Just Do It!

Because the police bloody well won't

I'm a few days behind the times on this story as I'm busy. When I went on holiday, I gave my boss a full handover of what needed to be done while I was off. When I returned, he said, "Here are the things I didn't manage to do", and handed me the document back

So I've been busy

But partway through the post holiday blues and the mountain of paperwork, there was one small moment of joy as I watched the video of Extinction Rebellion protesters being dragged off the roof of a tube train and given a kicking

You've all seen the videos by now, but if not, they're here and here, amongst many other places

Don't get me wrong, the title of this post is not me advocating violence and calling for the public to start dragging protesters out the back and giving them a good hiding. What I do believe though, is that it's time the public did step in to put an end to this kind of nonsense

The police have been far too passive in their response to Extinction Rebellion and their ilk, disrupting the daily lives of ordinary people, so where the police cannot be counted on to do their job, the public should feel free to step up

Not to dish out punishment beatings, but where necessary, to remove protesters from trains, planes, runways and roads, so that people can continue about their business without interruption

After all, the original remit of the police was to support the public in the enforcement of law. Now they have a complete monopoly on law enforcement (and the use of force), but do not use it when it is needed

And who are these boneheads telling us we have to live in the dark ages in order to prevent an imaginary climate catastrophe?

The Daily Mail:
Another of the activists who climbed on top of a tube train this morning has been identified as a 36-year-old Buddhist.
Mark Ovland gave up his full-time Buddhist teacher training studies earlier this year to join XR as a 'full time protestor'.
This man was originally training full time to become a Buddhist teacher and now he is a full time protester. That means he's either financially independent or he's living off the taxpayer

My money is on him inheriting some money and never having had to work a day in his life; totally disconnected from the people he is dictating to. Life of Riley and too much time on his hands. I could be wrong

So it seems this stunt was a huge own goal and as a result, XR cancelled another planned demonstration at Gatwick Airport:

The Sun
The group's leaders have called off a planned protest at Gatiwck airport "in light of" today's Tube disruption.
In a group message on Telegram one leader wrote: "In light of this morning's events, we have considered further and it's felt best to postpone.
"For people who are already on their way, we can meet by Costa and discuss, but please don't wear any XR branding.
Read between the lines for the reason why they cancelled the protest - "Don't wear any XR branding". They are in fear of reprisals from the general public. Pity they cancelled it, I would have liked to have seen an incident similar to the tube, unfold at Gatwick Airport. It may have been the start of something. For now, we'll just have to see

Also: "We can meet by Costa and discuss". I hope nobody intends on actually going inside Costa and getting a brew. It would take a first order hypocrite to do such a thing

I once had a discussion with Longrider on his blog, regarding the right to protest. I can't find a link as it was a long time ago. Longriders position is that peaceful protest is a right and part of the freedom of speech. As he explains here, what XR are doing, intimidating, harassing and preventing people from going about their daily lives is not free speech nor peaceful protest. It's wrong and it should be stopped

I agree with the above, but only to a certain extent. If XR were simply walking down Trafalgar Square holding placards and singing songs, that would be defined as free speech and peaceful protest

I am not of the opinion that all peaceful protest, whatever the protesters are calling for, should be allowed

What if the protesters are calling for Communism in Britain, execution of smokers, segregation of blacks and whites etc? I believe that if people are protesting for something fundamentally at odds with life in a Western Democracy, they should be stopped

Why? An example: Incitement to violence is illegal. Communism is ultimately violence, so calling for Communism in my opinion, is incitement to violence. So is demanding we tax the rich, ban automobiles, ban meat, ban fossil fuels etc

Extinction Rebellion would definitely fall into that category, even if their protests were peaceful, which they are not. They want everyone to be hugely worse off in order to combat an imaginary problem that they have been hoodwinked into believing is real and imminent. And there is a real danger that people will take their stance as credible and join them. There is an even bigger danger that the Government will do the same, because what Government does not like taxes and controls?

Peaceful or not, I think these people are a danger to our way of life and should be moved on wherever they crop up, forcefully if necessary

What do you think?

