Another Angry Smoker

Italy’s Matteo Salvini has become a thorn in the side of the EU.


Populist Italian Interior Minister Matteo Salvini had harsh words for French President Emmanuel Macron after French police confirmed they dropped off unwanted migrants in Italy, claiming it was a mistake.


Italy Declares War On Merkel And The EU 

…So, the first prong of their assault on the power structure of the EU is this, challenge them on their budget while making strong statements to the rest of Europe that they are not looking to exit the euro. If they do, it will be Germany forcing that situation.

The other prong of the assault is to remake the EU from within, which Salvini has openly stated is one of his goals.

It started more than a month ago when he met with Hungarian President Viktor Orban who agreed on a strategy of creating a ‘League of Leagues’ to unite the opposition to the current technocratic rule on the European Commission.

Something that may be worth bearing in mind about Salvini is that he’s a smoker. And one who has given up smoking at least twice.

The leader of the Northern League took part in the Rai Radio2 program, Un Giorno da Pecora , conducted by Giorgio Lauro and Geppi Cucciari. ” On Monday, June 20, at 11.59 pm, I light up my last cigarette and finish my smoking career – Salvini admitted – Smoking is idiotic and hurts I had stopped for eight years on New Year’s Day since 2000, but then stupidly I resumed This time I will not do it “.

The above quote is from 2016. Since then:

FILE PHOTO: Northern League’s leader Matteo Salvini smokes a cigarette during an electoral rally in Palermo, Italy February 14, 2018. REUTERS/Guglielmo Mangiapane/File Photo

So it looks like he’s back smoking again.

I used to be pro-EU until the European Parliament voted for a European smoking ban in 2009. After that I became anti-EU  more or less overnight. And as a smoker I can’t see how a political institution like the EU can survive once it starts demonising and excluding something between a quarter and a third of its 500 million citizens. It’s simply (and stupidly) made itself far too many enemies. And so I always see the rise of right wing political parties in Europe as part of the inevitable backlash by Europe’s angry and excluded smokers. After all, my own rejection of the EU is the response to it by one angry smoker.

And maybe Salvini is simply another angry smoker? And in fact he may be even angrier than other smokers, because he’s also angry at himself for carrying on smoking. Every time he lights a cigarette, he must call himself an “idiot”. And it can’t be much fun calling yourself an idiot all day long.

It’s not something I do. But then I’ve never tried to give up smoking. Not once. Ever. Nor have I ever tried to even cut down on smoking.

Because, unlike Salvini, I simply don’t believe anything that’s said about smoking any more. I suppose at one time I sort of half-believed what they said. But now I don’t believe a single word they say. And it’s not just that I don’t believe what they say about smoking, but that I also don’t believe what they say about pretty well everything else as well.

And why should I believe them? Why should I believe some little shit from a university or a medical association when he stands up and says something? I’ll listen to them. But I won’t automatically believe them. Same goes for climate scientists. Same goes for anyone.

But Salvini is someone who believes experts. He believes the experts who’ve been telling him that he’s an idiot to smoke. He believes them so much that he’s now telling himself that he’s an idiot to smoke. He’s absorbed the message completely. And if he’s angry at the EU, and the European political class, he’s also angry at himself. And that must mean that he’s a very, very angry man indeed.

Isn’t Tobacco Control doing a wonderful job? They’ve created a society of both angry capnophobic antismokers and angry excluded smokers. And they’ve also created a society of smokers who are angry at themselves. What better way to destroy a society than to not only turn everybody against each other, but even turn them against themselves? And I can only suppose that it is Tobacco Control’s intention to destroy society, given that they’ve been doing such a wonderful job of it.

In the end, it’s going to be Tobacco Control that will be destroyed, because something as evil and poisonous and destructive as Tobacco Control must be destroyed. And if Tobacco Control takes half the medical profession with it, and all the senior doctors in the WHO and RCP and BMA, so be it.

Matteo Salvini is just another angry smoker. And there are lots and lots of them out there. And most of them, like him, don’t know why they’re so angry.

