Saturday, 9 July 2011

A Business In A Small Town In Scotland

This video was made to show the damage the total smoking ban has made to many small businesses but it highlights a rather sad picture of Scottish society today, with nowhere for folk who live alone to go for an evening's company.

Isn't it time, as a civilised society which has changed radically since I was born, that we gave some priority to this problem?  There are a few day centres - usually run by local authorities or quangos - which provide entertainment or meals but close around 4pm then those who live alone, of any age, go home. I don't know one that opens on a Saturday or Sunday.

If we managed to create places in which people who are lonely would be welcome - whether smokers or non-smokers, drinkers or non-drinkers, dancers etc  - we may well reduce our heathcare bill quite substantially, particularly when the cost of heating homes and food is fast becoming beyond the income of so many. Social interaction is a vital party of life but it is not encouraged in a country which calls itself a caring society. For so many television has replaced friendships but how many will be watching television in freezing cold rooms this winter?

Communities should get together and tell politicians to stop giving money to large quangos for lobbying, because their lobbying is detrimental to communities. They take vast amounts of money away from good projects such as resident wardens in housing complexes where good wardens ensured social activities were available to all.

The Ash and alcohol quangos, along with the 5-a-day healthy eating preachers, are just the tip of the iceberg of those organisations which lobby governments 'on our behalf', are registered charities and are funded mainly by taxpayers' money.

Let Creative Scotland give advice - they're the people who are paid, by us, to be creative and it shouldn't be confined to the arts, so surely they can create a solution to this problem. I can hear the protests of those quangos who think they can't get involved.  They are involved.  They're funded by our taxes and it's time they stood up and realistically represented their own section of society in a positive manner. Continually being negative with their 'DON'T' agendas and refusing to counterbalance their preachings with 'DO' agendas shows failure on their part.  The money spent on the DON'T groups could be put to far better use.

I won't mention Age Scotland because it deserves a post of its own.


WitteringsfromWitney said...

Nice post SR and agree, but......

"Let Creative Scotland give advice - they're the people who are paid, by us, to be creative"

Is that not what government, both national and local, are supposed to do - both being paid by us?

Perhaps if government, quangos and the like just 'butted out' (forgive pun) we could sort this out ourselves? We don't need government, guangos or the Big Society.

subrosa said...

No we don't need them WfW, but Creative Scotland is funded by the Scottish government so why are its 'creations' all to do with art? It should expand and involve itself in the rest of society.

English Pensioner said...

Certainly I have noticed an increasing number of late teenagers drinking and smoking in open spaces. A small local wood me me has a clearing where quite a large number gather on Fridays and Saturdays. So far, there is nothing disorderly, and the only complaints have been about their litter. I'm sure they would prefer to gather in a local pub, under cover, but the do-gooders have stopped this and at the same time encouraged supermarket sales.
I'm waiting to see what happens when winter comes, or someone on the Council decides it has to stop.

Apogee said...

Hi SR. There used to be places like you describe all over the country.
But then the Governments in this land decided that smoking is bad for you and banned smoking in any indoor public area, but they still continued to extort tax on the tobacco and cigarettes. This is known as hypocracy, or double standards,some would say lying and thieving . They do not care if you kill yourself smoking, and/or drinking as long as they get their very large cut of your money. So the pubs where people used to go for a night out are vanishing,people stay at home and watch an "entertainment", TV, which is turning them into zombies, and charging them about £150 for the privilege. We have to fully understand what the problem really is before we will understand the real solution.

Hellraiser said...

There is a solution to the blanket smoking ban which the Scottish Government and the Anti-Smoking lobby refuse to consider.
Modern Air Filtration equipment would result in a better Indoor Air Quality than outdoors, even in a room full of smokers.

Hellraiser said...

Two in depth interviews with Martin Carroll were recorded in 2008, they are well worth watching.

Thanks for your blog SR.

handymanphil said...

it's not rocket science thses days! Air filtration to EU standards is more than adequate as the filtrated air returns 4 x's cleaner than the crap we breathe in when walking about our exhaust fume ridden streets! The problem we have now is that all the clever-arsed MPs, sucked in by insidious 'charities' like ASH have not got the bollox to stand up and even think they may have been wrong! It's got to the stage where because most don't smoke the rest should not expect to either.
just look at what an illiberal tosspot Clegg is-that says it all to me! Smoking/hanging? Say no more. The greatest opportunity of his miserable political career and he spurns it so as no will bankrupt this once great, freedom of choice country!
Filtration is simple, it's inexpensive and is the only answer to bringing trade back into our taverns!

Demetrius said...

Re Apogee, in our town almost all the corner pubs have now gone. And there is nowhere else for the 50+ lot to go.

JuliaM said...

There's a local pub nearby, it's stood empty now for at least five years.

How can the breweries not see that the smoking ban is the last straw?

Hellraiser said...

Another aspect of the smoking ban that needs to be changed is the forced smoking cessation on patients in Psychiatric Units and Hospitals.

