Cultural Vandalism

H/T Pat Nurse for the American Conservative’s Britain Abolishes Itself, by Spiked! editor Brendan O’Neill

What’s going on here? In the absence of either revolutionary or serious reform-based movements in the 21st-century UK, what on earth is driving this itchy desire amongst politicians and other leaders to turn their backs on tradition and constantly meddle in ancient institutions?

I think George Carey, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, was on to something when in February he referred to the coalition government’s plans to institutionalize same-sex marriage as “cultural vandalism.” That’s the best description we have of the weird allergy to traditionalism that afflicts the modern British elite.

Both the right and the left get it spectacularly wrong when they try to explain institutional overhaul in modern Britain. The right fantasizes that it is all the work of a tiny cabal of “cultural Marxists,” ignoring the role played by their own political bedfellows in the abandonment of tradition. And the left excitably claims that all these big shifts—especially the destruction of the News of the World and the overhaul of marriage to include same-sex couples—are wonderful, revolt-like moments, which they played a part in bringing about, like modern-day Martin Luther Kings. The right’s self-denial and the left’s self-flattery blind them to what is new and weird about institutional decay today.

The British right frequently ventures into conspiracy-theory territory when it tries to explain the crisis of traditionalism. So Melanie Phillips, Daily Mail columnist and author of The World Turned Upside Down: The Global Battle Over God, Truth and Power, claims with a straight face that the usurpers of Britain’s core institutions and values are “the far Left,” who are “attacking us from within.” Apparently these “cultural Marxists” decided some time in the 1960s to conquer and colonize Western institutions—especially universities and the media—and Phillips says they have been remarkably successful, becoming a “collective fifth column, turning all the core values of society upside down and inside out.”

This has been the main refrain of the political right since the 1960s, in which they externalize their own failure to uphold traditionalism, to defend institutions and standards, by inventing a fairytale about an army of lefty agitators taking over society. Here the weakness of the right, its moral and political discombobulation, its alienation from its own traditions, is written out of the story in favor of blowing out of all proportion the bogeyman of cultural Marxism.

No one on the right ever stops to ask why, even if it were true that far leftists had invaded the institutions, they managed to do so with such ease. Where were the gatekeepers? Where were the guardians of traditionalism? The cultural Marxism conspiracy theory doesn’t add up, as can be seen in modern Britain: it is Cameron, a Conservative, who is denuding marriage of its ancient meaning; it was Murdoch, a right-winger, who folded the 168-year-old News of the World; it is the Windsors, even Elizabeth herself, who are inviting PR men to make them over, to make them “relevant.” These institutions weren’t dented or destroyed by cliques of super-clever leftists but by their own internal and profound crises of moral legitimacy.

Of course, it doesn’t mention the vandalisation of the traditional pub culture with smoking bans. But it’s all the same thing.

I think O’Neill does a pretty good demolition job on the notion that cultural Marxists have been colonising the institutions. Marxism is, after all, a pretty old and dog-eared ideology.

I suspect that it’s more that new, post-Marxist ideologies have emerged over the past 60 years or so – like environmentalism – which have been attractive to both Left and Right. It’s attractive to the Left because it fingers capitalism as the cause of all pollution. But it’s attractive to the Right because it idealises a rural way of life. Environmentalism is both radical and conservative. So it’s won converts from both Left and Right.

It’s the same with anti-smoking, which might be regarded as a form of environmentalism. Smokers aren’t left-wing or right-wing. And probably antismokers aren’t either. So that’s something that maybe is attractive to both left and right.

Above all, environmentalism is a vague, woolly ideology whose tenets have never been set out clearly, and which can therefore be all things to everybody.

It’s also something of a fad. It remains (I suppose) a fashionable thing to be ‘environmentally aware’ (whatever that means), and if you’re a politician with your finger on the cultural pulse, you’ll want to be seen to be fashionable. Particularly if you’re David Cameron, who is, as far as I can see, a dedicated follower of every fashion available. He’s a pro-European, anti-smoking environmentalist. And he’s pro-European, and anti-smoking, and environmentalist, not because he’s ever thought in any serious or principled way about any of these things, but because they’re the fashionable thing to be. It’s what everybody’s wearing, and so he’s wearing it too.

And if you’re going to stay in with the in-crowd, you have to learn to ruthlessly dump last year’s fashion accessories the moment they become unfashionable. And if the traditional, smoky pub has become unfashionable, you must turn on it ruthlessly. Same with traditional old-fashioned men-and-women marriages. And the monarchy. When people follow fashion, they automatically become enemies of tradition – because the latest fashion is almost by definition always ‘new’, ‘up to the minute’ and therefore not ‘old’, ‘traditional’, or ‘tried and tested’.

People like David Cameron (and Nick Clegg) are political dandies. They’re primarily concerned with their image, with how people see them. They have no principles. They just want to stay in with the in-crowd, whoever the in-crowd happens to be. The environmental in-crowd. The anti-smoking in-crowd. The European in-crowd.

One might say that our modern tyranny is simply the tyranny of fashion. Only it’s fashion with the force of law behind it. It’s not just that it’s now totally passé to smoke tobacco: it’s now more or less completely illegal too. Laws like this are no different from making mini-skirts (or maxi-skirts) illegal. Or flared trousers. Or cravats.

It’s perhaps why all these laws are so arbitrary and irrational. It’s because fashion is never rational. There isn’t any reason why trousers should be tight one year, and baggy the next. Or women’s skirts be long or short or filled with hoops. Or men’s facial hair be shorn off or grown into long beards or handlebar moustaches. People do these things to be different, and show people that they’re a bit modern and daring. It defeats the purpose of fashion to make its dictates into formal laws. It also defeats the purpose of law.

