Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Light 'Em Up: Andrew Stuttaford has some tart words for the Irish busybodies who have taken the fun out of a trip to the local:
Since late March, those addictive little sticks of dangerous delight been banned from Davy Byrne's, and every other pub in Ireland . . .

And Micheal Martin, the instigator of the ban? He's the typographically challenging busybody-in-chief, a bore, and a smug, self-righteous zealot. His one experience of a cigarette, as a foolish "teenager" naturally, was "disgusting." While he may have a drink now and then, he never, never gets "tipsy." Of course he doesn't. He's too busy planning his next crusade, pondering ways to restrict the advertising of alcohol. And when he's done thinking about that, this nanny, this ninny, this drone, this nosey, hectoring clown is "very tentatively" mulling a fat tax. Ireland's tragedy is that this monstrous figure has the job of his dreams — and everybody else's nightmares. By being appointed Ireland's Minister for Health and, wait for it, "Children," Martin was given a blank check for bossiness. On January 30, 2003, he cashed it.

He's also stuck in an important observation about the direction of Europe, about the peer-pressure thugs and moral-authority tyrants:
There was no vote approving the ban. The minister simply exercised the discretion given to him by an earlier piece of legislation. It's a well-known trick to anyone familiar with the way that the EU imposes its rules and in a way, that's only fitting. For while, behind the (forgive the phrase) smokescreen of healthcare concern, the real motives behind this move include Martin's ego and the uncontrollable urge of politicians to control their fellow citizens, one critical additional element has been the Irish establishment's determination to prove to the outside world how their country is modern, "European," Communautaire, international.
Some will no doubt begin to wonder if the great European wars of the last 300 years were worth fighting if they end up with a totalitarianism of blubbering concerns matched to ill-considered bureaucratic gestures.

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