January 2007 protest at the Hawaii state capital by nearly 100 bar owners as well as some smokers. Bar owners had lost roughly 30% of their business from the ban.
Saturday, 31 October 2009
Wednesday, 28 October 2009
You would have thought, would'nt you, that mainstream newspapers would not fall for trial by press release, wouldn't you?
Smoking one cigarette in your 20s can send heart attack risk soaring, researchers claim. Just one fag's fumes can stiffen arteries by 25 per cent, restricting blood flow and damaging the heart.
Now I'm off for a dump, chit, forgot to buy bogrolls! Never mind there's always a substitute.
Monday, 26 October 2009
Not long after I came to the Freedom2Choose forum (which was then called The Big Debate) I came to know Tim and his wife Jenny, who come from a quiet[ish] Yorkshire market town (to us lager lout, estate living people, a no go area) called Knaresborough.
On a cold January day 2008 I got a meeting together of like minded people from Freedom2Choose at The Tardis pub in Redcar (which no longer exists now due to the smoking ban) and it was there that I met Tim and Jenny.
It was no surprise to me to find out that Tim is a musician, as a lot of members of F2C come from a musical background but it was a surprise that he came to our inaugural meeting. Tim smokes the occasional cigar whereas I puff my bloody head off but he does like a cigar with his pint in a convivial, warm and welcoming atmosphere, as do we all.
It is no surprise then that he has teamed up with another F2C'r called Paul Kearns to produce this fine song. But before I give you this collaboration here is both musicians doing their own thang...
A video I put together using one of Tim's earlier songs.
And you can see Paul Kearns video here.
Which has ended up with this fine music video collaboration:
Sunday, 25 October 2009
Saturday, 24 October 2009
While that is, to say the least, highly debatable, Andrew Marr has been pondering what exactly Winnie would have made of Britain today, in preparation for an upcoming book and TV series**. The great man, according to Marr, would have positively abhorred one particular aspect of our current society.
One phrase that would certainly have resonated with the old boy is 'health Nazi' - the interfering busybodies who instruct us on what is good or bad for our health.
He never drank quite as much as he pretended to, but his consumption was still oceanic compared to modern recommendations, and life without cigar-smoking he would have regarded as barbaric. He came from a big-eating, heavy-drinking, tobacco-consuming generation which paid for their pleasures by dying earlier but - it might be argued - had a happier time before the final call.
Marr further argues that the 'Greatest Briton of all time' would have been appalled at the way British citizens are now treated.
My guess, and it's only a guess, is that if Churchill had a single message now, it would be that the wartime generation did not suffer so that their descendants could be treated by their rulers like children.
Indeed. In fact, although it's difficult to ascertain exactly which way Churchill would lean politically if he were alive today, it's easier to imagine the message he would have for the likes of ASH and Alcohol Concern.
I reckon it might be something like this.
With you all the way, Winnie, with you all the way.
** Andrew Marr's The Making Of Modern Britain starts next Wednesday, at 9pm on BBC2.
Friday, 23 October 2009
The fevered quickstep of the anti-smoking lobby is turning into a sprint as they frantically try to pass as much draconian legislation as humanly possible before the next election.
You may own your home but if you, hahahaha, think you should be entitled to free and quiet possessioon therein, you've got another think coming. By the end of this year, your home becomes the next target for those who wish to dictate every aspect of your life.
A senior policy manager from the Department of Health for England has praised a Lincolnshire project which encourages people to cut back on or completely quit smoking in the home.
There's that 'encourage' word again. Like they 'encouraged' all business owners to force smokers outside or be punished with crippling fines, and the loss of their livelihoods, if they failed to comply.
John Tilley from the Department of Health, said:
“Action on smoking in the home will be a necessary part of future strategy on tobacco control."
The event in Lincolnshire follows national government consultation on the future of tobacco control, with a new strategy due to be published by the end of 2009.
Now, where this consultation squirrelled itself away, God only knows, but I have an inkling that it may well have been nestling in the bowels of the multitude of state-sponsored smokefree regional authority web-sites and fake charity mailshots.
YOU weren't invited. Well, what did you expect? This is the Labour-fuelled public sector we are talking here.
And to think there was a time, in the not-so-distant past, where we used to pity those who lived under Eastern European dictatorships.
Enjoying your 'free' country, are you?
Monday, 19 October 2009
It set me thinking of my own experience of being bullied, way back in my early teens in the early 1960s, nearly 50 years ago. From the age of about 9 I went to a boarding school that was the junior partner of two schools. The school was in the middle of the Hampshire countryside. The discipline was not intensive. Most of my memories of it are of the many hours spent in the woodland around it, climbing trees, building huts, making bows and arrows. It was a happy time. I was friends with everybody in my class. More or less everybody was friends with everybody.
Then I moved to the senior school, and everything changed. At the senior school, the rules were much stricter. A lot of the rules were petty. No running. No hands in pockets. That sort of thing. Classes were longer, and there was a lot less free time than at the junior school. There was a much stronger emphasis on sport and athletics. And on religious services. Games became serious business. And so did ordinary schoolwork. Every week or so, the marks of each pupil for the previous week would be read out before the whole school, and those who had done particularly badly were sent to be caned. Some poor chaps would be beaten every week. It never made them any better at Latin or History or whatever. And when pupils weren't being beaten for poor marks, they'd be beaten for being caught smoking, or for running away, or for any number of other things. There was, even at the best of times, a slight climate of fear about the place.
