Amazingly, The Observer used to be both liberal and observant

An interesting little example of how times have changed. Sonia Sodha, who is the chief leader writer for The Observer:

Laying on drinking fountains isn’t enough; despite their ubiquity in the US, Americans consume almost three times as much bottled water per capita than here. We need to go further: let’s become the first country to ban bottled water altogether. Will anyone lament not being able to fork out for a bottle of San P in their Waitrose? Maybe. Tough – they should get themselves down to Argos and shell out for a £40 SodaStream. They’ll make their cash back in no time and the planet will be a happier place for it. And perhaps a few years from now we can think about imposing annual flying allowances.

We're entirely willing to agree that waste bottles are something which should be managed - don't want to choke no whales after all. But banning something that people obviously like and desire just because you can't see the point of it is rather a good definition of illiberalism.

There is one more little detail which we'd like to point to:

The airport: not the most fun place to while away a couple of hours. Most modern airports seem to prioritise row after row of fancy shops over providing enough seats at the gate. One of my pet peeves is how hard they make it to get your hands on free drinking water once you’ve dutifully chucked yours out before security. More than half of UK airports don’t provide drinking fountains, forcing travellers to choose between begging bartenders to fill up their bottle or coughing up for over-priced water.

We have some experience of airports. We're really pretty sure that they're equipped with toilets. Or given the amount of pearl clutching currently going on we should refer to them as the smallest room, the loo or the thingie. All of these comfort stations being equipped, at least in our experience, with sinks, taps and running water.

No one does run a special supply of non-drinking water into such privies. We must therefore assume that Ms. Sodha has a remarkably strong bladder - given the water she desires to consume this is a possibility we suppose - or is equally remarkably unobservant.

We too think that world can be improved even if we're rather more liberal in our suggestions. But we really do insist that those who make proposals for such improvements would be well served by being able to observe the world as it is before pronouncing. As those producing one of the country's great newspapers used to, in our memory at least, be capable of.