Good Lord! They Never Stop! Part 2...

So I'm back from Corfu, which kinda sucks

We did what I said in my last post and turned up nice and early to Manchester airport in order to take advantage of the bar and smoking area for a while before we had to get on the plane. We actually took a little too much advantage, as I has a bit of a sway on by the time we boarded, but I hid it well

Once out the other side of the airport in Corfu though, smoking rules are thrown out the window. Well, for the main part at least. It seems that since our last visit, the Government has decided it wants to enforce the smoking ban and one or two (only one or two) bars are going along with it

There's a pool and games bar in Ipsos near where we stay, so we often spend some time in there playing pool. This time, they had made it non-smoking. We didn't realise until we had bought drinks and asked for an ashtray
There's no shortage of pool tables round there though, so after that drink, we moved on

There's a quite popular cocktail bar at the end of the strip, called 'Dirty Nellies'. It's supposed to be an Irish bar, but there's nothing Irish about it. People who walk in there, very often crawl out
Not being used to non-smoking bars in Corfu, we did the same thing; bought drinks and then asked for an ashtray
We were only there for five minutes though, before the gaffer opened the front shutters and said we could smoke

Bars are a bit weird over there because of the perpetually hot weather. The typical bar is shaped like a rectangle, viewed from the short edge and split into two squares. The square at the back is a solid structure with doors or shutters that can be closed across the whole front. The forward square is usually a frame style structure with a roof (permanent or can be rolled back), sides and an open front with plastic screens that can be rolled out in wet weather

The rear area is non-smoking and the front can be smoking or not, depending if the shutters are in place

Of course nearly every bar or restaurant completely ignores the smoking ban, shutters or not. There's one that has no roof on the outside area and we went in there to avoid a rainstorm. When I asked if we could smoke inside, the gaffer brought us an ashtray and said he wasn't sending us to smoke outside in this weather

Unfortunate as it may be that a place like Corfu is being affected by the smoking ban, those were the only three bars in the whole area that seemed to be moving in that direction. Every other place was still totally ignoring the ban

One barkeep we talked to explained that they have a two tier system of hefty fines for bars caught flouting the ban, followed by closure of the bar for a third transgression. He wasn't arsed though and we were smoking inside while having that conversation, so enforcement obviously still isn't much of an issue

The tourists seem to take full advantage of it too. I've been waiting for an English person to complain about smoking in a restaurant, but so far nobody has even batted an eyelid, from any nationality. Sometimes I avoid sitting next to certain people in restaurants if I think they look like anti-smokers, only to see them light up five minutes after we've sat down

One Greek chap actually told me off this time. We were in a bar that was quite busy. There were some locals, some British ex-pats and us four tourists and we were all playing darts. The temperature got a little high for me, so I went and stood on the other side of the big open window, where there was a little bit of a breeze

One chap spotted me from inside and started shouting, "Why you outside? What's the difference? You come and smoke inside!"

Once I had explained I was only outside to cool down, he was quite happy again. It seems there are still plenty of rebels on the island who are willing to tell the Government where they can shove their smoking ban

So after two weeks of relaxing in a civilised and carefree environment, where smokers and non-smokers mingle without issue, we came home and remembered why we choose to get out of England as often as we can:

Tobacco firms accused of using gimmicks to subvert plain packaging

It's getting tedious, it really is. The anti-smokers brought in a hideous piece of legislation that stripped legal companies of their intellectual property. They must have known that if these companies could do anything to mitigate the effects of that law, they would do so. So what naughtiness have they been getting up to now?
Tobacco companies have been accused of undermining plain packaging laws by introducing gimmicks that ensure their cigarettes stand out from rival products but do not breach regulations.
This should be good. How do you go about undermining such a comprehensive law?
Philip Morris International redesigned its premium Marlboro range, adding bevelled edges and a new “pro-seal” closing mechanism to packets, the researchers found. This made packs “appear more premium and recognisable compared to other brands”, the researchers claimed.