Shortly after I'd arrived at the senior school, I found that all the friendships I'd built up at the junior school began to dissolve away. From being about the most popular boy in the class, spindly little me gradually became an ignored and despised member of the class. And then the bullying started. It mostly wasn't physical, but instead psychological. Anyone who was in the least bit vulnerable got picked on, and humiliated and insulted by a clique of other boys. It was a process of remorseless reduction. My winning friendly ways, that had stood me in such good stead at the junior school, were no longer any use. I didn't know how to fight back. My self-esteem began to collapse. I began to fall in on myself, becoming smaller and smaller and smaller. I began to face a psychological crisis. And there was nobody to help me. Nobody at all.
In the middle of all this, one night I remembered a little cartoon story I'd read in a comic a few years before. A peace-loving civilisation on some distant planet had found itself being invaded by huge war machines against which it had no defences. In desperation, the planet had appealed by radio for help from someone, anyone. And the radio message got picked up on Earth, and a team of generals was set to work to consider what to do. And the generals, after considering the situation, advised the besieged planet to flood low-lying areas, block roads, demolish bridges. In this manner, they gradually managed to force all the huge war machines into one small area. And here they were eventually destroyed. As the radio communication with the planet faded out, the planet's grateful leaders said that they would be indebted to their helpers "for eons."
The story was just like what was happening to peace-loving me. I was getting crushed. I had no defences. It seemed to me that what I needed were my own generals. And so one night I sent out my own Mayday message: 'Help! Generals needed!'
The next night, the imaginary generals showed up. They were old and haggard veterans of WWII. They wore dusty trenchcoats. And they listened gravely to my schoolboy story, and they asked a number of questions, and they said that they would consider the situation, and return the next night. And the next night they returned, and they told me that I was retreating headlong before overwhelmingly superior forces, and there was no quick solution. But they said that I didn't have to retreat quite so quickly as I was. It didn't need to be such an utter and complete rout. They advised me to drag my feet a bit, to put up at least token resistance. They said that they would return soon to review progress.
And so I began to take their advice, and began to run away more slowly from my tormenters, and to put up at least token resistance. And night after night, the generals returned to review the situation, and to urge gradually stiffer resistance, day by day, week by week. For I found that the tiniest resistance on my part emboldened me to resist a tiny bit more the next time. And after a few weeks and months of steady application, I eventually found that I was no longer retreating at all. I no longer felt like I was being utterly crushed. I was managing to hold the line. And then, having stopped the rout, the generals turned to the attack. My tormenters were too numerous to be confronted all at once, they said. So they were to be taken on individually, one by one. I was to look for any signs of weakness in each one, and attack them in their weak points. First in small ways, and then in larger ways. And in this manner I gradually got to be quite good at attacking my tormenters. One by one I reduced them to silence.
By the time I left the senior school, I had gradually transformed myself from being a friendly, outgoing boy into an aggressive, wary creature who would get his revenge in first. I was a veritable war machine. I was at a bit of a loss for a few years after leaving school to find that the people I came across in colleges and at work were genuinely nice, friendly people who weren't trying to crush me. It took years for me to lower my defences.
I don't know quite why the senior school was such a nasty place. Perhaps it was the discipline. Perhaps it was lots of adolescent boys all under one roof. But I had to fight a war the entire time I was there. A war that I started out losing badly, but which I eventually won.
But now, in modern Britain's Bully State*, I feel like I'm back at school again. There are the same petty rules. The same smoking ban. The same injustices. The same draconian punishments. The same climate of fear. There is even the same jogging and football and athletics everywhere. And I'm getting defeated again. I'm getting crushed again. I don't know why it's like this. All I know is that is how it is. And it's getting worse all the time.
But this time I have a much better idea what to do. And it's pretty much the same as before. First stop fleeing so hastily. Stop being such a nice guy. Learn to resist in small ways. And then in larger ways. The resistance must be continuous. There can be no slacking from the effort. Little by little, mounting resistance will stop the rout. And then it will become possible to turn upon the tormenters, and crush them one by one.
We know who they are. There are plenty of them in the EU.There are 646 of them in Parliament. And there are lots more in local councils up and down the land. And in fake 'charities' like ASH, and CRUK, and BHF, and RCP. There are quite a few in the courts and the police and the medical profession as well. There are Labour bullies, and Conservative bullies, and Lib Dem bullies, and SNP bullies. They became bullies because they met with no resistance from nice, friendly, open-minded British people. And because they met with no resistance, they were encouraged to become ever more bossy and oppressive and interfering. They have been feeding off each other, and they now vie to outdo each other in infamy.
Bullies must be resisted. If they aren't resisted, their numbers multiply, and they become ever more oppressive. They are always testing the limits of their power over other people, and always taking the 'next logical step' of increased oppressiveness whenever they get an opportunity. It requires personal determination to face them. It requires personal commitment. And people don't want to do that if they don't feel they have to. But they are going to have to. There can't be any half measures about it. Resisting, defeating, and destroying the bullies has to be a full time personal commitment. Because nobody else is going to defeat them. Nobody's going to come riding in on a white horse to drive them away. The army of bullies that has descended on this country is going to have to be defeated by the men and women of this country, as they individually and privately and personally become determined to be rid of this pestilence. It doesn't require heroic action. It doesn't require martyrs. But it does require a personal commitment to resist, even if it is resistance in the smallest of ways. Because it is with resistance in the smallest of ways that all resistance begins.
P.S. There is a book, The Bully State by Brian Monteith, available on Amazon.
ED: Who are the bullies these days?
Sunday, 18 October 2009
So put down your chainsaw and cease your evil activities forthwith.
You might think you are a law-abiding and useful member of society but you'd be wrong. You're just a Europe-wide pestilence.
And you are the first minority to be demonised as intrinsically evil via the medium of cartoon ... not.
Language alert...GREAT! I feel like letting off some verbal steam!
BTW F2C has no videos of this song left, they went to new members in 2007/8.