“We are upholding the values of the open society,” said Deputy PM Clegg. What is really going on here is that members of the elite who feel increasingly estranged from their forebears, from the architects of tradition and custom in Britain, have little compunction about jettisoning those traditions, casually brushing them aside to make a public display of their own “openness” and “relevance.” It is the elevation of public-relations needs over the gains and creations of history.

He’s upholding no such values. Because he hasn’t got any values. PR is all about image, and how things look.

These are shallow people, obsessed with appearances. And they are all about to be swept away.

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57 Responses to Cultural Vandalism

  1. Harbinger says:

    Have a look at the website Spiked where you’ll find the following:

    ‘spiked is an independent online phenomenon dedicated to raising the horizons of humanity by waging a culture war of words against misanthropy, priggishness, prejudice, luddism, illiberalism and irrationalism in all their ancient and modern forms. spiked is endorsed by free-thinkers such as John Stuart Mill and Karl Marx, and hated by the narrow-minded such as Torquemada and Stalin. Or it would be, if they were lucky enough to be around to read it.’

    So, it’s rather plain to see that if Karl Marx would endorse this website were he alive, it obviously proves O’Neil’s political, philosophy leanings and moreso his attack on right wingers for blaming cultural Marxism as a reason for societal ills. It also proves (along with his article above) that O’Neil is most certainly a liberal, which incidentally was exactly what Russian communists called western communism.
    O’Neil in his article seems quite satisfied in Britain’s cultural suicide. He’s hardly holding back the tears is he? However what did it for me was his ‘not doing away of British traditional ways, but instead a ‘restructuring’ of them. So in other words, he’d like to take that old carved block of wood, with archaic symbols on and turn it into something completely different, but still call it ‘that old carved block of wood with archaic symbols on it’. He’s without doubt an internationalist or to be more precise a promoter of culture in order to go with the flow. Cultures do’t evolve. They die when other culures change them. This is the whole reason for massive migration bringing with them their own cultural ways. It’s a flagrant promotion of cultural demolition acceptance.

    I’m always concerned when authors write off conspiracy as they try to promote a natural phenomena in the incredibly fast turn around of British way of life. A society unchanged for hundreds of years and then along came the sixties…… Yup the 40+ years of modern Britain was nothing whatsoever to do with a small cabal of cultural and critical thinking Marxists Brendan. Jeez…..

  2. Frank Davis says:

    I’m always concerned when authors write off conspiracy

    I regularly write off conspiracy because conspiracy requires its agents to be super-smart and in total control of everything, and I don’t think anyone can actually do that. This is the main thing that bothers me about every conspiracy theory I come across: the conspirators are infallible. They never get anything wrong.

    But in my small understanding of human life, us humans get everything wrong the whole damn time. We don’t know everything. Nobody ever does, and nobody ever can.

    • XX This is the main thing that bothers me about every conspiracy theory I come across: the conspirators are infallible. They never get anything wrong. XX

      They may do. But within twenty seconds, the web is full of tin foil hatters, who, by their conspiracy theorising, make it impossible to seperate the truth from the fiction.

      Therefore conspiracy thories are LOVED by every Government in the world. They can do what they like. If they get caught; “It is all a conspiracy theory. You don’t want to go taking any notice of that!”. And the theorists play RIGHT into their hands.

    • Harbinger says:

      Frank,

      The very reason conspirators get away is exactly your reason – the overwhelming majority don’t believe them to be super smart and in total control! They play this belief constantly. The greater the lie by authority, the more believable it is by the ignorant majority and moreso, add constant MSM and educational propoganda of this huge lie and it becomes an accepted truth.

      And yes, there are conspiracy theorists who are clueless who go on about abductions etc, but then there are disinfo agents who will mix solid fact with downright stupidity (David Icke) to keep people going off on wild goose chases, who are not only making lots of money, but are also promoting New Age Religion, straight from the teachings of Helena Blavatsky with Theosophy.

      9/11 and 7/7 were blatant government false flags. Their official stories have been smashed into thousands of pieces. Professionals in many different fields who want a proper enquiry into 9/11 are refused and not one of them classes themselves a theorist.

      Govt conspiracy is big business for the elites while the MSM zombifies the nation, cleverly putting up smokescreens to protect them and promote back to back entertainment to stop the populous into doing something revolutionary – THINK!

      • Frank Davis says:

        9/11 and 7/7 were blatant government false flags.

        Some people certainly think they were. And perhaps they’re right. But I don’t think that ‘blatant’ is at all an accurate description. There are several possible interpretations of these events (and many other events as well). I take an interest in the various interpretations, but I usually end up being unconvinced by any of them (including the ‘official’ ones).

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    frank get this:
    coalition government’s plans to institutionalize same-sex marriage as “cultural vandalism.”

    Gay marriage headed to Democratic National Commitee platform

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0712/79126.html?hp=l1

  4. Tom says:

    O/T but I notice on a not too distant posting, Smoking Ban Inspector Stripped Naked, a new case of Cultural Vandalism was posted there tonight – when an anti-smoker decided to go on and put in the final word, denouncing smokers and resulting in the best final last words he could come up with being, “Go f*ck yourself as well”, after previously posting that smokers should be ashamed and will all be in hospital dying one day soon.

    Excellent hateful response, these anti-smokers do, when they go to culturally vandalize blogs to make it appear they got in the final word, even weeks after a posting’s been past, to give the appearance that “they won”.

    I think that is a page out of their playbook also – hold off if you are out-numbered, but then post vile hateful anti-smoking comments, later on, long after the fact, so as to appear to have “won”, historically, later on, should someone look back. It’s part of that historical re-write they like to do.

    http://cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2012/07/08/smoking-ban-inspector-stripped-naked/

    • Tom says:

      Oops, my wrong (maybe?) – I think maybe he is responding back to the anti-smoker, not to the anti-anti-smoker comments in the string.