Bevelled edges? What will these evil geniuses think of next? So was there anything else?


Nope. Bevelled edges are the only way that tobacco companies are apparently undermining plain packaging laws. If you ask me, if bevelled edges have the potential to undermine the plain packs laws, those laws must be bloody rubbish and not worth the effort

But wait, there is more. They're not just trying to undermine the packaging laws, they are also using words to confuse us
The report also pointed to the terms introduced by tobacco companies to describe the filters on their cigarettes, such as “advanced” or “firm”.
The researchers said previous studies suggested that such differentiating features “perpetuate the perceptions that some tobacco brand variants are less harmful than others

And colours too. Apparently
Tobacco companies have also responded to a ban on taste descriptions, such as “menthol” or “smooth”, by replacing them with names based on colour. Researchers said that banning terms such as “smooth” and “light” was meant to dispel the myth that certain types of cigarette are less dangerous, but that by teaching customers colour codes linked to the old descriptions, “misperceptions are likely to endure”.

Seriously, what the fuck goes through these peoples heads? You can't say a cigarette is menthol in case somebody thinks that means it's the secret to eternal youth, but you can't call it 'green' either? In case someone mistakes it for cheese and onion crisps? What?

The Labour MP Alex Cunningham, who was one of the key proponents of plain packaging laws, said: “No one should be surprised at the tobacco companies doing everything possible to protect their brands, undermine the law and grow their sales. Ministers must act to put an end to this practice.
Nobody should be surprised that the tobacco companies are doing what little they can to mitigate the effects of this hideous law. In the David and Goliath of industry versus tobacco control, the industry is going to come up with any little slingshot it can think of to redress the balance. The fact that these people are surprised just goes to show how stupid they are, but the fact that they think the Government should step in to outlaw bevelled edges or the word 'green', shows them up as total inept morons

So I get two weeks in the Corfu sun, living the life of the more tolerant and civilised people, but still have to come back to this nonsense. I did bring something of Corfu back with me though:

They might never stop, but I'm a patient man

Good Lord! They Never Stop!

I'm off on holiday on Thursday and I'm really looking forward to it. I damn well deserve this one, as does Mrs Bucko. It's been a busy year and we would both benefit from some time to relax and unwind

The one thing that bugs me about going on holiday is getting there. It's not just that I'm terrified of flying (seriously, I'm a big girls blouse in a plane), but the whole experience is one big, often quite stressful, waste of a day

We seem to have got the routine to a point where we can avoid all the stress and make the most of it though. The biggest trick avoiding airport stress is to turn up nice and early, dump your bags at the check in before the queue starts, do security before that backs up and then avail yourself of the bar facilities to kill the next couple of hours

We're smokers though and always fly from Manchester due to it's proximity to us. Manchester does not have the best facilities for smokers, but they do have a smoking area, so you can pop off for a fag as you please. We've flown from some airports (Or Manchester Terminal 3) which have no smoking facilities at all. In those cases, we turn up as late as possible, smoke ten fags on the car park, then enter the cattle market in full flow
Due to the fact that flying, even short distances, can use up the best part of a day, using an airport that does not cater for smokers does not simply mean you can't have a fag for a few hours, it affects the whole experience and turns a day that could easily be made to form part of the holiday, into a continuous nightmare you'd rather avoid

According to an article linked over at Simon Clarks place, airport smoking lounges are the next target of the anti-smokers. Apparently smoking should be completely eradicated from all airports, even though the smoking facilities that do currently exist are so controlled that there's no possibility of them ever affecting a non-smoker in any way

Of course, according to the anti-smoking busybodies:
To implement it wouldn’t be about ruining anyone’s fun or curtailing freedoms.
Of course it wouldn't. Because they're 'helping us'

