The leader of the Balearic government, Francesc Antich, made a keynote speech on Thursday night on the eve of Balearic Day calling for unity and concensus. He said that this spirit had led to the creation of the local government in 1983. Antich also said that he wanted to slowly recover the islands' historic identity and language. As a footnote to his speech I would also say that the Balearics needs to embrace its new multi-cultural society. I fully understand that Sr. Antich is proud of the islands' history and language but he also must remember that a sizeable proportion of the population of the Balearics is now made up of people from non-Spanish European Union countries, South and Central Americans and Africans, along with mainland Spaniards. All these people must be brought into the fold and made to feel at home and part of the grand-plan envisaged by the Balearic government. Most of these people love the Balearics as much as a home-grown islander and want to feel part of the islands. One of the better sides to the Chenoa, Pop Idol affair was how the Council of Majorca embraced the budding singer, because eventhough her family roots lie in South America she was taken on board the Balearic boat, and given the full support of the Majorcan authorities, because she lived in Majorca and felt Majorcan. Nationalism is fine, infact it can be a good thing, but it also has its dangers. The Balearics are an island race and are naturally proud of their heritage but times are changing and so is the islands' social make-up. Anyone who believes in the Balearics and who wants to see the islands develop must be able to feel part and be actively involved in what the Balearic government is trying to achieve.
There can't be many international businessmen who advise their potential customers not to buy their product because they would be better off avoiding it. But this is precisely what Martin Broughton, executive chairman of British American Tobacco, did in an interview published yesterday. Speaking about his children, he said he had told them, I would advise you not to smoke. But if you want to smoke it is your affair. It is not good for you. You are better off not smoking. They both took his advice.
Mr Broughton's line is that BAT would like to be involved with governments and the World Health Organisation in discussing ways of providing sensible advice on smoking to young people while keeping open the principle of individual choice. He did not say in the interview (he was not asked) at what age he thought young people could be expected to make a sensible choice about smoking and whether or not his company's advertising would have already impacted on them by the time that age came. Mr Broughton peddled the usual tobacco industry line that its advertising is not intended to increase the number of smokers but to persuade those who already smoke to switch brands.
The health warnings that appear on packets of cigarettes and in advertising have been in use for 35 years now they are no longer noticed. Would Mr Broughton be ready to print his own warning on packets of Dunhill or Pall Mall two of BAT's biggest brands? If the man making the stuff said it was no good, surely that would put the customers off?
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