The site administrator is off on holiday for a few days. Back next weekend.
I’m passing the time for the next three quarters of an hour reading around.
For the next several days, tobacco control and all its works will be out of my mind. A few beers, wining and dining, reading, playing chess on my electronic chess set and generally relaxing in the sunny Mediterranean will do me no harm.
See you next weekend.
I must admit that I do not really understand. New Orleans is a big place, and yet some sort of ‘health committee’, composed of seven people, can impose smoking bans. The original intent to impose bans was voted in by 7 – 0. No one of the seven opposed. Also, the date of implementation, 22nd April 2015, had been fixed. But no arrangements had been made for how the ban would be policed. It has turned out to be a mess. Some authoritarian measures were agreed by a vote of 5 – 0. One person was absent and another excused himself – that is why the vote was 5 – 0. Again, despite the probability of serious adverse consequences on the reputation of NOLA (New Orleans) and its vibrant atmosphere, and its economy, five persons, with no opposition, were able to destroy everything about NOLA which matters. The jazz, which used to be so vibrant, is now artificial.
You see, once bar owners are forced to implement laws that they do not want, they become automatons. I mean that sincerely.
The automaton characteristic (being automated response) was revealed not a long time after the smoking ban was imposed. 17 year old bar staff revelled in the power to boss their elders and betters about, for example, by telling their elders and betters that they could not stand in the pub porch to smoke – they had to go outside altogether. In fact, one person, a member of staff, with whom I had a very friendly relationship insisted that the law required that I move five metres away from the porch. That was the automaton effect.
You would think that NOLA bar owners and their staff would already be inured against the automaton effect. We can only wait and see.
What seems to be happening in NOLA is that, despite the votes of 7 – 0 and 5 – 0, there is massive confusion about how to force bar owners to force smokers not to smoke in these bars. It is not a matter of compliance with a law so much as the employment of physical force.
It still amazes me how poorly prepared our publicans in the UK were. There was a hiatus between the passing of the smoking ban, along with the deliberate denial of exceptions which had previously been promised, and implementation. What I find amazing, in retrospect, that publicans were thoroughly unprepared.
The preparation was so obvious and so simple. All the needed to do was plaster the pub with “NO SMOKING” signs.
A few publicans tried to take on the Establishment. They failed, of course. They never had a chance. The worst that I saw was a sign which said (words to the effect), “Smoking is not allowed. If you smoke, it is at your own risk”. Erm…. No…. That notice revealed the ignorance of the publican because, in effect, it permitted smoking “at the smoker’s risk”. Publicans were not allowed to permit smoking at all, even at the smoker’s risk.
I wonder if NOLA bar owners are equally badly briefed? I wonder if they are totally ignorant of what happened in Ireland and the UK? I wonder if they the have the nous to obey the letter of the law, and not a jot more? The letter of the law would be served by plastering the walls of their places (for the time being) with “NO SMOKING” signs. Unless it is spelt out, in words of one syllable, that the bar owner must physically impose the ban, then he need not. If he is so obliged, then he must be paid to do so. That is very important, and I am surprised that it was not the case. Demand that I act in a specific way requires payment for acting in that way.
But what about specifying that drivers drive on the left of the roadway? That is not the same thing because it does not require any individual to impose demands upon another directly.
The General Election blather is revealing more and more that “EXPERTS” treat politicians as puppets.
What I would like to see is “THE EXPERTS” standing for election as MPs, rather than directing MPs as though they were puppets.
Needless to say, having over-indulged a little in the vino dept before I finished the post, I forget to mention the whole point of the post.
When the USA declared itself to be a Republic, it did not declare itself to be a Democracy. “All men are equal” was not intended to mean “All men are free”. It meant “There are no divine Kings or Emperors, and no hereditary Aristocrats. etc”. Slaves were still slaves and ‘the property’ of the their owners. Women were still disenfranchised, as were the poorest people. What actually happened was that the ‘boss class’ remained the boss class, but the new system achieved broad agreement, in the Constitutional document, as to the limits of the the power of Government. I suppose that the right of individuals (provided that they were not slaves, etc) to ‘bear arms’ was intended to ensure that no one person, or group of persons, could have a monopoly on armed forces.
Whatever the detail, and despite the civil war, Americans value their freedom greatly. So how can we account for smoking bans? How can we account for Bloomberg’s soda ban in New York? How can we account for massive and unfair taxes on tobacco? In fact, how can we account for Prohibition in the early part of the last century?
I suppose that the important question is: “HOW DOES IT BEGIN?”
Take alcohol. I read Chris Snowdon’s book about Prohibition, which goes into some considerable detail, but is scanty on ‘proof’ of the origins. Various religious sects might have railed against alcohol, but you might ask, “How was it that they gained power?” The answer is that they didn’t. It seems to me that all the detail of how religious fanatics smashed up saloons is not important. What is important is who was behind it all and why.
I am just writing as I think, but I understand that Rockefeller, the railway billionaire, was teetotal, anti-alcohol and anti-tobacco. You can understand how such a workaholic puritan billionaire would not want his workforce to be ‘under the influence’. So he chucks a large amount of money at the ‘problem’ with the objective of ‘demonising’ alcohol and tobacco and funding ‘activists’. But the clever thing is that his funding is partly directed at attracting funding from elsewhere, notably from government – and it works!
