The Gerbil is Dead —- Not Going to the Pub —- the Consultation —- Sock-puppet Politicians —- This Blog

The Gerbil was called Honey. It died some time today. Herself says that it woke her up early this morning, scratching like mad at something in its cage. It often did that and often woke her up.

It was/is not ours. It belonged to my grandson who went off to America a couple of years ago and married an American lady. He’ll be saddened to hear of Honey’s death. But she had a good innings for a gerbil, being, I think, at least five years old. Nevertheless, it is a sadness. I’ll bury it tomorrow somewhere in the garden. C (the grandson) had two gerbils originally, but one died when only a couple of years old. That also is buried in the garden. Even though the garden is covered in an inch or so of snow, I have a rough idea where it is buried. I think that I’ll bury Honey alongside its companion (or they may have been brother and sister – not sure). I guess that I’m just a sentimental old sod at heart.

The cat nearly had it once when it escaped from its cage. Fortunately, I was able to grab ‘Mr. Marcus’ (the cat’s name is Marcus) and bung him in the dining room while I tried to catch Honey. I managed to corner it and get hold of it. As I put it back in its cage, the damn thing bit me. My God! Did it hurt!

Actually, I am not surprised that it has died. Not long ago, I was pondering how old it was. It was an old aged gerbil. At least it seems to have pegged out while vigorously trying to break free, which, I suppose, is as good a way to go as any. Perhaps even gerbils demand freedom. There again, Tobacco Control would probably say that it was fighting to be smoke-free. I suppose that they would also say that it died prematurely.

When I was a little boy, maybe about nine years old, we were having a religious lesson (being catholic). The subject was ‘the soul’. I remember asking the teacher if cats had souls. She was a bit taken aback. I can’t remember what her reply was, but I vaguely think that it was, shall we say, ‘non-committal’.

Is it OK to say RIP?


Mr Marcus is not ours either. He belongs to our daughter N, who resides upstairs. Also, having a stop-over tonight, is Bella the shiatsu. She belongs to our daughter A. There is a spider over in that corner somewhere. I don’t know to whom it belongs.


Because of the snow, I decided not to bother going to the pub tonight (which is why I am writing this post so early). There was a time, not an awful log time ago, when I would have trudged through a foot of snow to get to the pub, but not any more. Although I still enjoy going there and having a couple of pints and vaguely watching a bit of footie on the TV and having a think, there is not the same ambiance any more. It’s not worth bothering in bad weather.

Frank Davis wrote an post a few days ago about the economic effects of the smoking ban. Let me see it I can find it. AH… Here it is:

I meant to post a comment there but forgot to do so.

I think that the economic damage of the 2007 smoking ban is by no means finished. Let me relate my own tale.

In the summer of 2007, after the ban, quite a few punters gathered outside. There were probably about a dozen, young and old. It was quite amusing. That scene lasted for a couple of months before the nights started to draw in and the weather became more unpleasant. During the winter of 2007, that scene disappeared, never to reappear. But I continued in much the same habit of going to the pub every night and on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, after golfing. Then, after a couple of years, one Monday, I decided to get a bottle of red from the co-op and stop in. By then, I was reading blogs, and I found it quite pleasant to vaguely watch the TV, read blogs, study Relativity Theory (which interested me greatly at the time), drink my vino and smoke. It was not long before Tuesday night was added, and then Thursday, and Saturday. I stopped golfing five years ago. The circumstances were that it was October and it was raining and I had just lost a couple of balls on the second hole, and I asked myself, “What the fuck are you doing here?” But what finally decided me to resign my membership of the club was the smoking ban. The exact circumstance were that I had left my lighter in my car so I asked the barman for a light. There was no one else in the clubroom at the time, and so I proposed to light my fag and give him his lighter back. ‘No’, I was told, ‘You must go outside’. That did it for me. I did not go back and resigned at the end of that year. Why especially? Because I realised that my loyalty to the club meant nothing. Thus, Saturday and Sunday afternoons were added to the list of non-pub-going periods. Which leaves only Wednesday, Friday and Sunday evenings.

