Change, says Gordon Brown. Change this, change that. Cos the last ten years have all been stagnation, or something.
So we’ve changed. We now have incompetent terrorists failing to bomb various locations; a female Home Secretary complete with glottal stops; and, on a personal note, drunken Irish ladies asking me for cuddles (which is something up with which I shall not put).
Brown’s Britain also features Indian restaurants with outside tables, something I don’t remember seeing before (Café Naz, aka the Cambridge Curry Centre). Not that they’ve had much use since the monsoon season began.
But today, 1st July, at 6am, a dramatic change hits: the smoking ban. I’ve been looking forward to this forever – the number of times I’ve emerged from the Fleur with stinking clothes and sore eyes is too many to recount. But as of last Thursday the Fleur is smoke-free: it’s been taken over and refurbished, and there was no point supplying ash trays for the three days post-reopening and pre-ban. I can exclusively tell you that the future is smelling pretty good. (But no more Irish ladies please.)
Many drinking establishments are, as I write, chucking out the last smokers before the ban takes effect. The Isaac Newton pub decided to commemorate the occasion by offering drinkers free cigarettes (see my photo). I’m not sure this is what the government intended, but as of tomorrow I don’t much care.
I can’t say I’m tremendously sorry to see the back of Tony Blair (cf wars on false pretences). But many of the changes in the last ten years have undoubtedly made this country a better place (and would never have happened under a Conservative government); this is one of them.