Time to react once again to various actual news tidbits - some international, some national.
"After France, also The Netherlands now say NO to European Constitution" + "Belgians would vote YES to European Constitution"
I don't really know what all the fuzz is about. To be honest, I have no clue myself what exactly is in the proposed European Constitution, and I believe that I'm far from the exception. Do you know? In detail? What I find rather irritating though, is that two countries had a popular vote - where the people decide instead of politicians - and when the results turned out the wrong way, everyone is scrambling to see if they can find a way around it.
Either you let the people decide and then accept their vote, or you do as the Belgian governement did and decide that you don't care about what the population thinks and do what the governement thinks is best. Hence, the title "Belgians would vote YES" is totally irrelevant since we will not be allowed to speak out anyway.
Would I vote yes or no? I don't have a clue, because as I said, I don't know what the proposal entails. However, would we be asked to cast a voe, I'd try to get as much information about it upfront, and would probably vote yes. I think that a stronger Europe will be more beneficial in the end, and one European currency is only one of the benefits we already have. Are there disadvantages and is there much work to be done in/on the European idea? Yes, certainly. Can it be done? I think so.
"On January 1st 2007 smoking will be prohibited in restaurants. Pubs and bars are excluded from this new rule."
What's the point here people? Do you want to increase the air quality and lower health risks for people, or don't you? Don't start by drafting a new law, and then excluding 75% or so of all establishments. Just think for yourself : how many times a month do you go to a restaurant? How many times do you end up in a pub/bar? Will this new law really change anything? I really doubt it. One of our politicians tried to defend the exclusion of bars and pubs like this : "there is still a too thight relation between alcohol, a good atmosphere and tobacco in Belgium, therefore we can not force a no smoking law in bars and pubs yet".
How about this, mister politician : "air is still polluted and filled with stench and fumes in bars and pubs wherever you go. This is a good reason for me to stay home and not spend any money at these establishments, thus not improving the economy". If a total ban can be established in Sweden (which became effective June 1st 2005), why can't we get it done?
I'm eager to see what happens on January 1st, 2006 - when all workplaces should be smoke free. Lots of employers started enforcing the new rules already, yet lots of smokers just give everyone a huge "fuck you" and light one up anyway, especially if they think no one sees it. This could be an interesting period to come, especially at my place of work. What about the rights of smokers? What about my right to breathe freely?