Why It’s Time to Ban Smoking in Airports For Good

It isn't. It really isn't. Aside from maybe prisons, airports are one of the worst places to consider a smoking ban
Duty Free remains a haven for Big Tobacco and secondhand smoke still permeates many a terminal. Wouldn't we be better off banishing adverts, goods and cigarettes themselves?
I'm not sure why it's a haven for big tobacco. It's just another place where tobacco can be sold, like a supermarket and tobacco advertising is just as banned in UK airports as it is everywhere else in the UK and correct me if I'm wrong, but the same applies over Europe and America
I’ve always loved airports. The glittering sparkle of the tiles in Duty Free, the high-fidelity billboards, the travelators shifting you gradually, inevitably towards a happier place. They are the only environment where buying an egg and cress sandwich from an outlet provides a frisson of excitement. They can transform an otherwise egregiously early pint in a manufactured pub vibe from a sombre sight to an act of jubilant celebration.
These arseholes don't half come out with some shite. Getting through flying day is usually an exercise in mitigating everything that airports are and do. It's definitely not getting excited about spending in excess of five pounds on a mediocre sandwich or admiring the tiled floor on a duty free shop packed with other commuters just trying to get through the experience in their own way

The only thing that rings true in that paragraph is the pint in an over priced bar. But as a smoker, you always want a fag with your pint. Banning smoking would simply take away the one tiny pleasurable thing in the whole depressing debacle
But despite all of my wonderment, they suck. Amid the gleaming white concourses and day-glo donut stands, they can be under-regulated havens for Big Tobacco, where anachronistic advertising of cigarette companies often stand out, while shoppers are encouraged to purchase large hauls of cheap fags at Duty Free.
Obviously not a smoker, but this persons flying day is apparently ruined by the fact that Big Tobacco is not heavily regulated enough

It seems to me that if you go in the duty free section at Manchester, it's obvious that tobacco could not be more heavily regulated without an outright ban. You have to go into a tiny back room to even look at the tobacco. It's as though you're entering an old time porn shop and have to look both ways before you enter, just to make sure there's no-one in the vicinity who might recognise you. It's certainly not advertising and definitely not encouraging
It's not quite as bad in Europe. At least the fags are on the shelves and you can have a good browse through them before making your selection, but contrary to what the anti-smoking brain boxes will tell you, having fags on display is not advertising

