“If you can’t be a good example to your children at least be a horrible warning”.
There was nothing half hearted about my father’s dedication to the pleasures of smoking. He went at it full tilt, 60 a day and none of those namby-pamby filter-tips, but only full strength John Players. I don’t remember ever being put out by his habit, but I think I recognised that tobacco had taken an unpleasant hold on him and this was enough to put me off smoking for life. But I’m with David Hockney all the way. I wonder what he would make of the latest proposal, which has come from a Tory councillor in Grange, (and was so bizarre that it made the front page of the Sunday Times), to ban smoking outdoors near a children’s playground. The councillor in question, Bill Wearing, happens to be a good friend of mine and I don’t want to add to his misery, because he’s been ribbed enough already.
Meanwhile, the smoker’s lobbying group, Forest, has recruited Anthony Worrall Thompson to lead a campaign to allow publicans some freedom to let their customer’s smoke on their premises – not a bad idea considering the thousands of pubs which have gone under since the smoking ban was put in place. The choice of Anthony Worrall Thompson is utterly bizarre. He has an unerring talent to put people’s backs up. Everyone finds him intensely irritating and he is widely despised in the catering trade for closing down businesses and leaving his suppliers in the lurch. I’m reminded of the time when he was employed to promote a brand of sausages and he was pictured on the packet grinning inanely and holding up a fat sausage on a fork, underneath which was written “Prick with Fork”.