      So that – is AOK then !

      • Frank Davis says:

        I saw it too. But I thought it was a response to an anti. Could’ve been a bit more eloquent, I suppose. Or maybe not?

        • Tom says:

          It’s because I have automatic emailing of comments turned on and how they appear in the emails aren’t arranged and indented the same as they are on the blog page and I got alarmed and confused, panicked and jumped the shark, thinking it might be another anti-smoker attacking and trying to put in a lasting anti-smoking impression for painting of history purposes. But I now think it was anti the original anti, thus anti-anti, or pro-choice – just indented differently on the blog page versus the emailed version, appearing more anti and less anti-anti. I will stop relying on the emailed versions and return directly to the source postings from now on to figure it out. Emailed versions also don’t include paragraph breaks, just run-ons, making it difficult to understand also. I should have bit my tongue, not leaped in panic, sorry.

  5. Marie says:

    “He’s a pro-European, anti-smoking environmentalist. And he’s pro-European, and anti-smoking, and environmentalist, not because he’s ever thought in any serious or principled way about any of these things, but because they’re the fashionable thing to be.”
    I doubt it is possible to find a better description of the modern, career politician than the sentence above.

  6. Zaphod says:

    Frank, you talk a lot of sense.
    Zaphod.

  7. Mr A says:

    I think some conspiracies may actually work just because they are NOT made up of super switched-on megalomaniacs, but because they are pushed forward by useful idiots who fulfil the agenda for their own motives.

    I saw this post over at Max Farquar’s gaff – http://www.maxfarquar.com/2012/07/an-introduction-to-new-world-order/

    As I said in the comments, it seems obvious to me that there is some kind of concerted effort to limit rights and, yes, impose a New World Order. That the WHO and Big Pharma is a part of this is obvious. As does the involvement of organisations like Common Purpose. (Although as I said in the comments, the numerology stuff these people come up with seems like tin-foil hat stuff and distracts, I feel, from what is actually going on).

    As I also said in the comments, seemingly innocuous smoking bans are, I believe, a cornerstone of this approach. They show how quickly and easily behaviours and attitudes can be changed through false information (only yesterday I was watching a film from 1991 – everyone was smoking in their offices, at their desks, in other people’s houses. One character visited a neurotic clean-freak and she just insisted he wipe his feet and use an ashtray – not a word was said about him smoking in her house! In only 20 years we now have public smoking bans and even bans in people’s own homes and “registers of smokers” in some places, like Santa Monica).

    In addition, they ready the populace for State intervention in their lives – I was surprised on a recent stag do to Spain how, once they were a bit pissed, all the smokers trudged outside to smoke, despite the bars being smoking – talk about Pavlovian!).

    Also, there is strong evidence that nicotine enhances cognitive effort, enables better concentration and enables quicker reaction times etc. Could such strong anti-smoking measures be linked to the “dumbing down” of the population that these conspiracy people keep going on about?

    Yet despite all this, do I think ASH are aware of what they are doing? (Well, Deborah Arnott and the like, maybe). But the other drones at ASH? The spite-filled monkeys who write comment after comment on newspaper stories under a variety of pseudonyms? No – they’re generally just psychologically people who are disturbed by the fear of contamination or death or they just have an irrational hatred of the smell. And our MPs who support most bans? Again, I suspect most of them are just small-minded bigots who are incapable of critical thinking. Yet they all work together, without knowing what they are actually working towards. I suspect this is why such conspiracies may actually work despite people’s fallibilities. The truth about climate change or secondhand smoke may come out, yet there are so many drones working in so many areas, it doesn’t really matter – the work towards the larger goal will continue.

    Besides, the truth about second hand smoke is out there. The studies have been done, the meta-analyses have been conducted. Yet why hasn’t this information been blown far and wide? It seems obvious to me that as well as there being a political consensus there is also a media consensus – to the point where even comments on newspaper stories are deleted for no reason. By rights the exposure of Tobacco Control would result in a BAFTA-winning documentary. Yet it isn’t being done.

    WHY?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      In only 20 years we now have public smoking bans and even bans in people’s own homes and “registers of smokers” in some places, like Santa Monica).

      The Santa Monic apartment ban was defeated.

      • Mr A says:

        When it comes to Tobacco Control, you know as well as I do that you need to add the qualifier, “for now.” ;)

    • Smoking Scot says:

      Just one thing that’s been overlooked. It’s an appetite suppressant.

      A couple I’ve known for decades quit 18 months ago. He’s mid 60’s, she’s early 60’s.

      He admits to putting on “more than 10 kilos”, she to putting on “15 plus”.

      Both are now clinically obese and, in my opinion, both look awful.

      • Tom says:

        I’m certain that may have been a planned outcome too – enforced smoking bans leading to increased “obesity epidemic” – profit from anti-smoking drugs, profit from anti-obesity drugs – a two-for-one money maker for who originally hatched the Doll scams, later that of SHS Fraud and got the ball rolling. Three-for-one if you consider anti-smoking probably drove a lot of people onto anti-depressants and Ritalin at the same time.