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In Loco Parentis

A few days back in Free Stuff From Daddy, I thought I’d at last got a handle on Trump Derangement Syndrome. I wrote:

For a lot of people, mostly on the Left, the state is a parent. It’ll provide security just like Mummy and Daddy once did. They look to the state to do everything, provide more or less everything. And while there were US presidents who felt the same way, and played the role of indulgent parent, a lot of Americans felt safe.

But Donald Trump isn’t an indulgent parent. Donald Trump is one of those parents who tells their children to get a job, and learn to support themselves, and stop relying on Daddy. I bet he told daughter Ivanka one day that if she wanted any more shoes and handbags, she was going to have get herself a job, and earn the money herself to buy those things. And I can imagine that when he did that, she probably threw a fit, and cried for weeks. But I’ll bet that he didn’t relent. I bet he stuck to his guns. And now Ivanka is a successful businesswoman in her own right. And she probably is because he made her become one.

And now that Donald Trump is playing Daddy to the American people, a lot of them are reacting just like I imagine Ivanka did: they’re throwing a fit, and calling him an “authoritarian” and a “bully” and even a “fascist.”

But I then thought that if the Left see the role of government as that of parenting the people, then that would maybe explain a lot about their behaviour when they take power: They regard the people who’ve just voted them into office as children, and they treat them like children.

And would you want your children smoking? And would you want them drinking? And would you want them owning guns? Well you wouldn’t, would you? And also you’d want them to eat healthy, nutritious food instead of sweets and chocolate biscuits, wouldn’t you? And you’d like them to get plenty of exercise, and not sit around all day eating chocolate biscuits and playing video games, wouldn’t you?

It all jumps into focus once you realise that they see people as children – children who need to be protected, and children who need to have their decisions made for them. The Nanny State is the state which treats its people like children. And the Nanny State is also the state which makes decisions for its child-people, and tells them what to do.

And the Nanny State is also the state that tells its people fairy stories. Well, all parents tell their children bedtime stories, don’t they? And if you don’t want your children to smoke, why not tell them a fairy story about how smoking causes lung cancer? If telling them such fairy stories scares them off smoking, isn’t it a good idea to tell them lots of fairy stories like that? And if you don’t want them to use fuels like coal and oil, then why not tell them a fairy story about how carbon dioxide from these burnt fuels causes global warming of the atmosphere? And in fact, whenever you want them to do anything, why not just think up a new fairy story to tell them?

It also explains why chiiiiildren have such a central role in their world, and why they’re always doing things to protect chiiiildren. It’s because they see everyone as children. When they talk about protecting children, they’re talking about protecting you.

And if you want to be protected, and if you want other people to make your decisions for you, then you want to carry on living the life of a child. And that’s what a lot of people actually would like. And it’s only because so many people want one that we have a Nanny State. For the nannies don’t come out of nowhere: they come because there’s a demand for them.

And when the state starts acting in loco parentis that’s also when you start seeing the state taking children away from their parents. For in the eyes of the state, the parents are actually just big children, and a family is just a bunch of children being ordered around by the oldest children in the family.

It may also explain why so many of them seem to be pedophiles these days. For if adults are just big children, then if child-adults can have sex with each other, then why not with children too?

There are a lot of difficult questions here. And perhaps the first of them is: what is childhood? It’s a state of dependency. When children are born, they’re completely dependent on their mothers. Utterly and completely dependent. In the past it seems that more or less as soon as these infants could walk and talk, they were enlisted to help their adult parents. And in this manner they fairly rapidly became adults, as they worked alongside their adult parents, and shared their worries and concerns.

But that’s now called “child labour”, and conjures up the images of children being sent up chimneys to clean out the soot in them. And childhood has become a condition of perpetual play. And instead of lasting two or three years, it lasts for 20 or 30 years. And for some people it lasts a lifetime. And that’s why there are lots and lots of child-adults who remain dependent on the state, which has become their new parent.

