Astonished

I woke up astonished this morning.

All yesterday, my nose had been streaming, and my head felt thick and muzzy. I was developing a cold. Last night I prepared a drink of hot lemon juice and honey and whisky – something I usually do whenever the symptoms of a cold appear, even though it probably doesn’t do any good at all. So when I fell asleep last night, it was in full expectation that I’d wake up this morning with a full-blown cold, complete with sore throat and hacking cough. I’d dug out paracetamol and cough drops and even my little-used e-cig in preparation. I was quite certain of it. I was 99% certain of it. Maybe even 100% certain.

And so I was astonished this morning when I woke up and found that I didn’t have a cold. All the symptoms had vanished. My head was clear. My nose was dry.

And an hour or two after getting up, I remain astonished. Because I thought I would be in no fit state to write anything in my blog. Yet here I am, writing in it. How astonishing! I was so sure. And usually I’m never sure about anything.

It set me thinking about how all the disputes in the world are between people who are quite sure about one thing, and people who are quite sure of something else.

Most people, for example, are quite sure that smoking causes lung cancer. Everybody knows that, don’t they? There are only a few people who don’t believe it. And they are contrarians.

And lots of people believe that human-generated CO2 in the atmosphere is causing global warming. But then quite a few people don’t believe it.

I’m staying at my brother’s this week, while he’s off on holiday somewhere. And so I can legally watch television without paying the £155 licence fee, because he’s paid it. And so last night, as I prepared for my impending, inevitable cold, I was watching a BBC hit piece on Donald Trump’s utterly disastrous first 100 days in office.  It was fronted by Jeremy Paxman, Britain’s equivalent of Dan Rather or Walter Cronkite. One person after another came on to say how he was completely unfit for his office, and kept changing his mind, and was making a complete mess of the job. But one or two of the critics weren’t so sure. One of them said that he’d been wrong about Trump every single time he’d said something. He even listed all the occasions he’d been wrong. He’d been so perfectly and exactly wrong, every single time, that he didn’t want to say any more about Trump.

But for the most part, all the critics of Donald Trump are absolutely certain that he’s mad, bad, and dangerous. And they probably meet about 100 people every day who have the exact same opinion. And so they get confirmation every day of their certainty. Because everybody they know thinks the same way they do.

I was reminded that I once saw Deborah Arnott say something like “We know that 400,000 people die from smoking every year.” That wasn’t exactly what she said, but it was something like that. And she said it matter-of-factly, as if it was a universal truth that everybody knew. But at the time I thought, “She doesn’t know any such thing. Not with any certainty. Not with any certainty at all.” In fact, it seemed to me that it would have been far more true to have said “We don’t know that 400,000 people die from smoking every year.”

But antismokers like Deborah Arnott are always perfectly certain. They never express any hint of doubt or uncertainty about anything. Deborah Arnott is no doctor or epidemiologist or scientist or expert, but she always speaks with the quiet assurance of one. Real experts don’t shout. And her quiet assurance extends beyond medicine into economics, when she quietly assures people that smoking bans have no adverse economic impacts. I think that if Deborah Arnott was to speak about global warming or Brexit or Trump, it would be to express quiet assurance that we were all frying ourselves, and Brexit was a catastrophe,  and Trump was insane (e.g.)

INSANE SHRINKS SAY TRUMP MENTALLY ILL

It’s the reason why Deborah Arnott is the boss of ASH. She’s got the air of assurance and certainty that’s needed for the job. She’s unflappable. And she can tell a whole string of outright lies with a completely straight face. No-one else can do it quite like she can. It’s a remarkable gift. It’s a part that she knows how to play, like a consummate actor. It’s totally convincing. And it convinces everyone. Or almost everyone.

If there’s a difference between smokers and antismokers, it’s that smokers aren’t certain of anything, and antismokers are certain about absolutely everything. And they’re  absolutely certain about everything that everybody else is certain about. They’re know-alls. They’re know-alls who are surrounded by identical know-alls.

