This post may seem to depart from my general theme but it indicates my perspective on times which go back to before World War Two. In short I have just been destroying a good deal of my recent past, in a bonfire of the hard copies of posts to other sites. They were mainly over my real first name and were sent to groups campaigning to push back state intervention in our private lives.
I copy here one short item, sent to the Freedom to Choose Forum on April 9, 2010. I hope it will exemplify the theme and intention of the various posts I have destroyed. It says:
‘I have just passed a centuries-old market town centre pub which last had a new name in 1832. This year it had a makeover as an ersatz traditional pub, under another name – that of a local 19th century character. It advertised its open fire and Sunday lunches and at the doorway there were “Mayor of Casterbridge’ style menus. Its ‘opening’ as the town’s ‘latest watering hole’ (oh yes?) was attended by town dignitaries and slavishly reported locally. Through the windows of the building this morning I saw beer mats on the tables which appeared to be replicas of the R.A.F. roundel. This adds insult to injury, as any Spitfire pilot, arriving for a pint and a cigarette after surviving a clash with the enemy would think.’
Why destroy these writings? I am in a minority of one among my vast acquaintance in deploring the draconian smoking ban of July 2007. It is either vaguely approved of or more likely, has never been considered. A parson on ‘Thought for the Day’ today said there had always been ‘invisible’ people, citing the widows of Biblical times. Their equivalent today are smokers.I wonder if he’s noticed…
I have long felt the need to get my many papers in order. The recent death of a friend of nearly six decades adds some sense of urgency to that. If ever I give voice to my feelings about the treatment of smokers I trigger the response among my acquaintance that I am ranting. Sometimes, perhaps, I should accept that I am. I feel myself manipulated into that position by kind, forgiving, well meaning condescension – and total incomprehension. I do not want those who follow me, influenced as they will be by the climate of their times and a never-ceasing tidal wave of propaganda, to regard their (hopefully) loved ancestor as an obsessed, misguided bore.
So this piece will remain as the ‘avatar’ – I think the word works – of my views on the subject and of this stage in our history.
Meanwhile the bonfire is out and the crescent moon is bright.