The Freedom Dinner

Tuesday 27th June 2017

Boisdale Canary Wharf

The Mistress and I were invited by Assistant Elise Rasmussen to the Freedom Dinner organised by Forest at Boisdale in Canary Wharf. Forest is the voice and friend of the smoker and a useful pressure group to broaden the debate on how tobacco should be regulated. The record heat wave that had been the feature of the previous week had expired in favour of a very wet cold front. Cocktails were handed to us as we joined the party on the smoking balcony at Boisdale. After 20 years in the industry, it wasn’t long before we met some old friends and did some catching up. The Freedom Dinner is an annual event which marks the introduction of the indoor smoking ban exactly 10 years ago. After a refill or two, we took our seats on the top table, opposite the engaging Forest director, Simon Clark and next to Fran Morrison. It was a lively discussion during the meal and the common thread was freedom of speech, thought and trade. The guest speaker, by popular demand from the previous year, was Rod Liddle. Anyone who has read Rod Liddle in The Spectator and The Sunday Times would have a good idea of what to expect. We were not disappointed. Rod Liddle was hilarious, profound, outrageous but never dull. At one point, Rod was using a Sooty glove puppet to illustrate a point. How he got to Sooty, I can't remember but it was very funny. The proceedings moved on to the presentation of the 2017 Voices of Freedom Awards and I am delighted to report that Elise Rasmussen was a recipient of one of the four awards presented. After dinner, we retired to the smoking balcony where I enjoyed a Cohiba Siglo II and the remainder of my glass of wine.