Northern Democracy

Welcome to the Calvinist Republic

The proposed smoking ban in Scotland’s public spaces is likely to be extended to trains travelling between London and Scotland.

Even passengers who did not intend to cross the Border would not be allowed to smoke if their train’s final destination was Scotland.

Indulgers beware: There will be no ability to change from being a smoker to a non-smoker at the border.

Sources at GNER, which still permits smoking in designated carriages, said it would be impossible to allow it for just part of the route from London to Scotland. They said a Scottish ban would mean all trains on the route would have to be smoke-free.

That’s a shame for the cigarette-addicted masses on the 6.45 from Kings Cross. Never mind – at least one person still gets to transform her status at Berwick Upon Tweed.

In England the Queen is Supreme Governor of the Church of England but when she crosses the border she automatically converts to Presbyterianism.

And gives up enjoying a cigarette while hunting with hounds…

Talking of vice demarcation lines at national borders reminds me of a story a friend who’d travelled to Iran on business told me. He’d fallen asleep on the way back home after having endured Ayatollah International Airport for half a day and had fallen asleep shortly after boarding the airliner.

He said he’d been woken not long after that by the the sounds of cheering and laughing coming from the Iranians sharing the flight. Apparantly an announcement had been made while he’d been dozing to the effect that the plane had left IRI airspace.

Veils had been tossed aside as soon as the pursers voice pronounced the magic words, treble whiskies had been bought and guzzled, and a joyous party lasted for a few noisy hours until the citizens of Iran extinguished their cigarettes and picked up their casually tossed headcoverings just before they touched down in Europe.