Friday, 16 October 2009
Today is also the day that millions of ordinary people have been laid wide open to prosecution (abuse) by the new secret police force of this country-Environmental Health Officers! It appears that 'they' (EHO's) can state anything they like to gain a prosecution and they don't have to have the ability to back it up!
A lorry driver appeared in court some months ago charged with smoking whilst in charge of his vehicle. He was actually parked up having his dinner break. A local EHO parked some 22ft behind him and "observed the accused smoking in his cab".
We digress here: the lorry is 66ft long and of the petro-chemical carrier type. This means the EHO was sitting 88ft behind the relaxing driver.
The EHO stated that she clearly saw the driver 'flick ash' out of the cab and onto the ground - at 88ft? You are clearly having a laugh. She took photographs of the rear of the lorry before driving ahead of the parked vehicle, turning back and taking a photograph of the front cab of the lorry. Neither photograph shows the driver actually smoking, in fact the frontal photograph does not even show the driver sitting in his cab!
Upon issuing a fixed penalty notice to the drivers employers, the driver lost his job - no surprise there then. However, the driver, being a sensible sort of chap dismissed the 'FPN' as superfluous for the simple reason that he was 'vapourising' not smoking; ie, taking comfort from an e-cig (an electronic cigarette) as he knew the law and also had the small matter of 5,000 gallons of highly flammable liquid sploshing about behind the cab. (Yes, you may start wondering where the supposed 'flicked ash' came from.
The 'FBN' duly ignored caused the inevitable summons to be issued to appear before the magistrates court. Our friend the driver relished the opportunity to clear his previously unblemished name in the court, for as he stated "I have done nothing wrong". Sadly, our friend did one thing terribly wrong-he tried to represent himself!
He produced evidence of purchase (e-cigs)b to verify the fact that he had actually bought them prior to this supposed offence (this was dismissed as faked evidence!) and he defended himself as stoutly as his limited legal knowledge allowed.
The EHO produced the same photo's and stated she could clearly see the driver smoking (from 88ft [?]) and remained steadfast about watching 'cigarette ash' fall to the floor. Upon request, there were no photographs produced of the incriminating 'ash', nor the 'cigarette butt' supposedly ejected from the cab. Apparently the EHO had not seen fit to take such pictures which of course would have been incontravertible proof of the accusation levelled against the driver.
The upshot was that the innocent driver was found guilty and fined just over £700 for his apparent sins. The EHO was deemed a 'credible witness', even though she could provide no proof of the allegation!
The driver decided to take legal advice and an appeal was rapidly lodged.
Today, Friday 16th October, 2009 was the day our friend the driver would surely clear his name and this most dubious conviction be quashed.
Appearing in the Crown Court presided over by a proper Judge - you know the type, one of those learned people well versed in law - our driver had representation of the highest calibre provided by the top law firm in that area.....let the battle for justice begin.
Let me state here and now that the press were not informed of this appeal as a media frenzy would, it was suspected, severely taint the drivers chances - after all, we are dealing with a high profile criminal activity here (smoking) not some trivial £20m bank fraud or £20m drugs ring!
The EHO was the first to come under fire as the Judge ridiculed her affirmation that she 'had seen a cigarette being smoked from 88ft away-even espying the ash falling from the end of supposed cigarette'. He declared that such was an optical impossibilty. Asked about the photographs she stated that they proved the driver was indeed the driver of that lorry, on that day and at that time. What!
The driver had never disputed that from the very inset of this fiasco. Her testimony was labelled as 'inaccurate & incorrect'.
The local council were next to come under the Judges scrutiny as he basically told them that the prosecution should never have been.
Upon questioning, the driver admitted that he had smoked for 35 years and that he had smoked in the cab prior to July 1st, 2007 (though not when carrying high ectane substances) and had purchased the e-cigs as a substitute for his beloved cigarettes. He agreed that they were no substitute for the real thing but as a stop-gap after his lunch he was prepared to soldier on with them. The driver also asked why the EHO did not approach him to ascertain whether he was smoking or vapourising.....in evidence, the silly woman declared she was "frightened for her safety". Do we now have an unwritten law that all smokers are a violent menace to society? If confronting a smoker are we expected to end up on hospital battered and bruised. Unbelievably her reasoning for keeping her distance (88ft) was accepted.
The Judge retired to deliberate - for all of 45 seconds - returning to pronounce (mumble actually) the "appeal dismissed". No grounds, no mindblowing legal reasons, just appeal dismissed before he rapidly left the courtroom.
Our driver and his barrister sat stunned for several minutes before the second bombshell was confirmed - another £500 in costs to the already jobless driver. An e-cig had now cost the poor fellow £1,200, yet there should never have been a prosecution in the first place! He now has a criminal record for using a perfectly legal device and little prospects of continuing his career as a lorry/tanker driver thanks to the complete unprofessionalism of a totally incompetent EHO - who, in my humble opinion, should now be summarily tried & shot!
The driver was of a mind to take this ridiculous prosecution all the way to the European Courts but having suffered 'justice' today in the Crown Court has revised his opinion of such:- Quote: "What is the point of causing myself any further financial damage? There is no justice in this country anymore-not for smokers anyway. They have imposed this stupid, nation dividing law and have turned it into a 'cash-cow', Jesus bloody Christ I wasn't even smoking a f.....g cigarette, they were at home on the shelf!. It's obvious to me that EHO's don't need any training at all, their word is gospel, they can lie, be proven factually incorrect yet still be believed".
He further lamented that "our court system, once famed for being the fairest and most diligent in the world was nothing but a circus act under the direction of a government hellbent on extracting monies from its people under any guise".
Sadly, I could not agree more with his words for today, Friday 26th October, 2009 is the day that British "Justice" disappeared over the hillseide with it's backside on fire!