A couple of days ago, Frank Davis was talking about ‘the elite’ – the group of billionaires, like Bloomberg and Gates. Frank was asking if they have met and have conspired. They may well have done, but, as I see it, that is not the most important thing. What is of the most importance is that their money has enabled them to infiltrate the WHO. Their money has put their representatives right in the heart of the WHO. Their money is funding anti-tobacco initiatives all over the place – but not anti-ebola initiatives, or anti-malaria initiatives, or anti-poverty initiatives. The Zealots justify that be saying that tobacco is killing millions while ebola is only killing thousands. Needless to say, they never mention that billions of smokers do not die NOW, while thousands of ebola infected people do die NOW.
So it may be that the Bloombergs and the Gateses of this world conspire. But they do not have to. Via their wealth, they gain seats in the WHO inner sanctums. They gain seats at the absolute top level without being elected thereto. Why? Because the WHO is a KINGDOM!! It is not a Republic or a Democracy. It is an empire under the control of EMPERORS!!
What makes things even worse is that this ‘Autocracy’ bamboozles our simple-minded ‘Leaders’ in the UK into giving them pots of money. Thus, the billionaires can withdraw their funding after the initial boost.
What is wonderful is that resistance can only build, even if the resistance is slow to build. People like Glantz and Chapman etc have demonised smokers. For now, they have the media, but we have the internet. We must demonise them. It isn’t difficult. For years, these people have been persecuting smokers by demanding the theft of their hard-earned wages and ‘exiling them to the outdoors’.
Most of us have simple pleasures, and we mostly engage with those pleasures at certain times of the day. We get up and have coffee or tea and some breakfast and then go to work. We have lunch and then, after work in the afternoon, we go home. We mow the lawn etc, have our evening meal, watch some TV or whatever, and go to bed. We might even engage in sensual activities from time to time. Provided that no great threat appears, most of us are content with our lot.
The smoking ban has interfered with our contentment with really serious consequences. It is as though some university academics had found a tiny possibility that handling tea leaves or tea bags was possibly carcinogenic in a tiny way. Therefore, tea bags/leaves must be banned. “Studies have shown that those who drink tea, and therefore handle tea bags/leaves, are more likely to die prematurely than people who do not drink tea, and who do not handle tea bags/leaves. Therefore, the production of tea bags/leaves must be banned”.
The mind boggles.
In the UK, we have a ‘Constitutional Monarch’. Well, we used to have. It seems that, now, having handed over the control of our borders to the unelected and unconstitutional elite of the EU, our Monarch is no longer “Constitutional”.
Even though the Queen no longer has any powers at all, she still represents, in her person, the People of this Nation. Thus, when the new Parliament assembles, after the GE, it picks a Prime Minister who visits the Queen and receives The People’s assent to form a Government. At this moment, because of the dissolution of Parliament, we are in a sort of limbo. Although Cameron is still, at this moment, Prime Minister, he is powerless. The Civil Service alone keeps things going.
It isn’t all that long ago that a crisis of Government in Australia could only be solved, constitutionally, by the ruse of the Queen, apparently, dismissing the Government and calling new elections. It was a ruse, but it achieved the objective of correcting the apparent situation of Australia being utterly and completely lawless for some days. That is the point. For those few days, had it not been for the Queen taking control, there would have been no law at all in Australia. It could have been dog eat dog, with no repercussions.
Not that such lawlessness would actually have happened. The important point is that the position of the Queen, legally and constitutionally, ensured the continuance of ‘common law’.
I have been reading stuff about how the colonists in America broke away from the English rule. It is easy to see these things as simplistic American patriotism, when, in fact, most colonists still regarded themselves as British. What irked them was that, having suffered the trials and tribulations of establishing the colonies, and having overcome all the problems and endured the hard work involved, they suddenly found themselves being taxed by a foreign entity, without justification arising in their new homeland.
That is how I feel as a smoker. I feel that the justification for duty on tobacco products has faded away over the last couple of decades, ever since Tobacco Control appeared. There used to be ‘luxury taxes’. I cannot remember the details, but I feel sure that certain classes of goods were considered to be ‘luxuries’ and were taxed when other goods were not. It is an awful long time ago. But, somehow, these ‘luxury taxes’ hung on, but only regarding alcohol, tobacco and petrol. But you could put it another way. You could say that ‘luxury tax’ was extended to EVERYTHING, except essentials, via VAT, and that duties on alcohol, tobacco and petrol were SUPER luxury taxes. What is most extraordinary today is that petrol is still considered to be a SUPER luxury, in view of the fact that fuel duty automatically reduces the competitive abilities of our industries.
We smokers cannot rebel as the American colonists did, but we can engage in what was called in the Forces “passive disobedience” (or something like that). I can’t remember what constituted ‘passive disobedience’, but it might have included doing nothing before receiving precise instructions. For example, an airman might be instructed to go to the mess and do duties there. He might go to the mess, but stand outside and wait. No one told him to enter said mess.
This ‘passive disobedience’ is precisely what is required about the smoking ban on hospital premises. If I visited someone in hospital and decided to pop outside for a smoke, it would light up. If someone wearing a cap came over and said something like, “There is a voluntary ban…..” (which would actually be said to be “a Ban”), I would be inclined to say, “Oh… What do you want me to do?” “Put the cig out”. “OK”. Then light up again. That, my friends, is the epitome of civil disobedience. The compliance, in the first place, is essential. That is because the State always engages massive force in the first instance.
I got carried away a bit.
