‘Knee-jerk’ Laws

Rose, in a comment in my last post, mentioned the fact that Blair PM, some years ago, banned ‘magic mushrooms’. I vaguely recall the circumstances. There was much propaganda in the MSM about how some form of hallucinogenic stuff could be extracted from that particular species of mushroom, which grew wild in the UK. Blair’s law criminalised the cultivation of ‘magic mushrooms’ with the possibility of seven years jail for doing so, but merely picking them in woodlands or finding them growing wild in your garden was not an offence.

Until Rose mentioned it, I had totally forgotten the furore in the press about those mushrooms. It was pretty intense. There were lurid descriptions of the nasty effects of using the extracts from those mushrooms.

I have not heard any mention, whatsoever, of ‘magic mushrooms’ for years and years.

I can’t help but feel that we are suffering from a greater and greater proliferation of ‘knee-jerk’ laws. ‘Hate Speech’ laws, for example, were rushed in with such haste that no one, especially the police, knows what they mean. There is the recent case, which went to our Supreme Court, I believe, which declared that calling ‘the prophet’ a paedophile was hate speech, if it offended anyone. But I am not sure of the detail. It might be that the tenor of the speech in which the claim was made was ‘hateful’. Does anyone have a link to the actual judgement? I was far too busy in other ways at the time to check.

Big problems arise when definitions are fluid. EG, “Offensive speech is any speech seen by the hearer/reader to be offensive”. [Not accurate, but you get the idea] I don’t have a problem with that definition since it merely states a fact. The real question is whether that speech is illegal (which does not depend upon what the hearer/reader thinks). It depends upon the letter of the law. But there are repercussions from that loose definition, such as the waste of police time investigating such claims. Did those who formulated the ‘hate speech’ law realise that there would be such repercussions?

Cameron’s capitulation to TobCON’s demands for ‘plain packaging’ was another knee-jerk law. No one except the crackpots in TobCON was the slightest bit interested. So why did Cameron and his Health Minister bother to schedule it? My own opinion is that they were railroaded into it because some people had already drawn up the form of the law and pushed for it very hard. In this case, however, the target of the law was apparent, being Tobcoms, and so easily forced to comply. Even so, the ‘knee-jerk’ nature of the law is easily seen in the fact that PP has had no effect whatsoever.

What has had an effect has been the force exerted by taxation. It cannot be denied, and TobCON brags about it. But their bragging is akin to bragging about beating people up. But it isn’t just our own crackpots who brag. The WHO brags incessantly about the wonderful effects of beating people with tobacco taxes. The EU also. Take taxes to be the same thing as a whip.

The chancellor, in his recent budget, raised tobacco taxes by inflation plus 2%. That is the equivalent of 50 lashes of the whip per day being increased to 55 lashes per day. And he does not give a shit. As far as I know, not one single MP objected to the additional punishment of smokers out of 560. Not one.

Another, and even more blatant example, is the Dundee council’s smoking and ecig ban. It does not matter if enough pressure is brought to bear to amend that employee rule (which would likely be only about the ecig bit). What matters is the regulatory punishment of smokers on the flimsiest of grounds.

Someone somewhere said that it is useless to protest about the latest idiocy. You must always protest about the original idiocy.

Let’s face it. The original smoking ban introduced by the Blair Gov in 2007 was a massive ratcheting up of the war on smokERS, and not on smokING. Massive taxes are hurting smokERS and not smokING.

Further, I have a feeling that the Brexit negotiations will finish up with a ‘knee-jerk’ law, unless The People protest. The whole thing is such a mess that it is hard to see how The People can make sense of it. For example, the question of the North/South Irish border is a question for our two countries to decide. It has bugger all to do with Germany, France or Italy.

What can smokers do? There are not many options for most. I remember talking to a guy who holidayed in Teneriffe. Teneriffe is not in the EU and therefore is not a place where the EU rule that one can bring back as much tobacco as one wishes for one’s own use. I think that the limit was 2 x 200, but I am not sure. He brought back a case-full every time he went and was never stopped. FEAR is enemy and not Customs.

Knee-jerk laws rely only upon FEAR. Once the FEAR is dispelled, those laws have no relevance.

Magic mushrooms anyone?

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One Response to “‘Knee-jerk’ Laws”

  1. Timothy Goodacre Says:

    Yep ! Always buy abroad if you can !

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