I never buy my tobacco in the UK because of the extortionate taxes, but I never use duty free either. I can't be arsed with that nonsense while waiting for a plane, I just buy all my stash in a local shop when we get to our destination
At this point you may be thinking, “are you serious?!”. Calling for more regulation might seem like yet another nanny state intrusion into the fading patience of smokers who already struggle to make it through long-haul flight and security queues.
I'm not thinking that, as I know damn well that you are serious and you are about to try any justify your stupid proposal with some seriously demented double think. What I'm actually thinking is how it's becoming harder and harder to keep to my pacifist nature; how if I actually met you face to face, I would more than likely do the unthinkable and drop a sock on yours
As recently as July, Atlanta City Council voted for a total smoking ban that will extend to Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as of January 2, 2020. (Pub quiz point: that’s the busiest airport in the world.)
*Crosses Atlanta off list of possible destinations for next USA visit*
But yes, even this is not enough. Research in 2017 found that of the 50 busiest airports in the world, fewer than half prohibited smoking in all indoor areas.
Fewer than half? Oh the humanity! We could actually say though, almost half of the 50 busiest airports provide no facilities for smokers and need to improve
And even airports which are smoke-free indoors can harbour second hand smoke (SHS) in their outdoor spaces, especially if these places are partially enclosed. Designated smoking areas positioned just outside terminal buildings can fall foul to microclimates where cigarette smoke lingers in the air.
And so the batshittery begins. Second hand smoke now lingers in the open air and causes harm to people who pass by. It almost magic, isn't it
A study of US airports published in February 2019 concluded that “Secondhand tobacco smoke exposure in the airport setting represents a significant public health hazard”.
I'm not even going to bother looking that one up, it will be total junk, just like the rest of them. Early studies in second hand smoke, before the days of free money for tobacco control, proved that SHS is totally harmless. Since tobacco activism migrated from being a part time hobby for bored housewives and became a global industry shitting taxpayers money, it's now a significant public health hazard. You know that any study using such language can be safely ignored
Another potential issue is the drift of cigarette smoke indoors into the main terminal area, though studies on this are scant.
I'm sure you can get a grant for one. As long as you agree to prove it's a 'Significant Public Health Hazard'
The jury also remains out on whether this is the case (or not) for indoor smoking lounges, which could leak air pollution into the main terminal space. The case has been made that they do, which seems likely, though not definite.
But don't let that stop you.
A 2012 report from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention found air pollution levels outside smoking areas was five times higher than in smoke-free airports, according to the American Nonsmokers Rights Association.
What did the America Smokers Rights Association have to say?
What is clear is that smoking lounges are considered by many to be undesirable places to spend time, even for smokers. “They're incredibly gross,” says Liv, who describes her smoking as ritualistic and tied to alcohol consumption. “Your entire being smells like cigarettes if you go into them. I usually feel very sorry for the people who need to use them.”
Absolute tosh. It all depends on where you go and how well they are maintained. I can only think of one I've been in that was pretty unpleasant (Frankfurt), the rest have been fine. Clean, well ventilated and in the one I went to in Nashville, free coffee
If a smoking room is unpleasant, it's because it isn't being looked after. Taking it away completely will not make any smokers feel better about the situation
George appreciates the lounges’ drawbacks but feels it’s not up to him to infringe on others’ ability to use them. “They definitely remove the glamour of smoking,” he says. “They stress me out but who am I to take away peoples’ free will to do that to themselves?”. Yas is more blunt: “They are gross!”
I speak to Ros, who shares his disdain. “I used one in Poland coming home from Poznań and it was the most disgusting thing I’ve ever been in,” she tells me. “Never again. It was so, so small, like a hotbox, with ghostly figures crammed in next to one another in silence wreathed in fumes. So depressing, so servile, that we would put our bodies through that in the name of nicotine.”
So improve the facilities. You're not making a good argument for a ban here, only better smoking lounges
It seems that many people these days view smoking lounges as a sad testament to the desperation of addiction, but not everyone shares this tone.
I certainly don't. I view them as giving smokers the opportunity to enjoy something they like doing in an otherwise stressful surrounding. Unfortunately sometimes, at the cost of a little of their dignity, as smokers are no longer allowed to have anything nice
“Smokers, unfortunately, your days of carefree travel are numbered, but there are still large airports that happily support your nicotine habit,” reads an article on the website of Skyscanner, a leading fare aggregator that is used by 60 million people every month. “Smokers are welcome” reads the website for Zurich Airport, which boasts of 22 “special, modern” lounges.
Good. So what you're saying is that airports should modernise? Of course not, you simply hate the fact that others are quite happy to tolerate something which you personally despise, even if it doesn't interfere in your life in any way
Duty-free sales run counter to the tax hikes governments introduce to try and discourage smoking, fuelling the harmful idea that travelling should be an exceptional time when it comes to smoking.
I'm not sure on the law here, but are Governments actually allowed to tax products sold airside in airports, or is that classed as international territory? As far as the prices go, you're often not spending any less than buying your tobacco locally, particularly when travelling in Europe, as you still have to pay the local tax
Britain’s biggest airport shopping chain put duty-free cigarettes in cordoned off areas in 2013 in anticipation of an oncoming total ban, but that ban has never materialised. It’s not too late.
Wasn't that for the display ban? Which did materialise
To implement it wouldn’t be about ruining anyone’s fun or curtailing freedoms.
Yes it absolutely would, you total cretin. that's exactly what it would be about
Cigarette addiction still exists and can’t be ignored, but we need to be supporting smokers to quit, not incentivising them to buy cheaper packs of cigarettes.
Ruining flying day would definitely not be any way to 'support me to quit'. Duty free does not incentivise me to buy cheaper fags, UK taxes do. You're full of shit and saying that you're doing this for the good of the poor addicted smokers who need your help, just shows you up for the total authoritarian shit you are
Ultimately, we should look at our futures and ask which side of the glass we’d like to stand: outside where the air is cleaner, or inside the smoking lounges of old.
Stand wherever the fuck you want, just don't try to dictate where I'm allowed to stand
If we work together we can take that step. Then, finally, we can get on with our holidays.
'We', obviously doesn't include people who like to smoke

