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The opinions expressed by the authors on this blog and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of the Freedom2Choose organisation or any member thereof. Freedom2Choose is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the blog Authors.

Monday, 31 August 2009

The Jolly Brewer Smokin’ Festival-By Phil Johnson-Pub & Club Liaison Officer-F2C

Saturday evening saw a strange happening in the Jolly Brewer, Broadgate, Lincoln - a pub is full of people, and of all ages! months of careful planning had brought the dreamt of occasion to fruition as Emma Chapman was more than willing to dedicate Saturday 29th August to the forgotten people who once inhabited the pubs on a regular basis. Smokers!
Freedom2choose co-hosted the event with the Jolly Brewer to show people that smokers had a voice and a national organisation to fully air that voice. Emma advertised her 'Smokin' Night' for weeks, much to the amusement of her local licensing officer who's only offering was "good luck with that shit, you'll need it!" Sad state of affairs when a local officer pours scorn on one of its own hostelries for trying to promote itself and its fortunes, but such is the pathetic nature of some!
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Looks pretty straightforward to me folks - a music night for smokers only which means if non smokers want to attend it is their freedom of choice to do so!
Emma and all the staff wore f2c T-shirts to mark the occasion and very fetching did Emma & daughter Stephany look too!
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Shame about the thorn between two roses really, but there you go!
As you can see, the back of the T-shirts say it all really, "Make room for smokers", for if the lunatic asylum in Westminster had thought this spiteful smokeban through properly there would have been no need to have the carnage we have seen over the past 2 years where we have now witnessed 4,500 hospitality businesses forced to close.
Despite the ban and despite the determination of this puritanical government to 'cleanse' the country of anything that may possibly force cost on the now beleagre'd NHS, more than 200 delighted smokers turned out on what turned out to be a very cool August night. It was incredible to hear the excited chatter as people ploughed through the literature and discussed choice - yes, I said CHOICE. Many of the attendees were blissfully unaware that f2c were on this planet never mind fighting for their rights as smokers. Many promised to spread the word and the aims of f2c to their friends. The whole aim of this long awaited night was being achieved. Yes we were all outside in the patio'd courtyard with bands belting out some good stuff to accompany the carnival like atmosphere as people smoked when they felt like it as they rabbited excitedly about the choice we are fighting for.
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It was dynamite to see so many people enjoying themselves in one place instead of the normal sight of one or two smokers huddled under a totally inadequate shelter or pub doorway. It also showed how simple the answer is to this draconian smokeban-choice! Non smokers stayed away but smokers appeared in droves simply because this night was about them. Lincoln had been set alight (not literally) for one night.
This writer was graced with several stage appearances (between band changes) to address the good people about the aims of f2c. There was much approval shown upon the announcement that Justice for Licensees & f2c were now working together, for with the strength of the CIU as well it was easy for all to see that people power was there and was growing.
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The f2c banner drew plenty of attention with an abundance of literature to be given out to smokers now hungry for knowledge, it was a busy but very pleasing night for f2c'ers on duty.
It is not the most amazing fact in the world that smokers have rights, much to the disgust of some, but it is amazing that so many likeminded people chose to band together for this 'Smokers Festival' night.
I must point out here that not one single smoker, even under the influence of alcoholic happiness, ventured anywhere near the entrance to the pub itself. There was en-masse respect for the landlady and her stance against this evil ban-even this writer remembered to 'dock' his roll-up before advancing to the gents! Such was the enjoyment, the camaraderie and the social contact element of the night that Emma never shut the pub until 1am. This was a night to go down in history as the 'night the smokers fightback began'. Anti smokers may throw their puny little paws up in horror but this will become a regular event as it proved once and for all that where smokers are welcome, licensees take money (not, I hasten to add, the sole reason Emma gave this night to smokers!).
Emma Chapman has seen her business slaughtered by the most evil law ever enacted in this country. This was a golden chance for her to fight back - legally and lawfully - and it was one hell of a fightback. I don't think Emma expected such a turnout as was and one thing for sure was that not one of the plentiful T-shirted staff were idle for many moments during the night.
An interesting footnote to this glorious night with this writer being just a teensy bit sneaky is that a person, who will remain anonymous, went walkabout and looked in on 5 local pubs to find a grand total of 32 customers adorning the 5 premises in total.
The night Lincoln was set alight was the night that the Jolly Brewer enjoyed 7 times the patronage of 5 other pubs together. Why is this? Simple answer really; 68% of regular drinkers are smokers but this namby-pamby government saw fit to take 68% of the pubs customer base away. We have proved this government is wrong - and will do so again.
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Phil Johnson is the Pub & Club liaison officer for Freedom2Choose, email for details.



Saturday, 29 August 2009

Writer's block[ed]!


This is just right up Dick Puddlcote's street as another barmy council goes apeshit over smoking.

Lynn Barber, a noted writer, journalist and interviewer pulled out of Novembers Book Now festival because Richmond Council, Surrey, refused to accept the publicity photo she supplied because it shows her smoking a cigarette.

A spokesman for Richmond council defended the decision. He said: “We don’t like to use images of people smoking in our promotional material. As a local authority we are responsible for encouraging good health habits in the area, and to be seen to be endorsing smoking, no matter how unintentional, doesn’t complement this.
Naturally Lynn declined and promptly pulled out of the festival.  She sent an email to the organisors saying:

“I have always wanted to be a Smoking Martyr and obviously this is my opportunity. I hereby withdraw from the Festival. Best wishes, Lynn Barber.”
She later joked:

“If a pic of me smoking is such a threat to the good burghers of Richmond, imagine what my presence would do.” In a recent interview with The Daily Telegraph, Ms Barber cheerfully admitted: “I am 65 and I smoke and drink like a fish.”
 How can you not like this woman?

Her publicist from penguin had few choice words to say about all this hullabloo and Ms. Barber's audacity in supplying 'that' photo:

The black and white shot was supplied by Penguin, Ms Barber’s publisher, and has been used countless times over the years without controversy. Amelia Fairney, publicity director at Penguin, said the council’s decision was absurd.
Absurdity is nothing new with councils like Richmonds, they thrive on it.  Even the organisors are left exasperated:

“I was absolutely flabbergasted when I realised what was going on. It’s a great picture which has never posed a problem until now. It wasn’t a problem for the festival organisers either - I think they were quite frustrated. It was the council’s decision and it’s just ridiculous.”
Oh I think I'm in love with Miss Fairney, she points out everything that has gone rotten in this country of ours, even though her tongue was firmly in her cheek:

With tongue firmly in cheek, Miss Fairney sent a note to organisers which read: “I do hope the finished brochure contains no photos of fat people (promoting obesity), or thin people (promoting eating disorders), white people (promoting cultural imperalism), black people (tokenism), women wearing make-up (promoting an unhealthy obsession with idealised female beauty) or children’s authors who do not have the correct CRB clearance.”
There's more I could have said about all this crap eminating from councils like Richmond but I'm in need of a fag!

Update: I've just found out Dick Puddlecote had written about this on the 24th of August...Boy, is that man on the ball!

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Iain Dale the wallflower


The country's top blogger, Iain Dale, has just discovered a large downside of the smoking ban for non-smokers.

Dale is ambivalent to the smoking ban debate - he neither agrees nor disagrees - but errs occasionally on the side of freedom of choice, so his discovery of state-enforced bad manners isn't cause for gleeful gloating.

UPDATE: As Iain himself points out in the comments, he more than errs on the side of freedom of choice, he is an opponent of the ban. Very happy to put that straight. Now onto the issue raised by his tweet.

However, it does bring up a salient point about the authoritarian nature of the ban. That of the personal predilections of the individual being steam-rollered by government who profess to 'know better'.