The point that I was intending to make is that there is not as much difference as we think between Kings, Emperors, Presidents, Prime Ministers, First Secretary of the Party. All, regardless of title, can, if they wish, control the Agenda. What seems to have happened recently is that such titled people have voluntarily handed over that control of the agenda to groups, such as the WHO, which have no responsibility to the people who created and pay for them. They are a law unto themselves, and, because of the proliferation of connections within the 160 countries involved, have no responsibility to anyone. The WHO is a court without a jury.
I have indulged over-much tonight I think.
When the colonists in America broke away from Europe, they broke away from Kings, Queens and Aristocrats. They broke away from ‘the divine right of Kings’ and such. They produced a Bill of Rights which emphasised the pre-eminence of individual rights to pursue their own vision of happiness.
What must eventually bring down Tobacco Control, probably first in the US, is weakness of SHS harm. The physical effects of SHS harm are too minute to be measured and, according to DOLL ET AL, would take hundreds of years to affect anyone.
When America disconnected from ‘Kings’ and such, it declared a “Republic” – no Kings or Emperors. Thus, it thrust itself back into Roman pre Emperor governance. In later days, we have seen the rise of the new, very profitable, puritanism, and the new Aristocrats are all for it.
But the ‘Republic’ has not protected Americans from TYRANNY.
That is really weird.
I have mentioned Carl Philips before. He believes that smoking is harmful, but does not deny that it has benefits, such as just being pleasurable, calming and possibly helpful in mental acuity. His ’cause’, if I may use that word, is Tobacco Harm Reduction (as compared with eventual prohibition, championed by the Zealots and Charlatans).
He has just published a corker of a post. You can read it here:
He reports on a press report which issued from a group calling itself “The Tobacco Atlas”. The press report was headed:
“Tobacco Industry Profits $7,000 For Smoking-Related Deaths”
Carl said that his jaw dropped open when he saw what this group had done. It had taken the revenue of the big four tobacco companies in the world (ignoring such ‘companies’ as the Chinese Government monopoly supplier), and ignoring the tax take included in that revenue, and called it “PROFIT”. The group then created a figure from somewhere of the number of deaths throughout the world, which were ’caused’ by smoking.
The figures were:
Profit: $44 billion in the year.
Deaths: 6.3 million in the year.
Dividing the ‘profit’ by the deaths gives approx $7000 per death.
Now… Isn’t that the most important and awful bad news? Well, that’s what is supposed to be the scary bit. These bastards! – Profiting to the extent of $7000 per death! Bastards!
But as soon as I saw that equation, I knew that there was something wrong, although I could not put my finger on it. Reading on through Carl’s post, he helped me out.
Suppose that the number of deaths was 1 million? In that case, the per death ‘profit’ would be 6.3 times larger – around $45,000 per death. Or, suppose that the deaths were about 35 million? Then the per death profit would be only about $1000 per death – a paltry sum. Taken to the extreme, the more deaths there are, the less profitable the deaths are to the tobacco industry!
That is the reason, as Carl points out, that the stated facts have no significance. It is like saying that road deaths are profitable to petrol companies. How much profit do petrol companies make world-wide? I have no idea, but let us invent a couple of figures in the same ballpark. Say, $50 billion profit: say 5 million road deaths. WOW! That’s $10,000 profit per death!!!! Bastard petrol companies!!!!
I like simple and amusing conundrums. For example, 1 + 2 = 3. Let us call 1, A. Let is call 2, B, and let us call 3, C. Thus we can say A + B = C. That would be true, provided that A, B and C were, respectively, 1, 2 and 3. But if we were to imagine a simple maths class where children were being taught some understanding of algebra, a teacher might write “A + B = C” on the blackboard and ask the kids to put numbers in to replace the A, B and C. Those kids which ‘get it’ might write 1 + 2 = 3, or 2 + 4 = 6, etc. Or teacher might say, “If A is 10, and B is 20, what does C equal?
Where things get tricky is when we not only provide numbers but also ‘properties’. For example, suppose that A is 1 apple, and B is 2 pears, what would C equal? Suppose that you mashed the apple and pears into a mush. What would you have? Well, you might have a big mess of fruit, but you would then not have ‘3’ anything. You would have only one mess of fruit.
Classically, we might say, “If A equals B, and B equals C, then A equals C”. There’s the rub. How can A equal B when it is obvious that A is A and B is B, and the two are different?
Oh dear. I do get carried away. I suppose that I’m saying that figures are precise (as per the $7000 per death) but the real world is vastly more complex than simple mathematics.
I’ve noticed a similar theme running through some other blogs as well as Carl Philips. Michael Siegel is one and Clive Bates is another. They may be anti-smoking, but they have empathy of a sort with the lot of smokers. Their empathy, however, is weak. Their greater empathy is with people who want to stop smoking, and so they admire ecigs and do everything that the can to promote them, even if they cannot be proven to be totally harmless.
But Bates and Siegel are on the horns of dilemma. For what seems to be idealogical reasons, both of them knowingly exaggerated the harm of SHS. Both must have known that SHS is harmless for all intents and purposes. In both cases, they are stuck with an inability to say that tobacco itself can be safely used in the form of snus or chewing tobacco. they cannot do it because of their hatred for BIG TOBACCO. They cannot get over that mental block.
That is sad.