And if antismokers are winning the war on smoking, it’s because their certainties are prevailing over smokers’ uncertainties. Certainty always trumps uncertainty. You’re always going to hire the guy who says he knows how to do something rather than the guy who says he doesn’t know, or is not sure, or will have to ask somebody else.

Smokers will only start winning when uncertainty mounts, and old certainties get swept away. When that happens, anyone who says they know anything with any certainty will start to look like a fool.

Most people seem to still be certain that Donald Trump is mad, bad, and dangerous. And maybe he is. But some people don’t seem to be quite as certain about it as they used to be. And if he manages another 100 days in office without starting WW3, probably quite a few more people won’t be quite so sure that he’s a madman. Maybe a few will start saying he’s a genius. And then quite a few people will start saying he’s a genius. And finally everyone will know that he’s a genius, with perfect certainty.

And that’s how it goes. The pendulum swings between two fixed certainties, the one the opposite of the other. In between, it’s never certain. In between, it’s always changing.

And my nose is running again. I was quite sure earlier today that I didn’t have a cold. But now I’m not so sure.

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100 Years of War

Audrey Silk in NYC:

We must be getting close to an election.

When former NYC Council Speaker Christine Quinn was sliding in the polls in the 2013 race for mayor due to supporter dismay at her softened stances on issues important to them she reached for a mob-pleasing shield: A new anti-smoker law. She ushered through a law that raised the sales age for cigarettes from 18 to 21. That she failed to win the election is beside the point.

Today, as the next election approaches, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio has suddenly lifted aloft the same shield. Out of darkness come ten proposals assaulting smokers.

I say out of darkness because he’s already had four years in office with barely an anti-smoker peep. That was Bloomberg’s signature and it’s no secret that de Blasio didn’t like him or want to be seen in his shadow.

In what way do people win elections by launching assaults on minorities? Why does it ‘please the mob’ to see vindictive laws enacted against minorities? Why should I vote for A because he attacks B? What good does it do me if A attacks B?

Perhaps these minorities are really just punchbags on which to vent spleen? Why such spleen? Maybe it’s the spleen that was born of losing the presidential election last November. Democrats still haven’t got over that. They feel cheated. By Comey. By the Russians. By whoever. Smokers are a convenient target of pent-up rage. Like battered wives. If it wasn’t going to be smokers, it would just be someone else.

Maybe it was the same back in inter-war Germany. Germans were enraged by the harsh terms of the Versailles treaty, and by the state of their country in the aftermath of WW1, and were looking for scapegoats. The Jews were the most convenient targets.

It’s perhaps something that always happens when there are deep animosities. And somehow or other Democrats seem to bear the deepest grudges. They hold grudges against more or less everything. The scapegoat, whoever it is, is a lightning conductor on which to discharge the pent-up, generalised, undirected animosity.

But all this animosity directed at smokers is only going to come back at them one day. Because smokers are gradually being filled with their own animosity towards all the hate-filled, vindictive people who are persecuting them.

I like to think that the current global war on the world’s 1.5 billion smokers will will just run out of steam one day. But that may well be wishful thinking. For it’s also possible that it will just go on and on, and smokers will get angrier and angrier, and it will all explode one day. And it will become a 100 year shooting war of smokers against antismokers. Because that’s what’s slowly coming down the track.

Perhaps that’s how wars start. Perhaps they bubble up out of an ubiquitous discontent, where everyone has become a powder keg of seething, contradictory emotions, a boiling cauldron of rage and hate. Sooner or later, the swollen river overflows its banks, wherever it can find a way. If not here, then somewhere else. And warmongers are people who direct the flood, by breaking the banks in one place before it breaks them somewhere else. We fight wars in Syria in order to avoid them in Manhattan.