Thursday, 15 October 2009
An international award has been given to the University of Adelaide's Professor Konrad Jamrozik, who has spent the past 30 years campaigning against smoking and helping smokers to kick the habit.
He's quite a guy, this Jamrozik.
Since the mid 1980s, Professor Jamrozik has combined his academic and clinical work with his passion for tobacco control as a "part-time activist but full-time advocate".
One would assume from this that if he were to conduct a 'scientific' study, it would only come to one conclusion. You would attach about as much significance to it as you would a study by British American Tobacco claiming that smoking turns you into Usain Bolt.
Not so the BBC.
Passive smoking kills more than 11,000 a year in the UK - much higher than previously thought, a study shows.
Report author Konrad Jamrozik said: "It is clear that adoption of smoke free policies in all workplaces in the UK might prevent several hundred premature deaths each year."
Also, not so if you are nice-but-dim British MP.
His work on deaths attributable to passive smoking was cited at least nine times in the Westminster Parliamentary debate that led to the adoption of smoke-free legislation.
And was the study flawed, innumerate, and ... well, there's no nice way of putting it ... shit?
Of course it was. What else could one expect?
In other news, an Israeli has produced a study that 'proves' Palestinians are descended from the Devil, and Pepsi have conclusive evidence that Coca Cola is the prime cause of dementia.
Yeah, I reckon the Beeb will swallow that too, and MPs will scuttle around passing retarded legislation on the back of it.
What a ridiculous country we live in.
- Collective Madness 2
- By Frank Davis
The most excellent Christopher Snowdon, of whose book I am a proud possessor, was prompted by my post on Collective Madness to write:
It was an inevitable and intended consequence of denormalisation that nonsmokers would become less tolerant of smokers. Less anticipated, perhaps, was the fact that this would also work in reverse. The result has been the creation of another little pocket of hate in the world.
Well, this is quite true. I now have a ferocious hatred of antismokers. It borders on homicidal.
But in my post I was pointing to general decline on my part in tolerance for a whole range of people, many of whom may not be particularly antismoking at all. In trying to describe who they were, I ended up classing them all as 'irrational'. I might equally have ended up simply calling them the 'post-war generation', of which culture I have been a member for most of my life, and with which I have become progressively disenchanted, most notably over the past couple of years.
I don't hate them. I am instead simply thoroughly disenchanted and disappointed with them. I complain about the Lib Dems not being liberal, but I could equally make the same complaint about far too many people I know. Like that friend of mine who declared some years ago that he was glad that there was to be a smoking ban, because it would help him give up smoking (it didn't). Or that other friend who said last Christmas that he wasn't bothered about the effect of the smoking ban on smokers, because a ban was what he wanted. That's just two people for whom my esteem has plummeted.
This is not just a incipient war between smokers and antismokers, but the appearance of a patina of cracks and rifts and divisions across the whole of society.
Of course, anyone is free to point out that I am universalising my personal experience in suggesting this, and that this is illegitimate. And that's true. I am in many ways a fringe member of society, living entirely alone in the depths of the Devon countryside, a hundred miles from most of my friends. The principal effect of the smoking ban upon me has been to evict me from my local Devon pub, and have me sitting beside the river that flows nearby. That's not a catastrophe. What alarms me is the extraordinary and progressive effect that the ban is having on my whole sense of connectedness to this society, and to those many friends I have built up over several decades. There is, it seems to me, to be a hideous divisive logic to it. And it is a logic to which I cannot see anyone can be immune. First tiny cracks appear, then slight rifts, and finally widening chasms. And it seems to me that the same must be happening, with greater or less rapidity, across the whole of Britain. And, worse still, is happening wherever smoking bans are imposed, and smokers denormalised.
Human societies are fragile things. Throughout history, previously peaceful societies have regularly erupted into civil war, neighbour murdering neighbour, friend killing friend. We still have the example of Nazi Germany fresh in memory, where what was arguably the most advanced country in Europe, replete with great scientists and artists and philosophers, turned into a hideous murder machine. And which began to do so by setting out to marginalise and exclude some of its most productive members, using a distorted racial pseudo-science. The parallels with the present denormalisation and deepening exclusion of smokers is obvious to anyone who cares to look. But who does look? Hardly anybody. We suppose ourselves to far too 'civilised' to ever permit such a thing to happen here. And yet it is happening in front of our noses.
I genuinely fear that we are all sleepwalking towards the most hideous convulsion. And one that will engulf not just Britain, but the whole world, because it is across the whole world that the antismokers have been stalking, and setting up their divisive bans, setting people against each other.
I would almost like to believe that the global war on smoking that has been launched by the well-organised and well-funded forces of antismoking is being run by people who know exactly what they are doing, and are fully aware of the hideous forces that they are unleashing. But there is precious little sign of it. The antismokers are, it seems, without exception blinkered zealots whose sole aim is to coerce people into stopping smoking, and who demonstrate not the faintest awareness of the effects of their campaign upon individuals, and upon the nexus of relationships that goes to make up a human society. They don't appear to know what they are doing.
I can almost hear the chorus of voices of the lost friends that I am losing, as they say; "It's only a smoking ban. It's a tiny, tiny new regulation. It's not that big a deal. You're making a mountain out a molehill." I wish they were right. But unfortunately I do not believe that they are.
500 years ago, here in Devon, an army of Cornishmen came marching up the Fosse Way that passes barely a mile from where I live. A mile or two down that road, they fought the first bloody battle in a short but brutal civil war. What were they so outraged about? They'd been forbidden by the English crown from attending the ancient Latin Catholic mass, which had been replaced by the new rites of the Book of Common Prayer. I don't have a shadow of doubt that, back then, their uncomprehending friends were also telling them, "It's only a tiny new regulation. It's no big deal. You're making a mountain out of a molehill." Yet the divide between Catholics and Protestants in British society that arose in that time endures to this very day.
