BONFIRE Night was yesterday but in our area we were forced to endure the distant booms and cracks of fireworks for well over a week beforehand.

Like Halloween, Bonfire night has been expanded into a season of its own. The festivities are no longer constrained to a few hours on a specific dark autumnal night.

It’s a technicolour free-for-all, with fireworks exploding at seemingly random times of the day across the whole time period which spans not-quite-Christmas-yet. There have been calls this year – and all others I remember as a fully-grown, perpetually crabbit adult – for fireworks to be banned from sale to the general public.

The case for the prosecution rests on the fact that the things are annoying and noisy. Some cats and dogs are reduced to anxious, terrified husks around this time of year. They refuse to go outside to do a wee, because outside sounds like a Die Hard movie.

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And anti-social behaviour seems to go hand in hand with the public sale of fireworks. At the weekend, the BBC Scotland News website had a headline which read: “Can we prevent violence around Halloween and Bonfire Night?”

Which is truly wild when you think about it. Occasions that centre around face paint, sweeties and pretty colours in the sky are now inextricably linked to fighting and damage to property.

The article pointed to the riots and criminal damage we saw in Scotland in 2022, where emergency service workers were attacked while attending incidents.

It also mentioned the particularly grim example from Edinburgh last year when 100 youths lobbed fireworks at the public and vehicles.

Politicians have been reluctant to bring in an outright ban. Maybe they are jittery at what the public’s reaction would be to such stringent measures. Or perhaps there is a shadowy group of influential pyromaniacs at Holyrood.

The National: Fireworks

Whatever the reason, it seems the yearly disruption that fireworks bring is here to stay. In 2022, Holyrood introduced the Fireworks and Pyrotechnic Articles (Scotland) Bill. Which I’m afraid sounds far sexier than it actually is.

It’s basically a licensing scheme, which limits the number of days when fireworks can be sold. It also allows local councils to designate firework control zones, making it illegal to set off fireworks in these areas. In theory at least, the legislation also makes it illegal for the public to use fireworks before 6pm and after midnight on November 5.

I think we can safely assume that these laws have been roundly ignored by many over the last week.

If we’re going to carry on with this nonsense of selling explosives to any adult in possession of a crisp £20 note, then we’ll need to start installing GPS trackers in every individual Catherine wheel to catch those who set them off in breach of the new rules.

Whenever an outright ban on the sale of fireworks to the general public is mentioned, we hear the inevitable accusations of nanny state politics. The idea is that, as grown-ups, we should be able to decide for ourselves if we want to buy potentially dangerous pyrotechnics and light up the sky behind our nearest KFC.

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If your dad wants to spend his hard-earned cash on a bumper pack of fireworks, that’s his business, not the government’s. This defence of the sale of fireworks is predicated on the notion that adults are inherently sensible, responsible people.

Who then, I wonder, is supplying Roman candle fireworks to the local young team? Who is hoarding fireworks to set off on a random Tuesday in August?

And what self-respecting adult is up at 1am on Bonfire Night sending flares into the sky when they should be in bed listening to a Richard Osman book on Audible like the rest of us?

Forget a jargon-laden, achingly slow public consultation on the matter. Here is a simple test to decide whether we, as a species, are clever enough and civic-minded enough to deserve the freedom to buy fireworks for a few weeks a year.

Make next year a test run. Promote the terms and conditions widely in advance, so everybody knows what’s happening.

Ensure the public knows that this is make or break – pass the test and the rules remain as they are; fail, and it’s bye-bye booms.

The test only has one rule that has to be followed, which should make it really easy to pass.

And it is this. If, in 2024, any fireworks, in any area of Scotland, can be heard going off during daylight hours, then fireworks will be pulled from general sale for the rest of eternity.

If we have adults in the country who are daft enough to set off a firework at such a time where you can’t even see the product of the explosion, then the matter is surely settled once and for all.