But it has not stopped there. Gradually, the amount that I am drinking when I go to the pub is declining. A few months ago, on a Wednesday and Sunday, I might have had four pints, and on a Friday, I might have had six pints, if it was particularly jolly. Last Friday, there were only a dozen or so people in. I had two pints, then one at the other pub across the way, and went home. On Wednesdays and Sundays, I now have only two pints. Instead, I have taken to buying three litre boxes of wine and quaffing at my leisure, cig to hand at all times. Herself has never seen so much of me. We are getting quite friendly.

So the effects of the smoking ban, in my case, and, judging from the decline in people going to the pub, in the case of many others, continues to hammer the hospitality trade. When will pubcos wake up and take the blindfolds off? Why are their shareholder not shouting? There is nothing holy or saintly about banning smoking, much as the Tobacco Control Industry has tried to portray it as such. On the contrary, the defiling of Science is evil.

Will there be an end to the economic effects of the smoking ban? I don’t know, but I see no reason that there should be an end. For example, as I understand it, although mass closures of pubs has past its peak, there are still some 30 pubs closing every week. But what is more important, perhaps, is that there are more and more people who work for the Government or sock-puppet ‘charities’ whose work involves creating economically damaging regulations. That is, these people are employed to kill the industries which pay their salaries through the taxes that the industries pay. If I may, I would like to project a dreamlike situation. One day, some time in the future, I foresee ovens and heating systems being replaced by small atomic fission reactors, and large scale power production being supplied by fusion reactors. In the meantime, there is plenty of fossil fuel available. But what about aircraft, one might ask? No problem. Sometime in the future, the fuel required for powering aircraft (and other vehicles) will be made artificially, and they will be ‘clean’. The problem with the EU is that it seems to have no other purpose but to employ vast numbers of people to create new economically damaging regulations, and it is that aspect of the EU which is objectionable (among other things). The EU effects resemble the last years of the Roman Empire.


I have written a response to the Consultation about the regulation of ‘raw’ tobacco. I would have liked to publish that response here, but I dare not since to do so would identify the author (me). Am I being paranoid? Perhaps, but the UK is becoming a police state, and I have an infirm wife and a lot to lose. Others who have nothing to lose (no funds to be pirated) are the people who can object most strongly and identify themselves. You see, we all know of people who have been targeted and made examples of. I dare not risk such an outcome which might result from the actions of the Police State which the UK has become.

Hidden within that Consultation is a plan to outlaw the growing of the genus ‘nicotiana’ (tobacco plants), just as is the case in Australia. But even in Australia, the ban was achieved in a roundabout way in 1911. In Australia, the ban was achieved by prohibiting the transport of seeds and plantlets. In this Consultation, the ban will be achieved by official definition of ‘harvested leaves and stalks’ as ‘raw tobacco’. It tries to avoid the obvious need for the leaves and stalks to be cured before they become ‘tobacco’. The word ‘raw’ is emotional and meaningless. The word ‘tobacco’ describes leaves and stalks which have been cured.

What makes things worse is that Priti Patel, a conservative MP and a Minister, is promoting this convoluted mumbo-jumbo. Patel is fighting against Tobacco Control re plain packaging on behalf of small shopkeepers, but seems to be supporting Tobacco Control in its attempts to stop gardeners growing ‘genus nicotiana’ plants.

Frankly, the way I see it, the phrase ‘sock puppet’ describes not just fake charities, but also politicians, especially Ministers. I was reading on a blog (I forget which) that the Cabinet (politicians) demanded that Government Departments ‘downsize’. But the Civil Service blocked that endeavour by procrastinating and waffling. Well, they will, will they not? They are hardly likely to sack themselves. The idea of ‘smaller government’ died. Further, ‘bigger government’ has thrived. More and more regulations, regulating regulations, are appearing, destroying our industries and activities.


It is all so depressing that I have decided to change this blog, although I do not quite know as yet how to do it. The UK is becoming a Police State, and I worry that I am personally at risk. That would not worry me if it were not for the fact that herself is infirm and I have a lot to lose if I was targeted. The word ‘Bolton’ has to disappear because it is too localised. The blog needs to become generalised to avoid the possibility of accusations of ‘encouraging the growing of tobacco plants and thus the avoidance of tobacco duties’. Readers will be aware that this blog has always championed the individual against the might of the fascist, totalitarian, Nazi State.  And the answer is simple. Just stop giving the totalitarian, fascist, Nazis money. There is no need for negotiations. Just cut the money flow.



