“We want the finest wines available to humanity, we want them here and we want them now!”

Today we learned that a councillor from Stony Stratford, Buckinghamshire is hoping to outlaw smoking in public.

The story can be found: here

The councillor in question, one Mr Paul Bartlett appears to have a problem with people enjoying themselves.  (He also looks exactly as I thought he would, but that’s by the by).

Cllr Bartlett asked: “Why should people be able to smoke in my face and spoil the environment?” The answer of course being: Well, because they’re free to do so.  Smokers have already been pushed outside and, in some cases, vilified, isn’t that enough?

Among the quotes given to various news outlets, Cllr Bartlett also manages to crowbar in my favourite theme: ‘Somebody think of the children!’  ”‘When you walk through the high street in any town smoke is in your face and harming you and any children there.” “It costs millions to clear street rubbish, and goodness knows what a child could pick up from them.”

What kind of a person relates things to children for no reason? I dunno, but anyway, this hysterical rhetoric is ridiculous. Smoking isn’t a great habit, but people know that. It’s unnecessary to try and force people into stopping, especially if you don’t provide a better option. Banning already restricted personal freedoms isn’t a great option.

The shrieking tone of his comments is highly propagandist, take this for example: “Smokers then get their butt, which is full of saliva, and chuck it on the floor.” Seems a bit over the top to me.

He doesn’t seem to consider that people should be allowed to relax however they like, especially when there a raving lunatics, hell bent on restricting personal freedoms, going around screaming at them to stop.

Beyond that, I get the feeling there are personal and/or motives behind this. “If I make the environment cleaner and save on council tax, sometimes you have to take the bull by the horns.” Sounds like he’s trying the change the world, one small, lifeless provincial market town at a time.  Not sure I care for his stance on bull fighting either…

Now all that’s been said, it probably makes sense for me explain the Withnail and I quote.

The town of Stony Stratford, aside from being a Buckinghamshire equivalent of Saffron Walden et al., was the location for the ‘Penrith’ scenes in Withnail and I.  The tearoom scene in particular, was filmed in the town and seems to be an entirely accurate representation of the town.

Much like the fusty old codgers of the Penrith tearooms are disgusted by Withnail and Marwood having fun, so Cllr Paul Bartlett is disgusted by people freely doing something he is free to not do.

There’s only one thing to say to someone like that: Balls.