WESTCOUNTRY smokers and their supporters turned out in their thousands across the region yesterday for the traditional Boxing Day Toke.
The Smoking Act 2007 banned smoking in public places, but the habit shows no sign of dying out and plenty of people took the opportunity to enjoy the crisp festive air in glorious sunshine; not that they were given a choice of course, as smoking indoors now is pretty much impossible.
In Crediton, near Exeter, hundreds of supporters of the Mid Devon Toke turned out in the crisp morning air to line the pavements to appease their craving. They brought the town to a standstill as they filled the streets with their roll-ups and tailor mades, the smokers enjoying the customary drink before they were forced outside by the landlords and landladies, who will surely soon regret not doing more to stop the ban as their businesses collapse beneath them. That'll teach them, don't you think?
There were no reports of clashes with anti-smoke protesters, aside from one small incident outside the Ship Inn which left an elderly woman from Black Dog Village with ash on her shoes, which was soon defused by whipper in/roadsweeper Tony Pike. However, there was universal condemnation of the ban, which has affected not just those taking part, but passive smokers as well. Those who could previously enjoy a smoke courtesy of their nearest miscreant now have to buy their own cigarettes, and quite rightly too, in my opinion.
Meanwhile in the Houses Of Parliament, those responsible for the ban continued to smoke as always, because it is of course one rule for them, and another completely for us. Don't you just love the democracy and freedoms we enjoy in this green and pleasant land?