July has seen two dramatic changes in Britain. A new regime in Westminster and the implementation of a draconian measure in the name of public health.
On the latter point, England is catching up with Scotland, who implemented a smoking ban last year. And also with North Korea:
The North Korean capital, Pyongyang, has reportedly become the latest city to impose a smoking ban.
However, rather than being for the good of the general public, it is all about the country’s leader Kim Jong-il.
The move comes after doctors advised Mr Kim to stop smoking and drinking after a recent heart operation, reports say.
“Kim’s home, office and all other places he goes to have been designated as non-smoking areas,” a former South Korean lawmaker said.
Meanwhile the young turks in Brown’s new cabinet are issuing policy statements using language which will be familiar to Korea-watchers. We all know about South Korea’s aspirations to be recognised as a regional hub. But our new foreign secretary has grander hopes, according to an interview in the FT:
“We’ve got the opportunity to be a global hub,” he says. Britain is a “global hub” economically, through the City of London, and culturally, too. But it is also a “global hub” politically, with “a unique set of alliances” to the US, EU and India. Maintaining this is his goal, “maximising the opportunities of globalisation and minimising the risks”.
Maybe we should be bracing ourselves for a national rebranding exercise next.