I think that it is true that The Doctors Study was a one off and that no other study has followed through for such a long period of time. I think that it is the Holy Bible of Tobacco Control. Many of the slogans of TC have come from that study, such as ‘half of smokers are killed their addiction’. In fact, Doll went further. His claim of ‘half’ was tempered by an unwillingness to claim that what his figures told him was that smoking killed around two thirds of smokers.
I think that he was afraid of ridicule – and rightly so. But he did say that his figures said two thirds! There is no doubt. But that would suggest that diet, alcohol, genetics, war-time harm, atmospheric pollution, drugs, infections, etc, had little to contribute. Only smoking was involved.
But at least the Doctors Study was backed up by FACTS in the form of death certificates, no matter how doubtful many of the certificates might have been (eg, non-smoker deaths from LC being ascribed to pneumonia). What we are seeing more and more of now is study results in the nature of “Tobacco Company profit is $7000 per smoker death” stuff.
I think that the real implication of Carl Philip’s critique of that claim is that TC’s claims are getting wilder and wilder. Grantz (sorry, Glantz) has been drawing wild conclusions about ecigs based upon similar logic. To paraphrase, “Twice as many youths have ‘tried’ an ecig this year compared with last year, therefore twice a many youths will be hooked on nicotine addiction”.
Can it get any worse? It can, because the implication in the UK is: “Government profit (real profit) from smoker deaths is $35,000 per death”.
Just think. If the Gov got rid of TC, the drain on profit would be much reduced.
Erm… Tell me again why Cameron permitted the imposition of PP? OH! I SEE! He knows that it will make no difference! His $35,000 per smoker death with still roll in!
I detest tobacco companies. They have done nothing in the UK to help smokers to organise as a group to defend their freedoms. It is clear that the freedoms of others, such as drinkers and eaters, are also being removed, piece by piece. Drink companies, food companies, tobacco companies vie with political parties to reduce every individual to a compliant drone.
I do not know how this super control can be defeated. I suppose that, in the end, civil disobedience, en masse, is the only way, in the same way that the public saw off Thatcher’s dream of a personal local tax. I wonder who advised her? For it was not she who devised it. She was advised that it would work. It was rolled out in Scotland without objections, but, in England, it was met with great opposition. The crazy thing is that those who marched against the Poll Tax were probably those who would have gained most from it! Little old ladies with little income.
Talking about some simple car problem, a friend of mine said, “Let it develop”. (It was not a dangerous problem). I think that we should adopt that attitude. Display ban? Who cares! PP? Who cares! The really important battle will begin when the EU attempt to eradicate ecigs starts to bite. That is when the PRINCIPLES of Tobacco Control will come under intense scrutiny.
Chris Snowdon has been looking back at the origins of the Tobacco Display ban:
It is hard to believe that the ban was passed in 2009 and has only now come into effect in small shops. Will it make any difference to youth take up of smoking?
Well, we must look at what has happened. In my local co-op, the tobacco display is covered by two sliding doors in a fetching colour of darkish green. The word “TOBACCO” is etched onto one door in large, black capital letters. On the other door is the message: “If you need help, ask a member of staff”. Will those doors deter a ‘child or young person under 18′ from asking for cigs? If they do not, then what is the point of them, since the whole point of the display ban, as has been said again and again, is to deter young people.
But the question that I asked, ‘Will those doors deter a ‘child or young person under 18′ from asking for cigs?‘, is a daft question. Such youths already have the sense NOT to try to buy cigs in shops – unless they already are aware the the shopkeeper in question will sell cigs to them. I have absolutely no doubt that some 18 and 19 year-olds will already be onto the ‘nice little earner’ which the ability to buy cigs represents. Even buying cigs at the current price of about £7 for 20 can turn a profit of some 50% if sold at 50p each.
I cannot see even the slightest off-putting effect to smokers. Frankly, I see the opposite. I see defiance writ large. It is simple psychology.
Think about it.
You are an adult and you are a smoker. When you go to buy your cigs and you look at the array of ‘glitzy’ packets, you might well feel a little guilt that you are spending money on ‘baubles’. You might feel that other people are watching you buying disgusting, filthy, stinking cigs. Now you don’t have to feel those pangs. You can’t see the packets. You ask for your 20 Rothman’s, or whatever, the assistant slides open the door, takes out the packet, hands it to you and you pay. It is almost a secret transaction. You don’t even need to bother about the price. In fact, the secrecy adds to the allure.
Chris Snowdon draws attention to his analysis of the murky dealings between ASH and other parties allied to the Health Dept to get the ban passed by Parliament, especially the estimated costs of covering up the displays in the manner required by the regulations. But no one, at the time. was supposed to know precisely what the regulations would be. Even so, ASH ET AL used a trick to get the cost extremely low. They took estimates provided a Canadian company which had been instrumental in erecting such covers in Canada and twisted them. For example, the bigger the display, the cheaper the cost per square foot of coverage. The trick was to take the cheapest price (for the largest display) and then multiply that price by 1500 shops, and claim ‘a discount’ because there were 1500 shops. In other words, 1500 small displays represented X very large displays and could be ‘covered’ at the lowest price. That is obviously utter nonsense since every individual shop would be different and need different treatment.
The trickery was discovered via FoI requests and the requested info revealed wholesale collusion between ASH and staff in the Heath Dept. But even after the false estimates of costs had been discovered, Lord Darsi was STILL quoting the incorrect figures. Who was to blame for the false figures being relayed to the Lords? The buck did not stop. It went round and round.
