Monday, July 09, 2007

Smoke-free Britain

Anyone old enough to remember the Community Charge may also recall that it was imposed on the people of Scotland a full year before it was palmed off on our neighbours south of the border. Commonly referred to as the Poll Tax, it was perhaps the most loathed piece of legislation to be introduced - or, to put it another way, flung at the public, in the same way that monkeys fling their filth at visitors to the zoo - during the Thatcher era. Boy, was she unpopular up here. Still is too. Just wait until she dies. There'll be dancing in the streets.

More recently, another piece of legislation was introduced in Scotland before it made it onto England's statute books - the ban on smoking in enclosed public places. This time though, instead of it being thrust upon us by Westminster, it was Scotland's own parliament that brought it in. Wales and Northern Ireland went on to take similar decisions, and England finally followed suit when legislation came into effect there on 1 July 2007, completing a UK-wide ban.

It has now been 16 months since the anti-smoking legislation's arrival here. It still invokes ire among a sizeable chunk of Scotland's population, as today's piece of signage defacement illustrates. Written on a reminder poster at the Royal Mail delivery office in Musselburgh, it's a simple piece of graffiti that utilises a nice piece of Scottish slang.

For anyone down south who's unfamiliar with its meaning, a fine definition of baw along with some examples of its potential uses can be viewed here. Go on - learn it, and use it.


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