Wednesday, 14 October 2009
I have asked Frank if he would allow me to add him as a Guest Author and and he said yes with a large dose of humility.
He has kindly let me repost his writings if I feel that they are of any value? They are more than that so I have reposted one of his pieces here, which will be in two parts, for the delectation of our readers.
Let's see. Before the ban I was a left-leaning liberal, and a Lib Dem voter. And I vaguely looked upon
That's all over now. It all ended around about 1 July 2007. After nearly all the Lib Dem MPs voted for a complete smoking ban, and I realised that they weren't really liberals at all, I could never vote for them again. I was quite astonished at the way my esteem for them simply fell through the floor. I feel rather ill when I see Nick Clegg these days.
But I've also changed my mind about Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth and the green movement and environmentalism and
And, when it all comes down to dust, I've never had any time at all for organic food or vegetarianism or yoga or Feng Shui or Buddhism or the latest health scare. Maybe there's something in Buddhism, but the rest of it is all baloney. It's all irrational nonsense from start to finish. And so is Gaia-worshipping, human-hating, tree-hugging, global-warming environmentalism. And the man-hating wimmin's movement. And astrology and homeopathy and crystals and
Now when I see people eating vegetarian food I see people who will, when there are enough of them, one day ban the consumption of meat in restaurants, and the next day ban it in people's own homes. They'll be the kind of people who want to be able to go into any restaurant anywhere in the world and not have to put up with the stench of roast beef and fried bacon. And they'll justify it on spurious health grounds which will barely conceal their real motivation. And they'll do it without a second thought. And without the slightest trace of compunction.
And, apart from the fact that they both voted for the smoking ban, one of the reasons I don't like Kerry McCarthy and Paul Flynn is because he's a druid and she's a vegan. And that means that they're both profoundly irrational people, who also happen to be MPs, unfortunately. They may as well be worshippers of Cybele or
A few months ago I met up with one of my profoundly irrational vegan-type friends, and she started to tell me how she'd begun to think that
I've actually been swimming steadily away from irrationality for a long time. Sometime back in the 1970s I got sick of New Age mysticism, and started to re-acquaint myself with physics and mathematics and cold reason. For the 1960s was a revolt against reason. People get sick of cold disenchanted reason after a while. And the 1950s was a dull, disenchanted, measured, rational time. And there was nothing rational about the sex and drugs and rock'n'roll that followed. It's most enchanting. But I fairly rapidly got sick of the syrupy, foggy, idealistic mysticism that came with it. The multitudinous Indian gurus. The dawning of the Age of Aquarius. The weird little twisted cults that sprung up like weeds. L Ron Hubbard's dianetics. The Rev Jim Jones in Jonestown.
Back the 1960s, the mysticism was contained within a largely rational, liberal, secular society which had exorcised most of its demons. But these days, 40 years later, that mysticism has grown and burst the vessel that contained it, and has infected everything with its brand of magical thinking. We live in a new age of unreason, and all the bad news these days is about the advance of irrationality, as one mad law or other is enacted, or some new insult to reason articulated. In some ways, when Tony Blair became a Roman Catholic, it marked a point where mysticism and credulity and superstition captured the highest office in the land. Antismoking is a religion. Global warming is a religion. Europe is a religion.
It's said that a conservative is a liberal who has been mugged. And I got mugged. The smoking ban was a mugging that stripped me of an ancient freedom, the freedom to sit in a pub with my friends, and drink beer and smoke cigarettes. And it was my own government that mugged me, not some footpad on a dark road. Which makes it all the worse. Have I become a conservative? I have no idea.
It'll all swing back the other way one day. People will get as sick of mysticism as they once got sick of cold reason. When reason becomes intolerable, people turn towards madness. But sooner or later madness in turn becomes intolerable, and people turn back to reason. It's probably a regular 100-year cycle that swings from collective rationality to collective madness, and back again. And we're now somewhere near the height of collective madness, as windmills march across the land, and people sniff for tobacco smoke and carbon dioxide, and adults can't be left alone with children.
Monday, 12 October 2009
An Iraq war veteran died after a hospital transplant gave him a pair of cancerous lungs donated by a smoker.
Matthew Millington, 31, a corporal in the Queen's Royal Lancers, had the operation to save him from an incurable lung condition.
But the donated organs - from someone who smoked 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day - gave him cancer.
Ths surgeon who performed the operation should be sacked with immediate effect! After all, EVERYONE knows that cancerous smoker lungs are pitted, dry and black. This is what they look like.
How on earth was this not spotted prior to the operation?
Or could it be that the picture you see on fag packets is a weapons grade lie?
I think we now know the definitive answer, don't we?
July 1, 2008 marked the beginning of the Dutch smoking ban. It was also the day that the first (interim) lawsuit against the smoking ban was filed at the court in The Hague. The legal action was started by a group of some 400 small pub owners. They claimed that the ban should be postponed to prevent damage to especially the small pubs who, because of their physical space
or their financial possibilities, were not able to supply designated smoking rooms to their customers. The verdict came one week later: the pub owners could not proof that the smoking ban would damage their business, simply because the smoking ban had not been in effect before. So this first case was lost.
But the case, and the publicity that it caused in the Dutch press, made an extra 800 pub owners find the specially designed website of the action group and register as a member, each donating € 250 to support further actions against the ban. A year later, the government has ceased the enforcement of the ban because the group had won two cases, both even in high appeal. Almost all pubs currently allow smoking again.
What did exactly happen? In a number of posts, I will try to describe how the fight against the smoking ban was fought in Holland. In this first part:
The pre-ban actions
In the year before the smoking ban started, three smokers organisations joined forces and started a petition against the smoking ban. Started in the summer of 2007, they had asked all pub owners and tobacconists in the country to collect signatures of their patrons under a petition against the smoking ban. The calls were made through their websites and the media picked it up, resulting in a lot of publicity for the action.
