Smoking bans have long-lasting effects on millions of people. Yet the people who enact these bans would seem to suffer no consequences whatsoever. In fact, for the most part, they remain nameless and faceless.
Take for example hospital smoking bans, which must have severe impacts on those smokers who must trudge, on crutches, carrying catheters and drips, to the gates of the hospital precinct to have a smoke. Who was it who proposed such a draconian ban? Who was it who signed the edict into force? Was it something that was discussed in numerous committees, or was it an edict from on high?
In the case of hospital smoking bans I somehow have the impression that these bans do not originate with either the doctors or nurses who work in these hospitals. They are primarily concerned with the care of patients in the hospital, and not with the administration of the hospital, and hospital smoking bans are an administrative measure, much like parking regulations. So most likely they originate somewhere in the hospital administration. Or maybe, given that lots of hospitals have introduced these draconian bans, they originate in some central government department.
And if they originate in one single government department, would that not suggest that they originate from a single individual.
If so, who is he? Or who is she? What is their name? What is their job description? Who was it who, with a single stroke of their pen, forced thousands of hospital invalids to hobble to the hospital gates for a cigarette? Ought we not to know the name of this particular bureaucrat? Ought we not to see his face? Ought he not be publicly questioned about his activities?
Whoever it is, it’s not somebody who is a public advocate of smoking bans. It’s probably not, for example, ASH’s Deborah Arnott. No, it’ll be some shadowy figure, working invisibly inside government.
I think that when the Brexit farce is over (if it is ever over), and he has recovered, I’m going to write to my Westminster MP and ask him firstly whether hospital smoking bans originate in the hospitals themselves, or in some central government department. And if they originate (as I suspect they do), from central government, ask where in government was it. And once this has been ascertained, ask who it was in government that promoted the draconian policy.
I suspect that I won’t get an answer. I won’t be given a name. I suspect that civil servants in government are very glad of their anonymity, and more than happy to leave it to politicians to be the public face of government. But isn’t it precisely such anonymity that allows the worst atrocities to be committed by nameless, faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats?