Gerrymandering

There is a lot of debate about abortion rights here in Ireland at the moment [in fact it has been going on for decades].

My stance on the subject is quite simple – it is none of my fucking business.  I am unlikely at my age to become pregnant and therefore I have no right whatsoever to lay down the law for those women who may find themselves in that position.  It's their bodies – they make their own rules.

But that got me thinking.

What about these town councils who ban smoking on beaches or housing associations who ban smoking in their apartments?

Statistically roughly one fifth of the people who impose these bans are smokers which presumably means the rest don't or are lying about it?  A small minority of those that don't smoke are presumably rabid anti-smokers while the rest probably don't give a shit about the subject either way, with minor variations from leaning towards freedom of choice through to "it doesn't smell very nice". 

So any proposal to hound smokers is bound to be carried.  Those who couldn't normally give a shit are probably going to be swayed by the two magic words "health" and "children" so the vote will pass, simply because it doesn't affect the majority.

I wonder what would have happened with the smoking ban here if the vote had been confined to individual pubs or offices?  Would pub owners and their clients have voted for the ban?  My guess is that they wouldn't, and those that did could go smoke free in their own right.  The same would apply to offices, though I imagine there would have been a smaller proportion who would have remained smoker friendly.  But the laws were passed by those who didn't smoke, and probably didn't frequent that many pubs.  The smokers were outnumbered.

One of the great problems with modern society is the concept that the majority know what's best for the minority. 

Let only those who are affected make the decisions.

 

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Comments

Gerrymandering — 9 Comments

  1. That's why they turned the smoking ban into a Health and Safety Issue and why Employees can only work in a smoke free environment. It cannot be put to a vote then.

     

    Whereas Abortion should be turned in to a health Issue and it's up to a woman to decide how to manage her own health issues in consultation with her doctor

     

    Currently no woman of child bearing years voted in the 1983 Referendum to protect the life of the unborn so their health decisions are hampered by a decision they never had influence over or input to

    • Abortion is not only a health issue but also a very personal thing.  What right have religious nut-cases and old men got to decide on such an intensely personal issue?  There is also the concept of a surgeon with a scalpel in one hand and a law book in the other. 

      The law has no right to interfere with personal lives or decisions.

  2. Wasn't the ban on abortions part of the original Constitution of the Irish Republic back in 1922 ?

    As for the smoking ban, prior to 2007 here in Wales, a number of pubs tried going smoke-free. They soon changed their minds when they found their bars were empty all of the time. So the Welsh Govt followed the Irish one in enacting a ban and so started the rapid decline in the number of bars closing on a weekly basis !!

    • Welcome Simon!  It was, and that is what has led to the nasty situation here now.  There have been a coupe of amendments to the constitution since, but it still rears its ugly head as the situation is a mess.  Doctors are now afraid to apply life saving procedures in case they fall foul of the law.

      We had a few experiments here with smoke free pubs back in the old days.  One pub near me went smoke free.  Within months it had split into two sections – smoking and non-smoking, as trade had dropped sharply.  Eventually they dropped the whole idea as no one was using the non-smoking part and the place reverted to the good old ways.  It was a salutary lesson into what was to become of the bar trade.  I have lost count of the pub owners who have complained bitterly that trade has never been the same since the ban.  There are very few places in Ireland that haven't lost at least one pub, if not several.

  3. Here in Greece they've introduced smoking bans four times so far. They were pretty early on the case, first introducing partial bans in 2002, then again in 2003. They then had another go in 2009, which was about as successful as the previous bans. So then they did it again in 2010, with much threatening rhetoric. I think that one lasted a month or so before everything returned to normal.

    They are still talking about how to make it stick – last year there was talk of restricting smoking to certain hours, which seems pretty silly to me, but there you go….  http://apokoronasnews.gr/greek-government-unable-to-implement-smoking-ban-considers-change-of-legislation/

    However, the Greeks aren't all that keen on government interference in their private lives, so I don't see much changing in the foreseeable future. Thankfully.

    As for abortion, I have no objections, but I do think it's a lousy form of contraception, and shouldn't be used as such. All four of my kids were unplanned, unexpected and frankly, unwelcome. However, I didn't see those factors as justification for abortion, and of course once they arrived they were given all the love and care that one would expect. But under some circumstances it really is the best / only option, and that decision should be in the hands of the woman concerned.

    • The more I hear, the more I like the sound of Greece.  The Irish should have taken a stance when our laws was imposed, but apart from a couple of cases, everyone meekly sat back and accepted it.

      My mother was quite fond of telling me I was a "mistake".  It was nice to know!  She was a caring woman and always considered my feelings…..

  4. Personally I don't think that abortion is a health issue and just a matter of personal choice.   The law intervenes all the time to protect the vulnerable and with abortion has to decide the point at which a growth becomes a human being with the protection that a human being can expect.  The difficulty is in deciding what that point is.  I think I'm right in thinking that different jurisdictions have different points: the RC Church opposes all abortion (with few exceptional circumstances) because the foetus.at the earliest stage carries in it the potential for independent life; secular countries will be informed by medical opinion but the debate still rages when a foetus becomes a human being.  I've read that nurses who are involved in abortions in countries that are more liberal than Ireland find it very distressing because the foetus can exhibit recognizable human characteristics.  Within the legal framework, of course, it should be left up to the woman concerned to decide whether or not to abort, but when we start moving the goalposts to make it increasingly easy we (IMHO) exhibit lack of regard for human life and reinforce further erosion of our regard: child not going to be perfectly formed? don't worry, we'll abort:  child not going to have blonde hair and blue eyes, don''t worry, we'll abort.  Then that lack of regard will be extended to others who don't fit: elderly person, not a productive economic unit any longer, don't worry, we'll put them out of their misery, they wouldn't want to be a burden! (I was relieved when the Assisted Dying Bill was turfed out in England – it would've been a charter for an uncaring state or greedy relatives to effectively murder elderly relatives).

    I don''t think abortion and the smoking ban are comparable.  Smoking bans were brought in on the back of trumped-up hogwash, created by those with vested interests, presented to politicians who were personally prejudiced or too lazy to evaluate the information or both. 

    .  .  

    • I agree with nearly all that.  I have my own views on abortion [and indeed on assisted dying] but they are my views and I don't see what right I have to impose them on others.

      The point about abortion that most campaigners seem to miss is that the decision to have [or not have] an abortion is a choice that will affect the woman for life either by leaving her with regrets and a conscience or with having to rear the child.  I know there are those who treat abortion lightly almost as a form of contraception but a law cannot discriminate between those with a conscience and those without.

      The similarity I was trying to draw between the two is the concept of people making laws that don't directly affect themselves.

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