Over the next few months people will doubtless turn their thoughts to holidays.
If nothing else, it's a pleasant subject to dwell on in the dark cold days of winter?
For the last four years, I have gone to the same place in West Cork. I go there for several reasons – it's an incredibly peaceful and beautiful location, the people in the local town are extremely friendly and the dog is more than welcome. It is also a non-smoker cottage. Now the agent who lets the place knows us at this stage so when she discovered that we were fumigating the place on a daily basis she just asked us to open the windows before leaving. An eminently sensible arrangement.
But how does the smoker fare when it comes to booking a holiday here?
My pal John has just been on a road trip around Ireland highlighting the discrimination against smokers in this country. Simon Clark gives a brief summary of the trip over at his place. What stands out for me is the hostile reception John got when trying to find himself a hotel room for the night. The anti-smoking laws here don't cover hotel rooms, or indeed rented accommodation but by all accounts hotels can hang a sign on the front door – "Niggers, Polaks, Pakis and Tinkers welcome but NO SMOKERS" and somehow get away with it.
I just did a quick search on the Interwebs to see what kind of reception smokers get in self-catering holidays in this Ireland of a Thousand Welcomes. It wasn't easy but I found a site that allows searches under various criteria.
The site has the best part of eight hundred rentals so it should be easy enough to find a place that welcomes smokers?
Out of eight hundred locations, just five allow smoking? Less than one percent?
This "denormalisation" of smokers has gone too far. We have chosen a lifestyle which is perfectly legal and which has a lot more health benefits than they care to admit. We are singled out for excessive taxation, legal discrimination, abuse from public funded qangos and abuse from the public who are egged on by those same qangos and "charities". We are inundated with advertising and propaganda against us, and they take delight in dreaming up new ways to attack us such as banning smoking in our own cars, and ultimately [I bet] in our own homes. If any other sector of society was subject to so much abuse there would be screams of discrimination which would doubtless end in the European Court of Human Rights.
Racism and discrimination exist in this country. However there is a clatter of laws against said discrimination. The law is fully on the side of the discriminated.
Except in the case of smokers where the law is fully against us.
One is illegal and the other is encouraged by the law.
What's the difference?