Tobacco Pipe Makers' Annual Banquet

Wednesday 17th October 2018

This year's Annual Banquet was held at the magnificent Drapers' Hall. The site had been home to Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex and Chief Minister to Henry VIII and was forfeited to Henry upon Cromwell's execution in 1540. The Drapers' Company acquired it in 1543 where they have been ever since. The current hall was originally constructed in 1772 and, today, it is one of the most stunning Livery halls in the City. It provided the perfect setting for a memorable night for the Tobacco Pipe Makers.

We were joined by the Cuban Ambasador, Her Excellency Mrs Teresita Vicente Sotolongo and six Masters of Livery Companies whose orders of precedence ranged from No.3, the Drapers' Company, to No.101, the Security Professionals' Company; a heady mix of old and new. We were also joined by the Commanding Officer of The London Regiment.

Our Principal Guest for the evening was Mr Mark Littlewood, Director General of the Institute of Economic Affairs. Mark delivered an excellent speech on the subject of happiness. He argued that so many choices made in life by human beings are informed not simply by pure economic considerations but by what weight of enjoyment they add to their decisions. The differences in peoples' characters, appetites and interests necessarily create great varieties in choices about the same things; one person's meat is another's poison etc.

As an economist recognising the importance of happiness in the sphere of peoples' economic choices, he is an advocate of less, not more intervention by government to regulate the consumption of goods or the conduct of activities that might not necessarily be 'good' for the health or economic wellbeing of an individual. If people are informed about their choices, including potential hazards, they should still be free to make those choices if it makes them happy. No need for a nanny State! The money expended on quangos and draconion policies would be better spent on education to improve peoples' ability to happily make free choices.

Our evening concluded with jazz music and a stirrup cup where some of us repaired to the Hall's delightful garden to reflect on Mark's words and to have a smoke.