As a Conservative, Dale will be very familiar with the toast to 'The Queen' at sumptuous feasts and fund-raisers. This was a respectful nod to the monarch, always once everyone had finished eating, and mostly before the after-dinner speaker.

Dining guests who wished to finish off their evening with a cigar and an entertaining orator would strictly obey the rule of 'no smoking before The Queen'.

Smokers can understand that many non-smokers would find it irritating should someone light up while they were eating, but 'The Queen' was a threshold that none would cross in respect for that very reason. The result was an atmosphere of good manners and tolerance of the wishes of others.

While the modern pack 'em in and turf 'em out, eat whenever you like, approach by restaurants doesn't lend itself to such niceties, there are other restaurants which apply rigid seating times, to which such an arrangement would be perfectly feasible. Unfortunately, Labour have decided that no owner of any establishment should be permitted such a choice.

The hard-line authoritarian nature of the ban is even more stark in pubs where, prior to the 2005 general election, they had a choice, smoking or food. Many would have chosen to keep their smoking customers and dispensed with the deep fat fryer. They were denied that choice entirely undemocratically by a government which reneged on its manifesto commitment in outrageous fashion.

And as for 'cigar bars', such as this fine one in Belgravia, the legislation is even more oppressive and disgraceful. The clue to the air-wavers and fake-coughers is in the description of the premises. No like? No enter.

Dale may well have preferred that his guests continue the conversation, with his permission, at the table (he may not have, but he doesn't have a say anymore). The owner may well have no objections either, or any of the other customers, yet all that is swept away by the opinion of Labour's nanny front bench. They know better, you see.

The same scenario is played out in every pub, up and down the country, on every night of the week. It is always rude for friends to leave a conversation to go outside for a cigarette/pipe/cigar, but what other choice is there?

None, because Labour have taken it away whether the non-smokers in attendance, or the owner of the property, care or not.

The only rude ones here are those who thought the Health Act 2006 was a good idea.

Shooting ASH tiddlers in a barrel...I know, I shouldn't but...

...It's too tempting!

The fake charity (ASH (spit)) said:

Pro smoking groups claimed that the smokefree legislation would be bad for business and we would lead to many pubs closing down. The evidence to date from notable pub groups is that the smoking ban has had 'little impact' upon their sales.

Furthermore a recent YouGov survey commissioned by ASH found that 20% of non-smokers reported that they visited pubs more often since the smoking ban.
Weblink: http://www.freedom2choose.org.uk/
Yup, they are firing blanks again, I couldn't follow the link above either.

Eh, Freedom2Choose is that famous that even ASH (spit) dare speak it's name?  Must be a typo.

The survey said:

According to new figures released by the British Beer & Pub Association (BBPA), pubs in Britain closed at a record rate of 52 a week in the first half of 2009.
The figure is up a third from the rate of 39 pubs a week in the first six months of last year.
Over the last 12 months, 2,377 pubs have closed down, resulting in 24,000 job losses. In the three years to 2009, a total of 5,134 pubs have closed and there are now 53,466 pubs in Britain.
The rate of closures is the fastest since records began in 1990.
 And here was me thinking that the beer and sandles brigade were all for the smoking ban experiment, what fool am I?

Confused?  Then watch re-runs of Soap, maybe you will get some answers! Here's a taster:

Soap

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Minette Marrin: Strange deluded person



Some may have noticed that this blog was recently voted 14th in the top libertarian blogs category at Total Politics. Very proud we are too.

However, it would seem that we must be misunderstanding the term 'libertarian' if Times columnist Minette Marrin is to be believed.

In a Radio 4 debate today, Minette professed herself to be a right raving libertarian. So much so that she considers John Stuart Mill her 'hero'.

Such a committed libertarian is she, that she advocated the following:

- Forcing people to pay for their healthcare if they indulge in unhealthy lifestyles
- Forcing supermarkets to change the layout of their shops
- Using compulsion instead of information as the Change4Life campaign is not working
- Implementing a sugar tax to stop people eating foods they would like to
- Harassing flat-dwellers into not smoking in their own homes
- Banning people from eating food in the street

This in less than an hour, amongst a panel of two other experts, interspersed with phone-in contributors, news updates and trails for future programming.

And to top off a world class performance of exactly why she is anything but a libertarian, she finished with this exceptionally laughable denouement.

"I understand that people don't like compulsion, nor do I"

Really, Minette? You could have fooled us. I think that instead of 'libertarian', the description you were looking for is 'authoritarian' or perhaps even 'totalitarian'.

It's obviously an easy mistake to make. Just ask Alan "We need more nannying" Maryon-Davies, another who professes to be libertarian.

We at Freedom2Choose are well aware of what libertarianism means. We advocate it on a daily basis. It's why we gained that pretty badge on this page after only a few months of operation. We, strangely enough, believe in the right of the individual to choose how they wish to live their life.

That's what libertarianism is, and why you, Minette, have no bloody clue.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Shooting ASH tiddlers in a barrel

Yes, I know. It's not big and not clever to mock the afflicted. But ASH started it with their now much-derided 'myths' about smoking bans.

Myth: There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming

Pro smoking organisations and landlords reasoned that the smoking ban would result in heavy handed enforcement, covert filming and armies of undercover enforcement officers

Source of the claim: BBC and Forest

Weblink: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/health/6346435.stm

Never going to happen. Course not.

COUNCIL staff are to use hidden headcams to catch people having a sneaky ciggie in no-smoking zones.

The £700 cameras look just like mobile bluetooth headsets.

But Trading Standards officers will use them to catch smokers and hit them with a £50 fine - and another £100 if they are caught throwing away the fag end.

Four officers will patrol the towns of Ayr, Girvan, Troon, Prestwick, and Maybole.

Furthermore ...

If the project is successful, it could be taken up by local authorities across Scotland.

I make that - BBC & Forest 1 (thousand) v ASH 0

Either ASH were lying or just ineptly deluded, their choice. We look forward to the retraction on their web-site.

NB: This could lead to a series of ASH-myth-busting-busting, so cache the ASH page like I have.

Friday, 21 August 2009

DID PUBCOS’ CAUSE THE SMOKING BAN?! By guest writer Tim Paton

PUBCOS’

and their

CONTRIBUTION

to a

TOTAL SMOKE BAN

In 1998, the Labour Government did a White Paper entitled Smoking Kills’. It contained a section called ‘Clean air’.

For many years, as the smoker population dropped below 50%, public places had begun to provide smoking and non smoking areas. It started gently, then gradually became more widespread. By 1998, the year of the Government White Paper, it was already becoming quite comprehensive. All medical establishments, practically all retail establishments, cinemas, buses, taxis and aeroplanes had become totally non smoking; even trains and the tube had removed their smoking carriages. Many offices, factories, warehouses and other white and blue collar places of work, and of course banks, had also become totally non smoking. This was a voluntary approach, which was respected by the significant minority who still enjoyed the pleasure of tobacco.

In the ‘Clean air’ section of the White Paper, there were examples of the success of this voluntary approach, and an exhortation by the Government for those public places who had not yet introduced this ‘smoke free’ environment to do so. This is why after 1998, many places which had previously had a smoking area dispensed with it and followed the total non smoking trend. Even those who did not go totally smoke free reduced their provision. A good example is the Departure Lounge at Manchester Airport. The small smoking section in the enormous dining area was removed. To enjoy tobacco before a flight, one now had to go to a designated area.

You will have noticed that I have not yet mentioned the Hospitality Trade. Let me deal with restaurants, cafes and coffee establishments first. Up until 1998, many of these places had a smoking section. Again, after this time, a lot were becoming completely non smoking. The only places where one could enjoy tobacco in the mighty Trafford Centre covered retail park were a few tables outside Starbucks or the Wine Bar.