Virgin on the bonkers

Every now and then, as I once pointed out here, the name of the reporter, perfectly fits the news article. Like this one in the Lancashire Telegraph:

It was Mr Bellard that prompted my earlier post, when he wrote about a man getting caught knocking one out in a local boozer

I know some people get off on doing it in tiny lavvys at high speeds, but most people are a lot more discreet and intelligent than this couple
A COUPLE caught having sex in the toilets of an inter-city train as it left Warrington were at it again as they arrived at Euston.
Blackburn magistrates heard on both occasions the couple asked for time to get dressed.
You don't strip down to the buff for a quickie in a train stall. It's usually, zip-lob, kickers to the side, ooh mamma!
And Christopher Leigh told the train manager there were no signs to say they couldn't make love in the loo.
No signs. They need a sign to tell them that fornicating in the in the shitter, on a train, is frowned upon? Jeez! Why do some idiots think anything goes, unless there is a specific sign on the wall, warning you otherwise?
And seriously? Making love? What are you, a girl?

It was quite a funny story until I read this:
He was jailed for six weeks.
You don't get jail for a violent assault that leaves your victim with life changing injuries*, so why do you get six weeks for bonking in a train lavvy?
Ian Huggan, defending, said the female involved in the incident had been arrested, admitted the offence and dealt with by way of an out of court disposal
Seems you don't, if you're a woman

*I was going to provide a link to the man who was spared jail after inflicting life changing injuries on his victim. I typed, "Spared Jail" into the Telegraph search box, but the shear number of results meant I wasn't going to bother trawling through it all to find the right one. Suffice to say, people get away with a whole boatload of serious stuff without seeing the inside of a prison

Mo Le Taxi

I've been having an interesting conversation over at Julia's place. It's a conversation that made me re-evaluate and then re-affirm my Libertarian viewpoint

Julia is not a Libertarian. She is more what you might define as a Classical Liberal. She believes in freedom, but not to the extent of doing away with most of the laws and going it without the need for a Government

Her views are always well informed and well thought out, she never chooses the popular, off the shelf philosophy and always thinks things through. That's one of the reason I find her blog such a delight

It's also the reason I agree with her on most things. But not all

I'm quite a staunch Libertarian and believe above all things, in the freedom of the individual and property rights. I do not believe someone should be punished by the law if they have caused no harm to other people or their property

Before you start sending me examples, yes, it applies to that too. No harm, no foul is my philosophy in all things

The post I'm talking about was one on dogs in taxis
A taxi driver who refused to take a blind woman and her guide dog was caught as part of a huge crackdown on cabbies breaking the law.
Turns out it was a Muslim taxi driver, so it's all about his backward superstitions

Julia has always been of the opinion that because the law states taxis must carry assistance dogs, it should be followed. Also that it's the right thing to do

I agree with her that it's the right thing to do, but do not believe someone should be compelled to take a dog in their cab if they would prefer not to

So I said so:
There is an old saying about good men ignoring bad laws. I don't know if he's a good man, but any law that says you don't have control over your private property is a bad law.
Even more so when it is enforced by council jobsworths setting people up on the off chance they do something naughty
Non-smokers wanted all the pubs, blind people want all the cabs. How about we let the property owners decide?
My comment was roundly disagreed with. Sobers commented:
"Non-smokers wanted all the pubs, blind people want all the cabs. How about we let the property owners decide?"

How about you try being blind, then see how you feel about the issue?
One thing I always try to do is put myself in the situation I'm talking about, or the shoes of the person I'm referring to. That way i can always be ready if someone says the inevitable, "What if it was your child...?"
"How about you try being blind, then see how you feel about the issue?"