The suicidal effects of Varenicline are well recorded yet the Scottish Government and ASH Scotland still advocate it's use.

When the Smoking Ban in Scotland was introduced (by Labour/Lib Dems) in 2006 Psychiatric Units and Hospitals were exempt on Humanitarian grounds.

What has changed since then and why is there silence from Labour on this subject( especially Jackie Baillie)?

Hamish said...

This situation could have been avoided if restaurants, cinemas, clubs and pubs had taken the matter seriously in the first place.
Introduced separate areas for smokers and non-smokers. Installed all the fancy ventilation and filtration systems talked about above.
But they didn't.

However as a libertarian, I think there should be places where you can kipper yourself if you want to.

BUT forget changing the law.
Just set such places up, pass the word around. If enough people do that, the polis won't bother you.

subrosa said...

It is a shame EP because there's nowhere as sociable as a good English pub. Here they're mainly drinking houses so women don't tend to go alone.

subrosa said...

Maybe the non-smokers will sit up and take notice when their tipple starts being so rigidly controlled Apogee.

Had an email from a friend down south and she was furious she'd been told off by the police for 'drinking in public'. A crowd of them had been visiting a few country houses and had arranged to have a picnic on the way back so they stopped in a place by a river.

After she vented her fury the police said the area was one used by youngsters at night and was closely policed. He warned her she could be fined though and it gave her quite a fright.

subrosa said...

Hellraiser, countries like Switzerland use such filtration and you can actually smoke in their airports.

The righteous don't like it mentioned - but the air quality in planes has decreased by 50% since airlines don't need a filtration system.

Many thanks for the link. I'll view it this evening.

subrosa said...

Well said Phil. Other places could use filtration too and make their customers' lives more pleasant.

subrosa said...

Demetrius, a few have closed here too but there are still the old ones where people huddle on the pavement in -0 temperatures.

subrosa said...

The breweries make enough money from their supermarket contacts I should think Julia.

subrosa said...

I completely agree Hellraiser. Passing that legislation so quietly was appalling because for some folk in these places life has little to offer and what it does offer they're often unable to grasp it.

subrosa said...

Aye like Leg-Iron's smokey-drinky. I've asked around here but nobody seems interested. Seems so many gave up using pubs long ago with the driving ban and in rural areas you need a car to get anywhere.

Dick Puddlecote said...

Hamish is spot on. Just withdraw enforcement powers to local authorities and you would see true choice come in.

Those businesses who really needed the custom of smokers would risk allowing it, most would not. Choice restored.

A break from universal pressure was probably required. We've had that, now let the market adjust.

The squealing from benefit scroungers like ASH would be irritating, but we could always ignore them like we used to Mary Whitehouse when the country possessed a spine. ;)

McGonagall said...

Here in Canada they started by telling bars/restaurants that they had to have non-smoking areas. Then they told them that smoking areas couldn't be greater than 30% of their seating capacity. Then they told them that they had to have separate areas for smokers with air filtration. Then they told them smoking could only be done outdoors on patios. Then they told them that smoking could only be allowed on patios that had no sort of roof covering.

Then there's no smoking within thirty feet of a bus stop. No smoking within thirty feet of a door to a business. No smoking on hospital grounds even if you're three hundred feet from the building, in a parking lot, sitting in your own car, with the windows rolled up.

Of course the aim is to have smoking banned outright and all these niggling little ruses are to make smokers so uncomfortable that they quit in despair. It's become farcical. A man was pulled over and fined for smoking in a car with a 16 year old passenger present. The 16 year old was also smoking but as it isn't illegal to smoke at 16 he didn't get fined.

When I argue with the Holy Willies who are offended by the smell of my cigarette smoke I point out that I am offended by the smell of their exhaust fumes. They inevitably argue that second hand smoke is more dangerous than vehicle exhaust and will quote authorities to back them up. So I ask them this: Would you prefer to spend an hour in a closed garage with twenty smokers or a car with the engine running?

Hypocrites and liars the lot. When they tell me I will get cancer and die years before them I point out that their remaining years will be spent tied in a wheel chair, pissing in a diaper, and drooling down their chins. I hope they enjoy those extra years of life.

Crinkly & Ragged Arsed Philosophers said...

With the shackles of austerity, unless your a banker, you wont be able to afford smokes, drinks, pubs and eventually breath.

subrosa said...

Such a sensible solution Dick but as common sense is lacking in our weak political leaders, we can only hope.

subrosa said...

Scunnered, I must remember the one about the garage.

Couldn't agree more with your last paragraph.

subrosa said...

I foresee horrendous problems Crinkly, especially with the rise in food prices and utilities.

Hellraiser said...

SR, Look at the comments on the link below and then ask whether the Scottish electorate should put up with an MSP like Jackie Baillie who despite a promise to reply to an e-mail in Feb 2011 REFUSES TO DO SO.

subrosa said...

Aye Hellraiser, I read that at Belinda's place. What kind of political party appoints an such an 'unhealthy' person to hold a health portfolio? One which is so lacking in talent they'd probably accept me.

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