Hotels and Guest Houses/B&B followed suit. Many which had already dispensed with smoking areas in the guest areas now even removed smoking bedrooms.

Bingo Halls still had an area for smoking.

Now I will move on to pubs and clubs.

Public Places Charter

The signatories to this charter were:

Association of Licensed Multiple Retailers
Brewers and Licensed Retailers Association
British Institute of Innkeeping
British Hospitality Association
Restaurant Association

The Government were committed to a voluntary approach to tobacco control. The White Paper suggested signage for establishments to let customers know their smoking policy. The most important thing is that they asked places of hospitality, and I am now concentrating on Pubs and Clubs, to do the following.

Where possible, provide a separate area for the use of tobacco. If large enough premises, in the absence of partition, build one. Lastly, provide state of the art ventilation systems. All of these requests were socially acceptable to both smoker and non smoker.

So what did the pubs and clubs, PUBCOS’ in particular do?

I will look at the few positives first.

Those that served food, if they hadn’t already, removed smoking areas where food was served, (unless they were too small to do so).

Most of the larger establishments banned smoking at the bar.

These larger establishments also had a non smoking area. In my opinion, a bit of forethought would have made the main area non smoking, and at least the same size, not a little token non smoking area tucked away somewhere.

Some, especially clubs, (but not enough), installed up to date ventilation systems. Sale Conservative Club spent a large amount of money doing this, and were quite annoyed when the blanket ban was made law, as they felt they had spent a lot of money unnecessarily. A member of SCC, a non smoker, told me that it is so good that you did not notice whether others were smoking or not!

Now obviously, the small traditional independent pubs may not have been in a financial position to spend out on state of the art ventilation, but at least they could have put signs up outside to let prospective customers know their smoking arrangements, as requested by the White Paper.

What the Pubcos’ didn’t do

I will now mention the majority of Licensed Premises, under the control of the PUBCOS’. What they didn’t do is pathetic. They signed up to a charter in 1998, and proceeded to do as little as possible. Why?

Did they think that if they saved the expense it would just go away?

Did the directors not take it seriously enough, and place more importance on their annual bonus?

Or were they not bothered, thinking that if they were forced to go entirely smoke free everything would be fine?

Whatever the reason, I know one thing. When the anti tobacco lobby began the thrust towards an anti smoker law, the pubs and their lack of smoking policy became the main focus of their attack. Even before their pathetic SHS/place of work argument, Deborah Arnott was attacking the fact that the pubs had not fulfilled their part of the bargain!

If the Pubcos’ had done what they were supposed to do, what they agreed to in 1998, would there have ever been a need for a smoking law.

DID THE PUBCOS’ CAUSE THE SMOKING BAN?!




Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Sucker Punched!

In the ever increasingly troubled times of the licensee this writer has oft remarked on the ignorance of Punch & Enterprise bosses for not wanting choice for their tenants regarding smoking. To say that concerns over non smoking pubs being forced to close is ludicrous for now that all pubs are non smoking, more than 4,000 have been forced into closure.
But todays saga is a tale of a slightly different nature. No doubt ever minful that the smokeban may have a dire effect on the industry it transpires that David Mountford, who runs the Rising Sun in Middleton in Derbyshire was suckered into taking on a run down, delapidated building by Punch with the promise of £180,000 being spent on the place to bring it up to scratch. £180,000? what the hell was it-a derelict barn?
Mr Mountford says he was 'targetted' by Punch after being made redundant so took the pub on in March 2007. 'Targetted'-now what does THAT mean I wonder? Redundancy money? spare cash? investment opportunity seen by Punch? or 'here's a chance to tenant another pub out before the smokeban kicks in'.
Whatever the reasons behind Mr Mountfords appearance behind the bar as licensee it seems that he has been sucker punched as, 2 years later, he is still waiting for the start of the £180,000 'investment' in 'his' pub!
Punch have put so much effort into the place that it seems Punch Taverns had to be forced by the local Environmental Health Service and Mountford to undertake even essential safety repairs, which to my mind indicates that the property was not even fit for the purpose intended.
That reminds me of another Punch hostelry in Bognor Regis where vital sanitation work was needed but ignored by Punch!
So angry is Mr Mountford that he has detailed his complaints against Punch Taverns in a 13 page written submission to Neil Robertson, chief executive of the BII. Wow, this must one mother of a complaint! Interestingly enough the document contains the long list of misleading claims by Punch Taverns managers over the two years on a wide range of issues. Aha, so it is not just a disgruntled Mr Mountford that seems unhappy with the good ship Titanic-opps, sorry, Punch! maybe one of the included complaints emanates from dear old Bognor, who knows?
"GMB (the union) call on British Institute of Innkeepers to strip Punch Taverns of membership as a fit organisation in the pub industry. That will help stop Punch Taverns duping any more people to take over their uneconomic tenancies. GMB urge the British Institute of Innkeepers to do this to stop their membership scheme being seen as a sham”. So now we get down to the nitty gritty-uneconomic tenancies-just how many of them are there since July 1st, 2007? about 30,000 I should think for the days of a good old knees up in a smokey, beer fuelled atmosphere have all but disappeared.
This government, listening to the health freaks (who will still die when their allotted time is up) has absolutely castrated the hospitality sector in this country, divided its people and caused more stress and poverty than an earthquake could have!
Punch, for their part, are so far in debt as to be a 'walking, trading bankruptcy unit' . Well, walking is a bit strong, staggering would be more apt, for if they sold every single building they wouldn't clear the £4.5bn last reported as trading deficit!
It appears that Punch are upset about Mr Mountford going public with his tale of woe but hey, Punch have had 28 months to make some sort of effort to right the wrongs of Mr Mountfords pub! Wait a minute here, they have still been drawing their rent so there's no problem there then! In order to pay that rent how does Mr Mountford attract custom to his derelict, delapidated hostelry that needs £180,000 spending on it "to bring it up to scratch"?
Mr Mountford may be a very small fish in a very big murky pond, but I wonder just how many other 'sucker-fish' are in that murky pond?

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

bunun yapmanın yolu

The title is a (probably ham-fisted) tribute to our Turkish colleagues who have shown brilliantly today that, if a community is going to protest against illiberal and nonsensical smoking bans, their approach is one to be admired. Translated, it says 'That's the way to do it'.

Hundreds of Turks have taken to the streets of Ankara to protest against a ban on smoking in bars and restaurants which was brought in last month.

Many of the protesters are cafe owners who say the ban is hurting trade and want smoking to be allowed in special areas of their establishments.

From the video accompanying the Comrade Beeb story, they look to be having one of those things that we used to be famous for too. Namely, a right good knees-up.

"Don't add a coffeehouse crisis to the economic crisis," one banner read.

Other banners threatened that the party of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, a supporter of the ban, would suffer at the next election.

Indeed he will.

Perhaps he should take note from the UK, where even the 'Brown Bounce' after Blair's resignation on 27th June 2007 (clever boy), couldn't help the one-eyed jock from the backlash once the weather turned in October of that fateful year.

Labour have never recovered.



Alienating smokers isn't just bad for business, as Turkish cafe/restaurant owners have found to their cost, it is also very bad for political careers.

When will they ever learn, eh?

Graph courtesy of Sky's Poll Tracker.

Monday, 17 August 2009

The smoking ban is universally accepted

There's no support for those who wish to see smoking bans amended, is there?

We dutifully await an anti-smoking blog to achieve what the F2C one has (or Frank Davis at number 19) in just a few short months, then.

Constantly Furious has suggested that all included in the Total Politics Top 20 Libertarian blogs post the list along with corresponding links. Why not?

