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Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Nick Hogan, a man of our times.

I cannot sit watching endless daytime TV while a man I admire has more problems than I, so I just had to blog about my friend Nick Hogan.


Nick has had a stroke and is unwell.

His fighting spirit and the love of his good lady wife, Denise, will see him through his darkest hours though, that I have no doubt.

I have met Nick many a time at the Painters Arms in Drighlington near Leeds. There I have always filmed him, as I knew he was an extraordinary man, a working class man, if that is not a term of derision these days, who found his niche in life, and most of us struggle to find a niche in our own lives, don’t we?

You see Nick Hogan pulled his life up from his bootstraps and started a business empire in Bolton, Lancashire where he had a simple rule, keep the paying customers happy and they will keep on coming in the front door! Nick Hogan dared to do what most of us armchair bloggers and armchair political 'philosophers' dare not, he rolled up his sleeves and put his money where his mouth is! Like many a businessman/woman he took risks in a daunting business world…and he won!

He won, that is, until the smoking ban came into this country in 2007. Before then he fought against it, just like his friend and mentor,   Hamish Howitt, who also fought this heinous ban, and both of them paid the ultimate price, a price that good businessmen/women try to avoid like the plague… bankruptcy.

To Nick and Hamish bankruptcy is akin to being a killer, they think they killed their own business and laid off working mums and dads and turned their backs on their clientele because of their mismanagement of their properties. Which could not be further from the truth. They live and breath their business and try to pull heaven and earth together to please everyone, but there is no pleasing some people, people that that don’t even contribute to their/your pride and joy.

Then faceless bureaucrats, along with hatemongers, listening to lies and distortions, decide to put these good people out of business at the stroke of a pen and criminalised them. Who are these faceless people who have so much influence over business???

Worry, failing  business through no fault of your own, tangling with officialdom over something that a few months/years ago was not a problem and the general public never saw it as a threat (and never will) to their health and wellbeing, and it has took it’s toll on the likes of Nick and Hamish, the good businessmen of this world, It took it’s toll on Inez Ward, who had a heart attack while dealing with her pubco. It pays not to argue, or make waves, in fact it could save your life!

Inez Ward, Justice for Licensees.

Below is one of several videos I took of Nick Hogan, he is indeed a man of our times.

You can contact Nick on Facebook here.

Get well soon mate.

I am thinking of you Amazing Bunni, I know that your life has been threatened by the ultra left and your blogosphere friends are working to help you in your hour of need. Respect Bunni and keep safe.


Monday, 27 September 2010

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Interview with Scott Ballin

Velvet Glove, Iron Fist: Interview with Scott Ballin

The road to tobacco prohibition in the USA.

CS: And they're still not talking about it explicitly in the media.

SB: Not in the media so much, but privately and on some of the websites people will talk about "we have a chance to get rid of tobacco now." Y'know, the next step is plain packaging. So there's this progression. As one person said, "We should drive the [tobacco] industry into the sea and tobacco will disappear." It's fine but I don't think people really understand what they're talking about.

Saturday, 25 September 2010

Don't worry, be happy

Shriek! Panic! Wave a shroud!.

Amanda Sandford from Action on Smoking and Health said the conclusions were clear.

"This study should dispel the myth once and for all that smoking just a few cigarettes a day won't do you any harm.

"Quite simply, there is no safe level of smoking."
Err yeah, whatever. Have you met Arthur, by the way?

A pensioner who has smoked almost 300,000 cigarettes during his lifetime has celebrated his 100th birthday.

The father-of-two started smoking when he was 20 and has smoked at least ten cigarettes every day since then - the equivalent of 292,000.

"I always say the secret is doing things you're not told to do," he said. "I have been smoking since I was 20 and I still enjoy it - and a pipe."

Arthur’s eldest son Peter, 62, revealed that doctors have told his father to keep smoking. ”The doctor has said its not worth getting him to give up the cigarettes.

”He’s still in good health despite the smoking and still mobile and gets up stairs whenever he wants.”
And still living at home, we notice. Unlike some friends of yours I could mention, eh Mandy?

"Up yours, Sandford"

More proof that life is for living, not agonising over.