But also the expectations of the effect on youth smoking came from poor information. The Zealots tried to claim that youth smoking dropped by 10% in Canada after the display ban was brought in there. CRAP! First, the figures were wrong. In the period in question, the fall was 7%, and the Zealots had to acknowledge the mistake. But what was worse is that, at the time, not all Canadian provinces had enacted a display ban. The fall in youth smoking was much the same in those provinces which did not have a ban as those which did.
You can read Chris Snowdon’s analysis of what happened here:
It is well-worth reading.
There is a lot more to it than that, but it serves as an illustration of ‘Government out of control’. What is more distressing has been the willingness of politicians to change sides at the drop of a hat. Alan Johnson was Labour Health Sec at the time. Obviously, he was all for the ban. The opposition cover was Andrew Lansley. This is what he said about the display ban:
“It will come as no surprise to us if the Department of Health has funded organisations that
provide the responses to consultations that the Government is looking for. The public are
understandably cynical about the way Labour consults the public—it’s time we had a
Government that treats the public and their views with the respect they deserve.”
Andrew Lansley became Health Sec and changed sides completely. Virtually overnight, he became a Holy Zealot of Tobacco Control.
There is something seriously wrong. Could you imagine Churchill changing his mind when he became Prime Minister in the early stages of WW2 and waving a piece of paper, saying that he had come to an agreement with ‘Mr Hitler’ that they could have have France and the rest of Europe, and everything would be OK? We have had a string of ‘conservative’ junior health ministers, Milton, Soubry and Ellison who have, in turn, fallen over themselves to comply with Anti-Tobacco demands. There can only be one explanation – they are scared. Put yourselves in their position. They know nothing at all. The latest Health Sec is Jeremy Hunt. He is well off and quite clever, but he knows nothing about Health. Allison is a clever young woman, but she knows nothing about health at all. None of the elected people know anything about what they are supposed to be governing. After the coming general election, you might as well put all the names of the majority party (if there is one) in a hat and draw lots for who will be PM, Health Sec, Foreign Sec, etc. In fact, it is becoming more and more clear that it there is no need for political parties. Just elect people sight-unseen and have a draw for positions. No…. Wait….. The draw would have to be for who is PM, that is all. Because he then chooses who the ministers will be. If the number of MPs is 650, he can appoint 326 as ministers of one form or another, and thus ensure their loyalty. That is sort of how it works in North Korea. It is called ‘Gift Politics’. The difference between North Korea and the UK is that the ‘big three parties’ are happy to exchange their roles from time to time.
I was reading a blog earlier today which is partly responsible for the above flippant thoughts. It was about ‘democracy’ in the USA. Someone was at pains to point out that the USA is not a ‘democracy’ – it is a ‘republic’.
That is interesting because of the implications of the words. In very basic, simple terms, you could equate ‘democracy’ with ‘tyranny of the majority'; you could equate ‘republic’ with ‘freedom of the individual within general constraints agreed by all’. Do you see the difference?
The American Constitution is ‘republican’ in the sense that it guarantees the right of a person to seek ‘happiness’ as best he can; it also guarantees that a person can defend himself with weapons; it limits the authority of ‘The Royal Court’. Essentially, the US constitution is a Treaty of the separate States which constitute the USA, which recognises the individual States as though they were individual countries, just as Europe is, but the States come together in matters such as defence of the whole, and in matters of trade between states and the outside world, and a host of other matters which affect all the states commonly.
Is it any wonder that the two main political parties in the USA are called ‘Republicans’ and ‘Democrats’? Neither of those two words make much sense as opposites. They can only be opposites if the describe different ideals. It could be that ‘Republican’ equates to ‘free-for-all’ and ‘Democrat’ equates to ‘control’.
Where is the median line?
I can only talk about the smoking ban because that is what really interests me. It would have been perfectly simple for the Government to mandate that bar staff should be protected against SHS by passing a law which said that publicans MUST provide bar staff with masks which they could wear if the felt threatened; also, they must provide masks for any punter who felt threatened, and the masks must be free. In fact, it would make sense for such a regulation to be created for aircraft. All passengers should be offered a mask because of the congestion. They do not have to wear them, but they should have the choice.
Thus, there was never a need for a bar smoking ban. There was a need for staff to be offered masks, if they wish to wear them.
Is it not very simple? Surely the clever buggers must have thought about that? Surely these quack professors and doctors are not so stupid that they have not thought about it? Surgical masks for all that want them is the easy answer, isn’t it? It preserves autonomy and ‘republicanism’ while denying the ‘tyranny of the majority’. Everyone is happy, YES?
Last night, I forgot to include the most important thought. If the Scottish National(ist) Party (SNP) replace almost all of the 50 or so Labour MPs, and Parliament is hung in such a way that Labour could form a Government in coalition with the SNP, and the SNP agreed, what would have been the point of the SNP replacing the Labour MPs? OK. The difference might be that they want special treatment for Scotland, but, surely, they could not, in the next five years, call for another referendum? So, why should Scotland be treated differently? Or, to put it another way, why should Nicola Sturgeon demand that England pays tribute to the defeated Scots? I hope you see what I mean. Extra privileges for Scotland, at the expense of England, are tribute – as though English tribes had been beaten in battle by a Scottish army.
It has been suggested that Sturgeon has said that she hopes that Cameron forms the next Government. It may not be true, but you could see why she and her party would wish it. It would spare the embarrassment of a potential Lab SNP coalition for all concerned, and her 50 or so MPs could snipe away in the interests of those who live in Scotland, without considering the interests of the English, Welsh and Irish.