1 Guido Fawkes
2 Devil's Kitchen
3 Old Holborn
4 Obnoxio the Clown
5 Underdogs Bite Upwards
6 Tim Worstall
7 Samizdata
8 Boatang & Demetriou
9 Dick Puddlecote
10 LPUK Blog
11 The Last Ditch
12 Constantly Furious
13 Anna Raccoon
14 Freedom to Choose
15 Rantin' Rab
16 Plato Says
17 Charles Crawford
18 An Englishman's Castle
19 Frank Davis
20 Oxford Libertarian Society

Thanks to all who voted for a freedom from state-sponsored nannying and interference. Now redouble your efforts to tell the brainwashed at Westmonster.

Sunday, 16 August 2009

How very dare they?

Where does one start with this crap from the Sunday Sun? Might as well have a look at the beginning and see how it goes from there.

'Devious' tobacco bosses slammed

TOBACCO bosses have been slammed for “marketing death” by using beautiful young women dressed in orange satin jump suits to sell their product in busy bars.

Young women, carrying trays reminiscent of those used by ice cream vendors at cinemas, have been going into pubs selling cigarettes.

The pubs involved, which include the Centurion bar in Newcastle city centre, allow the girls into the bar in return for a small amount in commission for each packet sold.

One can only assume that the deviousness referred to is that of selling a legal product, to those who are legally permitted to buy it, on premises where the legal owner has given his/her assent.

How very dare they?

There's not really much to object to, but I'm sure some righteous bint will be along soon to tell us exactly what to think (it's not like we're allowed to make decisions for ourselves or anything like that).

Lo and behold.

The sales tactic was blasted by Ailsa Rutter, Director of Fresh – the campaign for a smoke-free North East.

She said: “What this is doing is glamorising the most lethal consumer product known.

“The last thing we need is the blatant promotion of cigarettes, which are the region’s biggest killer.

“There needs to be more regulation of an industry which is basically marketing death.”

There is so much wrong with this (apart from yankee spelling from the journo) that it is laughable.

More regulation? Listen, dearie, if your lot hadn't legislated a legal business out of every other avenue of promotion, this wouldn't be happening. If you need someone to shoot, try turning the holier-than-thou gun on yourself, eh?

And as for the 'last thing that we need'? When you use the first person plural, please don't include me, or any of the other 11 million smokers, in your definition of 'we'.

Ms Rutter said: “This is another example of why we’ve still got a huge amount of work to do."

No, Ailsa, this is another example of why people like you should be strangled at birth. Just shut the fuck up.

“I’m not having a go at the girls at all, they are just doing their job, but the companies need to be regulated"

Oh. How incredibly generous of you, your tediousness. Let's turn that one on its head, shall we? I'm not having a go at you for being an interfering fucknut, as you are just doing your job, but those who employ you, and those who pay for 'services' such as yours, should be taken somewhere dark and quiet and given a kicking of biblical proportions. Seeing as we are all equal under the law, I'm sure you will concede that my opinion is as valid as yours, yes?

“I would argue that there needs to be a proper licensing system. We need to be limiting the number of outlets that can sell this product and we’re calling on the Government to do everything in its power to tackle this."

There is that 'we' again. 'We' need to do nothing of the sort.

That aside, you're calling on the government (no capitalising from me when it isn't deserved) to do so, are you? Well, that would be quite simple seeing as you are entirely paid for by them. I believe it is called 'Astroturfing', a term you like to apply to groups such as Freedom2Choose who receive no backing whatsoever, whilst simultaneously benefitting from exactly such patronage yourself. A bit ... err ... devious, wouldn't you say?

Can we take it from this, then, that banning legal companies legally selling their legal product to legally entitled customers on legal premises, will be on the agenda of the next 'smokefree everywhere' wankfest?

Considering we will never get any semblance of common sense from any smokefree dirtbag, it is probably best that we finish with incontestable logic from the tobacco industry instead.

A spokesman for Japan Tobacco International, the parent company for Benson and Hedges, said: “It’s not illegal to sell tobacco products. You have to be over 18 to buy tobacco and that’s why they were visiting an over-18 venue.

“All of our staff are fully trained on challenging for ID - we have a policy of no ID, no sale.”

Not much to argue against there really. Might I also add that Japan Tobacco generate their funds from willing purchasers, instead of leeching off enforced and unpopular taxation, like certain bigoted, state-sponsored prodnoses I could mention?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

THEY ARE QUALIFIED “THEY KNOW BEST”

They have the qualifications, they toiled like Trojans to achieve their diplomas, they deserve respect, doff your caps to our educated peers!.

We are told that qualifications are the key to better future, and it was widely reported in the national media of Bobby McHales qualification achievement.

Bobby now looks to have bright future and the world at his feet after being awarded a certificate ratified by an exam board under a £20,000 a year government funded initiative.

Using initiative, Bobby was awarded the USING PUBLIC TRANSPORT (UNIT 1) award. The certificate clearly states his achievement and they are clearly listed on the certificate as demonstrating the ability to:-

  • walk to the local bus stop;
  • stand or sit at the bus stop and wait for the arrival of a public bus;
  • enter the bus in a calm and safe manner;
  • be directed to a downstairs seat by a member of staff;
  • sit on the bus and observe through the windows;
  • wait until the bus has stopped, stand on request and exit the bus.

When Bobby received his certificate he read it out to his family and they all fell about laughing, --- luckily they saw the funny side.

This fruitless waste of space scheme is run by --- "Bury and Rochdale Activity generation outdoor activities scheme" --- and is reminiscent of another fruitless waste of space and money wasting scheme "the smoking ban".

The MPs that voted for the smoking ban may be academically qualified in various fields but how many are suitably qualified to comment on the effects of smoking and second hand smoke?. --- At a guess none!. ------ "They really should research the facts".

Maybe each MP has been issued with a "Bury and Rochdale certificate in INTRODUCING SMOKING BANS (UNIT 1) and is now deemed to be fully qualified to vote on a subject they know very little about.

An educated guess at the achievements that may be listed on the certificate, demonstrating the ability to:-
  • Only listen to bogus statistics, produced by government funded fake charities;
  • Stick Your fingers in your ears at smokers protests;
  • Condone exorbitant financial penalties on any minor smoking related misdemeanours.
  • Ignore the destruction of the great British heritage the great British Pub.
  • Condemn to closure a multitude of small corner shops due to the banning of cigarette displays, read the special report "the dark market".

Looking at the list I am sure you can add many more so called acheivements to be included on the MPs diplomas, --------- It seems not only have that they have passed UNIT 1 but they have been awarded the full "Bury and Rochdale" Degree.------












The 'Ear' beats the 'Eye'

