In my younger days, the preferred holiday for we young lads was a railrover ticket. Two weeks free rein on the railways. Go anywhere in the country on a whim, see anywhere, if it's not appealing, get back on the train and go somewhere else. We'd save all year for the ticket.
I wouldn't even consider it now. I can't smoke anywhere on the trains, nor even on a windswept platform in the middle of nowhere. The same is true for any hotels, pubs or cafes I might visit on those travels. If I want two weeks of gloomy despondency, I can have that at home for free.
As with pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants, it's my choice not to take that train holiday. I don't want to pay to be treated like a leper, so I don't pay. I'm not forced to buy a ticket, nor am I forced to visit pubs in the rain just to spend my time getting soaked on the outside as well as on the inside. So I save the money and visit Smoky-Drinky instead.
Nobody comes round demanding I pay 'my share' to support the railways, the pubs, any of those businesses that have declared they don't want my custom. My choice not to use them saves me money.
Parks are a different matter. Part of that council tax bill goes towards the upkeep of council-run parks. Now I am to be banned from those too. The smokophobes will drive their 4x4's to the park and complain about a picogram of smoke. They want to be surrounded by several hundred tons of plant material but object to the few milligrams of plant material in my cigarette. Oh, the old 'non-biodegradable butts' nonsense will be trotted out once more, but filters are cellulose, the wrapping is paper and the contents are leaves. It's entirely biodegradable and it's vegan too. I empty my ashtrays into the compost bin. Not one fag-end has ever reappeared.
This is different. All those pubs and restaurants are private businesses. If I object to their rules I simply don't go there and therefore don't contribute to their upkeep. A simple arrangement that suits both parties. They don't want me, I don't have to pay them. No problem.
With the parks, I am forced by law to contribute to their upkeep whether I want to or not.
I rarely visit the local parks because they are full of screaming kids by day and the Red Stripe brigade at night. However, the parks are there, they are pleasant when the kids are safely locked away in school and I have the option to use them if I want. So far I have been happy for part of that council tax bill to be used to maintain a facility I rarely use, but like to have available.
That will change if I am banned. I will not contribute to the maintenance of something I am not permitted to use. I will have to look at the council accounts, work out the proportion of spending on parks and gardens, and deduct that proportion from my bill.
With the privately-owned parks, the same arrangement applies as with the pubs. I just won't visit them. With the council ones, there's going to be a fight.
They will insist I have to pay 'my share' to maintain a facility I am banned from. I will describe this as extortion because it is no different to the criminal definition of the word. They are demanding money with menaces and offering nothing in return. That is not a service. That is a mugging.
The same applies to the NHS. They have been making noises for some time about banning smokers from using their services. Once they do, my national insurance payments stop. Pension? There is no money for future pensions anyway. That's just another mugging.
It has gone beyond any talk of compromise. There can be no compromise. I didn't want this war, all I ever wanted was to be left alone to live my life as I choose. That option has been denied to me in all private and public businesses. Now they want to deny me the open air. Private cars are already in the process of being owned by the State.
Then they will come for my own home. Can't happen? It's already begun. The 'take seven steps outside' campaign has been running for quite a while now. No, I will not shiver outside my own home.
Compromise? No. There is no compromise on offer and I ask for none. I don't want compromise.
I want these interfering, arrogant, self-important, vicious, spiteful, abhorrent people out of my life completely. No compromise. Get rid of them all.
They will not stop with smoking, you know. They will not stop unless they are stopped. The only thing they understand is money.
Stop paying them.