Happy birthday, Arthur, let's hope you go on to emulate former oldest man in the world - and fellow smoker - Henry Allingham, whose life was tragically cut short ... at 113!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Smoke Screens: Guest Post from Juliette Tworsey: Life in LA

Smoke Screens: Guest Post from Juliette Tworsey: Life in LA: "Life in Los Angeles - My friend Rich White asked me to write a bit about what life is like living in Los Angeles, from the perspective of a..."

Monday, 20 September 2010

While I have a moment. I just couldn't resist

The Filthy Engineer has an update on the Ciggy Busters story.

Phil Johnson, chairman of Freedom to Choose, the largest pro-choice organisation in the country, described the project as "highly irresponsible".
He said: "The whole thing was a totally, utterly, ridiculous stunt aimed at a minority faction of 25 per cent and it is sending out the wrong message to kids.
"It is the victimisation of a minority group. Whether we want to smoke or not is a freedom of choice."
Mr Johnson, 59, who has smoked since he was 10 years old, added: "What you can see on the video are hordes of young people charging at other people."
He said the film suggests: "That it is all right to run round the street attacking people that are doing something they don't like. It is not sending a very good impression to the youth of today.
"The disgusting thing about it is A Better Medway have been part funding the thing. What did they want to fund – civil unrest?"

Thank you everyone for your kind remarks and thoughts on last Fridays post.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Thank you, thank you and thrice I say thank you.

I started this blog way back in April two thousand and nine with a post by the then chairman of Freedom2Choose.

We have reached over 100,000 visitors recently and I have you all to thank, each and every one of you!

Thank you people
I hope you can click on the picture and enlarge.

I did not intend to stay this long and am thinking of making this my last contribution to the blog. But, as that once famous scot said, before he reinvented himself as the savour of Scotland (and revived his ailing acting career), never say never!

I have been encouraged by one of the best bloggers on the internet, one Dick Puddlecote, to whom I will be eternally grateful.

And now I bid you adieu, you lovely, lovely people, as Arthur Askey would say if he was still alive.


One thing I have not mentioned is that my lovely wife of 39 years as of last August has been struck down with Alzheimer's, she was diagnosed nearly two years ago.

I have been paying too much attention to this blog and not enough attention to her, as I write in a room by my own.

Things have not been to well for her recently and I need to concentrate on her needs.

Mrs Yin is an occasional smoker, (she smokes around 8 cigs a day) and when we go out shopping, before going for a libation  afterwards at our local hostelry and, of course we have to go outside in all weathers for a smoke, which is beyond the pail.

She hears people inside laughing behind her as we sit on the ‘naughty step’ outside and asks why we are sitting in the wind and cold instead of sitting inside in the warmth with the others! I have no answer because she does not understand about the smoking ban.

Winter is coming and I will have to make excuses as to why we don’t go to the pub anymore!

Mrs Yin now wonders why she is excluded from ‘normal people who like to drink inside in comfort.’

How do I explain this to her?

This smoking ban is evil!

Thursday, 16 September 2010

We are not going away anytime soon!

Official F2C LOGO
As a follow on to yesterday’s post the Chairman of Freedom To Choose (Phil Johnson) has been talking on radio Northampton about the upcoming meeting on Monday the 20th September, 2010 starting at 11am at the Kingsley Park WMC, Northampton.

You can listen to his full interview here:

I was pointed, by chas from the F2C forum, to this interview on the Tony Livesey show dated Monday the 13th of September 2010. Chas is a hate figure to the anti smoker and a regular contributor to the F2C forum.

Listen to Sean Gabb, Director, of the Libertarian Alliance as he crosses swords with Barbara, director of the heart research charity, Heart Research UK. (What, another heart charity?)

Barbara reminds me of another woman who professes to be on the side of the sick who are hospitalised, remember Jane DeVille anyone?

Yes, smokers are the new abusers of hospital staff these days?!?

Wednesday, 15 September 2010


From Phil Johnson, Chairman of Freedom To Choose.
Freedom To Choose UK will hold a meeting in Northampton on Monday 20th September, 2010 starrting at 11am at the Kingsley Park WMC, Northampton.

Attendees are:

Phil Johnson (Chair)
Dave Atherton............f2c
Inez Ward................ Director/Founder JFL
Barry Slaney..............President, SE Midlands WMCIU
Dr Ruth Cherrington.....Cultural Consultant
Philip Holobone..........Conservative MP
Chris Heaton Harris.....Conservative MP (Speaker-progressive conservatives)
Brian Binley..............Conservative MP ***
UNITE.....................representative Northants area
Steve Corbett............FairPint
Suhayl Ismail.....,,,,,,,,shisha bar community
Steve Winnings..........Licensee

Also Invited:-

We have an article promoting the meeting appearing in the Northampton Chronicle & Echo, not only supporting the meeting but to encourage local licencees & club owners to attend to put their views forward.

