About Me

I was born in Luton, known for hat making, Vauxhall cars, London Luton Airport and a great football team who once beat Arsenal at Wembley in a Cup Final, currently languishing in non-league football for the 4th season. I moved to Edinburgh in 1990 and now live in Leith, Edinburgh's 'waterfront'.

Married for 24 years to Louise (who is on day release from Fife), I have 4 children: Holly (aged 28) who's studying medicine at Dundee University, William (aged 26) at the Army Foundation College, Harrogate, Alice (aged 23) and Maddie (aged 16).

We live in a 226 year old Georgian house which we are slowly renovating. We once had a note from an artist posted through the letterbox asking if our semi-derelict house was available to rent as studio space. Things have improved lately; the stonework has been repaired and we have shiny new railings. Just the inside to do now then.

Current CNPS score: 999

Header Image: Richard Bloomfield

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    Beginning of the end

    While the focus of media attention is firmly on the G8 here in Edinburgh, another historic event is taking place behind the security fences and police cordons. Today is the day that MSPs in the new Scottish Parliament are voting to ban smoking in public places in Scotland.

    I’m aware this has been blogged to death at various times but I just couldn’t let today pass without mentioning it again. We’ve all heard the arguments by both camps so I’m not expressing my opinion here to reopen the debate. I’m just making my statement on this historic day.

    Smoking is shit. It costs a fortune, it has no positive benefits and it makes you stink. Those of you who smoke are addicts, pure and simple. Arguments about enjoyment, relaxation and pleasure are fundamentally flawed. You are addicts. You only experience what you think are benefits because you are satisfying your addiction. Had you never started, you would think very differently.

    Yes, I’m an ex-addict. Here it comes, listen: “Oh, you ex-smokers, you’re all the same, you’re the bloody worst“. Why do you think that is? It’s because I’ve cracked it, I’m free, and I don’t need to do it any more. And it’s a great feeling. But there’s one remaining problem. I can’t go out to places I enjoy without having to be subjected to your smoke, without going home stinking as badly as if I was still hooked. And you wonder why I take a stance? I’m sorry, but I just haven’t heard one even remotely convincing argument against this law. Oh, you’re worried about your personal freedom, your ‘right’ to do as you please, and the infringement of your personal liberties? Eh, nobody says you can’t smoke, just stop making me breathe it. They’re not going to ban the things yet, makes them far too much money, I’m sure you’ll be able to carry on as long as you want during your lifetime.

    No SmokingFace it, smoking is archaic. In the future they’ll look back on the few hundred years where man carried out this ridiculous practice and roll about laughing. It really is that stupid. I don’t blame any smoker for their addiction, I’m not that hypocritical. Neither am I trying to be ‘holier than thou’ just because I’m lucky enough to have stopped. It’s just that now I’m free I can see the addiction for what it is, just as you will if you ever give up. I’m rejoicing that such proactive action is being taken by this government, that the beginning of the end for smoking starts today.

    Update: The bill was passed by 97 votes to 17 – 26th March 2006 it is then, mark it in your diaries. The Port O’ Leith Bar is having a smoking party on the 25th March when they are going to auction off signed ash trays for charity. Well, something like that anyway. Incidentally, I couldn’t believe the Scotsman’s flawed article on the result – I even wrote to the editor – since when did MSP’s vote at the Scottish Executive!

    Later Update: The Scotsman have eventually edited their article replacing ‘Scottish Executive’ with ‘Scottish Parliament’ and replacing ‘unanimously’ with ‘in favour’. The editor didn’t write back to me though.