Wednesday, 25 August 2010

This Town Doesn’t Need ‘Life Breathed Into It’…

..it’s going to need full medical-intervention-grade life support before long:
Drinkers and smokers could be targeted in a bid to change Colchester after dark.
I’m tempted to say ‘Change it into what..?’ but I think I already know the answer…
More than 40 recommendations have been made by a task group to breathe life into the town from 6pm to 9pm and stop it becoming a no-go area after 9pm.
Ideas include an early warning scheme where police will warn pubs not to serve customers they have identified as having drunk too much already.

Another plan is to ban outdoor smoking areas from the streets and improve taxi marshalling in Head Street and Queen Street.
Now, I can see the sense in cracking down on unruly, rowdy drunks.

That is, after all, what we’d all prefer to see, rather than blanket bans and revision of the licensing laws. It’s sensible, and a proper use of council and police time.

But banning outdoor smoking..?

When was the last time a smoker made me fear for my life, or was sick on my shoes, or started a fight with another smoker?

Or stole some private property from a complete stranger? That seems to be something exclusively confined to the smokeophobes…
A report is to be presented to Colchester Council’s policy review and development panel on Wednesday, September 1.

Nick Barlow, chairman of the task group, said: “We get lots of people complaining about the town centre at night, so we were looking at what can be done to improve the experience.

“People think there are simple solutions, but it is quite a complex issue.”
Is it?

Drunks and vandals are simple criminals, causing simple crimes. Smokers are neither...
His biggest desire is to see a cultural change with people taking part in all kinds of activities.

Mr Barlow added: “If we get a greater mix of people out for different reasons, it changes behaviour and makes people out drinking more conscious of their behaviour.”
Does it?

I think you’ll find that if you are prepared to get hammered and cause trouble, you’ll do it no matter who happens to be around…

And what other kinds of activities does he want to see to supposedly get ‘a greater mix of people’ in Colchester Town Centre at night? Anyone able to figure this out, because I certainly can’t!

It seems to me that what people want to do in Colchester is drink and smoke and get a taxi home. Why not try making that easier for them, rather than harder?

But we all know what this is. Just another front in the ongoing war against a perfectly legal activity, and moreover, one that brings in a great deal of tax revenue.
“With the decline of clerical power in the 18th century, a new
kind of mentor emerged to fill the vacuum and capture the ear
of society. The secular intellectual might be deist, sceptic or
atheist. But he was just as ready as any pontiff or presbyter
to tell mankind how to conduct its affairs. He proclaimed, from
the start, a special devotion to the interests of humanity and an
evangelical duty to advance them by his teaching. He brought
to this self-appointed task a far more radical approach than his
clerical predecessors. He felt himself bound by no corpus of
revealed religion. The collective wisdom of the past, the legacy of
tradition, the prescriptive codes of ancestral experience existed to
be selectively followed or wholly rejected entirely as his own good
sense might decide. For the first time in human history, and with
growing confidence and audacity, men arose to assert that they
could diagnose the ills of society and cure them with their own
unaided intellects: more, that they could devise formulae whereby
not merely the structure of society but the fundamental habits of
human beings could be transformed for the better. Unlike their
sacerdotal predecessors, they were not servants and interpreters
of the gods but substitutes.”

Paul Johnson, Intellectuals, 1988.

13 comments:

Stitch's Master said...

"KAPNIZIE means smoking in Greek and KAPNO means smoke, so I decided to call this condition KAPNOPHOBIA"

http://www.unusualphobias.com/cigs.html

Bucko said...

Darwen has just had its annual gala. That is always full of pissed up chavs. If they are going to be more concious of their actions than this family oriented annual town event would be the place.

And you're right. What else are people going to come to the town centre after 9pm for? Midnight fish market?

allcoppedout said...