The hatred and rage that’s directed at smokers is perhaps the same hatred and rage that’s directed at Donald Trump, or Ann Coulter, or Roger Stone, or Jews, or Muslims, or bankers. Or maybe just America, and Western Civilisation, and the entire infuriating history of the world.

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Beaten or Robbed: Which Would You Prefer?

Iro Cyzane on Facebook:

”Just over a week after the terror group was flushed out of his hometown, Mr. Saleh was making a visual statement. He wanted people to know that he’s a smoker, a crime that until recently would have earned him 20 lashes.”

Not that I would go as far as comparing the terrorists to our western busybullies, but I too hold my cigarette with pride as a symbol of resistance to the bullying.

Is there really very much difference between their bullies and our bullies? If you’re a Syrian smoker, you get 20 lashes. If you’re a New York smoker, you get another $3 slapped on a pack of cigarettes. And we all know that NYC antismokers would like to give smokers 20 lashes.

Syrian smokers are beaten. New York smokers are robbed. Which would you prefer?

NY Daily News:

Another of the mayor’s policies was met with disdain from the next caller — his plan to increase the minimum price for a pack of cigarettes to $13. A caller named Trey argued cheeseburgers and doughnuts are just as harmful, and that de Blasio was turning into Mayor Michael Bloomberg — making people “miserable” by punishing them for their choices.

“If the only joy in a person’s life is smoking a cigarette when they get home from work after a hard day, who are you to take that away?” the caller asked.

The mayor argued he sees it as a question of public health rather than individual rights.

“Taxpayers end up having to deal with these crises,” he said.

Bill de Blasio, mayor of New York City, is a prince of thieves. His attitude to smokers is the same attitude as a pickpocket to other people’s wallets: “That money belongs to me, not them.”

“Look,” he might add, “These people don’t know what to do with their money. That’s quite obvious, because they’re wasting it on cigarettes. They may as well be throwing it in the Hudson river. In fact, they may as well be throwing themselves in the Hudson river. The very least we can do is grab some of that money back, and spend it on shelters for the homeless or something, before it all floats off down the river. Don’t you agree?”

Of course the mayor hides behind public health. Public health trumps everything else. It trumps joy. It trumps all rights. It trumps morality. It trumps compassion and consideration. It trumps honour and duty. It trumps justice. Once you pick up the Public Health card from the Community Chest, it’s as good as a Get Out Of Jail Free card. Which is why a pickpocket like de Blasio is running NYC. He’s beyond the law. He’s beyond prison. He’s beyond justice. All that stuff got torn up by Public Health.

He learnt it all from Michael Bloomberg, the previous NYC pickpocket.

And it’s always a Crisis. And in a crisis, the old rules and customs and constraints go out the window.

It’s like the WHO’s global smoking “epidemic”. Once you call it an epidemic – like the Black Death -, you make it into a crisis. Something has to be done about it, right now, this minute. And you demand emergency powers. And you maintain the state of emergency indefinitely. And during the state of emergency, all the old rules and regulations are suspended, and replaced by arbitrary new ones.

Global Warming is another manufactured crisis. Particularly if it’s called Catastrophic Anthropogenic Global Warming. A catastrophe! Declare a state of emergency!

None of these things are crises at all, of course. They’re all conjured out of thin air, quite literally.

And now everyone’s worrying about WW3 breaking out. And, of course, that’s yet another non-crisis crisis on top of all the other non-crisis crises.

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Paradise: A Beer and a Cigarette

Dmitri Kossyrev: a Google translation from Russian into English:

Paradise: a beer and a cigarette.

  At the same blog, my British friend Frank Davis – his long (with pictures) essay about the philosophical meaning of the struggle against smoking. I will not quote it, retell important.
In fact, says Frank, the objections of anti-smoking forces against smoking – ethical character, but they express it is not able to, so they try to build on the very weak health arguments.
Ethics here is this: all beings have to work to stay alive. But the essence of this work, its purpose – to make sure that you can do nothing. This is the aim all the inventions of mankind: the car, so as not to walk, etc.
It turns out that in the human representation is ideal existence – is doing nothing, in fact, a paradise where you can always sit in the garden with a glass of beer and a cigarette. And there is its opposite – it is hell, where you always have to do something unpleasant (to be tortured, well, in general, to work).
So says Frank, the people who can not see how we smoke (drink, eat, listen to music, read books) – the inhabitants of hell is that we simply wildly jealous.

