Last night's event was noticeably more political than our party in Edinburgh which felt more like a gathering of friends and family (which, in some cases, it was). Within the Westminster village I detect a far stronger desire to fight back against the nanny/bully/Stasi state. In Scotland, one or two individuals aside, there seems to be a general acceptance that nothing can be done about it and we just have to lump it.
BTW, I was driven to refer to a Stasi state by Duncan Bannatyne's article in last Sunday's Observer which I have already commented upon HERE. This passage in particular stood out:
Smoking should be banned in cars, and particularly any vehicle with children in it. On a school visit I met a 12-year-boy who wanted to be an athlete who told me that every morning his mother lit up when she was driving to school, even though he'd begged her to stop. He should be able to report her to the police.
It should also be illegal to smoke at home in front of children. I accept that enforcing such a law would be difficult, but it would send a message that such behaviour is unacceptable.
Last night I pointed out that the only way this could be enforced is for neighbours or family members to report people who smoke in front of children to the police. It makes you wonder what sort of society Bannatyne wants to create. Smoke-free, undoubtedly, but the means of achieving that are so terrible to contemplate that it beggars belief that anyone in public life would promote such policies.
Actually, I think Bannatyne has done us a favour and scored a huge own goal. As president of No Smoking Day he has demonstrated the lengths to which the anti-tobacco will go to achieve a "smoke-free" (sic) world.
Roll on No Smoking Day 2010. Thanks to Bannatyne's appalling comments he has given us all the ammunition we need.
PS. The Bully State: The End of Tolerance can be ordered on Amazon HERE.