciating pain and suffering he endured at the end.

Lung cancer is a wretched way to die. But I do not need some little local councillor ordering me not to smoke. That is my shout.

Since the pandemic began, freedoms that we took for granted have been taken away from us.

But even as we emerge from the long nightmare of coronavirus, the bossiness of the authorities remains at epidemic levels.

Oxfordshire County Council is run by loony left-wing bossy boots. But even Boris, that most libertarian of Tories, sometimes seems as if he would like to keep us nice and safe, tucked up in lockdown for ever.

THEY ARE OUR SERVANTS

Whatever happened to freedom? Whatever happened to personal choice?

From local councils to the Palace of Westminster to Downing Street, the great and the good need to remember that they are our servants and not our masters — or our mummies.

And they certainly don’t always know best when it comes to our health.

I am all in favour of educating the dwindling band of smokers that are puffing their way to an early grave.

But don’t we have bigger things to worry about than some bloke having a quiet snout in the garden of the Rat And Trumpet?

Leave Naomi alone and let her tennis do the talking

NAOMI OSAKA, the world No2 tennis star, quit the French Open after refusing to appear at the press conferences she finds so excruciating.

Now Osaka is threatened with expulsion from Grand Slam tournaments, including Wimbledon, because she will not yak to the media after her matches.

Osaka is shy and has a reticence that is very Japanese.

The mouthy, post-match gab fest was never going to be her thing. Also, she is too smart – and too humorous – to just reach for the banal sporting cliché in response to difficult questions.

She has been called a spoilt brat who confuses genuine mental-health issues with simply having to do the things that make her unhappy.

But there is no doubt that talking to the press is agony for her. So I have every sympathy with Naomi Osaka.

She is great on court. That should be enough.

Tearing football apart

TAKING the knee is tearing football apart. The pre-match ritual was booed, and applauded too, when England played Austria in a friendly at the Riverside Stadium.

It is likely to be booed when England play Romania in Middlesbrough in front of 8,000 fans today and throughout the Euros. England’s manager is intelligent and sensitive enough to understand why.

“We have got to a stage where some people think it is a political stand that they don’t agree with,” Gareth Southgate told reporters.

Exactly, Gareth.

To many decent, non-racist football fans, “taking the knee” is not anti-racist but pro-BLM, the violent Marxists famous for desecrating the Cenotaph and attacking police horses.

That is what fans are booing.

Queen party a banker

HOW many 95-year-olds are busy making plans for the summer of 2022?

The Queen has signed off on the celebrations for her Platinum Jubilee, which will mark an astonishing 70 years on the throne.

The Platinum Jubilee plans were announced on Wednesday, exactly one year ahead of a four-day bank holiday that will start on Thursday, June 2, 2022.

It feels like the Queen can go on for ever.

Aged just 25 when she came to the throne in 1952, she has known 14 Prime Ministers, from Winston Churchill to Boris Johnson, and around the same number of American Presidents.

This is the kind of staying power history will never see again.

Nobody should bet against the Queen getting a birthday card from herself in five years.

Let’s get to the bottom of Covid

WHERE did this pandemic start?

With 3.7million dead, we still don’t know. Because too many people have been too afraid of upsetting China by even daring to ask the question.

The World Heath Organisation made a pointless trip to Wuhan and were led around by their noses by their Chinese hosts. Facebook took down any posts that suggested the virus may have leaked from a Chinese lab.

And with his crass comments about “kung flu”, Donald Trump did nothing to aid the search for the truth.

But now President Joe Biden has ordered US intelligence services to report to him on the leak theory in 90 days.

However much the truth may embarrass China, the world deserves to know how this plague started.

Punish staffie thickos

NO dog is more misunderstood than the Staffie. This beautiful breed has got a bad rap because too many morons have briefly owned and quickly dumped one.

Roxy, five, was an abandoned Staffie who waited four years for a home.

Now she has more than a home – she has a job, as the UK’s first explosives search Staffie.

She has already seen active service, ahead of big events including Prince Philip’s funeral.

Handler PC Camilla Carter says: “I’m sure she was born to do this.”

It is a stain on this dog-loving nation that rescue homes are full of Staffies like Roxy. It is the thickos who abandoned them who deserve to be locked up.

Keir needs victory

SIR KEIR STARMER took a chance doing Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.

And while Keir’s enemies will gnash their teeth, the gamble paid off. Starmer seemed human. And not quite finished yet.

But the by-election in the Labour seat of Batley and Spen is on July 1.

And if Labour can’t hold on to a 3,525 majority in the Yorkshire constituency, then even getting Starmer on Strictly will not save him.

We’re still pretty generous

LABOUR and Tory rebels, including Theresa May, are clutching their pearls because foreign aid is to be reduced from 0.7 per cent of GDP to 0.5.

This will mean that instead of spending some £15billion a year on foreign aid, we will now spend around £10billion.

Still quite generous for a nation that is completely skint.

Pay-off justice

 WHILE Martin Bashir and BBC big-shots built lucrative Bafta-winning careers on the back of that 1995 Panorama interview with Diana, one man saw his career destroyed.

Blameless Matt Wiessler was the graphic designer who Bashir asked to mock up fake bank statements so he could gain Diana’s trust.


Wills can’t be blamed

AFTER the Duke of Cambridge met with Gordon Brown, former First Minister Alex Salmond darkly warned William it would be “extraordinarily foolish” for the monarchy to get involved in the debate on Scottish independence.

But William can hardly be blamed for caring about the United Kingdom. He will one day be its king.

I still believe in any referendum, the Scottish people would vote to remain part of the UK. And I suspect deep inside their hard little English-hating hearts, all those Nats know it too.

Anne Boleyn never took off

FOR all the pre- publicity about Jodie Turner-Smith playing a black Anne Boleyn, Channel 5’s Tudor drama never achieved lift-off.

The most striking thing about it was Mark Stanley as a shockingly familiar Henry VIII, left. This Henry VIII was such a Prince Harry lookalike I expected him to start bitching about his awful relations.

In a grotesque perversion of justice, this innocent man was blacklisted by the BBC.

Now Matt is in line for a reported £1million in compensation.

The pay-off should come from the pockets of those who made their fortune over the BBC’s hoodwinking of Diana.

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