Thursday, June 28, 2007

Beating the England Smoking Ban?

Come July 1st and England's pubs and restaurants go smoke-free, thanks to the Nanny State's Thought Police.

A previous proposal for a compromise bill, which involved allowing pubs to choose between allowing smoking but relinquishing serving food or ban smoking and be allowed to continue to serve food, was considered "too messy". The market place was in fact already self-regulating, with many pubs and clubs choosing the non-smoking option and with others preferring to become smoking dens, a market-driven compromise that could have suited everybody. But no, the busybodies in Whitehall saw no problem in marching us off to a near-illegal war but needed to protect the general public from... freedom of choice!

At the time, not a great deal of resistance came from the side of the affected landlords and breweries that obviously are in some sort of a political coma. At least the "horsy people" showed up in full force to protest against that equally ridiculous ban on fox hunting and whilst defeated have found ways around the new legislation.

And so landlords will have no option to comply and maybe exploit a few loopholes involving beer gardens or heated canopies. One landlord is trying to fight back in a highly original attempt to create his own loophole, involving a Consulate of Redonda, an English Knight of Redonda and more legal finesses...

Bob Beech wants to turn The Wellington Arms in Freemantle, Southampton, into the UK base of the uninhabited Redonda.

It follows the pub already being granted status as a consulate of Redonda by the island's king and Mr Beech receiving a Redondan knighthood.

But his plans are likely to be thwarted by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

The landlord said: "We came up with the idea that this pub could become the British consulate for the Kingdom of Redonda - and the king thought it was a good idea.

"We had a ceremony for that and I was made a knight.

"Subsequent to that it was decided that we wanted to become an embassy. Our legal team are waiting to hear if that's possible.

"We intend to go ahead with the full benefits of an embassy."

Those benefits could include not having to enforce the smoking ban when it comes into force on Sunday 1 July.

The ruler of the tiny Atlantic island, King Robert the Bald, sent the island's official cardinal to grant consulate status on the pub.

Cardinal Elder, also a regular drinker at the pub, said: "If it works we won't have to enforce the smoking ban - I think it will good for the pub and the Kingdom of Redonda."

But a Foreign Office spokeswoman said that Redonda was a territory of Antigua and Barbuda and therefore was not entitled to an embassy or high commission in the UK.

Councillor Gavin Dick, of Southampton City Council, said environmental health officers would be advising Sir Bob of the legal position when the smoke free legislation is implemented.

He added: "If they are not granted embassy status, which requires formal accreditation by the Foreign Office, then they will be covered by the new law, which we will be enforcing."


At 4:14 AM, Blogger jhbowden said...

Everyone knows grown men can't take care of themselves without the comprehensive plans of government do-gooders.

You see, banning smoking is for the common good! Don't you care about your fellow man? How can you be so heartless? You really want to have evil tobacco corporations and wicked local businesses exploit others?



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