Sorry, I'll repeat that for the benefit of the dazed & bewildered...
HE WANTED OUR SIDE OF THE STORY.
I informed him very politely that all smokers would find it offensive for the simple reason that it was portraying smokers as 'fair game' for any type of vigilante abuse. (Oh!) It was sending out the message that we agreed with 'wolf packs', ie gangs of kids, marauding the streets taking any chance to intimidate people not of their liking/persuasion. (Oh!)
I then explained that this would not be tolerated if it was aimed at gays, muslims or the disabled. (No. Well of course not Phil)
Then why can a minority faction, smokers, be subject to random attacks when gays, muslims & the disabled are obviously exempted? (Well they are...[pause]...I see...yes...hmm).
I went on to say that the arts teacher was totally irresponsible in even cultivating the idea, never mind activating such and that if she thought this was anything to do with art, she was Irish, not Italian! Bullying, intimidation & robbery can never be termed artistic in way, shape or form.
I further explained that we were not a loony pro-smoking group but a nationwide PRO-CHOICE organisation with full backing from the likes of our friends at the CIU - that caused a sharp intake of breath I assure you.
I went on to ask how much he thought the smoke cessation programme had cost this country so far, about the science behind the ban, about SHS, so called 3rd hand smoke, the pub/club industry, the vilification of smokers, the costs to the NHS, the loss to the treasury if tobacco was banned, the situation in S Ireland & more. He was totally clueless as to any of it, bless him.
Safe to say 'Jim' is now a lot wiser as to smokers temperament, reasoning & feelings so I think the article will be a fair reflection of what was said this afternoon. He seemed mortified at the thought of a smoker objecting to such treatment and 'smacking' one of these idiot youths 'in the mouth'. He did not answer when I asked what HE thought the police would do in such a circumstance?
Unlike the 'Swindon Swamp', I think 'Jim' will print the truth of our conversation for he was quite enthralled with some of the facts & figures imparted.
Bless him, he only phoned for a comment - he got 6 pages worth! Oh happy days.