I need to work out how to continue in the new world order, especially if our pathetically inept and complacent sock-puppet, specially bred, politicians do not get a grip. Well, since they are specially bred, they will never be able to ‘get a grip’ will they? We need a new breed of politician. The Elite needs to be destroyed, since it is the product of decades of corruption in public life.

I love the National Health Service. Why? Simple. Because people who become ill do not know what to do, and mostly fall ill suddenly. They do not have the knowledge and time to search for a specific ‘provider’. They go to their GP, often worried and miserable. They seek solace, and it is that which renders our NHS wonderful. Our NHS is wonderful, but Public Health England is a disaster, and threatens our wonderful NHS. Public Health England is the anti-thesis of the NHS. It drains funding by pretending to stop ill-health occurring, but any such intervention cannot succeed since one illness which might be prevented will be replaced by a different illness – especially in old age.

Among young people, the NHS deals, generally, with ‘trauma’ – being injuries. But there is a curve where, as people age, more and more people present with chronic (meaning incurable) conditions which are age-related. The probability of these ‘traumas’ in young people and the ‘chronic’ conditions in old people being caused by tobacco enjoyment is ephemeral.

It is beyond my understanding how tobacco became the new black death, the new plague. I thought that we had advanced beyond witch doctors and such. But we have not. The witch doctors are Glantz, Chapman, McKee, etc, who dance around ‘The Kings’ in Government, shaking their gourds and chanting their mantras.

Which is why I need to change the appearance of this blog.

Let me think…..




18 Responses to “The Gerbil is Dead —- Not Going to the Pub —- the Consultation —- Sock-puppet Politicians —- This Blog”

  1. J Johnson Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about the gerbil. I’m ever sorrier that the anti’s changed the scope and shape of the entire world for you and for all of us. When people were told the denomalizing and bans were just the beginning they didn’t believe it.
    I wonder if they believe it now looking about the place,seeing the riots going on world wide. I wonder if they grasp the beginnings were rooted in something that seemed like it would never affect anyone if they didn’t smoke.
    The same tactics used to divide us as smoker and non smoker also divide us along political lines,age and size.
    What seems almost curious to me looking back on my childhood in the 1970’s was not just the freedom but the fact that every single one of us seemed to be just people,some smoked some did not. Some were overweight some were not.
    I don’t remember this division.
    Looking back now I find it so wonderfully ironic that these health fanatics,these horrible people who urge everyone to be the exactly the same also say they want unity and attempt to force it upon us.

    I wonder what all my silly ramblings say about all of this and I wonder if it really matters. I’m sorry I went off topic there.

    • junican Says:

      Not far O/T.
      I must admit that when the ban came in, I did not for a minute think that it would hold up. I suspect that, had the Irish publicans refused to abide by the law, the whole project would have had to be abandoned. But the publicans may have been misled by the lies about how many non-smokers were desperate to rush into pubs and replace smokers. They never noticed that the people who were making these statements were anti-tobacco zealots and charlatans. Also, the publicans had no leaders, especially with Pubcos and Unions on the side of the ban. Also, I must admit that not for a moment did I realise that there would be an army of employees of TC pressing madly for further and further inroads into our freedom.

  2. garyk30 Says:

    “I guess that I’m just a sentimental old sod at heart.”

    That is what we love about you.
    RIP Honey!!!!

    I too have found that several glasses of red seem to make my wife more enjoyable.
    If, at the same time, she has a couple of glasses of white we can get quite sociable.

  3. The Blocked Dwarf Says:

    The clue is in the name , no matter how small and cute the critters are, when it’s latin name means something like ‘nasty little Bastard with sharp claws’ you know not to make the mistake I made of getting my hand in between two gerbils wanting to rip the throats out of each other. Their diffy-liddle teeth damn near took my finger off and I actually felt the bite touch bone.

    Gave up keeping them ,one day a mother gerbil ate all her babies -with my heartbroken toddler looking on.

