Readers might recall that I have often asked the question ‘what motivates people who want to stop other people from enjoying tobacco’? We see it all the time in comments on newspaper articles. “My Dad died from lung cancer and he was a smoker. Smoking should be banned”, or some variation on that. But we also see it many other situations: “My child died from shock because she was allergic to peanuts. Peanuts should be banned. It would be worthwhile if it saved the life of one child”.
You can understand the pain of the bereathed, but it is often the case that you can recognise the need to transfer feelings of guilt to someone else. If it helps such people to come to terms with their loss, then fine – provided that no one takes any notice. But then you get the collective grief – such as Hillsborough, which has now dragged on for decades. Millions and millions of pounds have been spent which have produced nothing worthwhile. Why? Because the whole thing was AN ACCIDENT. No one could have foreseen that barriers on the terraces would fail, and that there would be a wave of bodies cascading down the terrace. No one could foresee that the opening of the gates to let queuing fans into the ground would precipitate the collapse of the barriers due to the press of bodies. No one could foresee that the avalanche of bodies would cause the failure of barriers further down the terrace as well as the higher ones.
But, as regards smoking, there also seems to be a class of people who have no personal involvement, but who seem to just be…. what’s the word….. puritanical. They live a sort of sheltered life which does not permit the risk of fun. They are scared of fun. Fun is dangerous. I remember a ditty from way, way back: “Life is real and life is earnest, and the grave is not its goal. Dust to dust thou must returneth, was not spoken of the soul”. I doubt that many people people will know that little poem. Does anyone see the internal contradiction? It is so obvious that it ought to jump right off the page.
Why should life be earnest? And what has that got to do with ‘the soul’?
But I digress.
Some years ago, ASH was a power in the land. It could FORCE politicians to pass laws, as especially depicted by the smoking ban. It had the upper hand. It was an Aggressor which could not be denied.
Everything was pre-planned in great detail. Studies were performed and the public was bombarded with propaganda. Smoking was a nasty, disgusting, filthy, stinking habit – regardless of the fact that Churchill (cigars) and Einstein (pipe) smoked. Even PM Harold Wilson appeared on TV around 1970 smoking his pipe. Those facts were ‘airbrushed’ out of history on the grounds that they were ‘aberrations’ which would not have occurred had Churchill, Einstein and Wilson, and millions and millions of other highly placed people known ‘the truth’.
But what is ‘the truth’?
And this is where we reach the crux of the matter. For years and years, ASH ET AL have been disseminating ‘untruth’ shamelessly. The three people that I have mentioned all lived to a good old age.
During the period from about 1990 to 2007, as far as the UK is concerned, ASH ET AL was in the ascendancy. It reached its zenith in 2007 when it ‘forced’ Parliament to enact the smoking ban. Since then, it has been nothing.
There is a reason for that. The fact is that ASH ET AL was never the actual force. It was merely the ‘front’ for either/or/or both the RCP (Royal College of Physicians) or the BMA (British Medical Association). But neither of those groups have any idea what to do about ecigs and Heat not Burn. ASH is merely a Public Relations advertising agency. It might just as well be promoting Corned Beef as a Smoking Cessation Product.
What we are seeing is the terminal decline of ASH ET AL. Why? Because they are way behind the times. The ‘argument’ has moved far, far beyond ASH. ASH cannot cope with ‘harm reduction’. For a start, it does not have in depth knowledge of ecigs, snus, heat not burn. But ASH was never designed to know these things – it was always a ‘publicity stunt’. The same applies to ‘ASH Scotland’.
Things have moved on and ASH has become antediluvian. I do not understand why Simon Clark from Forest engages with them or local radio. All of them are irrelevant. They are just publicity stunts.
REFUSE TO ENGAGE ON THEIR TERMS! There is no ‘discussion’. Prohibition cannot be discussed. There is no conversation about Prohibition. I must emphasise that. There can be no conversation about Prohibition. Prohibition is Death, and you cannot recover from Death. Death by salami slices, or ‘a thousand cuts’ is still death.
So Simon Clark at Forest is doomed to failure and always has been. I would expect that Arnott would laugh at him. But he COULD change things. A lot would depend upon the numbers of smokers who have affiliated themselves to FOREST.My guess is that there are very few.
And yet, before PP, tobacco companies had every opportunity to organise smokers by including an admonition in every pack to support ‘freedom’.
But all that is theoretical and whimsy.
The reality is that ASH has nowhere it go.
Why is that?
I do not know the precise reasons, except that ASH has received no ‘orders’ from its Owners’. Its ‘Owners’ are the RCP (Royal College of Physicians). But the ‘British Medical Assn’ is vaguely opposed. Opposed to what?
The assumptions of ASH ET AL have been that smoking is ‘inelastic’. That is because smokers are disgusting, filthy, stinking addicts.
But it is gradually turning out that smokers are far more ‘elastic’ than the Zealots think.
I do not understand why Forest continues to exist. It has long lost its power.
I am coming gradually round to the idea that smokers should go ‘underground’, and the sooner the better. FOREST should cease to exist since it is useful to the autocrats of Tobacco Control.
It is not the least bit important, since ASH is just a machine which turns the English language into a ‘Publicity Stunt’. What is very, very sad is that MPs do not rip such ‘stunts’ to pieces and humiliate the originators.