***Brian Binley has written to me regretting that he will be on holiday but wants the meeting 'minuted' and to meet with f2c representatives upon his return.

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Treat me like one and I will be one... asshole that is!

You are always on my mind…

…you dirty, filthy smoker!
NHSDiagram_v2-2We are here because we care! 

As the office for Freedom2Choose I get my fair share of phone calls from the MSM wanting my comment on the latest anti smoking diatribe currently doing the rounds in the tabloids.

Yesterday, Monday the 13th of September, I got such a call from Gill, a researcher from BBC radio two who asked me if I would like to talk on the Jeremy Vine radio show about the apparent u-turn at the Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospital. (They had dismantled smoking shelters at the hospital but are now forced to re-introduce them because...)

Not being the best of speakers, although I try, I looked around my F2C contacts book to find the best spokesperson and Dave Atherton instantly came across my mind as he is the official spokesperson for Freedom To Choose and has a wealth of knowledge about smoking, the health benefits thereof or not and has an all round sensible knowledge about the subject. Being the gentleman that he is, and is not a man that likes the sound of his own voice, unlike many an anti smoker who pervades the airwaves on the subject of smoking, he suggested Eddie Dowthwaite, Chairman of Freedom2Choose (Scotland) as a worthy commenter as he has most experience on the subject of hospital smoking bans, unfortunately Eddie had prior commitments and could not do the interview at that time.

Now it could be concluded that I was scratching around for a spokesperson to give the smokers point of view but that couldn’t be further from the truth, I had too many people to choose from and I had to make a decision, a Freedom of Choice decision, as to who can best talk to the anti smoking fraternity in their own vernacular.

Stepping up to the breech was the esteemed author Rich White, author of The Truth about Tobacco fame and a blog writer.

On the following recording you will hear a commentator, a fireman no less, say that the Ninewells hospital fire was caused by a dirty, filthy smoker, oh, the anti smoker’s are ready with there anti smoking rhetoric before they know the facts, their hatred of us knows no bounds.

In the interview you will hear subtle ‘hate’ words, words like “these people” and “they abuse hospital staff!” You are not a name anymore if you are a hospitalised smoker, you are ‘they!’

Listen to Rich White’s account of the treatment his grandmother got, a cancer victim, when she was wheeled out into the rain to have a smoke, it is disgusting to say the least.

And yes, they do play, ironically, Elvis’s You Are Always On My Mind.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Permission to smoke Sir?

_49070041_010088509-2Have you got a light mate? 

Hey, they are still alive, still trapped down a mine in Chile but I guess we bloggers have moved on to other things eh? The health fascists have moved on and relented, just a tad. From the pit face the smoking Miguel has drafted his thoughts after being given a reluctant smoke.
Miners trapped deep underground in Chile for more than a month have been given permission to smoke.
Thank you Sir, thank you, I'd doff my cap but it’s as hot as hell in here and I'm thinking of health and safety and all that! (This being stuck underground for months must be playing havoc with my mind, I’m sure something is creeping up on us.)
Health officials had previously refused to send the men cigarettes, saying smoking would pollute the air in the refuge where they are sheltering.
You are a gentleman and a scholar Sir for thinking about my health as I await to be rescued sometime next year, meanwhile you have a good Christmas, which is only a few short months away, [a brease for you, not for me.] (What is this feeling that something is about to engulf us all?)
The 33 miners will be sent two packets of cigarettes a day through a supply tube to share between them.
I’ve done the maths Sir and 40 cigarettes shared amongst us is more than generous Sir, thank you, thank you, thank you.
But until now they have had to make do with nicotine patches and gum, sent to them through a supply tube.
Now the smokers among them will be able to light up, at least occasionally, while they wait to be rescued.
I know now Sir that you were only trying to help when you gave us those patches and gum but we got it all wrong and chewed the patches and tried to stick the gum on our bodies but it didn’t take us long to work out that we were getting it all wrong…still, it gave us a good laugh for a few hours and took our minds off morbid thoughts, like dying, for instance.

