Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Sorry but smoking doesn't harm Gedling Council's reputation

Gedling Borough Council (it's in Nottinghamshire and Labour-controlled, since you ask) is proposing the further demonisation and stigmatising of its employees - the ones that smoke that is:

"Whilst at work, and so far as is reasonably practicable, employees who smoke in accordance with this policy should do so with their Gedling Borough Council uniform covered as not doing so may create a negative impression of the council when viewed by the public."

Since when did smoking give a negative impression of the Council? Since officious HR managers and self-righteous councillors started treating smokers like pariahs. Ever since the smoking ban in 2007 (and long before that in many councils) smokers have clustered round the doors, on windswept pavements and corners. I'm guessing this looks untidy to those officious managers and is accompanied by moans from other employees about smoking breaks (like those other workers don't use up Council time talking about their holidays, making tea or playing solitaire on the phone).

What this policy is about is the isolation of smokers - it is but a short step away from a man with a bell parading in front of them crying "unclean, unclean". No health purpose is served and it isn't about the Council's image - it's simply nannying fussbucketry, rules for the sake of rules. A much better approach would be to provide a shelter for staff that smoke perhaps with somewhere to sit away from the doorways where smokers currently clump. But that would be thoughtful and considerate - why would the Council want to treat smokers that way, they're smelly scum aren't they?


Junican said...

A dirty mac would do the trick.

Chris Oakley said...

Why be sorry Simon? Gedling Borough Council ought to be the ones apologising. This unpleasant stigmatisation is what we might expect from the ethically challenged remnants of the Labour party but, bearing in mind considerable evidence that the public health industry is the last bastion of soviet style totalitarianism in the UK, I cannot understand why a Conservative government continues to nurture it. Can you enlighten me?