DAMNATION! WHY WAS THE REFERENDUM FIDDLED!!! WHY HAVE WE STILL GOT THESE MINORITIES AROUND OUR ENGLISH NECKS!!!
Thrust independence upon the Welsh, Irish and Scottish! England has a population of 50,000,000 compared with a combined 10,000,000 for the rest, or thereabouts. Off you go, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland – become regions of the EU. Cheerio!
Let us be as reasonable as we can. Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland are poverty sinks, by and large. In ‘The Debate’, the Welsh and Scottish representatives said so. Both of them demanded money from England.
England, and English MPs are not asserting their rights. They have a right to demand ‘no special treatment’ for SNP MPs.
Needless to say, the forgoing is whimsical. What the debate revealed to me is that our Nation has become a squabbling kindergarten of nannies, bullies and squalling babies. You might like to watch this video (H/T VGIF):
In it, Dr Patrick Basham shows that there is a disconnect between:
a) The scientific facts, and
b) The moralistic demands that people should be good little boys and girls.
His point is that the science does not justify the morality. Even if it is true that smoking causes death and diseases, that fact does not justify the persecution of smokers, or indeed, the choices of adults to do as they wish. In fact, one could go further; the science does not justify State inference in family affairs, such as whether or not parents permit their children to enjoy tobacco. There are other considerations. For example, I have knowledge of parents who deliberately bought their 17 year old an ecig. It was one of my extended family.
Further, Dr Basham said that the fundamental demand from the Zealots was merely longevity.
If we think about the Doll ‘Doctors Study’, it showed that ALL THE DOCTORS DIED, AND THEY DIED FROM THE SAME CAUSES AS SMOKERS. The only difference was that non-smokers survived longer, except that there were still smokers alive after the non-smokers kicked the bucket. Thus, the only significant difference between smokers and non-smokers was length of life, and not cause of death. Although many more smokers died from LC, they were only about 7% of all deaths. Few heavy smokers died from LC.
I am wondering when some sort of rationality will be externally applied to ‘Public Health’. Clearly, it is impossible to expect the salaried nincompoops to cut their own financial throats.
Why is there no control?
It may be that visible costs are small compared with gains. What is not clear is the invisible costs, such as ‘work-place’ smoking bans causing the massive bankruptcies of pubs: not just closures, but bankruptcies.
It is becoming more and more obvious that it does not matter which political party, or parties, have the majority. None of them are able to exert control because ‘the system’ is in control. The ‘system’ might mean the ‘Civil Service’. Or it might mean Big Business, cooperating with the Civil Service, or it might mean both of those cooperating with Judges and the EU.
What is absolutely clear is that all of us citizens are being defrauded by the EU. The EU people are depriving us of our money, and Cameron etc are complicit in the theft. Our collective PEOPLE’S WEALTH is being drained. And our wealth is not only being drained by the EU. It is also being drained by the WHO and the UN. I would suggest, without any sort of evidence, that ALL those organisations take at least 95% of their income in administration costs. Is the Ebola disaster evidence?
Of course it is! But, as with the EU, we do not have politicians with either the knowledge or courage, or the lack of personal enrichment, to fight.
I’m a bit short of bobbins tonight. Nobody is talking about ‘public health’ or ‘health inequalities’, or anything of no great significance in the campaigns. Odd, isn’t it, that matters which have been ABSOLUTELY OF THE GREATEST IMPORTANCE, like PP and smoking in cars carrying ‘kids’, NOW ARE OF NO IMPORTANCE WHATSOEVER. What happened? Haven’t we still got troops in Afghanistan? How are things progressing in the imposition of ‘democracy’ there – you, know, the reason that we got involved there? Ukraine anyone? The Euro?
I’ve been reading around. The debate is still vaguely worth talking about. It seems that voters in various polls reckoned that Sturgeon came out best. Of course, everyone who was polled would have had their own biases as to what ‘came out best’ means. It all depends upon what ‘qualities’ individuals who watched the debate were looking for in the speakers. Suppose, for a moment, that the quality being tested was courage? I think that Our Nige would have won by a big margin. None of the others had the courage to talk about non-residents with HIV deliberately tricking their way into the UK to get treatment, and, presumably live here, be cared for, receive the appropriate drugs at enormous cost for the rest of their lives at British taxpayers expense. He also had the courage to call into question the massive costs of foreign aid and the EU.
For aplomb, I think that Cameron came off best, but he had obviously been coached.
The Greens, SNP and Plaid Cymru probably defended their niches as well as could be expected. Clegg was nice and Miliband was a pale shade of blue. Oh wait. I have that wrong. If Tory is blue and Labour is red, what is the colour combination? I’ve just looked it up – it is magenta.
The colour ‘magenta’ is almost exactly the same as ‘purple':
Amusing, is it not, that the UKIP colour, purple, is almost exactly the same as an equal mix of blue (Tory) and red (Labour)!
Could it be true that UKIP policies are a combination of the best policies of Tory and Labour, with the exclusion of the worst polices of both? Perhaps, but not worth bothering about tonight.
The trouble with ‘populism’ is that it deflects attention. In a General Election, the purpose of the Parties is to get candidates elected. Therefore, they have no alternative but to advocate what they see as ‘populist’ policies. After the result is announced, those ‘populist’ policies can be shoved into the bottom drawer. Thus, ‘bonfire of the quangos’ just disappears. And yet just such a remedy is required, along with thousands of similar remedies. You cannot reduce ‘Government’ at a stroke. You have to do so gradually, in detail, by revoking thousands of petty regulations, and therefore, a little at a time, removing the need for regulations and regulators.