I think I’m just scratching the surface here. I think there’s much more to be said, exploring this way of looking at things. But right now Donald Trump is looking to me like an Adult, and Republican party the Adults’ Party. And the Democrats are looking like the Children’s Party, and most of their politicians are looking like Children (Hillary Clinton in particular, in light of her two-year-long tantrum after not winning the presidency).

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Disempowering The People

Something I noticed a day or two back:

‘Lecturing people about smoking and drinking doesn’t work’ – warns Cumbria health boss

Colin Cox, director of Cumbria County Council, said that putting pressure on people to change their lifestyles could do the reverse.

Mr Cox was updating Cumbria County Council’s health scrutiny committee meeting in Kendal.

He said: “If it was about telling people what to do, all our health problems would be sorted out by now. Everyone has known for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating. Telling people what to do, doesn’t work, it’s about empowering people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

Health officials are working up far-reaching plans to tackle the county’s major health challenges over the next decade.

But committee member Phil Dew, from Kirkby Stephen said any push to “change behaviours” in people carried a danger of being “Orwellian”.

Cllr Dew said: “It’s a bit Clockwork Orange to be trying to manipulate people’s behaviour,”

He said some people stopped visiting GPs because they were “fed-up” of lectured about their lifestyles.

It almost sounds like common sense might be making a small comeback in Cumbria. But only almost.

I’m one of those people who do the reverse when pressure is put on me to change. I dig my heels in, and push in the opposite direction. So rather than, say, following any diet advice, I’m reverting to the kind of food my parents used to eat. Stuff like grilled lamb chops and boiled carrots and butter-laden mashed potato.  And it’s surprising how much butter can be absorbed by mashed potato.

I’m also one of those people who stopped visiting GPs. I haven’t been to one for 12 years. I even wrote my last GP a letter to explain why. I still have a copy of it somewhere. She was a perfectly nice doctor, but she was being slowly converted into an agent of the state, tasked with intervening in patients’ lives even when they weren’t unwell, telling them what they should and shouldn’t do.

I never had any real need to visit a doctor anyway. The only thing I ever wanted was sleeping tablets, and since I stopped using them 12 years ago I’ve been using whisky instead. And whisky is much, much nicer than any sleeping tablet. So Big Pharma has lost a customer here, and Scottish Distilleries have gained one.

But this Cumbrian Mr Cox could still improve further. He says:

“Everyone has known for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating.”

That’s one of those “Everybody Knows” assertions which are almost invariably untrue. What he should have said was:

“Everyone has been told for many, many years about the dangers of smoking and what they should be eating…”

And he might have added:

“… and they still don’t believe a word of it.”

 But it’s the last sentence that gives the game away:

“It’s about empowering people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

!!/<<__  EMPOWERING  __>>\!! is a word that should be written in  bold red capital letters, and hedged around with health warnings. It’s Orwellian Newspeak. It’s a word that needs to be given a very wide berth, because it means the exact opposite to what it seems to mean. So:

“It’s about !!/<<__  EMPOWERING  __>>\!! people and giving them the power they need to make the right decision.”

Because you always know that when people talk about “empowering” people, they don’t actually mean giving them the power to do something: they mean taking away the power, disempowering them. And when they’re telling them “to make the right decision”, they’re saying that they know what all the right decisions are, and the people who’ve been making those decisions don’t. They want to make other people’s decisions for them – and they usually also want to use other people’s money to do it.

Following on from yesterday, it’s the state in place of the parent, the state as Daddy. But while you could escape from Daddy when you finally left home, you can never escape the Daddy state. There’s no opt-out clause. There’s no EU Article 50.

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Free Stuff From Daddy

I’ve been wondering for the past couple of years about the Trump Derangement Syndrome that seems to afflict a lot of Americans (and maybe not just Americans). I don’t understand it. Why can’t they just get over the fact that She Lost? Why can’t She just get over the fact that She Lost?

But something I read yesterday seemed to maybe put its finger on the problem:

Politico then suggests that the Trump-fueled anxiety is due in part to “political theory,” positing that America – without a monarchy like the UK, tends to lionize the President as “national consolers,” and that people assign “an almost parental role to the presidency.”

