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Friday, 4 February 2011

A World 1st-The Loneliness Triblogology

Nobody hears us as we scream against the wind of oppression.

Freedom2choose are proud to present a three part series depicting exactly what we knew over three years ago, that the smoking ban would lead to the further isolation of the elderly smoker...but it does not stop at the elderly, younger people are just as prone to that killer, depression.

In this three part series I will endevour to show that governmental social control is, in fact, the biggest killer of all.

It is a blog in three parts, hence the term tri-blog-ology. A dedicated 4 strong team of forum members have created this blog trilogy and my thanks go to Aqualung, Brendajorsler, Carol Cattell & Soapy for this tremendous effort in highlighting the greatest error of one law passed through Parliament with little or no thought for the consequences. I must also thank our resident blogger "TBY" (John Baker, our office guru) for the added artistics. As chairman I am honoured to present to you:-

The Loneliness Triblogology (part 1)

Loneliness is depressing, you know it and I know it.

in the words of the late, great Roy Orbison......
"Only the lonely Know the way I feel tonight. Only the lonely Know this feeling ain't right."

The big O singing Only The Lonely. What a talented man he was.

The Irish Examiner is doing well; it seems they have a mission, and fair play to them, for their topic is loneliness. It is described as “the silent killer”, especially for pensioners who now seem to be involuntary prisoners in their own homes.

The paper says that:

Loneliness has been shown to be closely linked with depression and research has revealed that loneliness makes it harder to regulate behaviour, leaving people more likely to drink excessively, have unhealthier diets or take less exercise.” 

It further reports that the Kerry South coroner, Terence Casey, said there is:

“a trend that suggests social isolation and loneliness are at the root of a surge in the numbers of older people taking their lives… this sense of being abandoned was caused, in part at least, by the closure of traditional centres of social interaction — the local pub, the post office and a huge range of small, community-based businesses.”

The newspaper and the coroner are not alone in pinpointing loneliness and lack of life satisfaction, especially among older people. The conclusion of a new paper by Timothy Hinks and Andreas Katsaros: “Smoking Behaviour and Life Satisfaction: Evidence from the UK Smoking Ban” says that:

“This paper finds a correlation between smokers reducing the amount of cigarettes they consume in the face of a smoking ban in public places and that this change in behaviour adversely affects their life satisfaction. That this behaviour is actually good for their health is either not considered or is overtaken by the feeling that their right to smoke (particularly in public houses) has been seriously affected and that life satisfaction declines as a result.”
Link here.

Their conclusion is closely tied up with the above reports in the Irish Examiner regarding the catastrophic effect that loneliness has for individuals within the community, and indeed points to a major cause of that loneliness.

Charities also have long been aware of this issue. On 1st February a group of four charities launched a welcome new crusade against isolation: the Campaign to End Loneliness. The campaign’s founder members are Age UK Oxfordshire, Counsel and Care, Independent Age and WRVS and the scheme is funded by the Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation.

Depression strikes the young as well as the elderly.

The launch attracted publicity across many news outlets, from the BBC
to the Daily Mail.

No doubt, the overwhelming majority of the country would believe this to be a good thing, but there is a major fly in the ointment: it is said that the true measure of a civilised country is how their old people are cared for. In this regard, the United Kingdom falls woefully short. We have legislation on the books that is in part the cause of this issue. We even have other charities that have successfully pushed through the legislation that has actually closed down economically many of the places where pensioners traditionally gathered; the pubs, the cafes, the bingo halls, and working men’s clubs. It is that legislation that now forces them to drink their cup of tea out in the cold outside their favourite café, or to stand outside pubs, or to forgo meeting other residents in their communal lounge.

It bars them from smoking inside with their non-smoking friends of many years standing, even when those friends have no objection. Even the post offices where they could be found socialising with those they may not have seen for a while are closing.

I ask you, what incentive is there for them to lead a full and fruitful social life outside of their homes?

I wonder how David Cameron’s “Happiness Index” relates to these issues of loneliness and lack of life satisfaction? The BBC wrote about the happiness index in the article here.

Our Prime Minister is concerned about how happy we are and quite right too, his job depends on us being happy! Unfortunately, a lot of us are very unhappy, David, to the extent that we are becoming involuntary prisoners in our own homes because of legislation you refuse to amend.

The tobacco control legislation imposed on this country and its residents was largely initiated externally from the EU and from the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (WHO FCTC). It has been draconian, devastating, and disproportionate.

This legislation is a significant part of the cause of loneliness among our senior citizens. It has contributed to the closure of over 7,000 pubs, clubs and bingo halls, and it has involuntarily imprisoned thousands of our most vulnerable citizens whose social lives revolved around a cuppa and a cig in the cafe, a drink and a fag in the pub, bingo hall, or club.

I say again to you that the measure of a civilised country is how we treat our senior citizens; is this how you want your parents treated? The same parents who devoted their lives to raising you, who loved you and protected you while you grew up.

I say it is not. What do you say?


Dick Puddlecote said...

Excellent start to the triblogology (great word), Phil.

The increase in suicides is very worrying, especially since they are real deaths and not those pretend ones on ASH's computer. A few holier-than-thou types are hellbound, methinks.

Anonymous said...

Yep, its affected me big time.
This winter has become a nightmare long dark nights and ALL the local pubs have either closed or turned in restaurants pretending to be pubs.
Happiness nil. Thank you Cameron/Brown/Blair/Clegg.

The witch from Essex said...

Not my comment but a post last year on a blog. This lady's words have haunted me since:

When I started smoking aged 14 (yes I was at work then in the 50's) it was not considered anti social or a filthy habit. Smoking was a sign that you had 'grown up' and was a 'rite of passage' for most teenagers.
I have only ever smoked where an ashtray had been placed, as that has always signified that smoking was acceptable.
As the years have gone by I have smoked in less places, either because there were no ashtrays (signifying a non smoking establishment) or because smoking was banned in a certain place.
I have accepted all of that and never smoked where I was not welcomed to do so.
I am now in my mid 70's and can now only smoke either at home or in the open air.
I am now disabled (accident damaging my hip) and so can not get out as much as I would like to. So now I only smoke in my own home. This is a very lonely existence and I would love to be able to go to a pub for a drink occasionally. However, as a smoker I know that I can't do this and enjoy a drink and cigarette in safety and comfort in a pub.
I accept all this and am sorry that my pleasure upsets so many people. I wish that my life was different, but after smoking for over 60 years it is difficult to stop.
It really hurts me to hear that smokers are now classed as disgusting filthy death carriers as I really hadn't considered myself to be thus.
Now that I am all these horrible things I am glad that I am nearing the end of my life.
How cruel and malicious are these people that have ostracised me and cast me out from society.
I am so sorry if my 'habit' has offended people and wish that I had never taken that first cigarette all those years ago.

Posted by: Jane Daniel | December 31, 2010 at 01:24 PM

Belinda said...

Is the increase in suicide documented?

Anonymous said...

The original scource is the Irish examiner linked to in the blog, there were originally two links to related articles however the first shows a 404 error and now is no longer available.

The figures naturally relate to Eire and were a quotes from the Coroners office in South Kerry from 2005 to date.

I hope that helps with your inquiry.


Brett said...

All excellent points! When people identify the problem then action follows. Respect for each other is basic to a democracy - let the powerful ones be told. Like it happened in Egypt. We demand our rights and dignity!

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