A Trip to London

Back from London, after a 36 hour trip. The wedding went off happily. And London seemed much like the London I’d known. And it didn’t seem to be the no-smoking desert I’d expected either.

Because there seemed to be lots and lots of little cafes and restaurants, all with tables outside, many of which were occupied by by smokers, even though it wasn’t at all warm outside. In fact, quite a few shops seemed to have a table or two outside as well. Sometimes a single table, and a single chair.

So I came away with the impression that London’s cafes had stepped in to help out smokers with tables and chairs outside, and that if you were a London smoker, you now went from cafe to cafe, rather than from pub to pub. It never used to be like that. And lots of people were smoking on the streets.

Also there were lots of foreigners. The underground seemed to be chock full of them. I didn’t know whether they lived in London, or were just visiting. But whenever anyone opened their mouth and started talking, it seemed to be in Russian or something. On one trip, after listening to various conversations in various eastern European languages, I was a bit puzzled about one conversation I was overhearing, and couldn’t place which east European language I was hearing, until finally it dawned on me that it was English – but with a strong Scottish accent.

And I was a bit puzzled by the mainline rail stations on the way to London. Quite a few of them had signs saying, “This is a no smoking station.” But I realised that quite a few didn’t have the sign, so I now suspect that while some stations are non-smoking, some aren’t. After all, wouldn’t they all have had No Smoking signs if they were? Not that I saw anyone smoking on any platform. Maybe individual stations have their own individual smoking policies?

Anyway, it wasn’t all quite as grim as I thought it would be. And smoking was just as common there as anywhere else.

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19 Responses to A Trip to London

  1. cherie79 says:

    As far as I know railway platforms are not compelled to be no smoking as they are not enclosed, It is entirely up to the operators. I believe some have decided to allow it and some not, my son is a train driver and he said it is rarely enforced even if there are signs as it is not illegal.

  2. JJ says:

    You beat me to it Cherie. I really do get angry at this.

    By what legal authority can you be stopped from smoking on a railway platform? Is there a by law that is enacted by individual councils that can prevent you. If you refused what happens then – do they forcibly remove you from the station, in which case if no legal status exists then that would constitute assault wouldn’t it?

    Aren’t they obliged to show you written confirmation of any law forbidding smoking on railway platform? It doesn’t matter if they don’t want to allow it – the law does not apply to open areas like this so a smoking ban can’t be enforced.

    What a piss-pot nation we’ve turned into!

    • junican says:

      A similar situation apples to Football Stadiums.
      I think that it is a question of whether the property is private property or not. A football club can decide not to allow smoking in its stadium because it is private property.

      But there is a problem. The Health Act defined any place where the public go as ‘a public place’, regardless of whether or not it is private property. Smoking in a ‘public place’ is directed by the law of the land, and is not in the hands of the owners of the private property.

      But there is a stupid catch in the stupid Health Act, which is that the law defines only indoor private property places as ‘public places’! Outdoor private properties, regardless of how much the public frequent those outdoor private properties, are NOT defined as ‘public places’! A football stadium, no matter how many members of the public congregate there, is not a ‘public place’, but a tiny pub, regardless of how few people congregate there, is a ‘public place’! The same applies to railway platforms.

      Strange, is it not, that during the parliamentary debate on the smoking ban, no one pointed out that, if pubs are to be defined as public places, then so should townhall squares. In fact, how is it even remotely reasonable to define private property as ‘public places’ while NOT describing public property as ‘public places’?

      It may take some time, but this ridiculous anomaly must surface sooner or later. But, knowing what we know about the deviousness of Tobacco Control and the malleability of MPs, we ought not to be surprised if a law is passed making public property a public place.

      All the wrong way round, of course, but typical of totalitarianism.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        I sometimes wonder whether the fact that MPs decided, in their infinite wisdom, not to include outdoor public places in the Health Act (which restricts itself purely to “enclosed public places,” hence all the shenanigans as to what comprises “enclosed” and what doesn’t), because they somehow thought that if smokers “just had to pop outside for a few minutes” to have a smoke, then they’d still patronise pubs and clubs and cafes and restaurants etc as often as they used to, and that they’d stay every bit as long as they used to, and thus the economic impact of the ban would be minimal.

        But of course, that wasn’t what happened. I guess it’s obvious, really. When you get a bunch of people making rules and regulations about something that they never do, that they don’t like, that they don’t have any interest in doing and who have absolutely no understanding of why other people do it, then they’re bound to get it completely wrong. It’s a bit like asking a bunch of people who never play golf, who find golf a mind-numbingly boring and pointless game and who generally dislike people who play golf, to set the rules for golf and golfers without taking any genuinely unbiased advice from people who love the game and play it regularly!

        It’s been said on here many times before, but I’ll say it again – non-smokers just don’t “get” smoking. Even ex-smokers (who think they do, because they used to be smokers) seem to lose touch and forget pretty quickly. If they’d really, really wanted to put together an Act which would have sidestepped all the economic woes which now befall us, MPs would have done better to have told campaigners to put their pride in their pockets and to get out there and seek the advice of some real smokers before they got to work on drafting out any kind of Bill. But then, as we all know, by the time it got to that stage, they’d long stopped considering smokers’ opinions as valid, and so just allowed the campaigners to plough on regardless and drafted the Bill according to those same campaigners’ inaccurate and flawed assessment of the likely impact. And the smoking ban itself had become such a point of principle amongst campaigners that even genuinely serious practical considerations, such as the financial effects, job losses and social isolation were very much secondary issues to be swept firmly under the carpet in the pursuit of their very own “sacred cow.”

