Let us take his points on the smoking ban that he, with the tedious predictability of a pious, priggish Nu Labour supporter, is a cheerleader for. He sounds the whimpering cry of non-smokers everywhere, that they weren’t able to get a pint without having to inhale smoke:
"When there is no practical choice to have a drink or watch a band without stinking of smoke, where is the liberty there?"Errr, in the choice between going to a pub where people smoke and not going to a pub where people smoke. It is a pretty simple fucking choice. There’s the liberty. You chose what you do.
But Neil devises another choice:
"In theory there may be a choice - non-smokers should set their own non-smoking club up they cry. But why did this not happen?"Well, I seem to remember some pubs that had no smoking areas that worked quite well, given the use of air conditioning. But the fact that there were no completely non-smoking pubs indicates to me that there was no demand for non-smoking pubs. If there had been, then I am absolutely sure that someone, somewhere would have jumped on the gap on the market. I find it extremely telling that the only way we ended up with non-smoking pubs was through government intervention. Through the government restricting our choices.
"Tolerating something is not the same as choosing it. Having a choice between not going out to see a band or have a drink or stinking of smoke is no choice at all."Yes it is, you dumb fuck. If is the choice between going somewhere that smells of smoke, and somewhere that doesn’t. Are you seriously telling me that you could not find, in the whole of the goddamned UK, one pub where you could have a pint but not inhale cigarette fumes? Because, frankly, you weren’t looking hard enough. And the same with going to see a band – why not go to an open air festival or gig, for fuck’s sake?
"The inconvenience for those trying to find a pub that didn't make them stink of smoke was far higher than the inconvenience of smokers having to smoke outside."It is not a question of inconvenience, Neil, it is a question of liberty. Because the way they have overcome the objection to people drinking in smoky pubs is by reducing freedom. You cannot smoke in any pub now, even if every poor fucker in there is happy for it to be a smoky environment. That is not freedom. That is totalitarianism.
Seriously, by supporting the smoking ban, you are giving the government the right to do whatever they feel they need to do in order to make you live the life they think they should live. What is to stop them from banning homosexuality? Pre-marital sex? The right to protest? The government could argue that it is infringing the liberty of homophobes to have homosexuals in the community. The government could argue that it is infringing the liberty of married prudes by allowing pre-marital sex. And the government could argue it is infringing the rights of hard-working MPs by allowing people to protest against their decisions. You are giving the government the right to do what the ruddy fuck it likes simply because you support the smoking ban. Every loss of liberty, regardless of whether you support the outcome or not, should be of massive concern because of the precedent it sets.
Because the government has no right to tell us how to live our lives. For what it is worth, I think smoking is a stupid thing to do – it stinks, and it is unhealthy. But you know what? If people want to smoke, and if they are in a pub where the owners of the property have allowed people to smoke, then they should be free to go in there. And if non-smokers want to smell like crap and risk their health through passive smoking by going into a smoking pub, you know what, that is there choice as well.
The whole point of living in a liberal democracy populated by adults is people should be allowed to make choices. Even if they make the wrong choice. They have the choice, and they have the responsibility for the outcome of those choices.
"(Longrider) cannot understand why I place him on the reactionary right of the political spectrum for opposing the smoking ban, supporting speeding drivers and opposing any elected authority he deems are infringing on the rights of drivers...."Funny you placing Longrider on the reactionary right of the political spectrum, Neil, because I would place you there rather than Longrider. The reason is fucking simple – the reactionary left (where you reside) is the same as the reactionary right. The choice is not between communism and fascism, as the outcome is exactly the same fucking thing. Doesn’t matter whether you sat in a Nazi Prison camp or a Stalinist gulag – either way, you were utterly fucked. Regardless of whether it is extreme right or extreme left, the outcome is a totalitarian state where you are told what you can do and think, and what you can’t do and think.
And of course Longrider has the choice to oppose any elected authority – that is the whole goddamned point of living in a democracy.
Ultimately, the choice is not between right and left – it is between freedom and totalitarianism. And you, Mr Harding, are squarely in the latter camp.