And daddy is acting strange…

“Authority figures represent the parent, [so] President Trump seats in the seat of parent for all Americans,” said Baum-Baicker. “So now, my ‘father figure’ is a bully, is an authoritarian who doesn’t believe in studying and doing homework. … [Rather than reassurance] he creates uncertainty.”

I don’t think Britain’s QE2 has ever been a “national consoler.” She’s a figurehead, and she plays the role to perfection, and us Brits are going to have a collective nervous breakdown when she’s gone. She’s irreplaceable. She’s like one of those lightbulbs that you can’t buy any more, because they stopped making them in 1940. There’ll never be anyone like her.

The real comparison is not with the Queen, but with the British Welfare State which got set up post-WW2. It was actually a Nanny State. It provided services for everyone: doctors, schools, pensions, social security. Margaret Thatcher got rid of quite a lot of it, but much of it still remains. And it’s gradually metamorphosed into a bullying Nanny State, or just a Bully State.

For a lot of people, mostly on the Left, the state is a parent. It’ll provide security just like Mummy and Daddy once did. They look to the state to do everything, provide more or less everything. And while there were US presidents who felt the same way, and played the role of indulgent parent, a lot of Americans felt safe.

But Donald Trump isn’t an indulgent parent. Donald Trump is one of those parents who tells their children to get a job, and learn to support themselves, and stop relying on Daddy. I bet he told daughter Ivanka one day that if she wanted any more shoes and handbags, she was going to have get herself a job, and earn the money herself to buy those things. And I can imagine that when he did that, she probably threw a fit, and cried for weeks. But I’ll bet that he didn’t relent. I bet he stuck to his guns. And now Ivanka is a successful businesswoman in her own right. And she probably is because he made her become one.

And now that Donald Trump is playing Daddy to the American people, a lot of them are reacting just like I imagine Ivanka did: they’re throwing a fit, and calling him an “authoritarian” and a “bully” and even a “fascist.” They’re probably the names that Ivanka called him when he stopped giving her Gucci handbags. So he’s probably been through it all before. And now he’s telling the American people what he told her: get yourself a job, start earning your own living, stop relying on free stuff from Daddy. And the American Left have now been throwing an Ivanka tantrum for two whole years. And they’re being led by politicians who are themselves Ivankas. They have the same sense of entitlement to free stuff from Daddy. Hillary Clinton saw the US presidency itself as something she was entitled to, that was hers by right. And she’s been throwing a tantrum ever since she wasn’t given it.

America is not on the brink of civil war. It’s no more on the brink of civil war than the Trump household was on the brink of civil war when Ivanka stopped getting free Gucci handbags from Daddy. She was never going to kill Daddy, or oust him from his role as paterfamilias. And neither are all the Ivankas in US politics. Ivankas like Madonna. Ivankas like Bruce Springsteen. Ivankas like Hillary Clinton. They’re all full of hot air.

And while the Clintons and the Pelosis and the Feinsteins and the Antifas are hogging the headlines, maybe lots of Americans have been quietly doing what Donald Trump told Ivanka to do: they’ve been getting themselves jobs. And maybe many of them are very glad of it, just like Ivanka probably was.

I’m probably being very unfair to Ivanka. She probably never was a spoiled child like I’m portraying her. She probably never threw any tantrums. She probably never got any Gucci handbags either.

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The Campfire

A couple of articles I came across yesterday. The first was Could Cigarette Smoking Be The Right Career Move?

What is it about sharing a cigarette that accelerates human bonding? Whether it’s outside an office building or a bar, people who smoke are at the very least willing to strike up a conversation with someone they mightn’t know. Today in many public environments you’ll mostly find people with their eyes glued to their phone screens. I’ve talked to a lot of smokers and what I keep hearing is that the conversations they have hurdle the banalities of everyday life and gets straight to the good stuff.

The other one was Do you have a light?