  4. The Blocked Dwarf Says:

    “Am I being paranoid?” No.
    ” Perhaps, but the UK is becoming a police state,” becoming? I was discussing this with a well known libertarian blogger over coffee recently and one thing we both agreed on is that neither of us recognise the country we have returned to after many years sojourn in ‘furrin’ places.

    Back in the early 80s Reader Digest brought a tome called ‘Your Rights’ (or something like that) and it was a tome, you could have beaten someone to death with the thing. Was about the size of 2 telephone books. Walking past a 2nd hand Book Shop today I spied a copy of it in the ‘Please Take, FREE’ plastic bin outside the shop. Not even worth a token 50p as Aga Food. Kinda says it all really. If Readers Digest were to bring out an updated version , it would be thinner than my cellphone.

    • junican Says:

      Odd, is it not?, that, as the Eastern European countries have gained lots more freedom, so have our freedoms been diminished. Equality of freedoms EU style?

      • The Blocked Dwarf Says:

        “as the Eastern European countries have gained lots more freedom”

        Yes and No. A lot of former citizens of Ironcurtainski would probably tell you that they actually feel less ‘free’ now than before Marxism collapsed under the weight of VHS Players and Tamagochis. Sure they used to be forbidden from expressing anything that might appear to be ‘critical’ of the state and have to queue for weeks for anything worth buying but their daily lives were, often surprisingly, free of Party control. Or as one DDR’er once expressed it to me, ‘our cars were shit and putting a sticker with a popular West slogan on your Trabi would get you arrested but we all had a job, a flat and no one starved. As long as you doffed your cap at the Party, no one actually expected you to obey the regulations’

        Recently I returned to the hotel in Budapest , where 25 years ago I met my Frau. Back when we met, Hungary was still The Magyar Peoples Rep and everyone smoked everywhere. This year the Hotel was forced to go non smoking due to a Smoking Ban stricter than anything the communists ever dreamed up and as the entire Hungarian hotel staff and every single guest EXCEPT my wife was a smoker it was particularly farcical to watch.

  5. prog Says:

    We once had a guinea pig. Technically it belonged to one of our daughters. Anyway,the other half used to let it loose when she gardening and it followed her everywhere – until she stood on it.

    • junican Says:


    • The Blocked Dwarf Says:

      As a kid we had a guinea pig that roamed free in the garden all day. More than once i witnessed one of the neighbourhood moggies shoot out of the garden, blood pouring from the deep wounds on its
      Nose. DONT MESS WITH GUINEA PIGS. When they’re narked then they are really narked!

  6. Jude Says:

    My daughter had a guinea pig as a pet when she was quite young, 3-4 years old. Unfortunately our next door neighbours had a jack russell terrier, who scared that caused said guinea pig to have a heart attack and drop dead.

    My daughter was devastated, so we had a funeral, complete with shoe box, and flowers, and buried “sooty” in the back yard. I then explained that sooty had gone to heaven, and thought no more of it. A week later I found my daughter sitting on the back step, holding a damp shoe box with the decaying and very smelly remains of sooty, crying her eyes out because I had told her sooty had gone to heaven, and quite clearly I had lied to her as sooty was definitely still with us.

    Lesson learnt, don’t lie to kids about the after life, and dispatch dead pets in the wheely bin on collection day.

    As for smoking bans, they have virtually killed the pubs in my town, now they have become places of bad karaoke, and binge drinking teenagers, or have simply gone broke and closed.

    • Jude Says:

      Should read ” who scared the guinea pig and caused it to have a heart attack”…. no excuse for such poor grammar 🙂

  7. Samuel Says:

    You cannot have one without the other. If government is granted power to take money and use it to ‘provide’ health care then it ‘acquires’ power to regulate all personal activities that affect personal health (in their opinions) to ensure a reduction in cost to the NHS. If individuals do not pay for directly and own their own health care, either by paying cash or by purchasing an insurance policy then they do not own the right to decide what ‘risks’ they will expose themselves to. They become de facto wards of the State.

    • junican Says:

      The daft thing is that you CAN have private health insurance, but you cannot opt out of the ‘public’ health insurance (taxation applied to supporting the NHS).

  8. It Couldn’t Happen Here | Frank Davis Says:

    […] on his Bolton Smokers Club blog Junican wrote a few days […]

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