Does the Government have a Big Department to enable such savings? I don’t know of one, but there should be. And it should be a very important Department. When the politicians said that ‘there will be a bonfire of the quangos’, they should have meant it. But in the sense of disposing of costs. But what is worse is when the ‘burden of costly regulation’ produces catastrophe, as was the case in the Somerset Levels. Note the double negative – the ‘burden’ and the ‘catastrophe’. It may be that ‘the burden’ of the cost of regulation was only a million pounds, but ‘the burden’ of the catastrophe was a billion pounds. The ‘burden of the regulations’ caused the catastrophe.
The same ‘burden’ has arisen again and again in the NHS, and it is extremely expensive. More time and expense comes from reports and statistics than comes from patient care, to say nothing of smoking bans in hospital grounds and the policing thereof.
There really is no excuse for Government funding the University departments which produce the deformed anti-smoker propaganda, and the propaganda against simple things like sweet drinks. Do they want everyone to drink bitter drinks? How about squashes made with grapefruit or lemons in the raw? WHAT DO THEY WANT PEOPLE TO DRINK AND EAT?
Time for bed.
I am rather reluctant to shout, “WE HAVE GERMINATION!” Last time I did that, it turned out to be a ‘premature ejaculation’. (It is reasonable to claim to ‘ejaculate’ words, isn’t it?)
This year’s germination programme has been a mess, I must admit. In the last four years, I have used my old, decrepit propagator to do the business. Here is a pic:
A cheap, unheated propagator containing 40 cells. Sadly, the cells structure started to fall apart:
I don’t know why, but it worked perfectly. You can even see seedlings in that pic. All I had to do was put seeds in each cell, put the top on, place the propagator on the shelf in the kitchen over the radiator and up popped the seedlings.
So what has caused the problem this year? I honestly do not know. I used the same propagator but without the cell structure – just filled it with compost, sprinkled seeds on the surface, as usual, and put the whole thing in the heated propagator. Nothing happened.
Cutting a long story short, I think that the surface of the compost was drying and so were the seeds. I don’t know why it should be different this year. Could it be that I have left it later this year than usual? Perhaps. Could it be the equipment? Perhaps. Certainly, I have evidence that that the drying out of the surface has been the main problem since germination has occurred at the edges of the containers, where the droplets of water run to when I open the containers.
But I am happy to report that the problem seems to have been resolved. I adopted a tip from Audrey Silk. Instead of putting lids on the containers, I covered them with cling-film. Thus, I was able to have a ‘depression’ in the surface of the film so as to channel evaporated water into the middle of the container so that it made big enough drops to fall onto the surface of the compost. This has been the result:
Odd, is it not?, that the germination is almost entirely on the right-hand side? And notice the cracks in the surface of the compost. that suggest that the whole thing is too warm.
It really is a difficult decision. There are far more seedlings there than I need, plus, some other containers have seedlings, but they are tightly clustered together. The question is, should I take the container out of the heated propagator, remove the cling-film, and expose them to normal temperatures, air and sunlight? But temperatures, at this time of year, are not normal! They are cold!
OK. I’ll give them one more night in the heated prop. I’ve misted the surface so the seeds should be damp.
As an experiment, I have placed the other three containers (which have some seedlings at the edges) in different places, some warmer than others, and also replaced the lids with cling-film. I sprinkled addition seeds over the surface a couple of days ago.
It is perhaps an important thing to suffer failure. Is it true that we learn more from our failures and disappointments than from our successes?
All being well, I should have as many plants as I need in due course. Ideally, I would be planting out in mid-May, but a delay is not that important since it is the huge bottom and mid-plant leaves which are important. The small, late leaves, at the top of the plant, are not that important.
Tonight, I tried out smoking a blend of certain tobaccos. Regular readers will know that I changed my curing method. I’ll not go into detail tonight. Suffice to say that I made a ‘curing box’ so as to be able to control temperature and humidity reasonably well.
All I can say, without going into detail, is that the stuff which has come out of the curing-box experience is as good as I can reasonably expect, and better than the ‘wadding method’. I am not kidding or wishful thinking. I mixed my stuff with Lemon Virginia with a ratio of 1 to 2 – one part my own and two parts Lemon Virginia. I can find no fault with the blend at all. The smoke does not stink, it is not harsh, there is no nasty after-taste.
Not only that, but my creations last far longer than do tailor-made cigs. I am talking about 15 minutes as compared with 7 minutes. Part of that is because there has ceased to be ‘quality control’ of tailor-made cigs. Thus, tobacco companies can use ‘expanded’ tobacco to make cigs. Thus, there is less and less actual tobacco in the cigs. There are no quality controls regarding the weight of tobacco in the cigs – or the ‘quality’ of the tobacco leaf from which the cigs are made. Tobacco Control have ensured that only the most toxic of tobacco will be used. By that I mean not that the tobacco itself is toxic, but that no effort is required to ensure that it does not contain incidental toxins and elements, absorbed by the plants from either the air of the soil.
Not that it matters since the quantities are so tiny that they are harmless.