Small moments, single intersections of time and luck and opportunity as fleeting as seconds themselves sow the seeds of the richest things in our lives. One kind in particular sticks out to me, though: the countless different social interactions I’ve had because of smoking cigarettes…

I’ve left out the statutory condemnation of smoking that followed in the next paragraph, and skipped to the one after that:

Any smoker will tell you that smoking cigarettes grants you membership to an invisible club of all the people in the world who smoke. You might not resemble each other in the slightest but you have this deeply personal thing in common: the fact that, at that moment, you both needed a cigarette. So you share a match, you find a streetlight to lurch under, and then there you are, together. Sharing, chatting, connecting. It happens in Morningside Heights just as it does on every city street around the world.

There is something both dark and delightful—something so wonderfully Columbia—about how this prevalent source of community stems from such a human vice. A lit cigarette ironically becomes a humanizing signal to passersby that you’ve momentarily succumbed to stress and life—that you admit you’re not perfect, either, at least for a few minutes.

I don’t disagree with any of that. But what do I think?

I think that when you light a cigarette or a pipe or a cigar, you’re returning to a primal human world. You’re returning barefoot to a campfire on a beach, or in a forest clearing, the lit sticks crackling, the smoke billowing up towards the full moon above, the barbecue sizzling, the women nursing infants at their breasts, cutting slices of burnt meat, half-cooked in places, with your obsidian knife, to hand to him or her or the half-feral dog.

A cigarette is a little campside fire. Or a candle. Or a torch. And an ashtray is the cold ashes of the morning after.

The act of smoking is deeply primitive, primeval. It places the smoker deep in human history, the way things used to be for thousands upon thousands of years. It’s a deep history from which us moderns are becoming steadily more detached, disconnected, estranged.

Cigarettes are a 20th century mode of smoking. They’re strongly associated with war, because the cigarette pack is the natural companion to a clip of bullets in a rifle magazine, and almost as precisely engineered. By comparison, pipes are 16th century muzzle-loading cannon. And cigars are handmade stone age spears. And of course e-cigarettes are a 21st century way of smoking, with the smoke and flame as invisible and vestigial as silicon chips. But whichever way you’re smoking, you’re recreating the ancient campfire, around which you’re sat, offering strangers bloody pieces of half-cooked meat. And that’s why it bonds people together. That’s the way humans have always bonded. Around a campfire, enveloped in clouds of smoke.

And the antismokers are people who are fleeing from that deep history. They hate it all. They hate everything about it. They hate humanity and campfires and smoke. They want every trace of it expunged. They regard themselves as beyond that kind of humanity. And that’s why they’re so arrogant, and so inhuman.  They’re “progressives”, going they know not where, except that it’s away from the smoke and fire and heat and dirt and sand that they so detest.

The war between smokers and antismokers is a war between a warm human past and a cold, compassionless, inhuman future. It’s a profound war. And it’s one that’s been going on for hundreds of thousands of years, and not just since the smoking bans of the early 21st century, or the arrival of tobacco in Europe in 1485.

And us humans have one advantage over the anti-human antismokers. We have the campfire around which we can talk and share and bond. And they have nothing comparable. There’s nothing to unite them except their hatred – which is the only thing that drives them, and which is just as easily directed at each other as at any enemy. For the antismokers hate each other just as much as they hate smokers, and it will be their hatred that will in the end destroy them.

P.S. I’ve added a Follow button at the top of the right margin. I don’t know how I’ve managed to get 205 followers, when I haven’t myself been able to see how to follow this blog.

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Storm Callum

Storm Callum is upon us today, here in England. And it is indeed pretty wet and windy right now.

But I’m wondering why these weather systems are increasingly being given names. Do they need to be given names? To give a storm system a name is to also give it its own personality and even purpose, a bit like last winter’s Beast From The East, which returned after having departed. They become entities in themselves when they’re given names. They become creatures, animals, spirits. The natural world is being re-animated, and populated with magical new lifeforms. Ours is becoming a newly demon-haunted world.

