Josie Appleton write a great article today in Spiked about the new movement in Spain fighting against the smoking bans: 'Meet the Spaniards fighting to stub out authoritarianism'. At a time when most people are looking back nostalgically at May '68, few people remember that they were motivated by the spirit of freedom. This was clearly expressed in the slogan ‘Il est interdit d’ interdire’ or 'to ban is forbidden!' The Spanish movement adopted a similar slogan ‘Prohibido prohibir’, as a reminder of what the real issue with the smoking bans is.
Appleton makes several interesting points, but I liked in particular the distinction that those behind the movement are careful to make: this is not about smokers against non-smokers but everyone against the authoritarian and intrusive state that wants to regulate even the most basic aspects of social interaction. In all likelihood, smoking in Europe will disappear within a few generations but the principle is well-worth fighting for.