Wednesday, 26 March 2008

Chocolate Ban

In my last post I mentioned the Californian kids who are beating a fattening food ban - and making a tidy profit - at school by bringing sweets into school from home and selling them to other students. Their initiative shows just how foolish it is for those in authority to impose their views on the rest of us - particularly where those views relate to matters of personal choice, such as what we eat, drink or smoke.

Unfortunately, the extent of this stupidity doesn't seem to have been realised on this side of the pond, where, according to the Sun, there are plans afoot to ban chocolate bars, crisps and fizzy drinks from vending machines in 130 hospitals across Wales. The ban will be rolled out in ALL UK hospitals within two years, the article says.

Are they mad? Have the folks who run the NHS completely lost their marbles? Who the hell do they think they are to tell folks what they can eat or drink? And what will stop visitors from bringing chocs in for those imprisoned in an NHS hospital - and maybe selling a few extra to the other patients at the same time?

It just goes to show that the mindless buffoons who dream up this kind of crap are incapable of learning from their mistakes - or, I suspect, of even realising that they've made any. For example, on my travels I regularly drive past a large(ish) hospital. In line with the tide of health fascism that is sweeping the land, bosses there have decreed that the entire premises are to be a no smoking environment.

All of the (very expensive) smoking shelters that were so recently installed have been ripped out, and I am told than any member of staff caught smoking on the premises - even in their own car in the car park - faces disciplinary action. They can't very well discipline patients and visitors, but looming security enforcers seem to imply that lighting up is not a good idea, even outside.

Does this stop people from smoking? Do you think it would? No, of course not. They simply walk 50 yards or so from the hospital exit to the public street that lies beyond and, as soon as their feet step outside NHS property, they light up as they always have. The difference, of course, is that the public footpath outside the hospital is now packed with refugee smokers. No matter what time of day I drive past, there are dozens of them clustered around in groups.

Amongst their number I have regularly observed semi-ambulatory patients, clad in pyjamas, dressing gowns and slippers, towing a drip stand in one hand and clutching their smoke in the other. What kind of country requires the sick to vacate their beds and head out into the street in their dressing gowns so they can enjoy a cig? Not that these poor, victimised smokers are in any real danger other than catching a chill in the middle of winter. For, if they should collapse outside on the pavement, there are usually any number of nurses, doctors and paramedics puffing on their own cigarettes. No doubt they would be only to happy to help out a fellow smoker in distress.

If the Health Gestapo can't stop these spirited rebels from igniting a very noticeable cig, how the hell do they think they're going to stop folks from munching a surreptitious crisp? It's not going to happen, is it? All they will achieve is a degree of resentment across the whole of society that is currently the sole preserve of smokers.

Beware chocoholics - you may mock smokers, but you're next!

Billy Seggars.

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