Did I write that the inhabitants of Hell were jealous of the inhabitants of Heaven? I have searched my essay, but found nothing about jealousy or envy. This looks like it may be an artefact of translation from English into Russian, and from Russian back into English into which jealousy has crept.

The ethical system I had constructed was one in which idleness or leisure was good, and work and toil were bad, and living things (most notably humans) were always trying to increase their idleness. Heaven was a condition of perfect idleness, and Hell was a condition of unrelenting busyness. Humanity, suspended somewhere between Heaven and Hell, aspired to reach Heaven, and to escape Hell. And to do this, humans employed useful tools – axes, hammers, saws, roads, bridges, engines, computers, and so on – to reduce the work they needed to do, and to thereby increase their idleness. But if there were useful tools like axes and hammers, there were also useless tools like playing cards and chess boards and footballs and surfboards. And these things filled up human idle time with pointless and entirely unnecessary activities like gambling and chess-playing and football and surfing. While humans were unloading work from their shoulders with all their useful tools, they were busy loading new work onto their shoulders in the form of all these quite unnecessary activities. They were getting nowhere. They were getting nowhere nearer Heaven. If they were to attain Heaven, they would have to forego all these pointless activities. They would, in short, have to stop gambling and surfing and dancing. And they would also obviously have to stop drinking and smoking.

Anyway, it is not inconceivable that the busy, toiling inmates of Hell should feel jealous of the idle inhabitants of Heaven. But there is one very good reason for supposing that this cannot be the case. And it is that the inmates of Hell are simply far too busy to take note of whatever is going on (or not going on) in Heaven. The idle residents of Heaven are perfectly able to gaze down in horror and dismay at the toiling figures in Hell, but the inmates of Hell don’t have the luxury of being able to return that gaze. So Hell cannot be jealous of Heaven.

Furthermore, if Deborah Arnott was in Hell, and somehow managed to find the idle time in which to stop scrubbing its floor, and to cast her eye upon Heaven, would she be jealous at what she saw? I think not. I think she would be shocked and dismayed at the sight of people drinking beer and smoking cigarettes in Heaven. She would be very glad that she didn’t live there. How awful to have endure all those drunken smokers! Why doesn’t Heaven have the No Smoking signs that are these days the badge of civility? And No Drinking signs too? And she would feel exactly the same if she saw people sitting on clouds, twanging harps. How could anyone possibly put up with all those annoying harps? What a hideous cacophony! Was there anywhere in Heaven where anyone could get away from it? It could go through walls and along telephone wires, just like tobacco smoke. Even in the wide prairies of Heaven, you could still faintly hear the damn tinkling notes.

No, Deborah Arnott would pick up her scrubbing brush, and renew her labours with a will, glad that she wasn’t in that hellish place, but instead had a useful job sweeping up brimstone and ash from the deserts of her idea of Heaven.

Which brings me back to the moral cliffhanger question: what’s wrong with smoking? The charge against it was that it was a completely unnecessary activity, a new form of burdensome work, which had replaced vital, necessary forms of work like fishing and farming. The fishermen had laid down his rod and line, and the farmer had laid down his plough and his spade, and both had picked up their pipes and matches instead. One tool had merely been replaced by another tool. No progress whatsoever had been made! One form of toil had been replaced by another.