I'm sure that if I was disabled, I would understand that by the very definition, there are some things I'm unable to do
Nobody, disabled or not, should be entitled to demand the labours and services of another
 And in answer to others:
 My example with the smoking law was to try and show that it's possible to make provision for everyone. Even though pubs can have non-smoking areas and some taxis will choose to carry guide dogs, some people want control of everything, even though they're never going to use all the pubs and cabs in the town

A public house or a taxi may be designated areas where the public can go, but they're still private property and part of a privately run business. I'm of the opinion that the business owner should get to decide, not the customer

If a business owner makes a wrong decision, a free market will sort that out. Non-smokers will be free to choose pubs and blind people to choose cab companies, as will owners be free to choose customers
I don't think this is a case where rights are in conflict. The only right I see here is property rights and that's on the side of the cab owner. The only right the dog owner can claim is the right to enter another persons private property and demand their services, which isn't a right at all

The dog owner simply has to ask if the company take dogs when booking the cab. If they don't, use another company. Such transactions don't need to be backed up by Government force
I don't mean to disrespect disabled people and the hardships they go through, but sometimes these days it seems that some disabled people forget that a disability means there are things they cannot do. Obviously something so simple as getting in a taxi should not be one of them, but there are other taxis

My main point is that people should not be able to demand the goods or services of another. Some people in America say that healthcare is a human right (Because they have to pay for it in a different way than we do)

If a human right involves an article or service that must be provided by another person, that becomes slavery. People should be free to trade their skills with others, but no-one should be able to demand the labours of another as their right

Sobers makes a good point:
"The dog owner simply has to ask if the company take dogs when booking the cab. If they don't use another company. Such transactions don't need to be backed up by Government force"

And if there aren't any? Which in this day and age is entirely feasible in certain parts of the country. According to you, if you're blind and happen to live in a town where the majority of the taxi drivers are Muslims (or such a large % that finding a non-Muslim one at any given point in time is a lottery) then thats just hard cheese, you'll have to walk miles home in the rain because while you managed to get a non-Muslim cab to go out, you couldn't find anyone prepared to take you on the way home.

I always ask myself in these sort of scenarios - would I swap? That is to say, if person X is demanding special treatment because of some sort of disability or whatever, would I put myself in their shoes in order to get the special treatment? Thus I consider if I'd be prepared to be blind just so my dog could accompany me in a taxi. And no sane person would purposely blind themselves for that reason, so I conclude that the blind persons needs are reasonable, and outweigh the needs of a taxi driver to obey a sky fairy and avoid dogs. If he doesn't want to deal with dogs, don't be a cab driver, any more than get a job at a kennels. There's plenty of jobs that don't require contact with dogs, so a dog disliking Muslim has more options to avoid them than a blind person has to not use cabs.
I do live in a town where the majority of taxi drivers are Muslim. The sheer number of Muslim taxi drivers is another problem in itself, but there's always another cab
The trouble with this viewpoint is that Sobers is saying the person with the biggest need should be able to demand the services of others and if those others do not want to comply, they should be denied the job of their choice (or forced to comply)
I get your point and I understand that the blind woman vs the Muslim isn't the best hill to die on, but your argument basically states that if I can demonstrate a greater need than another, I then have the right to demand their services and enter their property. Take that to it's logical conclusion...

Without Government interference, I'm confident the market will provide. I live near Blackburn and there's always a non-Muslim taxi driver available if you want one. They're scarce, but you just have to know where to go

"If he doesn't want to deal with dogs, don't be a cab driver"
If he wants to be a cab driver who only offers services to people and not animals, I don't see that as an unreasonable aspiration. If he thinks he can make money by ferrying around only giraffes, he should be able to go and do so. The Government should not put him out of work simply because another person who has been deemed more needy than himself, might possible want to use his services one day
As invited, he did take it to it's logical conclusion:
So are you in favour of taxi drivers saying 'No Blacks'? Or 'No women not dressed in burkas'? Or 'No gays'?

