Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Forest- Help or Hindrance?

There has been some discussion on The Big Debate and between its watchers and prime movers on whether to involve Forest in "The Big Petition". This debate will doubtless go on and will involve terms such as "Big T" and "Big P". It's very easy to be defensive and over concerned about what other parties may think. The overwhelming impression I am getting is that what is needed is for pro-choice individuals to continue to remain calm and collected. There is a tendancy to get angry and lash out. Blogging can be quite therapeutic in dealing with one's anger.

We, the pro-choice or pro-smoking, should not set ourselves up as a resistance group as that would simply marginalise us. We should include as many individuals and groups in our activities as possible. We should be able and prepared to stand up for sound science but should remain calm, inclusive, rational and strive for credibility. We should never be rude when confronted by antismoking prejudice but be prepared to keep talking our case through. We should try to overcome our fears of being approached by the anti-choice police when smoking but should always have manners when choosing where to smoke.

Forest are the best example of all these qualities and Simon Clark is a very experienced and even cerebral advocate. He has been a tremendous support to me and continues to make me think. It is as a result of an email chat today that I am writing. There is no need to be fearsome of Forests historic tobacco links and they and Simon will not do anything without your involvement as they are appropriately sensitive to our fears. I feel priviliged to be involved with Forest and will continue to support them. They are an invaluable resource and have confidence that their actions will be crucial for the development of increased awareness of all of our issues.

Lastly and perhaps most importantly I also support wholeheartedly the efforts of The Big Debate team in the development of the petition. God speed to you all.