    • nisakiman says:

      Actually, more chilling than the article itself was this comment from Penseivat:

      “penseivat says:
      July 31, 2012 at 14:53

      Never a real fan of the Corrs but perhaps Jim is onto something. Some years ago, but nothing recently, there was mention of the Frankfurt School of Thought, a Marxist plan devised in 1928 where leading theorists were given the task of devising a method of destablising foreign powers and make them ready for political take-over. The resultant manifesto included:
      1. The creation of racist offences
      2. Continual change to create confusion
      3. The teaching of sex and homosexuality to children
      4. The undermining of the authority of teachers and schools
      5. A huge immigration programme to destroy national identity.
      6. An unrelable legal system with bias against the victims.
      7.Dependence on the State for benefits and accommodation.
      8. Emptying of the churches and reducing the importance of religion.
      9. Encouraging the breakdown of the family.
      10.The formation of a ‘community of women’ to undermine patriarchy.
      There are others, just as scary.
      When you look at British society today, how many of those manifesto suggestions have come true, or are coming true?
      Perhaps we really should be very, very, afraid?”

      The destruction of the social fabric of society (via the smoking ban) would fit into this list very nicely.

  8. Mr A says:

    Just to add other “benefits” of smoking bans – 1) the encouragement of behaviours that many people used to think of as distasteful at best, or sinister, at worst – e.g. snitch lines and the like. 2) The limiting of social interaction and of people getting together to talk and discuss issues; 3) The division of society – a divided foe is easier to conquer; 4) They allow the State control in all areas of their lives – work (see hiring and firing policies); fostering (and so family life); renting of homes; health provision and its limitation, as well as, once such action is normalised, the fact that there will be less resistance to other measures – see how they are now applying the Tobacco Control template to booze and more worryingly (as it’s such a basic need) food.

    I admit that a lot of the NWO stuff strikes me as tin-foil hat stuff. Yet, it seems to me that tobacco control is at the very forefront of such a conspiracy for the reasons outlines above.

    And you know what? I bet you some of these NWO conspiracy theorists are in favour of smoking bans, because they can now go out with smelling of smoke. That is why they may actually win in the end – as I said in my last post, people are driven by their own irrational whims and preferences.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Mr. A to even think that the Nazis might win in the end is so ludicrous its to imagine that human nature has been redefined. Natural human instinct is to be free. Its why we fight the bans,not for smoking and not for the right to smoke but for the simple freedom to smoke. Our fight guarantees us the freedom of association we desire,it also guarantees the rights of private property to be used as the owner sees fit. Without these basic freedoms which the smoking bans destroy nobody is free as those tools used to make smoking bans legal are the same tools that can and will destroy every non-smokers rights too!

      I dont know any other way to state how important defeating these bans are than that………

      If you dont agree you need to take a very deep look at your own convictions!

      • Frank Davis says:

        I entirely agree that this is all about freedom. And that if, instead of smoking being banned in pubs, drinking had instead been banned, I’d be writing a blog Banging On About The Drinking Ban. And instead of growing my own tobacco, I’d be brewing my own beer.

      • Mr A says:

        Harley, you must have misinterpreted what I said. It’s vital that the bans (and the thinking behind them) be overturned for that very reason. All I was saying is that I have a horrible feeling that this won’t be a cyclical thing, like the wave of prohibitions of the 19th and 20th centuries, which were eventually overturned. Whatever global agenda is behind all this (and while I hesitate to say NWO, it’s a helluva lot more than just prohibitionism raising its ugly head again) it is now, unlike in the past, global in scope.

        Unlike in the past, there are few countries you can escape to.

        Politicians of ALL political hues, in almost every nation, are in their pocket.

        The mass media has a stranglehold on dissent, pumping out propaganda day in day out, refusing to cover the truth, and emphasising again and again that such bans are not only necessary but “popular”.

        And my point that such NWO conspiracy theories are not unfeasible as everyone is beavering away at things for their own personal reasons (rather than some global masterplan) is emphasised by the actual RESISTANCE to such measures. I’ve lost count of how many “libertarians” think the bans are a good thing, just because they don’t want to smell a wisp of smoke. I’ve lost track of the number of AGW sceptics, who, despite knowing how the junk scientists work, say “la la la la” when presented with passive smoking junk science, because they want to believe it, as they don’t like smoking. Or the number of NWO people who would rather look into the numerology of the dates of terrorist attacks than the far more obvious and real links between Big Pharma, the WHO, ASH, Common Purpose, the Framework for Tobacco Control etc, because, “I don’t smoke. Who cares about smoking?”.

        Christ, no-one has been more vocal about this stuff needing to be defeated than me! I just have a horrible feeling that this time there won’t be a swing back to sanity and freedom…..

        • Frank Davis says:

          I think that it’s worth looking at how successful this New World Order (if that’s what it is) actually is.

          In the case of smoking bans, there is (I believe) a social disaster in the making, that is producing deep social divisions and fragmenting what was once a fairly harmonious society. I don’t care about all the divide-and-conquer business: they are creating the essential preconditions for civil war. And in my book, civil war is not the hallmark of successful social engineering.

          In the case of their environmental measures, the attempt to ‘decarbonise’ an industrial economy and generate power using windmills and sunlight has resulted in energy prices rising very sharply. That’s not very successful either.

          The EU is now turning into a complete disaster, as the euro experiment has failed. Greece is going to default on its debts, and most likely several other countries too, bringing down the banking system across the whole continent, and ushering in a deep depression. We’re not there yet, but we will be soon.

          Over-regulation (and what else is ‘Order’ other than regulation) has been the cause of all these problems. And the only cure is to de-regulate. De-regulate pubs and clubs, and let them choose for themselves how to run their businesses. De-regulate energy, and stop trying to enforce preferred ‘environmentally friendly’ solutions. Have countries float their own currencies, and make their own laws, and stop trying to shoe-horn the whole of Europe into the utopian fantasy of the United States of Europe. De-regulate everything else too.

