Frank Davis today talked about how the smoking ban changed his life. When Arnott gloatingly said, “Smokers will be exiled to the outdoors”, she prophesied more than that. She prophesied that smokers would be exiled – period. They would be exiled from their friends and exiled from the work-mates and exiled from hospitals and exiled from parks and exiled from …… You get the drift.
Further, when smokers found themselves exiled, and this might not be something that Arnott et al were aware of, when smokers found themselves exiled from places selected by tobacco control and government, they then exiled themselves from other places as well as those places from which they had been excluded. They also exiled themselves from potential finger-waggers and coughers.
My own experience was somewhat different. I found it hard to believe that it would actually happen. You see, there have been all sorts of bans and prohibitions in the past. People paid lip-service to them, but no one really gave a shit about them. For example, at a pedestrian crossing, one might cross the road on the crossing when the light was on red. One did so because one could see that no traffic was approaching. But that is a bad example. A better example might be people who disregarded the seatbelt law. Lots and lots of people refused to wear them, and prosecutions were extremely rare.
I was, I admit, rather naive. When the law said that publicans must not permit smoking in their pubs, not for one moment did I suspect that publicans would be actively required to use force to stop people smoking.
But what really, really sickened me off was the enthusiasm with which the staff of my locals enforced the ban. For example, I was standing in the porch of my local, half in and half out, having a fag and this 17 year-old barman seemed greatly to enjoy telling me, a person who could be his grandfather, that I should be outside. So I said, “Look X, why are you bothered? I’m not inside. It doesn’t matter. Why not just carry on with your job and leave me alone?” The funny thing is that he was a likeable youth and we were friendly. Why on earth did he feel the need to speak at all?
I must admit that, at first, I blamed the bar staff (rightly, but for the wrong reason). It took quite a long time before I found out about the trickery of tobacco control in the way that they, a) pretended to exclude wet-led pubs and private clubs, and, b) timed the measure so that it went to the House of Lords when most peers were on holiday; had that not been the case, then lots more peers might have been in attendance who might have drawn attention to the constitutional issues of the government itself amending its own proposed law at the last minute, and the matter of citizens being forced to police the matter.
But what most astonished me was how the smoking ban revealed that people you regarded as friends, or at least friendly acquaintances, turned into enemies overnight. Suppose that, the day after the ban, I had gone to my local and ordered a pint and said the the publican, “I intend to have a fag. Can I have an ashtray?” And suppose that he said, “J, my friend, loyal customer though you are, I cannot permit smoking. I must tell you that the law demands that you do not smoke. I do not permit it. Right? So here is a small glass – I cannot give you an ashtray. If someone comes in and reports you to the police, upon your own head be it”. How could one complain?
That essentially is what happened to the landlord of the pub in Bolton. I went there, shortly after the ban, and observed. There was a notice in large capitals. It said, “Smoking is banned. If you smoke, you do so at your own risk”. For putting up that notice, the publican finished up in prison. Why? Because the notice implied that he would not FORCE people not to smoke.
The astonishing thing is that the publican organisations did not fight. They capitulated totally. The pubcos did not fight. They also capitulated. Worst of all, the bar staff unions did not protect their members against being used as storm troopers by the Zealots. That is the weirdest thing of all.
I have gone on at some length about the trickery of tobacco control and upon the misuse of law to criminalise the people if they do not actively impose the law even if they are not policemen. On that basis, if I see a person watering his lawn during a hosepipe ban, I must leap over the fence, wrestle him to the ground and confiscate his hosepipe. But I need not call the police and accuse him of a crime. The police do not want to know. That is how the smoking ban works. YOU will be the criminal and will be fined heavily or imprisoned, even if you have committed no crime.
What is clear beyond doubt, as illustrated to some extent above, is that we are living in an age of ‘lawful lawlessness’. Or, you could reverse that and say ‘lawless lawfulness’. But what is important is that PETS (People who Enjoy Tobacco) need to accept that they will continue to be persecuted for the time being. They will be accused of killing babies, just as the Jews were in Nazi Germany, and just as they have by Zealots telling Government how awful the effects of SHS are on babies. Such obscenities will continue for some time yet.
So what are we smokers to do?
The critical thing is TO SUPPORT EACH OTHER!
Frank Davis said that his former friends (those who said ‘no smoking in my house’ etc) have been replaced by his internet friends. I would go further. Only since the smoking ban have I realised that my former ‘friends’ were not friends at all. If I lit a cig in a pub in their presence, they would be appalled and horrified and terrified and batter me to the ground. Those are not friends. My real friends are people who I have never met in person or even spoken to. I have more friends now than I have ever had in my whole life.
But I am not talking about the Facebook definition of ‘friend’. We have our own definition. We know that there are millions of people who are smokers and who detest the Zealots in equal measure. It is also likely that millions of non-smokers detest the Zealots. We have a right to detest the Zealots since they detest us all. Recent events re ecigs have revealed that the Zealots detest each other.
It is a wonderful thing that the internet came along when it did. The critically important thing, despite ‘the noise’, is that the MSM versions of reality are now contested by manifold alternative views.
“Views?” What are ‘Views’? Views are not facts.
What is revealed is chaos. Massive, massive, chaos. In fact, it would be reasonable to say that ‘The Doctors Study’ revealed the chaos.
We must stick together and not weaken. What that means is that we must demand the end of tobacco duties. They are unfair since they penalise smokers and deprive them of their wealth inequitably.
What is important is to understand that ‘fashion’ will change, and that the enjoyment of tobacco, even via ecigs or ‘heat not burn’, will win the day.
But it is equally important that the Zealots who persecuted us, even in a minor way, should not get away with it. They need to be named and shamed.