A couple of months ago I was drinking and smoking a Cuban [I was kindly sectioned off in case I infected my non smoking compadres] in my local cantina whilst reading the local rag about the uselessness of the patches and gum that you provided us for a laugh earlier, needless to say that this is a lot of hogwash, as my American cousins might say. This woman is talking a lot of crap because me and you know different, don’t we?

While I’m trapped down here, (what is this feeling I have got that something is creeping up on me? Probably nothing I suspect as Health and Safety have told me the worse scenario is that tobacco smoke will end our lives within days, if not within hours, it is the modern day plague, isn’t it?)

I heed your wise words, even if my compadres scoff.
"We are not going to give a pack of cigarettes, but rather a limited amount," a member of the rescue team, Dr Jorge Diaz, told the AFP news agency.
It gladdens our hearts that there are people out there that are thinking of our health and trying to keep us alive in the face of Second Hand Smoke and smoking in general, I will take no heed  about my forebodings of something lurking in the background to kill us all, I think they call it acid mist, not sure though, the employer is pretty vague on this.

Oh and I am not a hero!
The miners have become national heroes in Chile since a drill probe reached the underground shelter where they had survived for 17 days without contact with the outside world.
I am just a man who is facing death as the worse case scenario, I am not a statistic on a computer spreadsheet made up to look like you have my best interests at heart, I read, and I think just like any other man, I worry about my wife and children’s upkeep and general health, I worry about bills that I find hard to meet and I find a way of  of meeting them, in this case, mining, a hazardous job that you ‘intelligentsia’ would have you heave your tofu breakfast up at the mere thought of doing a hard days work there, never mind putting your life on the line to make a scrape of a living!

I am just as intelligent as the man sitting next to me, I  am a human that is not above learning, but you ordain to treat me as sub human.

Do me a favour, let me die in F****** piece eh, or do you health nuts want to follow me to the grave? While you are there tell my wife and children why you lied just for kudos in the anti tobacco fraternity!

PS: I follow the patron saint of England, Jimmy Saville, who once worked down a coalmine:

Signed: John, Miguel, Frank, Frances, Jack, Mary, Beryl, Janice, Mohamed…

A big mound of cat litter to Pavlov's cat for this furrball.

Answers please Stephen?

A full response to that Illiberal twit Stephen Williams

Stephen Williams, illiberal MP

Dear Stephen,

As a Liberal supporter I am absolutely appalled at your totally illiberal views in your article copied below:-

As Liberal Democrats we are unique in our commitment to personal freedom. Our battles for liberty have gone hand in hand with a dedication to social progress. We want freedom but not a society that walks on by.

Do these freedoms apply only to non smokers then Stephen? It seems to me that too many politicians don't see that they have created a society that 'walks on by' the rights of smokers.

Getting this balance right is a central part of our party’s policy consultation recently launched by Health Minister Paul Burstow.

Of course balance is of the essence but it seems very obvious that smokers do not even have a foot on the scales!

It asks whether tobacco should be one of the main areas of focus for public health. The answer to this was given very clearly in the inquiry by the All Party Parliamentary Group for Smoking and Health, which I chair.

We heard evidence that smoking still kills over 100,000 people a year in the UK with the tobacco industry recruiting the vast majority of new smokers in their teens. It is an addiction that most smokers bitterly regret, which is not surprising when half of long-term smokers will be killed by tobacco.

You heard evidence? Who from? ASH perhaps-RCP possibly, even CRUK. Now I ask you Stephen, given that there is not one single death recorded against SHS/Passive smoking in this country, would you be kind enough to inform me just where the figure of 100,000 comes from. An admittance of pure guesstimation will suffice.

You say that the tobacco industry recruit the vast majority of new smokers in their teens. What do you actually mean by this statement Stephen? Do you mean that the tobacco industry send out masses of 'troops' to convert teenagers into instant smokers, thus buyers of their perfectly legal product? Have you not realised yet that people are born to smoke or not smoke-nobody forces another to be a lifelong or short term smoker; it is, quite simply a freedom of personal choice. 

Example: my daughter loves her cigarettes, my son abhors cigarettes; ie, individual choices made.
Widespread addiction to tobacco can hardly be said to be part of a society of strong, autonomous individuals.
Why not Stephen? Does being a smoker make one more or less autonomous than a non smoker-and vice versa? Did smoking cigars make Winston Churchill a less strong autonomous leader?

