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Friday, 1 June 2012

Big Apple Blues

I recall visiting New York City shortly after it extended its smoking ban to bars and restaurants, which if I remember correctly included the outdoor seating areas at restaurants.  The restaurateurs and bar owners we spoke with were not best pleased. "How dare the city attack our liberties, our customers, our freedom to run our businesses as we choose?" they said.  OK, perhaps they didn't say those exact words. I believe one waiter said something closer to: "This ban is bullshit. Smokers are our best customers. They always tip better than non-smokers." We felt sorry for them, for at the time (the summer of 2003) Britain had not yet enacted its draconian ban on smoking.  At least London was still civilised, we thought.  Even so, the restaurant at the hotel we stayed at disregarded the outdoor seating ban by bringing an ashtray to our table around 10:30 p.m., a time when the anti-smoking enforcement nazis were far less likely to be prowling the streets looking for offenders.  We gave our waiter a 20% tip.

So the big news yesterday was NYC's mayor Bloomberg attacking the fizzy drink industry by instituting a ban on "oversized" sugary and fizzy drinks. There is genuine outrage over this pretty much the world over from what I can tell.  This is truly the precursor to plain packaging, because it aims to standardise the sizes of the drinks themselves. New Yorkers should be outraged.

Here's what I have to say over this: Too bad, so sad. Deal with it, New York City. You will have worse for re-electing this horrible tyrant of man for a third time. Bloomberg and your city council changed the city's by-laws that limited the mayor to only two terms so he could carry on with his campaign of hate for an unprecedented third.  He's like America's Putin for fuck's sake. He's banned trans-fats, and salt, and pretty much anything else that he personally deems unhealthy. He is a bullying, nannying tyrant, and he will not stop at fizzy drinks, trans-fats or smoking. He will continue to hate you under the guise of protecting your health. Expect it. You should never allowed him to stay in office after his first term.  Yet one of the richest and influential men in America is pushing his hateful tyranny on you and you still elect him for a second and a third term?  Unless his elections were rigged, it is incredibly difficult for me to feel any sympathy for you.  Even so, I do feel some sympathy for those who have spoken out against Bloomberg. You warned everyone, but they didn't listen or didn't care.

Image via
I think Snowdon sums up my feelings about Bloomberg fairly succinctly in this tweet (emphasis added):

And I'm telling you now. It's going to get much, much worse until we all stand up to the bullies and nannies.  They are destroying lives and happiness and freedom. This is about control. It is never about health or protecting anyone. The only things they are protecting are their wallets. Trust me on this.