          If this isn’t done, things will only get worse and worse until there really is an explosion.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Frank the EU was the test bed for Global Governance with its failure so is the failure of the bans as Mr.A says and yourself. The swing to insanity took awhile to happen but over the last 4 years with Owebummers help on a global scale its been pushed at wharp speed. People arent so inept as to forget right from wrong no matter how hard the leftys pushed it. In fact in the history of such things the ”PUSH BACK” reaction occurrs and in that push back the entire agenda gets defeated! Dont forget we arent fighting a constitutional amendment like they had with prohibition on alcohol we are simply dealing with a bogus treaty FCTC and then mostly local laws or statelaws. England has a nationwide ban but even thats easily corrected by a simple vote! Id say this,watch for the signs of bans weakening in the near future………..TC is going broke as are the governments,tobacco produces revenues anti-tobacco doesnt!

  9. jaxthefirst says:

    I’ve gradually come round to the way of thinking of many (but not all) of the conspiracy writers out there simply because so much of what they were saying years ago, about which virtually everyone (including myself) said: “Oh, that’ll never happen” or “they’d never get away with that” has actually come true. It doesn’t actually take the Evil Controllers to be super-clever or infallible – it just takes them to be marginally more clever or astute than the majority of the public. Which, let’s be honest, isn’t difficult. As they say: “In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is King.”

  10. Margo says:

    I’m finding all this post extremely interesting. Particularly Mr A’s contribution, as I am also of the view that there is some global agenda playing out and the anti-tobacco campaign has a big role in it. You can be sure that, at bottom, it’s all about money and power going into the desired hands.
    But, Frank, what is all this about windmills etc? Most of the government energy money goes to nuclear power – that’s what’s being pushed (sometimes the govt tries to deceive us by grouping things together and calling nuclear energy ‘green and clean’, which it isn’t.) Windmills, solar etc have a hard time getting subsidies. I think!
    I liked your description of Cameron. He’s an anti-smoker who smokes (doesn’t he?) and an environmentalist who does nothing for the environment and pretends to ride a bike everywhere. In other words, he’s a hypocrite. But that’s another word for ‘shallow people obsessed with appearances’ and devoid of values, isn’t it.
    As to gay marriage, I assume that’s about tax-breaks? Have never understood why married people get them anyway (never understood the ‘married woman’s’ tax situation, either). Why can’t we all be treated financially as equals, then it wouldn’t make any difference whether someone was married or not?
    A quick catch-up for everyone regarding my recent ‘upsetting situation’ to do with the new grandchild and being told that smoking was now unacceptable even in the garden:
    Today I phoned to ‘clarify’ the situation.I spoke to my son (who, I’m sad to say, has done an Ed West). I let it be known that I’d been upset and that I saw this as a definite step-too-far and deeply hurtful. I asked for the precise reasons behind it (very vague answer). I said, ‘Well, it means my visits will be short, which is OK.’ It may have been my ‘concern’ to do with potential baby-sitting that did the trick. I said, ‘As long as you know that there’s no way I’m staying at your house for hours on end, or anywhere else, without having a fag-‘. The upshot is: there’s now been a reversal and we’re back to the old position of me nipping out for a fag and coming back in. Thanks for all your feedback, which was a huge help.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Windmills are subsidised. Or were the last time I looked. David Cameron’s father-in-law has got a wind farm, and makes a tidy sum out of it, I believe.

      In Spain, criminal gangs even got in on the act.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        14000 Abandoned Wind Turbines In The USA
        There are many hidden truths about the world of wind turbines from the pollution and environmental damage caused in China by manufacturing bird choppers, the blight on people’s lives of noise and the flicker factor and the countless numbers of birds that are killed each year by these blots on the landscape.

        The symbol of Green renewable energy, our saviour from the non existent problem of Global Warming, abandoned wind farms are starting to litter the planet as globally governments cut the subsidies taxes that consumers pay for the privilege of having a very expensive power source that does not work every day for various reasons like it’s too cold or the wind speed is too high.

        The US experience with wind farms has left over 14,000 wind turbines abandoned and slowly decaying, in most instances the turbines are just left as symbols of a dying Climate Religion, nowhere have the Green Environmentalists appeared to clear up their mess or even complain about the abandoned wind farms.

        The US has had wind farms since 1981:

        Rest on link: http://toryaardvark.com/2011/11/17/14000-abandoned-wind-turbines-in-the-usa

        • Tom says:

          Altamont Pass, heading up and over the mountains east of SF Bay area and dropping down into Central Valley, where Rolling Stones once had an outdoor concert at which several people were shot dead and was supposedly a source of inspiration for their song “Gimme Shelter”, is chalk full of windmills, many of which are broken and not being repaired, now that the tax subsidies have expired on some and they have been there for decades. Tehachapi Pass going up and over the Tehachapis from Bakersfield over into the Mojave Desert near Edwards AFB in SoCal is another area where entire tops of mountains are nothing but windmills as far as the eye can see. I don’t know their energy efficiency as electrical rates are not going down but up, and I’m certain they’re chopping up and killing birds, but they are also ugly as hell and nothing beautiful about them. They take otherwise scenic rural hills and mountains and just make them look cluttered and ugly.

        • smokervoter says:

          Gimme Shelter

          As I think I stated here in the comments a long time ago, the Altamont Pop Festival changed things in California. In a knee-jerk reaction to the violence that went down there, a lot of the hippies gave up wine and weed and tobacco and meat and free love, thus showing penance for the sins of The Summer of Love. Health food stores sprang up everywhere. The ‘instant hippie’ transplants from the east coast Puritan Belt were overjoyed. Their offspring are probably on the San Francisco Board of Supervisors.

          My brother attended it and said that a horrible sound emanating from the amplifiers of The Who is what seemed to set off all of the bad vibes in his opinion.

