They do say travel broadens the mind … although in my case it just cemented a long-held belief.
After spending a few days in Croatia, I am now convinced more than ever the smoking ban was one of the best things that ever happened to Scotland.
In that beautiful country by the Adriatic, it seems every second person is a nicotine addict.
And they indulge their filthy habit at every opportunity in bars and restaurants.
It was, actually, quite startling to see people light up indoors.
It was also quite disgusting to come away with a lungful of second-hand carcinogens and clothes that stink of stale cigarette smoke.
It was as if we had travelled back in time to the dark ages … and it was a sharp reminder of how arrogant and selfish smokers can be. Once upon a time I loathed the fagheads for inflicting their poor life choices on me. These days I am indifferent to them – well in this country, at least. If someone wants to hobble their health and shorten their lifespan, then on you go.
But just because smokers are largely off my radar, it doesn’t mean they have disappeared.
It was a bit of a shock to see NHS Grampian missing its target to reduce smoking in some of the poorest areas of the North-east.
Now, I couldn’t even begin to tell you how much a packet of cigarettes cost these days, but I do know it’s not cheap.
So why on earth would you spend cash on killing yourself?
That just makes no sense, but then neither does filling your lungs with chemicals that give cancer a leg-up. The authorities have done as much as they can, from taxation to hiding cigarettes from view in shops. So why not think the unthinkable and just ban them completely.
After all, we live in the day of vaping for those who really need a nicotine fix. It’s time for someone to be bold and stub out cigarettes once and for all.
Let’s get rid of all Westminster MPs
In all the debate over changing MP constituency sizes, I think we’re missing an obvious route.
Let’s get rid of them all together.
The world will be a better place if we had fewer politicians, so why don’t we just scrape Westminster out of our lives?
But gosh, how could we do that?
Oh, wait a minute … a second referendum bill you say? Thank goodness. If it comes to pass we have a chance to streamline the way we govern ourselves, which is surely a good thing.
Keep it real at Halloween
Halloween is almost upon us … so it’s time for a few ground rules.
You carve a neep lantern, not a pumpkin. It’s harder, but that’s not the point. You go guising, not trick or treating. Said guising involves a song, a dance or a poem.
Just Sticking a bag in someone’s face and expecting sweets is begging. Halloween is not a cheap American import, it’s an ancient Scottish tradition. Keep it real.