Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Slightly depressing to see on Iain Dale's blog a Tory MP who aims to take England back to the dark ages when a trip to a pub or club was a serious health hazard - before you'd even downed your first drink. David Nuttall wants the Cameroon principle of localism to extend as far as landlords having discretion to decide on whether smoking should be allowed on their premises - or, in plain language, a complete repeal of the smoking ban in pubs and clubs. The case is being made under the disingenuous rallying-cry "save our pubs and clubs", which just makes me wonder how non-smokers would react if Nuttall got his way. In the past, they largely tolerated the discomfort and the health risk - partly because, I'd suggest, it had always been that way. But now they've had a taste of the clean air alternative, it would be very foolish to take their forbearance for granted in future. It would be deeply ironic if, in chasing an illusory economic boon, landlords ended up suffering a net loss of customers.