Rights and wrongs

There was a little item that caused a ripple on Twitter this morning.

The cause was an item announcing a "PA system to stop smoking at Hywel Dda hospitals".

Now I happen to think this is a rather nasty, narrow minded case of public funding to encourage nagging and hectoring by the public against their fellow citizens.  I also think the use of children to broadcast their little messages is particularly nauseous.

However, the snippet that caught my eye was "Everyone has the right to breathe fresh air".

This is a line that is used widely and frequently by anti-smokers but what exactly does it mean?  It's a nice little sound bite I grant, but what exactly does it claim? 

They claim they have a "right" to fresh air, but are they only going to exercise that "right" over smokers and vapers?  Or are they going to stop all motor vehicles in the neighbourhood as well?  After all, the combustion engine produces vastly greater quantities of non-clean air than a smoker or vaper?  Are they entitled under their claim to rights to object to farts and other body odours?  I can only assume that "fresh air" is air that can be contaminated with anything except cigarette smoke?

Where does this "right" originate?  What are the "rights"?  I suppose you can argue that I have a right to life and the basic essentials such as food, water and air, but if they are my right, why do I have to pay for food and [theoretically] water?  I don't think the local grocer would be too happy if I wandered into his shop, helped myself to a load of basics and demanded them for nothing because they are my right?

If we are talking about rights as defined by the individual, then I consider I have a right to be left alone to enjoy legal pursuits that harm no one.  I have a right to live life as I see fit and not be hectored by others who disapprove of my lifestyle.  I have a right to peace and quiet and not have nagging messages aimed specifically at me from loudspeakers.  I have a right to be treated equally and not as some form of underclass.

I have a right to tell that hospital to go fuck themselves.

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Comments

Rights and wrongs — 13 Comments

  1. I have a right to hot air. I see or hear and feel it generated on the radio and in the print media every other day. Journalists, doctors, scientists, artists, farmers and people from other walks of life have a right to generate hot air. I have a right to dismiss it as hot air. I know that with some readers the first four sentences in my post will go down like a lead balloon. You can't win them all.

      • Hot air would also enable farmers and horticulturists to grow tobacco. Have you thought of putting a polytunnel in the back garden to grow your own tobacco, Grandad? Would the government then legislate to issue permits for 'registered' tobacco growers? (registration fee payable)

  2. C’mon, Grandad.  Be a bit positive about this.  The installation of tannoy systems is probably a cost-saving measure so that they don’t have to ask their security staff to patrol the whole hospital site constantly, seeking out surreptitious smokers hiding in the undergrowth or around corners, and so, probably, don’t need so many of them. 

    Which is good news – it’s infinitely easier to ignore a loudspeaker message pumped out automatically from some office on the other side of a building than it is to stand and argue the toss with some uniformed bully determined to wring every drop of satisfaction from the one little bit of power he’s been granted by “the authorities,” isn’t it?  I recall getting off a flight from Tenerife (4 hours + baggage collection + passport queue) at a recently all-non-smoking UK airport where a tannoy announcement (“Please note that smoking is not permitted in this area”) was played around every 15 minutes in the area immediately outside the main exit from the building, and there were several dozen smokers – myself included – cheerfully lighting up right underneath the loudspeaker.  No-one – not a single, solitary, real person – came over at any time to ensure that we were all hastily putting our cigarettes out the moment the announcement played.  I guess they just thought that we’d all obediently do as the Big Brother instructions said, just like we’d all obediently followed the smoking ban rules in pubs, and so there was no need for anyone to check.  Which was just fine by me.

    Make the most of it.  It’ll only be a matter of time before the hospitals realise that tannoy announcements are easily ignored and they’ll bring back the guard patrols again …

    • I had cause to make a load of hospital visits a while ago.  The hospital had loudspeakers discreetly placed all over the grounds with a dreary endlessly repeating message saying that the "the hospital and its grounds are no smoking areas".  No one took the blindest bit of notice.  In fact the most popular area for smoking was a long low wall directly opposite the main entrance that made a fine seat.  The first thing you'd see coming out the door was a line of smokers, like starlings sitting on a telephone wire.  A joy to behold.

      At another hospital, there was a massive No Smoking sign just outside the front door with dire warnings of the consequences of sneaking a drag.  The bench directly underneath it was the preferred spot for the smokers there.

  3. What about those that are patients in this hospital, are they to be subjected to this noise pollution every time some little tyrant “pushes the button” ? I thought they were there for rest, quiet, and hopefully recuperation? How is this conducive to people actually getting well?

    I suggest that the use of headphones, ubiquitous in our society anyway, would be a wonderful way of nullifying nanny’s shrill voice of disapproval.

    These people, the ones that dream up these nasty little policies, really have no idea how fascististic they seem to normal people. I’m not talking about smokers here either, just people who don’t feel the need to bully and stigmatise others, (which is the majority of people). However I’m sure there are enough of the bullying, fascists around that their “bully button” will be used constantly, until someone smashes it or the user.

    • My bet is that kids will just start playing with the button and driving everyone mad in the process.  My guess is that within a month it will either be broken or removed.

  4. This is Wales for you a country under the thumb of little Welsh fascists who would love nothing more than loudspeakers bleating constantly at the proles about cigarettes health clean air and the latest none existent production figures a la 1984/North Korea.

    Case in point today I watched a local council "enforcement officer" stalking their prey in the village.  The target a old bloke in his 70's or 80's so up she sidles and begins to bleat the usual dalek address and requests identification and proceeds to tell him how she will be removing half his weekly pension in the form of a £75 fine for what?  For dropping a rolly butt.

    When he declared unhappily he had no ID as he had left it in the car out comes the smartphone to have istructions relayed from Dalek central command (robomen need commands from Dalek central command of course).

    This went on for 20 minutes.

    Ridiculous on account of lorries dumping wood waste all along the road the local MacD clientele dumping swathes of packing everywhere not to mention broken glass and chip wrappers.

    The biggest joke is that on bin collection day the council binmen leave more shit on the road after they have done their job than existed before they arrive in their recycling wagons.

     

    Seems our local council are having a purge on fag buts I was advised by a council employee (a smoker who also advised council employees who smoke are now ordered to conduct their filthy habit 15 metres from council property)

    Wanna know why I hate Wales? I rest my case

    • He should have told her that a rollie butt was totally biodegradable and to piss off. I certainly would have done, in no uncertain terms. The first drop of rain, and the butt disappears forever.

  5. Frankly I think the time for a polite "Go Fuck Yourselves" is long past! The more intimidating prodnoses need a taste of their own medicine. Has anyone else ever noticed that the human orbital cavity is shaped like an ashtray? Perfect for stubbing out fags.

    • Welcome GA!  Just laugh at them and then ignore them. They don't understand the concept of happiness or humour and it confuses them.

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