An unusual ship, carrying a 2 by 3 meters big flag in the mast crying out "Stop the nannies, stop the smoking ban" sailed all over the Dutch rivers and visited almost 50 cities, visiting pubs and tobacconists in the city centres while leaving the petition there with instructions where to send the signed petition (watch the video on one of the prime Dutch TV-station's blog - article written, on their request, by me). The action found a climax in Amsterdam, where a fleet of ships sailed through the Amsterdam canals with, on one ship, a live group playing an anti-smoking song at a high level of decibels.
On October 12, 2007, a formidable amount of 100,000 signatures was delivered to the Minister of Health and to the members of the parliamentary Public Health commission that was in charge of the introduction of the smoking ban. The signatures, 300 square meter of paper glued together, were courteously accepted by these politicians (and further denied).
After this date, the war against the ban seemed to have been fought and it stayed silent on the front until April 2008. In that month a pub owner in the city of Hoorn contacted Forces Netherlands and described his situation. He stated that the ban would result in the end of his 50 square meter music cafe and he cried out for help. The phone call was a sign that many pub owners would like to fight but needed a central action committee to get it going. They would not be able to do that themselves: the hospitality business organisation itself - 'Koninklijke Horeca Nederland' - was dominated by the big restaurants and in favour of the ban. Additionally, pub owners were scarcely organised through this organisation.
For the second time two smokers' organisations joined hands and started a new, official action committee ('Red de Kleine Horecaondernemer - Save the Small pub owner') with a new, accompanying website. Through the website, pub owners could register to donate €250 to support legal action against the ban. These new sponsors were also added to a mailing list that would allow them to communicate with eachother and the organisation.
A good international lawyer office was found that was willing to set up the lawsuits and several meetings were organised to inform them about the backgrounds of this 'war on smokers'. The lawyers were bombed with information by e-mail as well. These meetings and the information resulted in a first interim trial on July 1 2008, with the aforementioned verdict.
(to be continued)
Sunday, 11 October 2009
The real point about rolling is that it demonstrates patience, dexterity and an appreciation of the slower pleasures in life — in other words, it’s sexy as hell. It doesn’t matter what the smoker looks like, or how bad their breath is — a perfectly rolled cigarette, executed with slender fingers and a slow flick of the tongue, acts like rhino horn on the female libido. And, naturally, it works the other way around, too: you can look like Harriet Harman, but the moment you reach for your pouch and papers, you are automatically spritzed with essence of sexy rebel.
Apart from the Harman bit, of course. Some people are, unfortunately, doomed to a lifetime of being repulsive to decent society.
No names, no pack drill.
Friday, 9 October 2009
I managed to nip to Manchester last Tuesday to attend the inauguration of the Progressive conservatives - promoting classical liberalism and all fringe conferences that day were held in the aptly named Freedom Zone but, of course, you were not free to smoke. There were many tables there promoting many different organisations and events including Big Brother Watch, Save our Pubs & Clubs – Amend the Smoking Ban, Forest and Christopher Snowdon, author of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist, A history of Anti-Smoking, to name but a few.
From left to right, Christopher Snowdon, Helen Daniels, Press Officer Freedom2Choose and Barry Connaughton, supporter of F2C.
I took a couple of shaky videos, the first one being a speech by Daniel Hannan MEP, the second is Peter Lilley MP (with a small video at the Beluga Bar when outside having a smoke in the moist Manchester air.) Simon covered the event on his blog Taking Liberties.
The next session - on the rise of the Bully State - was a bit more like it.Another champion of the smoker Vs the government bullies.
Author and former MSP Brian Monteith, who has written a book on the subject, explained how the original "nanny state", which was focused on improving public health, had "mutated" into the Bully State, which was concerned about individual health and would stop at nothing - including using the full force of the law - to get its way.
Smokers were getting a particularly hard time, he argued. They were being deliberately cut off from society, not to protect people but "so that their habit, their choice, can be controlled".
Alcohol and fatty foods would be next, he warned.
And then I read this via Dick Puddlecote’s blog and Taking Liberties:
According to DeHavilland, the political monitoring agency:
"Mr Simmonds agreed with Mr Clark that the smoking ban is merely pushing the problem into people’s homes or onto the streets, but said it is a law that no Government would overthrow."
He expressed disappointment that Conservatives did not rally against the smoking ban, insisting the ban has simply pushed smoking onto the streets, with more people outside, creating more litter and increasing noise pollution.
Mr Clark criticised health lobby groups for calling for exclusion zones, where for example in hospitals staff and visitors have been forced off hospital grounds in order to smoke. Many regulations have been counter-productive, he insisted.
‘Passive smoking epitomises the culture of scaremongering,’ Mr Clark argued, adding that research found it is difficult to prove a link between passive smoking and ill-health. Legislation should be in proportion to the risk, he said, as he insisted that health campaigners now want to use the same scaremongering for food and drink.So I don’t hold out much hope for an amendment to the smoking ban experiment after the next election.
Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Monday, 5 October 2009
Is that the aroma of an imminently reconvening parliament I can smell, as the anti-tobacco crazies brew their wake up coffee in preparation for another term of propaganda peddling?
This one has been accurately fisked by England Expects, but why not shine some more light on the shifty machinations of one of the government's paid-for stooges, eh?
MPs urged to help put cigs out of sight
PEOPLE in North East England are calling on the region's MPs to vote in favour of putting cigarettes out of sight in shops.
Err ... no, PEOPLE are not. Ailsa Rutter, who sorts out her mortgage on the back of taxpayer-funded Department of Health grants, IS.