Even so, Tobacco Control is using POWER to make things worse. Cigs are becoming potentially more and more out-of-control, and I mean that Tobacco Companies are no longer accountable for the quality of their products. For example, the EU apparatchiks have let the TCs off by taking to themselves the control of ingredients. By doing so, they have taken responsibility.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. When the Australian Government demanded PP, the Tobacco Companies had the right, because of the generality of PP, to act together. They should have acted together to cease the supply of their tobacco products to Australia until the ramifications of loss of trademarks, intellectual properties, etc, had been sorted out.
But Tobacco Company Executives are incredibly clever, much more so than the people who use their products. In fact, they are so clever that people who use their products are slaves for all intents.
Both Tobacco Control and Tobacco Companies are ill. One proposes that miasmas from swamps causes malaria, while the other blames mosquitoes. Which does what, and does it matter?
Daughter number 1, J, is up from the deep South for the weekend. She has not really come up specifically to visit us for Easter, but to attend a party. The party is to celebrate the 21st birthday of K. K is the granddaughter of my sister (sadly deceased). My wife and I had three daughters and my sister had three sons. As a family, we have always kept in touch, though not in each others pockets. Every now and again, we have a get-together. these get-togethers are always great fun.
So J arrived and the wine flowed, and conversation and laughter became more and more noisy, as is usually the case.
Personally, I wanted to watch the debate, by herself preferred Endeavour. Herself prefers to watch ITV 3. She enjoys ‘living a life of crime’, ie. watching the crime programmes on ITV3. There’s Marple, Morse, Wycliffe, Endeavour, Poirot, Touch of Frost, The Vice, Cracker, etc. Failing ITV3, there’s Five USA, with NCIS and CSI. Yes, the episodes have been seen a dozen times each, but, well, who can blame her if that is what she prefers? There again, other ‘likes’ are Flog It, Antiques Roadshow, Pointless, Eggheads, Emmerdale, Coronation Street, East Enders and the OZ soaps. Let us not dwell.
So I decided to watch it on my laptop. But daughter 2 wanted to watch the debate as well, so she over-road herself (I dare not!), and we all watched the debate – sort of. Most of the time, the girls argued among themselves and herself pulled her face.
To be honest, I thought that the whole thing was a farce. I think that Cameron must have received quite a bit of coaching. It was clear within a few minutes that he was going to adopt the posture of incumbent PM. He acted the part pretty well – kept a straight face (no head shaking, laughing, interrupting – just a quite attention to what the others were saying). It was noticeable that he did not discuss. He made statements, mostly relying upon the governments record. “We have rescued the economy”, he said, “Continue to trust our plan”.
I think that that was a clever tactic. While Sturgeon moaned about Scotland and X moaned about Wales, and the OZ sheila who represents the Greens said nothing about greenery, and Miliband made promises, and the boy Clegg dithered sweetly, Cameron looked benignly on.
A special word for our hero, Nige. This was not the best of forums for him. He is better in a one to one situation or a small group of three or four. But he still managed to make his points strenuously. Not for him the nuances of a billion in income from the mansion tax to be spent on Y. No, just cut the bloody costs of foreign aid; stop HIV infected foreigners arriving here and getting free treatment when they turn up at a hospital, having ostensibly arrived here for a holiday; trade with the world and the commonwealth especially; dump the extravagant EU.
But what interested me especially is the clear indication that these sort of ‘debates’ are totally useless. Only a few subjects were addressed, and then only superficially. Where were the questions on foreign policy? The Ukraine? The UN WHO and the failure of that body to do its duty regarding Ebola? Where were the questions about the thousands of new laws and regulations? The complexity of the tax system? Tax avoidance and evasion by the wealthy? Absurd levels of regulation and control, both home produced and EU produced?
All in all, I cannot but mark the debate as anything but an amusing interlude, of no significance or use whatsoever. Let us hope that it is the last one ever, and let us hope that subjects like freedom, self-sufficiency, self-reliance, medical profession produced fear and hysteria, get some sort of recognition. For example, the more that the medical profession produce fear and hysteria, the more the costs of the health service will increase. It is inevitable.
Crazy ideas start to proliferate in academia. According to academics, if hundreds of millions of pounds are spent on flu jabs (in that ‘hundreds of millions’, I include not only the cost of the jabs, but also the advertising, doctors and nurses time, transport, etc), then billions of pounds-worth of additional production will ensue as a result of ‘work-days not lost’. Clever stuff…. except that no firm with any sense would undertake to fill orders without reasonable staffing cover and reasonable leeway in the time-scales. The ‘work days not lost’ are not a gain. They are superfluous days which can be used in other ways. But the probability is that the ‘superfluous days’ will actually be ‘finishing a bit early’, and the lack of staff will result in ‘some overtime’. Neither of those alternatives result in ‘costs to the taxpayer’ or the Nation. At worst, it will be shareholders who lose out a bit.
But it was fun at home (despite herself pulling her face). I have my own ‘feminiza’ in the form of my three daughters. Only the eldest is married and she has had four children. The other two are single. But all of them are strong women, even though they know nothing about the workings of cars and machinery in general. By ‘strong’, I mean emotionally ‘tough’. That idea is a bit weird. We all know that women tend to be more emotional than men – they weep easily. How can they be described as ’emotionally tough’?
It is because they can more easily recognise artificial emotion than men can.
I am blessed by having such a coven of daughters. Many are the occasions of “Dad, can you just….” which, far from making my heart sink, fill me with joy.
Do not all fathers of daughters feel the same?