Just think of a sleepy little market town where, it could be anywhere in England. This one happens to be 3 miles from Peterborough just off the A47, fractionally inside the Cambridgeshire border and quaintly named "Eye". Business once thrived in this market town to which people moved to escape the hustle & bustle of city life, yet were near enough to such for work purposes.
This is a market town that once boasted many watering holes for the residents to enjoy beers, conversation and community spirit, yet by the year 2,000 the village was down to a brace of public houses for such purpose.
Now, midway through 2009, only 2 years into this dreadful Draconian smokeban, the sleepy little market town boasts NO pubs at all. How can this be?Let's play with figures for a while.
Eye has 2,000 residents of varying ages so let's suppose that 25% of the population enjoy a tipple-of varying degrees of course. Market towns are renowned for business and socialising being conducted in the pub, therefore it would be reasonably safe to assume that the lone pub would enjoy the custom of 500 bodies if they all visited the same day, but we know that scenario would never happen unless free beer was on offer-and even then some would decline! As the national statistic shows that 68% of regular drinkers are smokers we can assume that 340 of the inhabitants are pub goers (I know this is tedious but we might as well use figures the way the gov't do).
July 1st, 2007 saw the worst piece of legislation ever, imposed on the good people of this land-you've guessed it already-THE SMOKEBAN.
The anti smoking brigade, led by the WHO, ASH, CRUK etc have steadily beaten our politicians into submission with a sustained campaign of hatred against that which they cannot tolerate-the smell of smoke; and that's all it boils down to. Following on from Godbers (may he rot in hell) initial requirement of using deception to gain that which HE wanted, various organisations have jumped on the anti smoker bandwagon to such an extent that this pathetic government have bent to their will and implemented the total smokeban on the back of lies, fabrication, manipulated statistics & (worst of all) junk science. Of course they have denied all of this and trotted out the same old garbage of "how successful" the smokeban has been, how the people "are so much healthier" since the ban-bah humbug! They do not consider that they have removed freedom of choice from the people, they do not consider they have done anything to the detriment of the country. Basically, they are completely brainwashed muppets that we (well, the majority of the people) had the stupidity to vote into power over a decade ago.
Thankfully we now have the proof of the duplicity involved thanks to the nimble mind and agile pen of our good friend Christopher Snowdon (author of Velvet Glove, Iron Fist) as he has uncovered the truth through the FOI. The days of these quango's are numbered methinks!
But back to our market town. Using our own figures we have 340 supposed regular drinkers in Eye, yet the last pub in this once thriving market town has closed its doors. Why?
Surely one single public house in a community of 2,000 souls can survive a recession, I mean to say, pubs peaked during the 70's recession. They are the social hub of communities where all trouble and joys, ills and wellbeing are discussed by habituees over a pint or five.
One pub and 340 possible subscribers-yet it's shut!
Now we come to the crux of the matter. The 340 almost guaranteed subscribers are no longer welcome in the public house, The Queens Head actually. The smokeban cast them out into the cold; the new society lepers have spoken with their feet-they've buggered off! They have left the pub high and dry, literally as the wet sales have plummeted to such an extent that opening for business is no longer viable. It is no longer profitable, it is no longer the hub of the community for 68% of the pub community has been effectively barred by a government who have listened to lunatic, destruction groups hellbent on world control and domination of peoples lives.
So we now have a market town steeped in history that is bereft of a public house for any of its 2,000 inhabitants to enjoy simply because healthists have gained the EAR of politicians and anti smokers and have now defeated the good people of EYE.

Friday, 14 August 2009

SwineFlu Vac UK: Vaccinate the vulnerable first...


...then see if it works!

Of course, if you want to give up smoking there is Champix and Chantix for the gullible and the suicidal. Oh, and Chantix is on the NHS too...NICE?

Big thanks to chas from the F2C forum.

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The "Publicans" Unhelpfulness

Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Publican's Unhelpfulness!
Today saw the unveiling of Pubs' recession struggles revealed in Publican Market Report, a much awaited piece of useless written garbage by some within the industry. This is the report that would tell us the results of the last two years trading withion the industry. let's go for it!Perfect opener "The true extent of the desperate difficulties pubs are facing to stay in business are revealed in this year’s Publican Market Report." (I'm impressed!)"As recession grips the country, licensees up and down the land are finding it harder and harder to make a profit. Latest figures show that more than 50 pubs are closing a week and, of those that remain open, profits are either down or down a lot at 57 per cent. "Those struggling the most appear to be lessees and tenants with two out of three (65 per cent) saying trade is down. "from there on in the report fails as miserably as any sane person would expect it to!
Recession
.....Recession
..........Recession
For God's sake, just how pathetic is this 'voice' of the trade. Recession? What came before the bloody recession-let me see! Oh yes, of course, the small matter of the SMOKING BAN.Remember it? July 1st, 2007. The day that clean air pubs attracted millions of new non smoking and non drinking customers. Something tells me that they are still waiting for both sets of imbibers to launch themselves at our rapidly diminishing stockpile of boozers!According to one:- "To help combat the effects of the recession, pubs have been forced to drop training and cut staff hours." Hang on a minute, aren't rules and regulations getting ever tighter as licensing laws are now firmly clamped around the throats of licensees. How can they possibly cut corners with such demands in place? How can they possibly admit to providing 'possibly undertrained staff'? But staff hours, well that's normal practice, except it means the licensee ends up working 100 hours per week for possibly less than the minimal wage!
Quote:- CAMRA chief executive Mike Benner said he was “not surprised” by the level of support for minimum price structures. What a wussy! Anything but the truth to rely upon.
Throughout the whole of the report presented byThe Publican there is not one mention of the starting point and main exponent of this hospitality sector disaster-the SMOKING BAN.It is unbelievable that a journal that purports to support its legions within the industry either can't see the damage caused by the smokeban or simply doesn't want to recognise the obvious because advertising fees might suddenly diminish due to slating the Pubco's for not fighting the ban. (Hang on-they had a hand in it!) Meanwhile they are quite happy to spout utter tripe about beer ties, pubco models, beer taxes etc but steadfastly refuse to print the truth. That the two main pubco players backed the wrong horse seems immaterial. Choice was not wanted for the simple reason that "some non smoking pubs may be forced to close".
Well upon my soul, now that they are all non smoking, more than 4,000 have gone to another dimension. Why the Publican are still supporting Thorley/Tuppen on the road to Damascus-sorry-Disaster, I'm buggered if I know. If they had the balls to admit they were wrong this ban would be amended within months. Neither of these Pubco genius's could sell every single pub and hope to come out with a profit-such is the dismal state of their empires! Shareholders who believed all the government hype pre-ban are loathe to admit they are still shareholders. Truth is such an expensive dream at the moment-and it will only get more expensive!
Meanwhile all the poor people that have their life savings/investments tied up with these pubco's must be quaking in their boots at the start of each day.....is a customer even liable to walk through the door?
If my local pub is anything to go by, 75% of pubs might as well set up a bar in the smoking shelter after 8pm! Yet should the 'PC' brigade ever gain the bollox to admit the smokeban is the true killer of the industry, should the media ever have the bollox to admit the smokeban is the creator of all problems pub and stop pandering to government 'quango's (ASH et al) we might find the hard up, struggling and fearful of the future licensees thrown a lifeline-an amended ban where CHOICE reigns supreme.Let non smokers have their own pubs or parts of a pub. Let licensees decide for themselves whether they want smoking pubs or non smoking pubs-I'll have a wager on the percentage outcome!
In a country that is supposedly democratic (I'd almost forgotten the word-thanks dictionary!) we have become surprisingly adept at being undemocratic. We pander to the asswipes at ASH who are driven by hatred of that which they don't agree with and watch this country slip further into the financial mire thanks to the £50m spent on the most ludicrous crusade ever.
People still die-when your numbers up? sorry folks.....your numbers up!Smoking is a freedom of choice. Pubs should have the same freedom of choice. Licensees should always have had freedom of choice. Drinkers should have freedom of choice-that is democracy funnily enough!
So next time we wait with bated breath for The Publicans Market Report-don't bother!

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Tories in glass houses



Raedwald recently picked up on the above picture which Nanny Knows Best has been using for a while. It was drawn in the 1950s but is acutely accurate when applied to the current Labour administration.

The Tories seem to really like it too. It attracted rave reviews from some of their MPs when it was sent to them recently.

Very good. Thanks for sending it to me.
John Randall (Conservative, Uxbridge)

A great poster which I hadn’t seen before. How very true. Thank you
Peter Luff (Conservative, Mid Worcestershire)

Thanks!
Peter Bottomley (Conservative, Worthing West)

A classic! Thank you.
Oliver Heald (Conservative, North East Hertfordshire)

Thank you for sending this to me - very true!
Andrew Rosindell (Conservative, Romford)

Excellent!
Presumably the same goes for a Welshman's home?
David Jones (Conservative, Clwyd West)

Kudos to David Jones for at least studying the message enough to spot the small writing about an Englishman's castle.

