COLUMNIST: Dozy’s Rambles on smoking, interns, homosexuality and Ropetackle

Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) led the campaign to stop smoking in pubs
Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) led the campaign to stop smoking in pubs

OH JOY, the sun seems to be sticking around, which means we have had an early summer this year.

We should all enjoy sitting in the sun, regardless of where and not be hindered. Therefore, it is time a law was brought in to ban smoking outside pubs when non-smokers wish to enjoy the environment.

As one of the faces of the Action on Smoking and Health (ASH) campaign to stop smoking in public places, I celebrated the great success of halting smoking in pubs, restaurants, cinemas, clubs, etc.

What a pleasure now it is to go into any of these smoke-free places and enjoy what’s on offer without affecting your health and, of course, not having to inhale into your chest the fumes of others and no more of that awful smell you would acquire in your clothing. How much nicer it is to walk in to a pub and not have that terrible cigarette smell that used to greet you.

All I want now is to be able to sit outside my favourite local without fag ash Fred and Lil blowing their nicotine fumes into my space. They are welcome out there in the winter, but stay away in the summer.

It appears as though a new word in the English language is ‘intern’. Every business I know has suddenly got an intern working for them. Now, the first time I ever heard the word was in Doctor Kildare on the telly over 50 years ago. So, of course, I immediately thought that all these UK businesses are suddenly employing a newly-qualified doctor.

How wrong I was. It apparently means that a business can ‘employ’ someone who is prepared to work whatever hours that are given to them for no pay, in order to find out what work in that particular business is like. Now, don’t be confused by the word ‘apprenticeship’ as this job or position, although similar, does receive slightly better pay (well...some pay).

I understand that the Labour Party has declared that they will ban unpaid internships lasting longer than four weeks as part of a youth manifesto. So far no comment from ‘other’ parties.

Surely, if you’re working, you need to be paid. This is what the minimum wage is for. Payment in exchange for work. Are we now a country that encourages slave labour?

This past week, I gave a eulogy at the funeral of my dear friend and former business partner, Brian Ralfe. Brian was the producer of the Brighton Alternative Pantomime and appeared several times on my Adur and Worthing Latest TV show.

Brian died alone on holiday in Egypt at the age of 70. Brian was gay and had to live through the days of dire prejudice and persecution for his sexuality, until homosexuality was decriminalised in 1967.

It’s amazing that it took so many years from the initial parliamentary discussions in 1960 for the law to actually be changed. Strangely enough, it was not until 1973 that the final part of the sexual offences act was passed, which protected gay men from any form of prosecution.

Thank God the laws changed, due to some sensible broad-minded MPs that enabled those of the LGBT community to live their lives as they wish, in peace and without fear of prosecution.

Allow me to finish off this week by thanking Basepoint in Shoreham for returning the Ropetackle name to the towers around the Ropetackle building.

In my opinion, the lettering is far from satisfactory, but I am aware that a compromise had to be reached and this was the lesser of two evils (the two being no mention of Ropetackle, or a small additional name).