Allan Massie is reflecting on the attractions of pipe-smoking, something (that is, pipe-smoking) I have never done, not even in the days, way, way back, when I was a smoker. His reflections are prompted by this:
[T]he BBC, in its wisdom, or in thrall to its own addiction - which is to political correctness - has chosen to play down [Harold] Wilson's pipe in its five-hour tribute to be shown on BBC Parliament.
His former political adviser, Lord Donoughue, says this is "Stalinist". Wilson's pipe is to be frozen out, just as fallen members of the Soviet Politburo were removed from photographs. I call it pathetic.
'Stalinist' may seem a bit strong, but if the story is accurate, then 'pathetic' is certainly apt. Never mind about historical accuracy, hey; somebody might see Wilson smoking his pipe and be influenced to try it. Well, how about we put out information on the dangers of tobacco and show and allow to be shown, in movies and on TV, that smoking used to be much more common than it is now, and let people get on with it, using both the one kind of information and the other? Too damned permissive. Don't let them see, don't let them see.