None seemed to notice any irony in the rather larger "If you want to call your soul your own" bit though, seeing as all of the above were quite happy to enthusiastically vote for the blanket smoking ban.

As they were party to legislation which detailed the subsequent powers to be installed as a result, they were well aware that the Health Act would create a brand new layer of interfering clipboard-carriers and surreptitious busybodies. Whether measuring the width of tarpaulin to ascertain if smokers are cold enough, or peering through windows when the premises are closed, their entire existence is attributable to self-serving hypocrites such as these.

Remember that one of the exemptions blithely rejected by these 'property rights advocates' was that of private members clubs being permitted to apply a policy determined by their members. Instead, such places are now beholden to the gleeful intervention of peak-capped curtain-twitchers such as those in the 1950s picture.

It would seem that choice of self-determination and the right to call your soul your own, are concepts only afforded to those who fall in line with the personal prejudices of some Tory MPs. The fact that a comprehensive ban was not presented to the public democratically in 2005 makes their insistence on introducing more nannying and local authority interference even more baffling.

Those pointy noses above may be enjoyable for the aforementioned MPs to laugh at, but for every one in the picture, these Tories have approved the installation of another few hundred in real, full technicolour, life.

Well done guys.

Jane DeVille-Almond: Health professional?!? Revisited.

As the original video by HairyChestnuts was taken of Youtube at the insistance of the health psychopath er, profesional concerned I thought it was timely to bring it back.

video

Monday, 10 August 2009

The Mysterious and Intriguing Case of the Disappearing ‘Facebook’ Group By Steve Bell.

On July 29th 2009 suddenly and inexplicably one of the most popular groups on the social networking site of ‘Facebook’ disappeared without trace. The group was called ‘Can we find one Million people who DO want smoking back in pubs’ (the ‘Do want’ group) and it had just under 800,000 members before being taken down. It disappeared without any fanfare or explanation. Coincidentally, earlier that day, there had apparently been a short item on BBC news; it mentioned "a social network group has been deleted as it was inciting others to protest”. (or words to that effect) It did not identify a specific group. Other than this report, which may or may not refer to the removal of this group, there was nothing – zilch, apparently a non-event! (If anyone heard this or can add to it, please do comment). This is NOT the first example of changing the goal posts on this topic!

From what I can gather, this group, together with an opposing group; Can we find one Million people who DON’T want smoking back in pubs’ (the ‘Don’t want’ group) were created in early February 2008 simply as a race to see which group could first attract one million supporters. One of the instigators, Drew Peter Taylor, also published a blog to introduce the ‘race’; http://smoking-groups-race.blogspot.com/ - These are still, for the moment, accessible. A poll on here of those who do and don’t want smoking back in pubs is however, tellingly CLOSED. The final figures are; For 1129 (44%) against 1422 (55%). Why close the poll before the ‘race’ has ended?

The answer is fairly obvious to anyone who can utilise common logic! In the first few months, the ‘don’t want’ group was romping ahead and apparently ASH are said to have cited it as a true reflection of public acceptance of the ban (will they stick by this now I wonder?) The groups quickly developed however, into active and rigorous debating venues on the smoking ban issue. I was a fairly regular contributor myself particularly on the ‘don’t’ group – until, one day in early June 2008, I found I was unable to post anything, then the group ‘disappeared’, all my hyperlinks to the group failed to work.

I did eventually discover the ‘don’t want’ group again but all the previous comments were gone. It wasn’t until a month or so later that I discovered the group, which I had actually commented on, had not in fact been deleted but instead had been sidelined and the group name changed to ‘Participant of the smoking ban groups experiment (‘ (Presumably because the debate was NOT going their way).

Thereafter, I continued to comment on the ‘participant’ group until the anti-commentators gave up and deserted it, but I also spent many an hour commenting on the ‘do want’ group too, as did many other well informed pro-choice commentators. The group became more than just a talking shop; it was a good source of information on devious anti-tobacco tactics, pseudo science, erroneous claims and the twisted mindset of rabid anti-smokers. It was also very informative in relation to smoking bans internationally, exposing the anti-tobacco tactic of lauding the false success and exaggerated public support of smoking bans in one country over another and vice versa. Conversely, the ban supporters’ arguments had been reduced to inane insults … and that major threat to liberty,… having smelly clothes and hair!

So, who is responsible for removing this invaluable source of information on anti-smoking rhetoric etc? Is it one or two individuals such as Drew? I have tried to contact him but have yet to receive a reply. Other than originating the groups he appears to have been replaced anyway, disappeared along with the ‘Do want’ group! Maybe a hacker has hijacked the group as happened to the website of ‘Freedom 2 Choose’ in April of last year? …. OR is it possible that a professional anti-smoking organisation such as ASH, CRUK or BHF etc. have directed the ‘take down’, utilising support from a compliant and negligent government, because it was a threat to their dominance of public information?

This is so reminiscent of the TICAP conference in January. When faced with the threat of their anti-smoker misinformation being exposed to a wider audience, anti-tobacco’s response was to take it out – suppress the source of that information and prevent its exposure to an apathetic public. Mushroom farming!  This was stupidity of the highest order! All it achieved was to insult the intelligence of free men, provide yet another clear indication of the dubious caliber of anti-tobacco proponents and highlight the threat to freedom of speech that anti-tobacco represented! The conference went ahead anyway - just in a different venue! That stupidity is replicated with this new attempt to deceive the public.

The fact is that while the ‘don’t want smoking back in pubs’ group had around a 10% greater following, their support was increasingly waning – and rapidly. If this ratio remained the same it would still be a positive vote AGAINST smoking bans! Considering that smokers represent no more than 20-30% of the population in developed countries it therefore follows that many non-smokers have given their support to the ‘Do want’ group. It makes a mockery of ‘official’ statistics on smoking ban ‘success’ (and matches the scientific validity). However, during the four months or so before the ‘do want’ group was taken down, new members ‘signing up’ on the ‘don’t want’ group were less than half of those in the ‘do want’ group. (Roughly 49,000 joined the ‘don’t want’ group compared with well over 100,000 in the ‘do want’ group over that period).

Extending this trend into the future puts the ‘race’ to the one million figure as a close run thing and indications were that the ‘do wants’ were probably favourite to take the chequered flag. This obvious deduction will not have escaped the attention of the anti-smoking movement and they don’t like unknown outcomes that are out of their control. It reminds me of a quote allegedly made in 1992 by Stanton Glantz, one of anti-tobacco’s high priests;

"…that's the question that I have applied to my research relating to tobacco. If this comes out the way I think, will it make a difference? And if the answer is yes, then we do it, and if the answer is I don't know then we don't bother. Okay? And that's the criteria” (01)

It seems that this has been taken one step further and applied not just to tobacco research but to ANY aspect of their campaign -

                ‘if the answer is we don’t know – we suppress it, remove it, deny it or hide it’.

By taking down the ‘do want’ group to remove opposition, anti-tobacco may think that they are free to reach the ‘one million’ unhindered and then, hoping no one will notice, claim victory. What it actually represents is anti-tobacco ‘throwing in the towel’, ‘stamping their feet’ and ‘taking their ball away’ because it wasn’t likely to turn out they way they had wanted. I’m sure they realised that far from being merely a frivolous, irrelevant social network chat shop, it was more a barometer of public mood and awareness.

Now that the ‘race’ has been voluntarily forfeited by anti-tobacco I think we can expect pro-choice commentators to increase the membership of the ‘DON’T want’ group and rightly continue to dominate the debate on there. I wonder how long before this dawns on anti tobacco and they are forced to take this group down too? – to prevent further humiliation.