Ailsa Rutter, director of Fresh – Smoke Free North East, said: "This is not about penalising smokers."
Summer must have been good to Ailsa, she's cracking jokes now.
"This is about protecting them, not about restricting the rights of those smokers who don't want to quit."
To translate: This is about the fact that I've just come back from a lovely holiday in Antigua that you all paid for, and now I need to con MPs and the public before the upcoming commons third reading (just as ASH did to the Lords), so that I can book that fortnight in Hawaii for next year ... for which you are also stumping up. I've bought the grass skirt and everything.
Meanwhile, others have been performing some incredibly important, and in no way pre-determined, 'research'.
THE health burden from smoking is costing the Welsh NHS more than £7m a week, a report reveals today.
Oh. My. God. That's awful!
All those people smoking and destroying the NHS without ever contributing a penny in tobacco duty, income taxes, NI contributions, VAT, or anything. How on earth can they live with themselves?
Burning at the stake is too good for them.
The findings commissioned by anti-smoking group ASH Wales and British Heart Foundation Cymru, are being presented at an international tobacco control conference in Cardiff.
In other news, BP reported that gas powered cars cause all accidents in the UK, and Ryanair revealed new research showing that three kids riding tricycles in the park are more environmentally damaging than a dozen Boeings landing at Stansted.
Actually, I've had another sniff and I think my olfactory senses were misled. It's not the recall of parliament I can smell, but an avalanche of shrill, hysterical, tobacco control bullshit.
Sunday, 4 October 2009
As a response, they have released their new beer, entitled Nanny State, which weighs in at an Alcohol Concern wet dream level of 1.1% alcohol.
The label is a sarcastic delight to free choicers everywhere.
At BrewDog we appreciate your inability to know your limits - especially when it comes to alcohol – which is why we've created Nanny State.
This idiosyncratic little beer is a gentle smack in the right direction.
It's time to draw your net curtains, sit back with Nanny and watch your favourite episode of Last Of The Summer Wine. It's finally safe to enjoy alcohol again.
Please note: BrewDog recommends that you only drink this beer whilst wearing the necessary personal protective equipment and in a premises that has passed a full health and safety risk assessment for optimum enjoyment.
Once the obligatory reference to drinkaware.co.uk is added, the urine-extracting message will be complete.
So, it would seem that democracy was not at the forefront of this lunatics political agenda. It would now seem that only Vaclav Klaus, the Czech supremo stands in the way of this absurd treaty and we can only hope that he stands firm long enough for Cameron to win the next election and give the British people the much promised referendum.
There is no chance of Labour calling for an early election now as they will want to see the Czech resistance to the EU crumble before May next year. I think Brown & Co know that the British people will vote a resounding "NO" to the EU, which is why they will now pressurise Klaus to sign the dotted line asap.
A more horrifying aspect of the Irish vote is that one Tony Blair is now the front runner for the top euro job-at a mere £250,000 per annum, plus expenses of course. And we all know just how well these diplomats handle expense claims don't we!
Blair, President of Europe-oh my God!
Look at his wondrous record in running this country-abysmal to say the least.
More than 3,000 stealth taxes.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Created more than 30,000 white-collar jobs.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Crawled up Bush's backside at every opportunity.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Declared 'weapons of mass destruction' in Iraq, all out war.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Set NHS targets that are totally unrealistic.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Ensured the draconian smoking ban was forced through on a 'free' vote (free? righty ho then!).....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
The list is endless.....
With Brown, has skint the country.....
Yet we have some of europes leaders champing at the bit to have this dictator as head honcho of a european parliament. Why do they want a control freak as their leader-is an iron curtain about to descend? Just look what he has done to this country in a decade of supremacy, ruined it. we have been reduced from a once proud nation to a pack of whimpering dogs, frightened to death of being fined for even the least infraction of the most ludicrous law silently sneaked through parliament.
Blair has been associated with Australian conmen yet has easily sidestepped that embarrassment to continue conning the British people into believing that 'nanny' knows best. Hi has even managed to divide the country, thanks to help from the World Health Organisation, the World Bank and several government funded quango's with the smoking ban which has slaughtered our very own, inimitable hospitality sector.
The Labour party that promised jobs, wealth & prosperity for workers has done exactly the opposite as we look at more than 4,500 once viable businesses now closed forever.
We can also thank Blair for his 'redistribution of labour' as this country is now overloaded with immigrants, 60,000 of whom this government has no idea of their whereabouts!
Shock, horror, hands up in amazement! Our benefit system is now paying out more than we are collecting from NI payments etc-well, I wonder why? Is it any wonder these 'refugees' from weird and wonderful countries are happy to risk life and limb to set foot on British soil? I knew two Kosovan lads over here that worked for £25-£30 per day,C/I/H, and lived on state benefits. They worked out that the British system was so good they only had to work for 2 years (sending 90% of their wages home) and then return to Kosova as very rich young men. "I buy my village" boasted one. Nice lads and who could blame them, the system allowed them to do it. Meanwhile, our English lads struggled for work because of this cheap rate labour-and also claimed benefits! It doesn't work does it Mr Blair!
So this is the type of leadership the EU heads of state want. A dictator that smiles incessantly. A grinning jackernapes that has no other motive other than world domination. A politician (loose terminology) that cares not a jot about his people, only furthering his own pocket. A man that is fully proven to have the capability of bringing a country to its knees.
I say to Vaclav Klaus "please do not weaken, stand firm and delay until Cameron takes over this country"
I say to David Cameron " you will win the next election, give us our promised referendum and get us out of the EU and deeper mire"
Friday, 2nd October truly was a day of shame & misery.
Friday, 2 October 2009
Health professionals calling for smokers to die is perfectly acceptable.
