Thursday, 4 July 2013


Forest - the Freedom Organisation for the Right to Enjoy Smoking Tobacco - really knows how to throw a good party. Anyone who is anyone would rather be there than square and miss out on one of the consumer right's group's events which are known for supporting the serious business of having fun.

Speakers included King of Spin in Margaret Thatcher's era Lord Bell who gave a rip roaring speech that wasn't really directed at our current PM but the belief in Downing St, whoever occupies it, that the state has the right to control what legitimate products we buy when it only has a duty to inform us of what risks they may carry to our health.

Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs Mark Littlewood spoke of how dubious "quack science" is used to blow any health issue out of proportion no matter how small the possibility of harm when the very art of living and life itself carries inevitable risk.

He ended his humorous and thought provoking speech to resounding applause. Without risk life is boring. I guess that's true whether we smoke, drink, ride horses or climb mountains.

Before and after the speeches we all indulged ourselves in fine food, wine, cigars and whiskey. The latter two are not pleasures I usually enjoy but Boisdales of Canary Wharf provides such high quality goods that both tasted sublime to me. I won't be consuming either for another year so I assessed for myself that both were risks worth taking.

It was a great night, much fun, laughter and intellectual conversation was had, and I met some fantastic people who intend to live their lives to the full in the belief that it isn't how long you live but how well you live that matters. Some of those were into old age - including Lord Bell himself and inventor Trevor Baylis who had in common with younger guests the belief that a little bit of what you fancy does you good but to deny yourself the things that give you pleasure makes for a long and miserable life.

Now the party's over it's back to reality for me and the donning of my hair shirt to ensure that the workload I have ahead is met.

For more photos of the Forest do taken by photographer Dan Donovan then see HERE It was certainly a great night and I hope the event is held again. I enjoyed it as much this time as I did last year when it began.

UPDATE : Director of Forest Simon Clark has written about it HERE

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