And we should ask ourselves, setting aside the cost smoking imposes on society, when two out of three smokers say they want to quit, is there not a duty to do all we can to help them make that choice stick?

Let's start with "cost smoking imposes on society" shall we? Exactly what cost would that be Stephen? Smokers happily contribute £11bn to treasury coffers annually, yet figures released from the DofH report that smoker related treatments cost the NHS £2.7bn per annum so what do you do with the residue of £8.3bn-apart from waste vast amounts on anti smoking propaganda and fake charities/quangos?

Now to your bland statement that "" 2 out of every 3 smokers WANT to quit" , then with the greatest respect, after governments have wasted £100m on smoke cessation programmes but smoker prevalence is up, tobacco sales are up & tobacco shares are now the sanctuary for council pension funds I find it incredible that you can support such a preposterous statement. Perhaps of course you have merely been sucked in by the 'OTT' claims of ASH et al-a dangerous pursuit indeed!

A liberal approach to smoking is not to ban tobacco but to make sure people are not harmed by the smoking of others.

Of course you didn't want to ban tobacco altogether as not only is is a tremendous revenue earner but it is a legal product! Can you point me to the proven harm caused to others please Stephen as 83% of the worlds top studies refute such claims-some even find smoke beneficial as a medicinal aid; ie, Alzheimer's! Of course if you want to quote the SCOTH committee report, who used Jamrozic's totally statistically flawed findings to base their report upon, then you are fully entitled to but would you not feel more comfortable by aligning yourself with scientific evidence from those who have signed the Brussels declaration of Scientific Integrity-instead of those who refuse to and simply chase the money?

It was for these reasons that Liberal Democrats played a big part in helping to end smoking in enclosed public spaces.

That would be the reasons that are not really reasons then Stephen, yes?

We should also help individuals when they want to give up, which is why it is vital that the NHS’s successful and highly cost-effective stop smoking services should be maintained.

Please excuse my merriment at this amazing statement Stephen for this is pure parliamentary spin/speak! For a start the NHS has been neither highly successful nor cost effective with its quit smoking efforts. Last year alone saw £253m disappear down a black hole with the DOH announcing to the world that HRT had provided a magnificent 98.4% FAILURE rate. All quit figures are somewhat spurious as they only cover a minimal 4 week 'giving up' period. In other words they are basically useless as a reliable guide! 6 months and 1 year reviews would give at least a modicum of an indication of a true figure. At 12 months you would probably be down to 5% of your 4 week figure!

We need to create an environment where fewer and fewer young people start smoking.

I agree totally but education is the way forward not using a sledgehammer to crack a walnut!

The Coalition is now considering whether to implement legislation to strengthen the advertising ban by putting tobacco products out of sight in shops, where brightly lit ‘powerwalls’ of cigarette brands act like adverts for cigarettes.

Again you are quoting the ASH strategy, but if you look at the effects of this highly dangerous move in the cold light of day you will see that doing this made no difference to tobacco sales whatsoever in other countries. In fact youth smoking increased! it is a ridiculous idea as what you will be doing is creating an 'interest' in the 'forbidden fruits' market amongst the younger generations. I certainly don't see teenagers glued to your 'powerwall' when they fetch a 4-pinter of milk from the local shop-do you?

The more children are aware of tobacco displays in shops the more likely they are to want to experiment with smoking. The evidence from places like Ireland that have taken this step is the benefits are very worthwhile while costs for retailers are not excessive.

Actually Stephen the more you bang on about tobacco displays being the greatest attraction to children the more likely you are to raise their curiosity! A pretty packet does not necessarily mean a child/young adult will take up smoking. I would beg to ask to see the evidence from Ireland Stephen for the Irish made a monumental blunder by banning 10 packs of cigarettes-more 20 packs were sold and smoker prevalence increased. As for the benefits, what are the benefits for small retailers who rely on tobacco sales for up to 50% of their weekly profit (ie, wages)? Surely you do not want to start a closure epidemic in that sector as well as the hospitality sector?

You also state that costs for implementation for retailers are "not excessive". Would that be using the guidelines presented to government and the House of Lords by ASH/CRUK/DofH which were as fallacious as could possibly be in order to ease the passage of the Bill? The 'FOI' proved a very useful instrument in uncovering that particular vipers nest of deceit (Velvet Glove/Iron Fist) leaving one Deborah Arnott stranded, and showing that ASH manipulate whatever can be manipulated to their own ends and ensure future funding.