          He was never the same after that. Me, I was just a little bit too young. I watched the movie. And continued right on unperturbed with my wicked ways.

          He’s a hippie (but I love and respect him greatly) still living in Santa Cruz and I’m a happy-go-lucky, right wing knuckle dragger from Southern California.

        • Tom says:

          That’s not always entirely true, about the anti-smokers on the SF Board of Stupidvisors all coming from back east. Some, like Angela Alioto for example, she is native to SF, CA, was born and raised there, her family owned a restaurant on Fisherman’s Wharf (and was into fishing boats maybe too) for a few generations, her dad was mayor of SF at one time and as second or third generation politician (and considered “conservative” amazingly too, which in SF means Leninist, not Stalnist) – it was her bill that made outdoor smoking in parks banned, the first outdoor ban they passed, before a slew of others came in after it. And personally, some extremely anti-smoking people I have know have been native born, not from out of state transplants, including one ex-boss in particular, whose also SF California native born brother sits as director of health on a local organization (which also bans outdoor smoking on their grounds) and is constantly telling everyone what to eat and definitely not to smoke. So that is just two examples I can think off the top of my head, but who are SF, CA native born – yet very much anti-smoking and healthist.

        • smokervoter says:

          You’re absolutely right there Tom. Blaming outsiders for everything is a lazy mans way to analyze situations. I probably come across at times like some kind of idiot nativist, and if that’s the case I stand corrected. I cherish the right to freedom of movement.

          And there are a few west coast Puritans out and about to be sure. On the whole though, I think the folks from Boston, Connecticut, Rhode Island etc. have a deeper Puritan streak than we Californians. But that is just from my observation and nothing more. This was especially true in Santa Cruz, I never lived in San Fran.

          Then again some of the wildest, loosest folks I’ve ever met come from New York, Philly and Chi-town. The first kid to take up smoking at my junior high was from New Yawk come to think of it.

          She must be the daughter of old Mayor Alioto, who was either before or after Diane Feinstein if I recall correctly. What’s her problem anyway?

        • Tom says:

          Angela Alioto is the daughter of former Mayor Alioto from the 50’s/60’s time period (and I had a long time SF native tell me a story about Mayor Alioto and something he did to screw their neighborhood over, promising no more development and no blocked views, historical designation for a landmark element there, then selling out to the first developer that came along offering lots of money to build condos and block out everyones’ views in favor of the newly built condos, which he personally approved, and which today the landmark sits uncared for with even the lettering on the monument eroded away to barely legible).

          She did something else strange too, a bill she introduced and I think it was passed into law too – almost any crazy idea someone brings in downtown, the Board rubber stamps for the Mayor and the Mayor rubber stamps for the Board, no actual debate about it – but she once brought in something about any “public” (privately owned) bar or restaurant that had a TV set which faced into the “public” (privately owned) seating area, that for benefit of anyone deaf might by chance be sitting there, or just walking by, it would be law that the subtitling be turned on and visible to all patrons at all times – under penalty of fine of course. She’s just another do-gooder perennial incumbent, like the rest of them, long time on Board too, from over in Marina District, which is posh.

          Feinstein went silent right after that scandal came out, where she on purpose threw lucrative FNMA and HUD REO contracts to her husband’s RE company worth hundreds of millions to billions of dollars. The scandal broke, it got hushed up, like usual, as with her, Pelosi and Boxer, anything bad becomes something “good” when the SF Chronicle gets hold of it, published front page but lower down as “goodness”, then hurriedly forgotten about, which is what happened locally with that scandal (though it lasted longer in the lime-light nationwide). But she then started being quiet, subdued, never much about her in the papers anymore, like maybe there was a deal, she keeps her mouth shut and she would be allowed by the-one-party to hold onto her seat – my speculation.

          Then last week, she said something controversial (though true), in public, that Obama’s White House was endangering lives by purposing leaking top secret information for political gain – then just as quickly, she backtracked and has gone silent again.

          So she might be barely holding on to her sway within the-one-party among the Marxists, like Pelosi, who pre-dominate – and they might allow her to play the game only because of her massive massive wealth that is hard to argue against. (You should see her mansion. You should see the CIA black SUVs parked out front when she’s in town, guarding it.)

          My speculation on Feinstein then is a hunch she might be too old-school for the new Marxists currently owning the-one-party in SF and Sacramento and if they can’t get her to keep her mouth shut and play along with things, tacitly and not make any waves, then watch her be up for elimination by mysterious circumstances one day – the same way Marxists have eliminated enemies in the past and in other communist strongholds around the world – but again, all just pure speculation based on hunches, I couldn’t possibly understand what goes on inside their twisted sick minds.

      • Tom says:

        I find this curious too, in regard to anti-smoking and pro-greening motivations, to their source. But tobacco farming was for years subsidized and tax incentivized, such that I recall an aunt and uncle who saved up all their empty packs of Raleighs year-long, so they’d have the tobacco tax-stamps as evidence, and were able to write-off the tobacco tax paid each year as deduction against income tax owed. Farming was subsidized for the goal of encouraging/discouraging crops in order to not over/under-satiate the market and thus equalize costs to tobacco industry. Yet it was Al Gore’s family whose vast fortune and millions were all gained through – tobacco farming! So what does that say about Al Gore’s underlying motivating factors these days, when he grew up in a family enriched by tax subsidization plans as factor, that he isn’t also well aware, or subconsciously attuned, to this idea that he must personally find a way to seek gain off the tax burdens shifted to others – thus his push for global carbon taxation and his motive, basically, greed (but disguised as “goodness”, so as to fool even himself, even if below the concious level so as not to offend his own belief system, to himself).

        • churchmouse says:

          Thanks, Tom. I, too remember the tobacco tax-stamps for the income tax return.

