Poor old Nick Clegg. Everybody is kicking him for saying he smokes, and for asking for "a stash of cigarettes" to take to his desert island. (H/T to TBY, you can hear his recording of Desert Island Discs here) The antismoking brigade were in quick:
‘If he really can’t commit to giving up smoking, he could at least make a commitment to stopping future generations from taking it up by backing long-awaited legislation on the promotion of tobacco.’
But, for the opposite reason, so was Leg-iron:
And in the Guardian (H/T to DP), Nicholas Lezard..
‘Admit’ to being a smoker? Why should it be an admission? Not glamorous? Oh yes it is. Not knowing what’s best for one? If I think I need a cigarette, that’s what I need. No excuse for smoking because I can manage without it? I can manage without going to pubs, watching TV or listening to the radio, and reading books. Does that mean there’s no excuse for that either?
But then Lezard continues:
And so maybe there is something shrewd about Clegg’s confession. It looks as though he’s not reading from the script, but maybe he’s smartly aligning himself with the disaffected. There is something endearing about politicians who smoke: it shows they are human, and as such subject to human failings….
It raises the question, of course, why he said a few months ago that it would be no more likely that the smoking ban would be lifted than that capital punishment would be re-introduced. Can’t he see the sheer hypocrisy of that?
But perhaps he can see it perfectly well. It would, after all, be hard not to spot. So perhaps what he was saying was that, in the current climate of antismoking hysteria, there was no possibility of amending the ban, whether he wanted to amend it or not. The baying antismoking hordes were simply too powerful. They were on a roll. The political will simply wasn’t there.
But perhaps that just reflects my underlying optimism. For I think that the smoking ban is such an obscene law that it’s bound to be amended or repealed one day. Sooner or later, when the antismokers lose the initiative (which they’re bound to sooner or later, and maybe already have), more and more people will start to wake up to what a socially divisive and futile and ineffective and mendacious piece of legislation this was. And also just what a vile bunch of people most of these antismokers really are.
I just wonder, at the end of the day, how colossal the social damage will prove to be.
Jay in the comments has said he/she has been getting full page ads when he tries to read comments, and can’t skip the ad. I’ve seen them once or twice. I tried it out, and got a greyed out page, but could skip the thing by clicking on a cross on the page.
I’ve complained to Livejournal about this. They already run ads in the margin, over which I have no control. Now they’ve taken to putting up whole page ads which some readers can’t get past. And that’ll certainly drive readers away. I’ve asked them to stop doing it. If they don’t stop, I’ve said I’ll quit Livejournal.
This isn’t an idle threat. I have a paid-for website these days, with several blog options (e.g. WordPress) available to install if I want to.