Groups involved in the sale and manufacture of tobacco products are lobbying hard against these measures. But just as we had confidence in our convictions with the smoking ban we should be firm now and remove the tobacco powerwalls.

It should not be a surprise to you that certain organisations are lobbying hard against any proposed measures for all measures are simply eroding the freedoms of a section of our people-or is that a Liberal dream to ostracise and discriminate against 25% of the population? Not only are you discriminating against 25% of the population you are trying to totally suppress businesses that rely on a legal product-can you afford to do that? can you do without £11bn per annum Stephen? can you cope with pensions if this new wave healthism extends all our lives to at least centenary status?

Having a healthy start in life is one of the foundations from which an individual can flourish. Young people should have the freedom to have a smokefree life.

Indeed a healthy start in life is essential but it is an impossibility Stephen for babies in prams, toddlers on foot and in push-chairs are constantly exposed to great bouts of evil black diesel fumes every time a bus pulls away from the kerb! Scientific research found that the toxicity level of each 'blast' was equivalent to 1,000,000 cigarettes. Now I ask the question Stephen; on all that you have stated, what is more important, preserving the lungs and bronchial tracts of our most Junior citizens or waiting until they are already infected teenagers-or should I rephrase that as which is the easier target for you to go at?

I respectfully await your detailed response.

Friday, 10 September 2010

From the horses mouth

Years ago I used to run/manage licensed betting offices. They were places where you knew virtually every customer by name. As soon as a 'face' appeared through the door you could just about guarantee what bet would be coming over the counter to await its fate later in the afternoon. There were plenty of 'rubbish' bets, the yankees, canadians, patents, round robins etc merrily going through the till during the morning session. little old 'Mary' would totter in about 11 am, regular as clockwork, fag in corner of mouth, walking stick in each hand and deliver her usual crumpled ticket with 2 x 25p wins + 25pe/w double the two selections. £1 per day, win, lose or draw.Cannon fodder. One shop I managed was in a large village where the betting office was the focal point for most off the community. £500's of these multiple bets were quite common prior to racing starting; a veritable heap of tickets for any settler to plough through race by race.

The afternoons would be a different kettle of fish altogether as your 'race by race' punters would set their stall out to skint you on a daily basis. These were the punters that wanted at least a £5 interest on every race-until they went skint, which eventually most did. Turnover of £2K per day was not uncommon, so, as long as none of the morning 'rubbish' bets actually connected, there was a good chance for the bossman to 'nick' £500-£800 per day-given the normal variation of results from the tracks. Betting offices, years ago, were joyful community places where smokers and non smokers congregated to beat the 'aulde enemy'-the bookie. Nobody cared about fighting their way through a wall of smoke to get to the counter with their next 'certainty' - even less bothered when attacking the pay-out window!

The point of going through all of this is to show you how the government gained its revenue from the bookies. The Levy Scheme. It was a scheme whereby bookmakers (shops) were assessed on their turnover/profit.

Obviously, the more 'rubbish' bets a shop took in the mornings the better chance it had of survival & profit, thus vast sums of money went to the Levy Board each year as betting offices went through a boomtime of patronage.

It was during this magical time (70's/80's) that the bigboys (Ladbrokes, Hills, Corals etc) started 'clocking' afternoon punters who bet occasionally-at £50 per time or more. Think about it folks, one 4/1 winner to a £50-£100 stake easily accounts for the mornings bets, thus made daily profit difficult. Individual proprietors, with a reasonable racing brain came to the fore, for it was they that started taking good money during the afternoons and living on their opinions. They also started contributing much more to the Levy Board each year.

Betting Offices were always the bastion of the working classes. Smoking & gambling went hand in hand, as did drinking & smoking. July 1st, 2007 came and went.

A new dawn arrived for the betting offices, a new clean air dawn actually. Many daily punters began to be, well, not so daily. They couldn't stand gossiping in the betting office anymore whilst enjoying a cigerette and a coffee. The whole atmosphere changed within days of the ban as people no longer stayed and chatted, no longer drank coffee. They simply came in, placed their bets and left. The community spirit died in those first 3 months of the ban-and so did bookmakers turnover!

It's taken 3 years but the true cost of the ban to the racing world had had to be admitted and the regulators of the sport are warning of dire consequences for the sport if funds do not reverse their current trend and increase again.

