Over there

May 9, 2007 § 3 Comments

I am, it seems, destined to live in England.

You see, the English government has just released a white paper on the future of that country’s public health system, which includes a proposed smoking ban.  The ban would prohibit smoking in virtually all public places, with two notable exceptions: (a) pubs that do not sell prepared meals, and (b) private clubs whose members have voted to allow smoking in their establishments.

In remarks made before the House of Commons, Health Secretary and former smoker John Reid (remember him?) had this to say about the policy:

In a free society, men and women ultimately have the right within the law to choose their own lifestyle, even when it may damage their own health.  But people do not have the right to damage the health of others, or to impose an intolerable degree of inconvenience or nuisance on others.

We will ensure that people will be able to go to their workplace, or choose to go out for a meal or a drink without the damage, inconvenience or pollution from second-hand smoke.  This is a sensible solution which balances the protection of the majority with the personal freedom of the minority in England. [Emphasis mine.]

Sensible indeed.  And so, I am quietly plotting my move across the pond, where I can be reasonably assured that a smoky pub–and a rational political discourse–will be waiting for me.  Luckily, I’ve always had kind of a thing for English accents…

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