In June, Jane DeVille-Almond, a nurse consultant to the NHS, said this on BBC radio.
After hearing such staggering lack of care for humanity from a nurse, a non-smoking but suitably shocked phone-in participant from Southend immediately reacted by asserting, quite correctly, "You should be struck off!"
Not surprising, then, that her sick proposal attracted complaints to the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
According to the NMC's code of conduct, all registered nurses are advised:
•You must treat people as individuals and respect their dignity
•You must not discriminate in any way against those in your care
•You must treat people kindly and considerately
One would assume that calling for smokers to be allowed to die contravenes all three of the above guidelines.
There is no dignity in being allowed to die by a prejudiced health professional. There is nothing kind and considerate in broadcasting to the nation, on a major radio channel, that smokers should be left to die because one disagrees with their personal choices.
And Jane DeVille-Almond, without shadow of a doubt, was actively encouraging discrimination towards her smoking employers (unless she declines smoker money, which of course she wouldn't).
However, the case was heard on Friday and promptly dismissed.
The investigating committee panel has considered this referral and has decided there is no case to answer.
The panel’s reasons for this decision are:
The panel considered all the information before it and concluded that there was no information which would lead it to believe that there was a real prospect of a
finding of current impairment of fitness to practise by a Conduct and Competence Committee.
So there you have it. Hatred of smokers is perfectly acceptable in the nursing community. You can even broadcast that hate to the nation and promote the death of those whom you deem less worthy than you.
Best not tell them then. You can never know what these disgusting people will be sharpening behind your back.
Can you guess which "single biggest improvement in public health for a generation" was not mentioned?
Clue: It's not the cuddly toy.
Thursday, 1 October 2009
Some of you may remember my 'masterblast' at Leicester City/County Council for their wondrous initiative of spending approximately £164,000.00 on quit smoking' advisors - including a special operative to council pregnant women! The top earner was to be payed a ridiculous £34K per annum.
Further down the page was a cramped report stating that Leicester hospitals had to reduce beds by 200!
Today is the day of retribution, the day the smokers have the last laugh, the day the ridiculously labour orientated Leicester Council get scrambled egg all over their scrambled brains, but it is not such good news for people generally.
According to todays report "Inspectors who carried out spot-checks at seven East Midlands ambulance stations – including Loughborough and Narborough Road in Leicester – discovered a catalogue of hygiene problems."
What's this, a catalogue of hygene problems?
How on earth can their be problems when LCC considered the biggest problem to be eradicated were the smokers who, apparently, caused their hospitals to be full to overflowing. getting the populace to quit smoking (including pregnant women) would surely mean that the original 200 bed reduction would be achieved. All they have managed is to clog up the doorway to A&E with smokers who take a certain satisfaction in ignoring the 2 minute audio repetition of "this is a non smoking hospital, smoking is banned on these hospital grounds", righty ho then!
The report gets better! "Among the most serious was medical equipment which should have been thrown away after one use being cleaned and used again. These included forceps used to remove foreign bodies from the mouth and throat."
Being cleaned and re-used? I wonder who came up with that one as a cost saving exercise then? I mean, cleaning forceps must have saved them a monkey (£500) a year. NHS saved then! A few more mysterious deaths but a few quid saved so that's OK.
Better stil,l "Inspectors found that as well as being reused, "most" of the forceps they looked at were also 'visibly dirty at the tips'".
Aha, so we've got liquid hand cleansers every 5 yards within the hospital to thwart such as MRSA but we can be treated with filthy, stinking, germ ridden medical equipment on the way to the hand cleansing dispensers!
At No1 this week pop pickers (bug recipients), "Not all of the ambulances inspected in Leicestershire had a supply of hand detergent wipes, which are key to helping stop the spread of superbugs such as MRSA and Clostridium difficile (C Diff), and four out of seven hygiene hand gel dispensers inspected at the ambulance stations were empty."
Beginning to sound to me that need an extra 200 beds not a 200 reduction for all the home accident patients that need transporting to A&E within the confines of a cattle truck style ambulances for a few gashes that need stitching could well end up filled up with killer bugs prior to arrival!
As a final damnation of our ambulance services it was stated, "In their report, the officials said: "On inspection, we found evidence the trust has breached the regulation to protect patients, workers and others from the risks of acquiring healthcare-associated infection."
Oh dear me, 'the trust has breached.....'.
Now why would they bother too much about this serious catalogue of crimes against patients/people when they simply informed all smokers (illegally) that "this is a non smoking hospital, smoking is banned on these hospital grounds".
They will sort this grossly embarrassing situation out for the simple reason that they cannot afford even one 'mysterious death' after the release of this report for it gives any family member the opportunity of suing the trust because 'little Johnny' had to go to hospital because he fell off the slide but died of MRSA somehow! Unless of course 'little Johnny's' death was covered up as a heart attack due to trauma - well, I wouldn't put anything past 'administrations' these days!
Just think, LCC could have not wasted £164K on 13 (yes thirteen) quit smoking advisors - one would have done - and spent the money on hospital/ambulance services instead. Then, at least we could have all been ferried to the Royal Infirmary, Glenfield or the General in the knowledge that we were in a 100% sterile and safe environment and not liable to have contracted some killer disease on the way.
But this is like most of Labours catalogue of hopeless causes, ignore that which is imperative to the wellbeing of the people and waste £millions on denying people their human right of choice.
If they want to make cuts in public spending then quite simply remove these 13 anti smoking numpties from the Council payroll, chuck half the saved expenditure on proper health services - like cleaning and kitting out ambulances properly. Just think of it, smokers would feel so persecuted and hospital bound patients would have a considerably better chance of living!
They could even save money by turning off that irritating bitch on the yannoy system outside A&E - now just where did I put my wire cutters?