If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter.

- George Washington

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Awkward Sod

I don't smoke; I gave up cigarettes for the final time almost four years ago, and it was the best thing I ever did. I don't like the smell any more, and I find the odour of tobacco on someone's breath pretty revolting. So count me as a non-smoker.

But I also believe in freedom. That freedom includes the right to smoke if you wish. No sentient being can be unaware of the health risks, so if anyone chooses to smoke they are doing so in the full knowledge of what they are doing. That is their right, and I will support that to the very end. As long as they don't smoke in my house, or in an enclosed space where I can't escape it, then as far as I am concerned they should be free to carry on. And the State has no right to spend my money on campaigns and co-ordinators to prevent people from undertaking a legal activity that harms no-one else. I feel the same about fox-hunting: I have never hunted and never will, but I will fight to support the rights of those who wish to. Freedom is indivisible: if one person loses their freedom to act as they please within the law, we all do. To put it another way - if it's smokers now, who's next?

Which is why I was amused and intrigued by this. It is a recording of someone who is trying to bring a quantity of tobacco through customs. What he is doing is perfectly legal according to EU law, but the British Customs don't like it. He knows the law, and he ties them in knots. Four customs officers yelling at him, and he stands his ground and remains reasonable and persistent. Admirable conduct.

Can't wait for Part 2.

H/t to Nothing 2 Declare.

6 comments:

  1. Glad to hear you are a non-smoker (not an anti). It's odd that you mention fox hunting, like you it's something I've never done and probably never will. I was against the hunting ban and yet there are hunt supporters who take delight in forcing smokers outside.

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  2. If hunt supporters delight in enforcing the smoking ban, then they are short-sighted idiots who don't deserve the support of decent people. But it's a matter of fundamental liberty. If we aren't free to do what we want without hurting other people, then we aren't free at all.

    I went on the Countryside March in 2002 with exactly the same feelings. No desire to hunt, but willing to defend the right of those who wish to, to do so.

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  3. Remarkable indeed. Because thirty years ago - probably more recently than that - anybody arguing with customs officers, right or wrong, would have been thrown head first through a closed door, strip searched, and held without any rights at all for a fair old time.

    Looks like we've made progress.

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  4. Wonderful fellow - he sounded and behaved just like one of my colleagues at work - "Steve"..

    Whilst these 4 hapless Border Agency "Officers" or are they "operatives" are being entertained by Steve with a treatise on EU case law, 15 Romanian Ford Transit vans stuffed full of booze and fags have managed to drive through unimpeded.

    ReplyDelete
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    ReplyDelete

Comment is free, according to C P Scott, so go for it. Word verification is turned off for the time being. Play nicely.

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