It is a long time since anti-smokers lost the on-line reasoned, scientific, and logical debate, how long will it take for a majority of the general public and a complacent media to see the obvious? More importantly when will our elected representatives acknowledge the inevitable conclusion and PUT RIGHT THIS FAILED SOCIAL EXPERIMENT – (AKA, the smoking ban), and prevent further damage to society?

Mysterious and Intriguing? – Maybe not!

Steve Bell




Sunday, 9 August 2009

More illicit longevity

Health rules go up in smoke for Kitty, 100

A pensioner has revealed her secret of reaching 100 - smoking 20 cigarettes a day for 84 years.

Great-grandmother Kitty Butcher has puffed her way through a pack of cigarettes every day since she was a teenager in 1925.

Mrs Butcher, of Paignton, Devon, still gets through 20 a day as well as several whiskies before she goes to bed.

And drinks too? That'll have the righteous blowing a bloody fuse, woman. Expect not to reach 101 once someone from the 'caring' community gets hold of you.

The former greengrocer has now reached her 100th birthday and says she has no intention of kicking the habit.

Mrs Butcher, a widow and mother of three, said: "I have been smoking since I was 16 and have never stopped.

"I just don't know how I have managed it, getting to 100. I have had such fun in my life."

Fun? Who ever said life was about having fun?

This woman needs re-educating. Life isn't about enjoying oneself, it's about providing beneficial statistics for fake charities, in order that they can claim grants from the public sector and keep themselves in a job.

Get with the program, Kitty. Just die, will you? You're messing up ASH & Alcohol Concern's average wrongdoer longevity stats. Think of it as your gift to the chiiildren.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

And now for something completely different…

…The football season has started! Soccer if you are a ham shank, (Yank, sorry USA, Yank is really a term of endearment).

statue_unveil14 revieportrait

I have never been a football fan as such but do like a good game, may it be an England international or a Scottish one, I’m there watching on my TV and cheering them on. And yes, I’ve even cheered on the Welsh and Northern Irish team but, funnily enough I’ve never, in my 56 years of age, saw a live game in the raw! But I still love watching them play, even though its through the medium of television.

Being a Glaswegian living abroad in England I have always said when asked “what team do you support? “ That I was a Rangers supporter, well I would say that, being a proddy with an Irish Catholic mother eh.

So it is not a big jump for a football fanatic to see that I will support any team, in theory anyway, depending where I live, and so it is, because I live in Middlesbrough and have supported them, in heart anyway, that I support Middlesbrough and have my opinions on their demise from the Premier League, and I have a kept faith that they will make a comeback into first class football, (even though the bastards who run Riverside Park have banned their faithful from smoking anywhere inside, and outside, from smoking, but I digress.)

One of Middlesbrough’s famous footballing sons is one Brian Clough! Oh yes, he might have ended his life as an alcoholic but he was a powerful alcoholic, an alcoholic who lived his life to the full and was no sop to the NHS, as some other ex-footballers were.

I had just a little knowledge of Brian when I first got married and came to Middlesbrough in 1971, and of Middlesbrough for that matter, but my Mother in Law told me that she new Brian Clough when he was a little boy causing mayhem in the neighbourhood of Valley Road, Middlesbrough. The Mother in Law died in 1981.

Through my M in L, and the all pervading local news, I got to know Brian and his ‘no nonsense’ attitude and it really got to me, a football philistine. He was a true star over and above the game he loved.

So it was with much nostalgia that I came to this interview, between two giants of the football world, Brian Clough and Don Revie, from the mid-seventies…please excuse the haircuts. It is in two parts: BTW, Don Revie had managed Leeds United for many years and Brian Clough took over only to last seven weeks, as this interview clearly shows .

Part 1

Video thumbnail. Click to play
Click To Play

The Brian Clough/Don Revie interview, part 2

Ah, those were the days when men were real men, they talked about their differences.




Thursday, 6 August 2009

The social life of a Briton is great…............in Spain


Having just returned from a week in Andalucía,I am on the one hand in good spirits from having normal nights out once again. On the other hand of course having to return to Blighty brings fresh despair and prompts further head shaking each time I pass a pub or restaurant.

So for the sake of my sanity, indulge me while I let my mind drift back to land of Sun, San Gria, and smoker-friendliness, and report on how choice works in practice.

As the EU ratified the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, members states effectively have to become are signatories. Only 2 have managed to avoid it thus far. The proclaimed main aim being to “protect present and future generations from the devastating health, social, environmental and economic consequences of tobacco consumption and exposure to tobacco smoke." Or in practice to cause present and future generations stress, social isolation, and economic hardship.

But each country can interpret the official line with a degree of flexibility.
The result has exposed the levels of paternalism in Governments and the varied influence of the pharma/health lobby across the member states.

We have the extreme blanket smoking bans in Italy and the UK. The Italian Health Minister responsible for their ban, subsequently found to have been bribed, and was prosecuted. Of course though the law stayed intact unquestioned.

Our lovely UK Government instead, paid health charities to lobby hard for a law they otherwise would never have been able to implement.

In most of Europe however, we see that instead of proscribing lifestyles to adults they seem more genuine in attempting to restrict access to tobacco to adults, and exposure to smoking is a simple matter of choice. Those who want to avoid indoor smoking can avoid it very easily if they choose.

In Spain you can only purchase Tobacco (and lottery tickets) in licensed Tobacconists, and from remote controlled vending machines in licensed premises. But, you can smoke inside licensed premises if the owner decides they wish to allow it.
Hardly an unreasonable concept is it. Go into an adult only environment to buy a legal product, and then, shockingly, be allowed to consume it with the proprietor’s consent.

Now I still think the restrictions on selling tobacco are over the top, and probably economically damaging (my Spanish is still too limited to have asked newsagents/small shop owners, without it being misinterpreted). At least though the Spanish are more honest about their intentions, in genuinely seeking restricting tobacco consumption to adults.

You can though, still buy enough alcohol to kill you at one sitting in a single trip to a supermarket. To achieve the same swift demise with Tobacco you would have to buy an amount big enough set fire to and cremate yourself. And even then, these days the stuff isn’t allowed to stay alight long enough for you to raise so much as a blister.

More honest and more respectful to adults, is how I would describe the Spanish legislation. To be an FCTC signatory you do have to impose some restrictions. The Spanish mindful of civil liberties and of course recognition of preserving a thriving tourist trade, have seemingly struck a balance most can live with.

At the entrance to a bar or restaurant, you will be met with a blue sign if smoking is permitted and the all too familiar (to us in Blighty) red one, if it is not. Larger venues will have two separate entrances marked the same way, indicating the appropriate part of the building. Every place I visited had ventilation and air conditioning. So you remain cool in the heat, and not one smoking venue I visited was smoky enough for any smoke-averse arm waving or fake coughing.
This all seemed rather sane to me. And the only time the old brain box was disdainfully shaken was as to question for the life of me why it can’t be like this at home.
One answer to my incredulity was all too forthcoming when I glanced into the non-smoking rooms, and having earlier approached the entrance to a Chinese restaurant, only to be greeted by the dreaded red sign of doom: They were virtually empty!

I could see why the Antis here(apart from just being vicious and evil) fought so hard for a blanket ban.
Allow choice, and the ‘popularity’ for smoking deprived hospitality disappears along with the inevitable closures denying it would create.
Popularity, that was the other thing that struck a chord with me. Several of the bars were owned by and frequented by 95% ex-pats and their visiting friends and family.

Why is it that we are told in the UK how wonderful going out is since the ban, and that it’s the best thing since indoor toilets, overwhelmingly popular,
yet we don’t demand the same in Spain? Why don’t bar owners grab the same opportunity afforded to them to attract a vast new customer base desperate to leave their hotel rooms and villas for an evening in a smokerless haven of hospitality?