If we’re going to name these storm systems, why not use the names of the old Norse gods, and call them Storm Odin, or Storm Thor, or Storm Frigg. Today’s Friday, which is Frigg’s day, so shouldn’t Storm Callum really be called Storm Frigg? Or just Frigg? And shouldn’t the weather forecasters tell us, “Stay indoors, because Frigg is coming!” And then all the old Norse gods will have come back to life.


And if we are re-animating storm systems, we’ve already re-animated tobacco smoke. It’s become a magical vapour, which can go through walls, and hunt down children in their beds. Tobacco smoke has become an entity, a spirit.

Another one is the re-animation of the whole world, as Gaea. And the virginal Gaea is a goddess who needs to be protected from greedy, rampaging human rapists.

Christianity and science dispelled these old gods and goddesses, but now they’re coming back. We are being encouraged to engage in magical thinking. We are being encouraged to believe that our diseases are not caused by bacteria or viruses, but by tobacco smoke, or alcohol, or fast food. Carbon dioxide is no longer just a gas composed of carbon and oxygen, but has become an entity armed with the magical power, in the tiniest quantities, of being able to heat up the entire world. And we have become children being told fairy stories – only fairy stories we must believe. And we are being told the stories by the highest authorities in the land.

It’s perhaps why both Science and Christianity are in retreat. We’re seeing the return of the old pagan world. It was one filled with spirits and demons and fairies and goblins. And ours is being repopulated with them. And both Science and Christianity are being pushed out of the door. We tend to see Science and Christianity as in opposition. But perhaps they’re not, and never were.

For myself, Storm Callum is just a spinning mass of air. It possesses momentum. And it’s come rolling across the ocean like a wheel, or a spinning top. And it’s no more a living thing than wheels or spinning tops are.

In my view, living things work to stay alive. They have to expend energy in order to acquire energy: like wolves must hunt in order to catch deer. And while spinning storm systems can gain energy, I don’t see them expending any energy in order to acquire that energy. Most of their energy is acquired gratis from the Sun, as a gift. And most of the energy that powers other natural processes, such as rivers, is also derived gratis from the Sun, as a gift, as it evaporates water into the atmosphere, from which it falls later as rain.

But plants are living things because they must construct and deploy leaves to capture the sunlight that arrives gratis from the Sun. And they have to convert the energy of sunlight into energy stored in sugar. And the animals that eat the sugar-filled plants must expend energy in grazing on these plants. Living things must work to stay alive. And storms and rivers are not living things because they perform no work of this kind, even if they can be yoked by watermills and windmills.

So I don’t think that Storm Callum merits being given a name, however energetic it might be. I think that only living things merit being named. And perhaps only merit being given names if they can also answer to those names, and come when they’re called..

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I almost met her at Stony Stratford. I was sat at a table with a beer and a cigarette, and she passed by my table, and said “Hi Frank,” as she sailed on by. But that’s what Stony Stratford was like with pretty much everyone else as well.

But Emily has been talking to Pat Nurse:

I’m always glad to see smokers talking to each other. In fact I think it’s about the most important thing they can do, because the more they talk to each other, the greater the solidarity that they will feel with each other,  and the easier it will become for them to speak out on each others’ behalf.

Pat Nurse used to write a blog: Tea and Cigarettes. And the first question Emily asked her was why she stopped writing it.

The first answer Pat gave was that she didn’t want her journalistic employment prospects prejudiced by it.  And the second answer was that she didn’t want to keep on moaning.

As a blogger in the exact same line of business, all I can say is that I’ve never been worried about my employment prospects, because I’ve never been needing to look for work. I’m 70 years old now, and regard myself as pretty well retired from my working life as a self-employed computer programmer (although that doesn’t stop me from carrying on writing computer programs).

But I could understand her concern. Yet I couldn’t help but think that there were plenty of other politically incorrect things one can do, which might prejudice one’s employment prospects. Voting for Brexit, for example.