2007-8 saw the Levy Board peak when raking in £115m, a sum that gave the Levy Board plenty of funds to distribute in prize money, sponsorships, race-course facilities etc. This year we see the Levy Board sqealing in anguish as they only have only £76m to spread around-a drop of almost £40m in 3 years. This can only mean a cut in racecourse fixtures and JOBS.

Betting Office turnover has dropped dramatically in the last 3 years with many 'one man' operations closing altogether through lack of patronage; the decline started long before the recession arrived on our doorsteps!

Many punters now prefer to bet online; internet accounts have blossomed since the smokeban. phone accounts are rife but internet betting has really taken off over the last 3 years simply because people can sit at home, press a few buttons whilst having their fag & coffee and bet to their hearts content. Where rain made the trip to the betting office an irritable chore (until they got inside and dried out) the rain now urges the computer betting market to grow and grow.

You check in most betting offices nowadays and you will not find the hardcore race by race punters in there anymore-they have quickly become extinct. Sure, you'll find a few souls gathered around the 'Global' machines that gobble up £20 notes with great rapidity. The lure of a £10K jackpot far overshadows betting on the horses/dogs these days and many shops rely on the machines for their weekly expenses. The machines, of course, are of no use to the Horserace Betting Levy Board-who are £40m down in 3 years of purifying the air for the betting office staff, who now spend most of their shifts bored senseless through the dearth of customers. Nearly 400 of the smaller offices have closed over the past 3 years; yet again the government have denied themselves income tax etc from honest, hard working souls prepared to put their opinions and money on the line.

Oh well, the dole queues grow ever longer!

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Under pressure


After four years of the smoking ban experiment in Scotland the MSM have now, finally, woke up to the carnage that the ban has caused in the hospitality industry there, (and here in England one hopes.)
MINISTERS were yesterday urged to review the smoking ban after new figures revealed more than 700 pubs in Scotland have been forced to call time.
Scotland was the first part of the UK to bring in legislation outlawing smoking in enclosed public places such as pubs, clubs and restaurants.

But new research has shown 11 per cent of pubs in Scotland have closed down since the ban was introduced in March 2006.

Most libertarian bloggers have written about the decimation of pubs and clubs in this country, like Dick Puddlecote, Christopher Snowden, Belinda Cunnison at Freedom2Choose Scotland’s blog and Taking Liberties to name but a few.
The normally docile (to the smoking ban) MP’s are, at last, recognising that the smoking ban was, and still is, the main reason that the hospitality industry, especially the pubs and clubs, is on their knees financially.

But just as loud as the clamour by ministers for an amendment to the Smoking Ban Experiment the mendacious pronouncements of the doom laden anti smoking brigade are just as pronounced:
Supporters of the ban, including NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde and the Scottish Government, said the ban has helped people stop smoking and led to a significant improvement in the health of Scots.
Oh really? That’s not what it says in this study researching data from a survey in 2003:
Around 97.5% of Scots are likely to be cigarette smokers, heavy drinkers, physically inactive, overweight or have a poor diet, researchers from Glasgow University found after studying data from 6,574 participants in the Scottish Healthy Survey of 2003. […]

[…] "That is why it is we have already taken significant action on alcohol and smoking, encouraging active living and healthy eating and promoting positive mental health and will continue to do so."
So it’s working then, the smoking ban, is it, eh?

And of course there would be no show without Punch, would there?
Sheila Duffy, of anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland, said: “There’s absolutely no evidence that the smoking ban is responsible for an increase in the closure of pubs but there is plenty of evidence that Scotland is a healthier nation for having smoke-free public places.”
Or Judy:
A Scottish Government spokeswoman defended the ban and said: “It was introduced to protect the health of thousands of bar workers from second-hand smoke and has been a resounding success.

“The reasons for pubs closing are complex and far more significant factors are at play.”

They will not be told, the truth irks them into even more mirth making mendacity. I think they are under pressure, after all, there’s a lot of money at stake!

Ban a certain flavour? Why not ban them all?

Reason TV on the invocation of kids and racism in pursuit of US tobacco prohibition

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

For the sake of my manhood I'm giving up smoking

Men of a nervous disposition please do not watch.

Saturday, 4 September 2010

We will, oh yes, we will rock you!

