I used to visit Stony Stratford for a drink from time to time when I worked in Milton Keynes (of which New Town it forms an ancient part). Its old coaching inns, on the route from London to Ireland, saw the exchange of many travellers' tall tales. Their names, The Cock and The Bull, gave us (so locals claim) the "cock and bull story."
The latest news from Stony is unfortunately not cock and bull, at least in that sense. A power-crazed local councillor wants it to be the first town in Britain to ban smoking in its streets and public spaces. Dissatisfied with driving smokers out of doors (against the will of the owners of the doors) to pursue their legal vice, he wants them confined to their homes.
With the support of local business people, libertarian blogger Dick Puddlecote plans a protest in the town at 12.30pm on July 16th, three days before the illiberal zealot in question argues his case to the local council. I shall take the opportunity to give Vittoria (whose engine rarely gets beyond idling now I live in London) a run to an old haunt. I may even spin her around a few of the under-utilised roundabouts in Milton Keynes that locals joke represent the marks of the town planners' coffee-rings on the original drawings.
I hope you will consider joining me and that, if you tweet or blog, you will encourage your followers and readers to do likewise. If you are a Facebooker, you can follow the main link, register your intention to be there and then invite all your Facebook friends. After all, it's probably well past time you met some of them in meatspace (again?) If you are not on Facebook, you can contact Dick directly at his blog (just click the 'contact' button beneath the masthead to email him).
I have never been a cigarette smoker, but I cannot abide the continuing demonisation of fellow-citizens pursuing a legal activity. If you feel the same, smoker or not, please consider making the effort.
h/t Pete Jackson for the logo