          Oh the irony of Al Gore and the origin of his family’s fortune, from which he benefited!

          I was reading Bolton Smoker’s Club and Rose linked to a BMJ article from 2005. Never mind the ‘back foot’ stuff, well in the past now that we had the ban two years later, but here’s the end game, citing human rights and, elsewhere, suffragettes:

          http://tobaccocontrol.bmj.com/content/14/suppl_2/ii45.full

          From ‘Conclusions':

          ‘Strengthening the social movement that lies at the heart of the tobacco control movement is essential. Using human rights rhetoric is one strategy that can provide momentum and a sense of purpose to the movement. A strong social movement is imperative to resist or prevent erosion in the salience of tobacco control (that is, to prevent relapse) and to provide the political and economic support to achieve future goals.’

          Any further legislation or resistance will rely on localism — brought to bear by our peer groups. California’s example could well be the model for the future.

        • Tom says:

          Trust me, nobody should ever want “California’s example” as “model” for anything – particularly that of anti-smoking. I don’t know one should even wish that on one’s worst enemy.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Interesting link, Churchmouse!
          As important as it is to maintain and expand the institutional/professional tobacco control structure, it is equally important to nurture an active grass roots, volunteer tobacco control coalition. The former brings visibility, political clout, and fundraising capacity; the latter reinforces social norms, establishes a stable movement foundation, and facilitates change at the local and state levels.

          Could our governments be a little more open with tax money wasted on the above?
          Is there such a thing as “grass roots tobacco control movement”?

  11. Marvin says:

    I might be being a bit dim here, but in the UK the smoking ban was decided by a free vote.
    Approx 400 MPs voted for the ban and 200 against.
    If those numbers had been reversed, then we wouldn’t have a smoking ban in the UK.

    Likewise if it was a new liebour manifesto pledge, then why have a free vote?
    And if it was a treaty obligation, then as soon as Blair signed on the dotted line it was a done deal, so why a free vote?

    In my opinion the sole reason we have a ban in the UK is because 400 halfwits in the House of Common criminals voted for it. Forget the EU etc., the enemy is much closer to home than we think.

    • Margo says:

      It wasn’t really a free vote – it was heavily manipulated, I believe (though don’t ask me for sources for that belief but I feel certain they’d be trackable) and preceded by a load of junk science and hefty campaigning over many years.

      • Rose says:

        Depends what you mean by free.

        MPs urged to vote for total smoking ban

        “Unions and public health officers are urging MPs to back a total ban on smoking in public places, including pubs and clubs.

        The calls come after the government’s decision last week to allow Labour MPs a free vote on the smoking ban proposals in the health Bill (Risks 239).

        The TUC has already called for a ban without exceptions. And last week GMB organiser Mick Ainsley, whose union organises casino workers, said:

        We are writing to all GMB sponsored MPs to remind them that the issue here is not about a smoker’s individual choice, it is about the right of workers not to breathe in secondhand smoke.’

        http://www.tuc.org.uk/workplace/tuc-11271-f0.pdf

        • Tom says:

          Labor unions have particularly disappointed me for never standing up for their employees’ rights, for those employees who wish to smoke and given the stress of some job situations, smoking can make all the difference between some work being tolerable or intolerable. I can think of only one instance in which a working-persons’ employee union eventually, not at first, but after enough time, decided to cave in and demand that unionized workers on some college campuses in Pennsylvania, USA, not be denied smoking rights when several campuses enacted outdoor campus wide smoking bans. In that case, either the ban was overturned to not include everywhere outside or else an exemption was made for union employees not to be subject to it, by contract.

  12. Rose says:

    Looking up Union sponsored MP’s, I just found this –

    Welcome to the website of the Trade Union Group of Labour MPs (TUG)
    “Sponsored by Thompsons Solicitors – the UK’s largest trade union law firm”
    http: //www.tugroup.net/

    Surely it can’t be the same Thompsons that are responsible for this –

    ASH and Thompsons’ Tell Employers: Don’t Say You Weren’t Warned Over Secondhand Smoke
    Monday 12 January 2004

    “ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK’s leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the “date of guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke”

    “ASH and Thompsons are also planning further steps to encourage employees who believe their health has been harmed by smoking in the workplace to seek legal advice on making a claim for compensation. These will be announced shortly.”

    http://www.ash.org.uk/media-room/press-releases/ash-and-thompsons-tell-employers-dont-say-you-werent-warned-over-secondhand-smoke

    Thompsons Solicitors:

    “Legal Implications of exposing workers to secondhand smoke
    Section 2(2)(e) of the 1974 Act places a specific duty on the employer in respect of employees:

    ‘to provide and maintain a safe working environment which is, so far as is reasonably practicable, safe, without risks to health and adequate as regards facilities and arrangements for their welfare at work.’

    The key factor in personal injury claims under the 1974 Act is not whether the employer in fact knew about the risks of particular substances or practices in the work place, but whether they ought to have known in the light of knowledge available at that time.

    This is the concept of ‘guilty knowledge’. In 1998 ASH obtained a legal opinion from John Melville Williams QC which suggests that the date of guilty knowledge in respect of SHS would be likely to be held by the Courts to be some time in the early 1990s.”

    http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/archive/gsfethompsons.html

    According to the previous link, the new approach and the justification for threatening the hospitality industry with legal action, seems to be based on a failed 1997 case claiming constructive dismal due to having to work in a smoky office.

    • Tom says:

      It goes back to that root again of either SHS is “harmful” or else it is not harmful and the entire manufacturing of into “harmful” status was a fraud.