The very councils that destroyed our town centres with their laughable 'cafe society' (gin palace creation) strategies, now want to reclaim the booze-vomit, cigarette stubbed, fast food polystyrene strewn areas as strolling parks for the middle classes?
The answer so far has been to try to ban 'happy hours' and promotional offers, the latter a dire con and the former just a means to close down competition elsewhere by selling at cost. The laughable unit price costing has no effect in pubs, already selling well above it. I can't see my white van supplier likely to adhere to the policy either, though he will love the price increases in off-licences!
I drink and smoke in order not to have to suffer Polly Toynbee and her ilk. The State is Nanny everywhere it should stay away from, and fails where we need it in job creation and management. Enough to make me want a drink with a fag. Latvia or Turkey for lunch?

Woodsy42 said...

It's obvious, they need to ban people from town centres. Without people the town centre would remain calm, quiet and free from all bad behaviour. There would be no vandalism, no litter and the Police would have much more time to carry out other duties.
Job done!

Smoking Hot said...

That article got well and truly hamered in the comments. Particularly liked the one from the taxi driver about improving taxi marshalling. He said it would be easy to improve because there isn't one!

Rest of comments were angry about proposed smoking ban on streets.

Do these Task Groups ever go to the areas that they are making proposals for?

Sorry alcoppedout, can't make Latvia or Turkey but am going to that other civilised country Bulgaria at the weekend.

Dick Puddlecote said...

So, use town centre behaviour to ban outdoor smoking, and also use town centre behaviour to ramp up the price of alcohol for those who drink at home.

It's like saying that cars keep knocking people over, so we're going to ban river boats. Yet people will fall for it.

Thanks for the links today, Julia. :)

Demon said...

Colchester?? LOL I can see this going down a bomb with the squaddies. ROFL...

Anonymous said...

Hmm, let's see, Colchester is home to 16 Air Assault Brigade. I'd like to see the Righteous telling a group of paras just back from Afghanistan to put their fags out.

No, really I would. I really, really would.

Quiet_Man said...

Talk about cutting your nose off to spite your face, any one of those moves would be enough to kill the town stone dead at night, businesses would close and the neighbouring towns would pick up the custom.

Anonymous said...

Dont expect an uprising by
the hard men of Colchester,the
last time half a million of the locals upset the then WOP council in the 1st century AD they ended
up with their blue warpaint blending with the shit running down their chariot wheels.
They'lle end up with mummsy and
her partner watching X Factor
licking a tube or two of 4X


Lounge Lizard (Ret)

Anonymous said...

Hey Smoking Hot,
Cant fault your reckoning on slipping over to the Bulgars.
Sounds better than Colchester and
other Brit White Feather Dorfs.
Would'nt mind a shufty round Sofia.
Only trouble is,as a smoker I'me
on UKBAs "Threat to National Security" list,near the top.
Next time ,let us know.

U NO U

Northern Warlords

JuliaM said...

"...so I decided to call this condition KAPNOPHOBIA..."

Heh!

"What else are people going to come to the town centre after 9pm for? Midnight fish market?"

Boggles the mind, doesn't it?

"I can't see my white van supplier likely to adhere to the policy either, though he will love the price increases in off-licences!"

Those who cannot learn from history, etc...

"It's obvious, they need to ban people from town centres."

That's going to happen soon! I've seen people on various comment threads seriously propose curfews!

"That article got well and truly hamered in the comments."

Yes! Sometimes with these stories, you learn much, much more than you do from the original article.

"It's like saying that cars keep knocking people over, so we're going to ban river boats. Yet people will fall for it."

Indeed. We're outnumbered... :(

"Colchester?? LOL I can see this going down a bomb with the squaddies."

Quite!

"...any one of those moves would be enough to kill the town stone dead at night..."

They'll only learn when it starts to affect them personally. Perhaps councillors and town hall staff should have their wages linked to business income?

ivan said...

They'll only learn when it starts to affect them personally. Perhaps councillors and town hall staff should have their wages linked to business income?

What a very good idea! Someone should tell Eric Pickles that it would be a way of reducing the costs of counclis.