Monday, 20 July 2015

No F***ing Swearing in this Park

A council in Waterford, Ireland has introduced a set of new rules in the city's public parks. Some of these make perfect sense; picking flowers can harm the environment, and model aircraft, barbecues and roller-skating can be dangerous. However the council has also decided smoking is to be banned in parks. Banning smoking in the open air is a very stupid and casually authoritarian thing to do; and it's not entirely without precedent, see: http://hpanwo-hpwa.blogspot.co.uk/2014/10/smoking-ban-extension.html. In one of Waterford's main parks, ironically named "the People's Park", you cannot light up a cigarette in the fresh air, and it doesn't matter if you're a hundred yards away from any other people. Even vaping is off limits. What's more the council has put signs up warning people not to use vulgar language. This not only threatens a great Irish tradition, but it's a serious infringement on civil rights. There are already perfectly legitimate and effective laws against antisocial behaviour; why do they need additional legislation to prevent people using offensive language? Does this mean if I used a four-letter word in front of fellow adults who are accustomed to it, calmly, out of earshot from children and without raising my voice, I could get arrested? At the moment it's questionable that this law could ever be enforced, so then how come the signs have already gone up? Similar rules have been introduced in Northern Ireland, see: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-33242147. There are many aspects about this story that bother me. The authorities have bypassed normal procedure in bringing in these rules in a very cavalier fashion. The mastermind behind this new policy, Councillor Lola O'Sullivan, says it's "more about the spirit than the letter of the law." So is it a rule or not? If it's not, then why are there warning signs? Do we really need statutes to make common courtesy obligatory? Controlling people's behaviour in public areas for the sake of it is becoming more and more common; we've already had calls to dictate what kind of clothes we're allowed to wear, see: http://hpanwo-voice.blogspot.co.uk/2013/11/banning-burka.html. It's a shame so few people fail to see the implications of this kind of trend. I've been to Waterford and it's a lovely city; I'd hate to see it ruined by Big Brother.

8 comments:

Xylomet said...

Just wrote an article addressing some of the points you make in a short article entitled 'Society Up In Smoke' on Google+. One things for certain, if people are not aware of the implications now then they will be in the future. That said, each new generation in recent history seems to not only accept these new changes due to distarction and knee jerk castigation of 'others' but also become the very guards of this translucid prison. But what do we know Ben!.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

I'll have a look at that, X. (Sorry HPANWO Voice has been so quiet the last couple of weeks; I've been snowed under with other things)

Tino said...

Turbo-Political-Correctness. They'll be banning the Ulster Fry next.

Xylomet said...

No worries Ben. You can't do it all, take time for yourself and your other commitments

Laurence said...

Here's a corker of a quote from Waterford's finest, Councillor Lola O'Sullivan:

"In relation to e-cigarettes, we don’t yet have any hard and fast medical information about them and we won’t for some time. So there’s no point banning them after the horse has bolted, so to speak, which is why we are banning them now."

Howzaaat!! [for an atrocious non sequitur].

Unfortunately, this level of public discourse and indeed public representation has become more and more common in Ireland. The ignorant masquerading as cool and modern are very much in the ascendency and quite frankly there is no hope for us.

So called laws (entirely unenforced, you are correct Ben) like this create an atmosphere of distrust and guilty-until-proven-innocent amoung the population, only benefitting a tiny minority like Mrs. O'Sullivan, to whit:

"As a parent of a young child, obviously you [I] want the best when you [I] bring your child to a public park or a public area. If you go to any public place and people are being loud, shouting, using abusive language, personally I’d feel very intimidated."

Yes Lola, it's all about you. Never mind the corrosive effect of your ill thought-out, anodyne selfishness. Lola O'Sullivan, an ignorant foot-soldier of cultural Marxism in a frock.

Ben Emlyn-Jones said...

Thanks for the comment, Laurence. Good to get somebody from the area to give us their opinion

Laurence said...

That's ok Ben, HPANWO's man in Ireland. The cultural Marxists are very much in the ascendency and are looking to make hay while the sun shines for them (or should that be silage while the rain pours, in their case?).

clogbelly said...

I can't believe this episode of Father Ted has actually come true. I'm not sure how to post a link to Youtube but I searched 'Father Ted - Fupp Off' and found this clip. It beautifully illustrates that abusive language is not confined to the use of swear words.