Dutch courage. Wiel Maessen
Again I cannot heap enough praise on the Dutch for attacking their smoking ban with a zeal and gusto that puts us Brits to shame. It has shown us Brits to be complete namby-pamby’s when faced with adversity of such magnitude!
Wiel Maessen & 250 cohorts clubbed together to the tune of 250 euro’s apiece to form a fighting fund-a fighting fund to take their own government on!
Similarly our near 60,000 pubs did ....err, nothing, nothing at all. Weil spoke for nearly 2,000 small bar owners who steadfastly left their ashtrays on their tables and risked financial penalties.
Unlike the Dutch our licensees bent over backwards to comply with the new law, due, to a great extent, to the dire financial penalties handed out by the courts to those who fancied taking the ban on! It was obvious from the onset that our Judiciary had bent to the will of the Health Lobby as guilty licensees were slapped with ridiculous fines and costs to stamp out recalcitrance from other would be flouters. It was obvious that the judiciary had unwittingly found a new cash cow to supplement the system. Indeed, Liverpool were the first major city to gleefully announce that they had relieved naughty smokers of more than £100,000 in smoke entrapment offences. Now who in their right mind could be gleeful about such a situation that was hurting people’s pockets and the welfare of our country. Tales of great admiration/ respect and pleasure with the ban have been reported not only in the press but in parliament to boot!
It was also obvious very early on that the immense financial power of the Health Lobby (fully backed by Big Pharma et al) came into play with incessant block advertising on TV, Radio and all readable media; ie, the press. I don’t think we have seen so much propaganda on any subject since Hitler, as we’ve seen for the smoke ban! We have certainly never seen such an all-out attempt of nationwide brainwashing!
Prosecutions took a strange turn as well, for people who didn’t even smoke ignitable cigarettes were prosecuted. Now you may well ask how this could possibly be for we are reputed to have the fairest legal system in the world. Alas, no more it would seem. With very few exceptions, any accused person hauled before the court’s has suffered badly at the hands of the now biased judiciary. Councils, now having the power to claim their ‘expenses’ suddenly seem to have encompassed the costliest legal teams in the country-for the simplest of cases!
Another complete difference between our two countries is the pub/bar ‘set up’ for over in Holland many small bars are single person businesses. Yes, they may be family run enterprises but there is only need for one person to be on duty at any one time whereas here we have a completely different culture.
Even pre-ban there were very few actual pubs that could be classed as ‘one-man-bands’ therefore the Dutch approach would never work here. However, were every pub allowed to have 753q ft of smoker space, if they wanted such, I am totally convinced a sudden upsurge in pub finances would occur!
The point here though is that we still have/had enough small ‘freehouses’ to get together and make a serious impact for reform. But yet again the good old British spirit was lacking as 99.99% simply sat back and tried to feather their own nest sufficiently to survive.
Tenanted pubs and managed pubs were of a totally different faction altogether! Even if the licensees did want to fight this unjust law they couldn’t (publicly) because their owners/bosses had already committed to the smoke free proposals!(Which totally restricts their own freedom of choice). In other words for fear of losing a few pubs the multi’s have lost more than they imagined! The brilliant strategy used, by a warped government of little truth, totally hoodwinked businessmen of many years standing. The ridiculous promise of millions of new drinkers was swallowed hook, line & sinker by ever greedy pubco bosses. What was it that convinced them that, suddenly, non drinking, non smokers were going to immediately start drinking and replenish the regular faces at the bars? Did the lifelong non drinker suddenly, at the government’s whim, become a regular drinker! Did Punch & Enterprise etc really think that share prices would rise with less drinkers drinking? Were they really that stupid as to ignore the requirements of 68% of their regular core business? Do they seriously think that their beloved ‘tied system’ can exist in a world that has seen riches reduced to breadlines, pounds to pennies ®ular earnings to pittances? They have cut their own throats simply by failing to think of their best customers first.
Where can this lead, who knows? We are already faced with 6,500 closures; more are imminent. Do we stay as we are and watch even more of our heritage die before us or do we unite and make a stand against that which is wrong? Not only is this law wrong for it treads all over human rights, civil liberties their business to the best of their ability! This law is also wrong insomuch that we now know the whole sorry bagful is the result of lies, manipulated statistics, fabrications & junk science-most of it tailored by ASH!
They say that the British people will only get off their backsides and fight when they are hungry-well they must be getting pretty hungry by now!
Freedom2choose have always supported unity as have our allies Justice for Licensees.
Together we are growing stronger by the day but we need all smaller groups to unite with us. We must show unanimity in strength for the time has come for those who care to fight back and reclaim our rights
The Dutch have shown the way forward, let us, at last, follow in their footsteps!