And if outspoken smokers might find it hard to find employment, then what about outspoken antismokers? Shouldn’t they be worried too? Shouldn’t they be a bit worried that one day their past will catch up with them? After all, someone like me would like to see the senior ranks of the medical profession completely purged of antismoking zealots. If I had anything to do with it, they’d all lose their jobs tomorrow morning. And Tobacco Control would be destroyed. Do they all think that the wind only blows one way? Can’t they imagine a time when the hatred and animosity that they’ve shown towards smokers comes back to haunt them? Because I think it will. I think that many of the most prominent antismokers are going to have to flee like Nazi war criminals. In fact, I think it’s inevitable. But then, Nazi war criminals probably never thought that their past would one day catch up with them.

And as for moaning? I wake up every day thinking about the smoking ban. That’s just how it is. It’s like waking up every morning and feeling the shattered stump of your leg which got blown off at Passchendaele 11 years ago.  It’s a profound injury. It never goes away. It still aches a bit every time you strap on the tin leg.

George Godber once said that “smokers will be petulant for a while” after smoking was banned:

“Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”

Well, Godber was wrong. It’s been over 11 years since the introduction of the UK smoking ban, and I’m still petulant after all these years. And how could I not be? On 1 July 2007, I was expelled from society, and I became an exile in my own land. And it’s a profound and terrible thing to do to people – to make exiles of them. And I feel my exile every day. And my exile only ever gets deeper as the years pass.

I’m not moaning about it. You’re moaning about something if you’re just saying the same thing over and over again. That’s what moaning is. But I’m always taking a new look at the experience of exile. Every morning I return to it from a new angle. Every morning I have a different take on it. I’m quite creative about my exile. I’m always dreaming up new ways in which to fight the bastards in Tobacco Control. And I long for the day when they in their turn will become exiles themselves on Desolation Island. For that day will one day come.

Anyway, Pat Nurse then went on to say that smokers needed to have a voice of their own, and be included in the public debate, but there was nobody speaking for them. But surely people only get a voice of their own when they open their mouths and speak? Or when they write? Or, more particularly, when they write blogs?

But Pat doesn’t want that sort of voice. She wants her voice heard in the corridors of power in government. She wants conference tables on which there are not just assigned seats for antismoking zealots like Deborah Arnott, but confirmed smokers like Pat Nurse, both given equal time to have their say.

It’s not what I want. I don’t want to talk to a filthy little shit like Deborah Arnott. I wouldn’t even want to be in the same room as that poisonous reptile. And I was very sorry for Dmitri Kosyrev when he found himself sitting right next to her at some conference a year or two ago. How horrible!

No, I don’t want to talk to these bastards. And I don’t need to. Because I know they’re reading my blog, because they’ve got a page devoted to me on Tobacco Tactics. I don’t actually have to be in the same room with them to have my voice heard.

And that’s because we’re living in a different world than the one we were living in 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, if you wanted to get heard, you had to attend the conferences and debates in Hull or Grimsby or Workington, because otherwise you’d never get heard. But with the arrival of the internet, everyone can have a voice, and be heard all around the world. You don’t have to go to Grimsby any more. You don’t have to go to the conferences. You don’t have to get your hand-painted protest placards in front of the BBC TV cameras.

You don’t need to get your face in the mainstream media to be heard any more. The mainstream media are melting away. A month or two ago, in one of his YouTube videos, (not this one) Lionel Nation said: “We are the mainstream media now.” And by “we” he meant people like him, sat in front of webcams with microphones, talking: people like Alex Jones, and Jordan Peterson, and the whole galaxy of new faces that have emerged in the online media, faces who could never have managed to get a hearing in the MSM. And he was quite right. The mainstream has divided into an infinite number of streams, like a river arriving at its delta. The BBC is becoming just one little stream among a million streams. And if you want to get heard, you make a video, and hope that it gets a few likes, and a few comments, and maybe a mention in one or two blogs.

Like Emily and her interview of Pat Nurse, which I’m sure lots of smokers will want to watch. They’ll never find anything like it on the BBC. They won’t find it on Alex Jones either. But they will find it here.

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