In the eye of the Tube you get EyeTube

EyeTube Logo 2

GrumpyOldTwat,who you either hate, love or loath, but you can never ignore, has been the instigator and founder member of EyeTube, along with the All Seeing Eye.

If you find your video is banned on the commercially  [and politically] owned ShitTube because you speak your mind then EyeTube is the place for you. If you are banned from ShitTube because of manufactured intolerance to free speech then EyeTube is the place for you. EyeTube is a  revelation to freedom fighters the world over.

Upload your movies and songs to EyeTube and tell ShitTube to "F*** off, I’ll tell MY story, whether you like it or not!"

So if you want to be subservient and listen to propaganda then this site is not for you!

Friday, 3 September 2010

Nu Puritans plumb the depths in anti-smoking

I’ve not blogged since last Sunday as, quite frankly, I’ve got sick of everything in my life of late and just couldn’t face blogs or forums and instead spent my free time playing Spider Solitaire on my ‘puter’. Coupled with that I was coming out of a particularly long, boozy bank holiday weekend and many rollups were smoked in this small but lovely little flat of ours.

Sometimes you spend too much time cooped up at home that you go stir crazy and a drink and smoke eases the feeling of being trapped.

miners_1706643c Denied a smoke and a drink for ‘health’ reasons.

Now I happen to believe that health and safety at work, especially work that could be hazardous and injurious to humans, should be paramount. And copper mining is very hazardous indeed.  Below is about Mexico’s largest copper mine that has a blatant disregard for it’s workers health. It’s from a report from 2007 and I hope the owners of the mine, Grupo Mexico SAB, have cleaned up their act:
Employees at Mexico's largest copper mine are exposed to health and safety hazards that include dangerously high levels of mineral dust and acid mist, according to a report commissioned by the union whose strike has idled the mine since July…
…A U S pulmonary specialist, two Mexican doctors and three industrial hygienists compiled the report after visiting the mine and interviewing and examining the lungs of 68 workers between Oct. 5-8, said the coordinator of the all-volunteer group, Garrett Brown.
The report found "a serious lack of preventive maintenance, failure to repair equipment and correct visible safety hazards, and a conspicuous lack of basic housekeeping."
Because of that, it said, "workers have been exposed to high levels of toxic dusts and acid mists, operate malfunctioning and poorly maintained equipment and work in simply dangerous surroundings." [Editors link to acid mists and steel workers.]
The Chilean copper miners are going to be stuck 2,300ft (700 metres) down a mine in cramped conditions for months to come while the rest of the world prepares for Christmas (yes, people do think that far ahead) or going on that last holiday of the year before Autumn sets in. Yet the righteous Nu Puritans never sleep and want to deprive them of a smoke and a drink.

The miners had added wine and cigarettes to a wish list of items they wanted to help them cope, but were told they will have to forego the vices of drinking and smoking during what is expected to be several months underground… 

…But James Michael Duncan, Nasa’s deputy chief doctor, who has flown with a team of space agency medical experts to Chile, said: “From the alcohol standpoint, we need to first get their nutrition up before we make any considerations there.”
Instead of wine, the miners, who have lost about 22lb each in body weight, will have to make do with high protein, high-calorie foods delivered to them in narrow plastic tubes…
…Cigarettes were deemed to be bad for their health in such an enclosed space, but they have been given both patches and nicotine gum to help them counter withdrawal symptoms.
Like the puritans of old today’s nu puritans like to torture their victims until they take the pledge and wed their god on the alter of healthism according to their gospel of no smoking or drinking.
Dr Duncan said: “It’s an environment that’s pretty enclosed and we don’t want to contribute to any of the problems within the atmosphere of the mine.”
According to one Chilean health official some of the miners were “large consumers” of alcohol before they became trapped, and it was not advisable to cut off drinking immediately. But Jaime Manalich, Chile’s Health Minister, who had earlier been quoted as saying some of the men were big drinkers, denied any of them were alcoholics or were addicted to any other substance.

Javier Diaz, head of a medical team treating the miners, added: “Miners do not drink more or less alcohol than the average Chilean.”
He said vitamins being sent to the miners were to counter constipation, not withdrawal symptoms.

Lets hope that all the miners come out of this alive and well and go looking from their tormentor Dr. Duncan!

Dr James Michael Duncan Dr. James Michael Duncan deputy chief doctor of NASA.

Tip of the Glengarry Pavlov’s Cat.


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