  13. smokervoter says:

    At risk of sounding like a candy ass, middle-of-the-roader here I just want to say that I agree with Mr A, Harleyrider, Frank, Jax and Margo in equal proportions here. I had a feeling that with the intellectual tinder set out by the spiked editor that this would get good. And it did.

    This has been a stellar debate with Mr A., as is usual, describing things ‘as they presently stand’ very accurately. Harley, as is usual, represents the innate desire for freedom argument with plenty of down home bravado. I hope he’s right and that things are heading in our direction. I’m seeing signs of that myself. Frank’s De-regulate paragraph concisely and succinctly sums it all up in less than 300 words (261 to be exact). What I would give to express myself so sanely and completely, yet so economically. Jax is like the cleanup hitter in the baseball lineup. After the bases are loaded he comes in and hits a grand slam. And Margo always brings overlooked outliers to the table. And I’m so glad to see there’s progress in her domestic struggle over house smoking.

    I’m just sitting back drinking some coffee and smoking some burning brain-vegetables wrapped up in a paper tube and taking it all in. I’ve noticed that the comments are consistently running in the 30+ neighborhood and that’s a very good thing.

    This has all been so thought-provoking that I’m almost at a loss for two cents to add other than this little tidbit.

    I initially liked gravel-gurdy Alex Jones after first stumbling upon him a few years ago. He had the right spirit, the right idea in striking down authoritarian Nanny’s and control-freaks wherever they stood. I even overlooked some of his strange conspiracy theories because I liked his fighting spirit.

    Lately I’ve noticed he’s becoming an anti-smoker and a hardcore hand-washing anal neurotic harping on about the poisonous world around us, a bit like the crazy general in Dr. Stranglove. It’s sad to see.

    Recently in one breath he was taking it to Mayor Bloomberg with great gusto telling him to get the hell out of our lives or else, and in the next he was tearing into some jackbooted cops at a rally somewhere for “smoking cigarettes”, which he repeated over and over and over again for emphasis.

    No doubt when he finally defeats the NWO the first order of business will be to tear up the HFCS corn fields and tobacco farms and replace them with organic mung beans on special sale (this week only) from one of his sponsors/psuedo-guests.

    • churchmouse says:

      Thanks for that — much appreciated. It confirmed my suspicions. Don’t ask me how, I’ve just a gut feeling about Alex Jones. There was a passing comment he made a couple of years ago about cigarettes. I didn’t bookmark the link and, therefore, wasn’t sure.

      Now we know.

      • Tom says:

        Alex Jones, if I remember correctly, is from Austin, TX – and Austin, TX is one of those cities that inflicts heavy fines for the “crime” of outdoor smoking – which is banned in most outdoor areas, city wide. So living in that type of political climate and possibly in agreement with it, it’s no wonder to me that I’ve seen blatant anti-smoking comments galore coming out of Alex Jone’s mouth from time to time. He can comment on the world but can’t see the irony of that sitting right there in front of his face, locally, in Austin.

        • churchmouse says:

          Thanks for that — sorry to read that Austin has fallen into the same trap.

          Agree with the irony of the situation. ‘Oh no, NWO!’ As for smokers? ‘Who cares?’

    • Margo says:

      Thanks, smokervoter. 3rd August today and I still haven’t been back to see new baby again and test it all out – don’t really feel terribly welcome now even if I can go out and smoke.

  14. Junican says:

    The reason that the Labour Gov decided to make the Smoking Ban Bill a free vote was because, at the last minute, it introduced an amendment itself to delete the exclusions (wet-led pubs and provate clubs) from its own Bill! Of course, they already knew that the Bill would be passed anyway.

    • Tom says:

      “Confidence Trick”, just like the Anti-Smoking Industry said it was, out loud, with pride and in the open (with the emphasis on the “Con” and the “Trick” – meaning a deceit).

  15. smokervoter says:

    Anyone remember the Kinks song Dedicated Follower of Fashion? David Cameron, say hello to Ray Davies. Same to you Nick Clegg. Flitting from cause to cause just like a butterfly.

    More ‘contemporary’ lyrics from them.

    “And he’s Oh, so good… and he’s Oh, so fine… and he’s Oh, so healthy, in his body and his mind…”

    And the topper in my book from Muswell Hillbillies

    They’re putting us identical little boxes
    No character just uniformity
    They’re trying to build a computerised community
    But they’ll never make a zombie out of me

    The internet foreseen? The current zombie craze, too. Copyright was 1971.

    I’ve since learned that he was probably referring to planned unit housing developments built by the British government using computers. But still.

  16. beobrigitte says:

    “We are upholding the values of the open society,” said Deputy PM Clegg. What is really going on here is that members of the elite who feel increasingly estranged from their forebears, from the architects of tradition and custom in Britain, have little compunction about jettisoning those traditions, casually brushing them aside to make a public display of their own “openness” and “relevance.” It is the elevation of public-relations needs over the gains and creations of history.

    Is this by any chance the same deputy prime minister who was going to listen to the people and when the people asked for amending the smoking ban, he proudly announced that “the smoking ban will not be subject to review”?
    Worse even, he lumped some stray and few demands for the death penalty in with the smoking ban. It remains to be seen how many votes this alone will cost the “Liberals”.

    An unforgettable reply to a large number of people’s requests!

    Obviously the traditional English Pubs were something that could be sacrificed by Labour and none of the other parties cared. Worse even, for this utopic idea of a “smoke-free world” (financed, I believe, by the unsuspecting tax payer!!) it opened the next demands of the anti-smoking fanatics; smoking bans outdoors, in cars and people’s homes.

    Will the next general election or better even, a global recession, rectify this?

  17. Pingback: The death of history « Churchmouse Campanologist

  18. Pingback: Where’s Eddie? | Frank Davis

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