No such thing as a victimless ban

UK Telegraph columnist A.N. Wilson weighs in on a little-noticed pernicious effect of nanny statism.

What do the following have in common: Oscar Wilde, Henry James, Joseph Conrad, Virginia Woolf, T S Eliot, W B Yeats, Charles Dickens, William Makepeace Thackeray, Evelyn Waugh, Philip Larkin and Kingsley Amis?

The answer is, of course, that if they were to come back to life in Gordon Brown’s Britain and wanted to go out to their club, or a restaurant or café, they would not be allowed to indulge in a habit which sustained them during the most creative phases of their lives.

The moment they popped their favoured cigar, cigarette or pipe between their lips and lit up, they would have been fined on the spot.

Even worse…

The so-called Opposition parties, of course, were all so anxious to appease the health-fanatics who make up a proportion of the electorate that they did not dare to say: “Halt! Let the men and women of England, and the publicans of England, be the ones who decide who should smoke, and where, not some risible Government minister”.

Maybe the decline of literature has led to greater public inability to convey such sentiments? I certainly hope not. People need to hear politicians and bureaucrats described as “risible” more often. (Thanks to Megan McLaughlin for the Telegraph link.)