Monday, April 11, 2005


Off the deep end...

Apologies for the recent quiet here - but I haven't gone anywhere.

Until recently, one of my favourite political parties on the Dutch scene was the left social democrat Socialist Party. Reason being, despite their statism, environmentalism (they're very anti-GM) and moldy taste of lifestyle conservativism, they're just about the only serious outfit on the Dutch left these days, with the burned-out yuppies of the Green Left not going anywhere.

Anyway, one of the more decent of the SP's members of parliament used to be their foreign policy expert, Harry van Bommel. Very well-spoken and active in opposing both the bombing of Yugoslavia and the war against Iraq.

However, unfortunately, it seems that Harry van Bommel has gone crazy. Bananas. Gaga.

Apparently, Harry van Bommel has recently quit smoking and has found a new goal in life: badgering smokers. Recently, he proposed that smoking in front of animals be banned.

Really, he did propose that.

Somehow I must have missed the epidemia of emphysemia among cats, dogs suffering of lung cancer, goldfish coughing their lungs out...

One also wonders, what counts as an animal? Does a fly count? A spider? What of the birds outside? Bed mites? Bacteria?

Harry van Bommel, do your party a favour and leave it, and join, for example, the rest of the lunatic asylum at Partij voor de Dieren.

And one final word, which I am going to repeat with all the tenacity of Cato speaking about Carthage: the health risks of passive smoke have not been established.

Merlijn de Smit

PS: Harry van Bommel presented his anti-smoker claptrap in a column on the late Theo van Gogh's site. He received the column after Theo van Gogh's death. I am sure the great master is rolling on and on in his grave - and it must be quite a big mound by now, what with his size...

PPS: We used to have this cat, who lived to the ripe age of 26, and that with my mother, my father, and most of our relatives smoking in its presence. An equivalent of the well-known "My grandfather smoked and became ninety"-story...

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