        No wonder the Coalition (and their puppet media) have tried so hard – with varying levels of success – to avoid becoming embroiled in further smoking-related debates since they came to power. On so many levels, the ban has been an almighty c*ck-up of the first order and is, quite frankly, a huge embarrassment. They can’t repeal it, because that would stir up the twin hornet’s nests that are the Health Lobby and the Tobacco Control industry; but I believe that to be honest they’d really rather they hadn’t been lumped with it by the last Government. I can’t think of a single piece of legislation which has ever gone quite as wrong – in terms of failing to achieve a single one of its objectives and, indeed, sometimes achieving the complete opposite – as that one has. No wonder they don’t want to touch it with a bargepole!

    • Reinhold says:

      What a piss-pot nation we’ve turned into!

      Not only you.

  3. waltc says:

    Here, (New York), we do have laws prohibiting smoking on open train platforms, and a state law about to go into effect prohibiting it in state owned parks and beaches. In addition, localities can, and do, ban it in city or county “owned” parks, beaches, even sidewalk areas (parts of Times Square!) and strongly restrict it on restaurant patios and sidewalk cafes– most of which now ban it entirely anyway. Finally, smoking bans in public housing are strongly encouraged by HUD (the federal housing department) and have been enacted by law in many cities (our “friend” Michael Siegel supported the one in Boston) and towns in California have also, by law, banned it in private apartment buildings, regardless of the wishes of their owners.

    Beware. I believe Bloomberg has a home in London and once he’s out of office, he may well go over there and agitate.

  4. waltc says:

    Well, except for the writer claiming the smoking ban is “”popular” (tho actually in PC and P’whipped New York, it unfortunately is) here’s a thoroughly deserved bashing of Bloomberg from the Washington Examiner:

  5. smokingscot says:

    Seems you now have first hand experienced of propaganda.

  6. smokervoter says:

    So there’s no truth to the steadfast rumour that: “Cause in sleepy London Town there’s just no place for a street smokin’ man, no…”

    At what stage of life and age (chronological years) did you live in London? That city really must be something else. I hear it just goes on and on and on in every direction. And didn’t I read somewhere that it’s the largest city in Europe by a longshot?

    • Frank Davis says:

      I lived there twice, for about a year on each occasion. I was 23 and 25, I think.

      • smokervoter says:

        So that would be 1971 and 1973. Interesting time that was. Economists mark 1973 as the year that steadily rising standards of living in the US peaked. It was the time of Nixon’s crushing defeat of McGovern, Watergate, the Arab Oil Embargo (and gas lines) and the end of the Vietnam War.

        In winter of 1973 I went down to go surfing in Mazatlan, Mexico for two weeks and ended up spending 15 of the next 24 months living there over five journeys.

        I wrote 139 pages of a book about the experience and subsequently lost everything but the crude unedited version in a hard-drive crash due to a lightning strike in 1996 (?).

        It had two working titles, Cerro Los Chivos (the islet I rented a house on) or just 1973.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Greece starts firing civil servants for first time in a century

    The Greek government began its first mass-firing of public-sector workers in more than 100 years this week, part of an effort to lay off 180,000 by 2015 under Europe-imposed austerity.


  8. Rose says:

    It’s been an interesting week on the Telegraph, but today matters seem to have come to a head.

    People who vote Ukip are closet racists, says Ken Clarke

    ” Mr Clarke described Ukip candidates as “clowns” and “indignant, angry people” and warned that they should not be allowed to control county councils in England.

    Ukip is facing questions over its vetting after campaigners criticised the “far-right connections” and “cuckoo conspiracy theories” of some of its potential councillors.

    “Well they of course haven’t been able to vet their candidates and fringe-right parties do tend to collect a number of waifs and strays,” Mr Clarke said.”

    Nigel Farage attacks Ken Clarke for calling Ukip voters racists

    And he did too.

    • jaxthefirst says:

      We have a UKIP candidate standing in our area (hooray!), so I’ll be voting for the first time in many years in a local election. But there’s no doubt that UKIP are rattling the cages of the Big Boys (who round here are the Tories and the LibDems – Labour don’t even register on the radar). My OH foolishly opened the door to one of the Tory footsoldiers the other day and he said that the only thing this chap had to say was “Don’t, whatever you do, vote for UKIP. They just don’t have any local policies.” That was it. No saying how wonderful the Tories were. No criticism of UKIP’s own policies. No insinuated smearing of the UKIP candidate. Just that – “don’t vote for them.” He said it was almost like a plea and he almost felt sorry for the chap, he seemed so desperate to get this one, massively important, message across to we dimmo voters who might be “duped” by wicked old UKIP!

      Sadly, my OH didn’t have the time to engage in much conversation with this man, so didn’t get the chance to explain to him that if there was a bag of potatoes standing as the only alternative to any of the empty-souled, self-satisfied, spineless, self-serving Big Three then he’d vote for that, so that a UKIP candidate was probably the least of the local Tory or LibDem Party’s worries. But that was probably a good thing. From the sound of it, if my OH had explained that to him, I suspect that he might have burst into tears!

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