04/04/09 On the Count of 3, Raise Your Middle Finger to Hamish Champ

In an unbelievable display of ignorance, The Publican’s Hamish Champ has declared smokers “belligerent” and responsible for pubs closing down.[1] Apparently, the closures are all our fault. I ordinarily wouldn’t care what a man of such ignorance had to say, the only reason I do is because he is holding a job that gives him a certain amount of responsibility and influential power. Why do I call him ignorant? Well, besides his ridiculous tirade against smokers, which we shall get to shortly, he doesn’t even know how long we have had the smoking ban:

“But the ban’s been with us all for at least two years now. Can’t we just get on with it?”

Actually, Hamish mate, the ban has been with us for 21 months, so less than two years. 21 months of initial ostracisation, accompanied by further attempts to belittle smokers and make us the brunt of all society’s ills.

I can see what Champ means, though, in that the pubs are closing because smokers are not frequenting them. Actually, anyone with the slightest modicum of intelligence should be able to see that. But what I can’t agree with is that smokers should not be boycotting pubs. Excuse me? Why should we give our custom to an establishment that will not let us partake in our legal choice? Sure, the pub owners did not create the ban, but that does not mean we should lend unconditional support anyway. What person in their right mind would turn up to a place to have to spend a large amount of time outside, irrespective of the weather – snow, hail, rain, wind, sub-zero temperatures? I notice how only the non-smokers offer such an opinion – that is, those who can enjoy the warmth and comfort of the interior, rather than huddling in miserable groups at the exterior.

Smokers owe pubs nothing. That is the simple, plan truth. Yes, we enjoy pubs, but who would go to Thorpe Park if all the rides went away? Why would any smoker choose to go to a pub to pay ridiculous money for a drink, to go outside for a smoke? Bearing in mind, also, that large amounts of pubs will not permit drinks to be taken outside. So we are in a situation where we can buy a drink, leave it unattended and run the risk of getting spiked while we go outside for a cigarette whilst leaving ourselves vulnerable to pneumonia, attack, verbal abuse and so forth. Or, our friend looks after our drink – all on their todd.

Hamish, would you have said to the Jews “look mate, get over it, Hitler’s been doing this for years now so you may as well just live with it”? No, of course not. When something is unacceptable then we, the citizens, must flex our vocal muscle and try to change it. If that means boycotting pubs for the morons in government to see what damage they have done to their country, so be it. But we will not, under any circumstance, allow ourselves to be treated like second-class citizens, like gum on the bottom of society’s shoes, and we will not “just get on with it”.

Hamish, we salute you. But with just one finger.

[1] http://www.thepublican.com/story.asp?sectioncode=16&storycode=63168&c=3

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