I don’t take the The Sun, so I missed its story of 14 July about the smoking snoopers of Maidenhead. I came across it in an American web site which charts world-wide excesses of power.
The story Mad council stokes fag-ban fire concerned a visit by smoking snoopers (that is “smoking ban enforcement officers”) to the Greyhound pub in Maidenhead. They ordered the manager to close the windows for the summer because smoke might drift in from those exiled outside by the smoking ban. I emphasise the “might” – there was no-one smoking outside at the time, still less any evidence that smoke was actually drifting in.
When challenged, the council’s Environmental health officer Gillian Taylor said: “I can confirm we advised the premises that the windows be closed. This is in keeping with good practice to ensure compliance with the spirit of the legislation. Every situation is different and we need to ensure nonsmokers don’t have to endure smoke blowing in from outside.”
“Compliance with the spirit of the legislation” – the same excess of authority by dim jobsworths as we saw recently in Durham when council officer Tracey Ingle tried to force the owner of the Fat Buddha restaurant to change its name because she thought it “provocative” (see Dim Scum fights Fat Buddha in Durham).
I anticipated this (no great prescience needed) in my first post on the smoking ban Smoking Snoopers, referring to “the accretion of power by those least trustworthy to use it”. New Labour has put unmeasurable power into the hands of petty bureaucrats like Tracey Ingle and Gillian Taylor, little people with small minds given big titles and wide powers, who add a dollop of political correctness and subtract a little more of our civil liberties as they misuse their powers. There is quite enough actual law without jumped-up nobodies adding “the spirit of the legislation”.
The pub took advice and told the council to sod off – being a respected company, I dare say they phrased it in some other way, but that was the gist of their reply. Be quick to do the same if any officious pen-pusher tries to impose the “spirit of the legislation” on you.