From the Adam Smith Institute, December 21;
The Times reports that "a hospital has drafted in a 'nicotine policeman' to patrol its grounds to catch rogue smokers." The official title is 'tobacco information officer,' and he is employed by Aberdeen Royal Infirmary to stop smokers congregating outside the hospital at entrances and car parks.
He joins real nappy officers, walking officers and five-a-day officers in helping to promote the kind of society which government wants us to live in. More to the point, he is one of several hundred thousand new public sector employees (the highest figure is 2m, but that includes all the state services as well). This has enabled Gordon Brown to boast about Britain's low unemployment compared with our partners. It has also diverted funds which other people have earned away from investment, savings, pensions and consumer spending.
It is possible that tobacco information officers and the others will help Britain's competitive position in the world, and participate in producing goods and services that people want and need. It is also possible that we value their services so highly that we will willingly pay the extra national and local taxes it takes to sustain this army of life-improvers. Then again, it could just prove that Groucho Marx was right when he said there ain't no sanity clause.
Footnote; notice that although our economy grew by a mere 0.2 percent in the September quarter, the government sector grew by 3. That's three too many.
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