Why don’t the Spanish bars, after hearing how popular the ban is in neighbouring France,and being told on BBC World how wonderful ‘clean-air’ pubs are, instantly kick the smokers outside, and reap the rewards?
I wonder!
I must check my Spanish dictionary.
Perhaps the reports from UK were poorly translated.‘Popularity’ became ‘compliance’. ‘Customer –friendly ban’ became ‘customer-free ban’.
Or more likely they know bullshit when they hear it.

No doubt the anti-tobacco industry is upset with Spain and will look to turn the screw.
Lucky for freedom lovers they will have a fight on their hands. The Spanish are made of sterner and wiser stuff than some of their northern neighbours.
And as a result, my social life is about to improve this winter.

I’ll gladly trade 3 months stood in the cold and wet for 3 or 4 weekends feeling warm and welcome.

Adios Amigos.

Freedom To Choose Press Release: Public Health Concerns Raised Over ‘Fire Safe’ Cigarettes

Link 1

Link 2

Public Health Concerns Raised Over ‘Fire Safe’ Cigarettes

 

Public health concerns are growing against the support given to ‘fire safe’ cigarettes from fire brigade chiefs, the Scottish government1 and RIP coalition2.

Whilst any campaign to reduce the number of fatal fires within the country is commendable, the damage to public health with the use of harmful substances, including increased toxicity levels and chemical coatings, appears to have gone unnoticed.

Freedom2Choose are warning that Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes (RIPs) have not yet been tested on humans, and whilst perfectly acceptable from a fire-safety point of view, their harmful effects and modifications have yet to be tested by the scientific community with regard to public health.3

Andy Davis, chairman of Freedom2Choose states, “It appears that Scotland wants to be the first in the UK to introduce these potentially lethal cigarettes and Nationalist MSP Stewart Maxwell has already lodged a motion for their introduction. Has he no regard for the health of Scottish citizens?”

Freedom2Choose has exposed the devious methods conducted for the Fire Research Report (8) which ensured that the intended results for the RIP coalition were ‘proved’.4

“Certain materials which would not smoulder or burn were discarded and ignored in the study, and lit cigarettes were placed between layers of material to maximize damage. This would never happen in normal life,” claims Andy Davis. “Even if these modified papers are an effective way of fire-prevention, they are potentially dangerous to consumers and should not have even been considered until rigorous scientific tests have proved their safety.”

Spokesperson: Dave Atherton: 0208 988 3038

 

PDF version

References:

1 Support for ‘fire safe’ cigarettes

2 RIP Coalition

3 Science and Public Health duped on RIP Cigarettes

4 Fire Research Report (8)

 




Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Succulent Steak and cold Ale -or- Stale Bread and warm Water!

Following on from Dick Puddlecote’s excellent piece about the ONS survey into smoking trends in the UK after the smoking ban was rudely thrust upon us a Freedom To Choose member casts his weathered eye over it and I replicate his writing here:

Succulent Steak and cold Ale -or- Stale Bread and warm Water!

You are driving through the desert in your land rover when, many miles from civilization, you come across two men who are lost and haven’t had a drink or eaten in three days. You look through your rations and you have two succulent steaks a cooler full of lager, a loaf of stale bread and some water in a jerry can. Being the greedy bastard you are, you give them the stale bread and water and don’t mention the steaks and lager. The men, faced with starvation or eating mouldy bread, gratefully accept and devour the stale bread and water and thank you profusely for your kindness.

What do you think the men would have chosen if they were offered a choice of either;

a) The succulent steak and cold lager?

or

b) The mouldy stale bread and warm water?

It turns out that one of the men is fanatically tee-total and vegetarian – what would he have chosen?

I would tend to think that the veggie would no doubt have chosen the bread and water anyway, while common sense would indicate the other would have opted for the much better food and drink but in the absence of that choice he has no option but to readily and gratefully accept the bread … or starve!

In reality, (figuratively speaking) ‘you’ are the Office of National Statistics (ONS), The ‘stale bread and water’ is the unreasonable smoking ban, while the option of reasonable smoking restrictions in pubs is the ‘steak and lager’, - I refer to the ONS recent surveys into smoking that have been rapaciously devoured and spewed out in the media to laud the ‘success’ of smoking bans and cited as evidence for the continuance of the most invidious piece of legislation ever to be invoked in any civilised country since the rise and fall of Hitler’s National socialism. E.g.; Here and here

The ONS in its underhand wisdom has removed the reasonable option of the steak and ale to give the false impression that the smoking ban is widely favoured. This is nothing short of deception, even though this deception openly admits that the real preferred choices have been removed. (ref; Section 7)

“The questions from previous years asking respondents whether they thought there should be restrictions on smoking in certain places were therefore reworded to reflect this change [total smoking bans] and results from 2007 onwards are not comparable with those from previous years”

Too damn true they are not comparable! – All surveys before 2007 showed clearly that the majority of the British population DID NOT WANT total smoking bans!! The majority of surveys prior to the smoking ban showed that around 75% of respondents did NOT support a smoking ban – some did not want any smoking ban and the majority wanted some restrictions only. Even the ONS found that ONLY 33% wanted a smoking ban hence their need to ‘fix’ the questions to engineer support for smoking bans!

The population WANTED steak and ale – they DID NOT want mouldy bread and water!! Unlike the rabid minority anti-smoking movement and their lackeys, HM Government, most people are reasonable, they want to see fairness, justice, equality – not the de-normalization, isolation or discrimination of their smoking, drinking, eating friends and family! They don’t want to see the fracture of society, hospitality venues made extinct, relationships destroyed or the emergence of a fascist regime.

By removing the better options the ONS have left the non-smoking ‘respondents’ with no option but to choose between accepting smoking bans in their entirety or (after the massive anti-smoker propaganda campaign) dying a horrible death after being subjected to a whiff of tobacco smoke. They are left with no option but to accept the stale bread!

It is not just the removal of relevant questions that is despicable; the whole cleverly worded survey is contemptible in its formulation. Before being asked about how much they agree with smoking bans, the respondents are firstly required to show how well they ‘understand’ the harm caused by smoking and passive smoking. This conditions the mind to produce the ‘right’ answers to the crunch questions. They

are required to recall all the anti-smoking propaganda about what ‘smoke related’ diseases can do to their children and grandchildren, how so many (fictitious) people die young because of smoking etc. etc. When the crunch questions arrive, the respondents can do no other than surrender and provide the answers that are required.

It is interesting to note that in the section asking whether people went to the pub more or less often since the smoking ban – they EXCLUDED those who said they did not go to pubs (figures intro re tables 7.9 – 7.12) yet this group are still allowed to answer questions about the effectiveness of, and whether they agree with bans in pubs. (These are our proverbial fanatical tea total veggies – guess what they are more likely to choose; steak or stale bread?) What a good way to show how ‘little’ damage has been caused to pubs or what percentage of smokers/ non-smokers were /are frequent pub-goers! According to their figures 65% visited the same before and after, 14% went more often, 17% went less often – So net – only a 3% drop in pub customers! With 52 pubs now closing every week – does anyone really believe that!

This ONS survey is meant and claimed to show how successful the anti-smoking campaign has been, but it is clear that the only thing that this survey confirms is how well the anti-smoker propaganda, indoctrination and brainwashing has worked – What it actually is, is as good an example as you will find of ‘psychological suggestion’ in action - brain manipulation to control thought and action !

– Essential for the success of any flawed social engineering project!

Perhaps the ONS should change its name to ONP; ‘Office of National Propaganda’ or maybe the ‘Orwell-esqe’ ‘Ministry of Truth’!! Either would be rather apt!

Kin_Free




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