As the law stands a pair of flaming queers can order a cab, and any devout Muslim (or indeed evangelical Christian) who turns up must take them to their destination, and rightly so, by threat of legal punishment if he refused. Are you suggesting that such discrimination laws be repealed? If not why are you trying to make life harder for people who are suffering enough as it is?
If we follow my logical conclusion, we end up in a situation where everyone is free to chose what they offer and to who, but with a large section of society possibly disenfranchised. If we follow Sobers logical conclusion, we would be in a situation where everyone is a slave, forced to work on the whims of others who can demonstrate a need

In an ideal world, no-one would even think of judging another by their skin colour or sexual identity, but largely due to religion, we don't live in that world. In the actual world, whatever logical conclusion we adopt, we would probably end up somewhere in the middle of the above spectrum

I would love to live in a time where religion had been abandoned, nobody was racist or bigoted and these laws would not be necessary

But are they necessary now? If I went to get in a cab and the driver told me he doesn't take white people, what would I do?
  • Sue him
  • Call him a racist twat and walk away
I would pick option two

If I were to, say, beat the crap out of him, would he then say, "Sorry, you were right all along. White people are fantastic"?

Would he buggers like. So would he do that if I were to employ the Government version of beating the crap out of him; having him fined or imprisoned because of his wrong think? No, of course not

No matter how vile a persons viewpoint, you can't beat it out of them, fine it out of them or legislate it out of them, so as long as they're not causing any harm, all you will achieve by trying to do so is righteous vengeance

A taxi that refuses to take a certain demographic should be dealt with by one means only, the free market. The conversation did not start about racism or bigotry, it was about blind people being denied the services of a taxi (actually a dog, the blind person would have been welcome on their own, but as the two come as a parcel, we can say the blind person was not allowed in)

Granted, blind people with guide dogs might not have a huge purchasing power or influence in the market, but allowing the market to decide, is the only option that avoids people being made slaves to others, with the threat of force

People, particularly the religious, seriously need to grow up. The human race has a lot of evolution to do before we start to get things right, but Government is not the answer. At least not until that growing up thing has been done

So in answer to Sobers question:
Are you suggesting that such discrimination laws be repealed?

Legalise Cannabis?

It seems people are tripping over themselves to legalise cannabis these days. Everyone is talking about it and efforts to do so are well underway

So why is another plant, tobacco, still considered to be the most dangerous drug known to man?

The Government get a lot of money from tobacco; 13 billion per year currently. Anti-tobacco groups also get a lot of money from tobacco. The Government pays them with our taxes to do a job. That job is to tell the Government what it wants to hear; that the general population want to be controlled more

The Tobacco Control Industry does not just tell the Government that tobacco might be harmful and people should be warned. They tell the Government that all non-smokers want smoking to be banned and all smokers desperately want to quit

That gives the Government something else that it loves almost as much as money. Control

So tobacco provides both money and the means to control people. All Governments want this

But the trouble is, the more restrictions the Government places on tobacco and it's users, the less revenue it gets. When they actually succeed in forcing people to quit, they no longer pay tobacco taxes. That can only happen for so long. Eventually both the money and the means to control people even further, will start to dry up

So why not replace tobacco with something else? The war on drugs is not working and it was never supposed to. There is also a lot of money and control to be garnered by fighting drugs, from law enforcement to the army of councillors and addiction specialists employed by the state

The public are becoming more used to the idea of legalising cannabis because it is a relatively harmless drug compared to most of them, so it's a perfect candidate to be made legally available and taxed

This approach would enable to Government to recoup the losses of tobacco tax and then some

They would lose some of the control for a short period of time, as they would no longer be able to bully people for using cannabis, but it wouldn't last. There will always be prodnoses who think they have the right to tell others what to do, so sooner or later, these people would be going cap in hand to the Government, demanding their share of the Control Industry pie

Give it a few years and there will be a cannabis Control Industry to rival the size and scope of tobacco control, demanding the Government punish and denormalise another group of people enjoying another legal product

The Government cannot loose. The only losers are the general public who just want to be left alone. Yet again

Maybe when the Tobacco Control Industry has switched battles, us smokers will finally get some peace?