But if smoking is something people freely choose to do in their idle time, along with drinking beer, and playing chess, and talking about the weather, it’s not ‘work’. It only becomes work if there is some sort of obligation to do it. And the Deborah Arnotts of the world supply this obligation in the form of ‘addiction’. The cigarette addict can’t stop himself smoking. No sooner has he stubbed out one cigarette, than he must light another. He is the slave of his cigarettes, just as much as any slave in the American Confederacy toiling in its cotton fields. And of course these cigarette addicts want to escape their enslavement just as much as any slave on a cotton field. Who wouldn’t?

But couldn’t the same be said of the army of harpists in Heaven? No sooner have they stopped playing one tune, than they start playing another. They are as addicted to their harps as smokers are addicted to their cigarettes. And the same goes with beer drinkers and chess players and conversationalists. They are addicted to beer, to chess, and to talking respectively. Can’t they ever stop?

In what way are they all ‘addicted’ to these pointless activities? Are they ‘addicted’ at all? Might not the idea of ‘addiction’ itself be an addiction?

Anyway, I’ve just noticed that Dmitri has written another blog about me. I haven’t read it yet.

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An Upcoming Berlin Wall Event?

Daily Mail:

Putin sends troops to Russia’s border with North Korea after China also sends soldiers to its boundary over fears Trump will attack Kim Jong-un, sparking a tidal wave of refugees

The Russian President has sent troops and equipment to his North Korea border

Footage shows trains carrying tanks to 11-mile frontier in Russia’s south east

Comes after China sent 150,000 troops to its own frontier with North Korea

There are fears of a mass exodus of North Korean refugees if war breaks out

Add also that Trump has been sending carrier fleets and missiles to South Korea, and by my reckoning North Korea now has a considerable army on every border, and a fleet off every coast. And none of them were there a few weeks ago.

Kim Jong Un must be feeling a bit hemmed in.

Perhaps that’s the whole point of the exercise? To me it looks like the USA and China and Russia are acting in concert together against North Korea.

And how do you stop refugees with tanks? Tanks are, in my book, offensive weapons which can move at considerable speed in the right terrain. They’re poised to roll into North Korea.

So I’m wondering whether Mr Art-of-the-Deal has pulled off his most extraordinary deal ever, and constructed a grand alliance to finally fix the festering sore of North Korea. Huge pressure is now being applied to North Korea on all sides. Maybe all trade has been suspended to the outside world. The starving, poverty-stricken people of North Korea are getting even more starving and poverty-stricken than ever. Fat Kim is waving nuclear weapons (which may not exist) at everyone, but he’s being told that if he tries anything like that, there’ll be an immediate attack.

So Kim will be facing mounting internal pressure from his starving people, while being blocked from using what military power is available to him. The most likely outcome is a coup to overthrow him, followed by a simultaneous bloodless occupation of North Korea as US, Chinese, and Russian tanks roll into it.

Are we about to witness an event equivalent to the Fall of the Berlin Wall? It would remove a thorn in everyone’s side. I imagine that China and Russia and the USA are all just about equally sick of the North Korean regime. A normalisation of the failed state of North Korea, that turns it into a state like any other, would be good for the USA, good for China, and good for Russia. It would also be very good for North Korea, and for South Korea as well. There’d only be one loser: Fat Kim.

It perhaps answers something that’s been puzzling me about Xi Jinping: why didn’t he turn round and climb back onto his plane after Donald Trump launched 60 cruise missiles into Syria the same day? Why was he looking so serene before the news cameras? Why was he wearing a Trump tie?

The answer, maybe, was that Xi had flown to meet Trump in order to finalise the details of their upcoming joint corporate take-over of North Korea. And if everything goes perfectly according to plan, Fat Kim will be toppled in the next few weeks, and we’ll be seeing Berlin Wall scenes at the always-fraught North Korean and South Korean border, as well Pyongyang and Seoul, and Red Cross distributing food to starving North Koreans.

With luck, it’ll all go bloodlessly. Nobody is expecting to fight. They’re expecting a bloodless victory of the overwhelming forces now besieging North Korea. It may just be a question of how big a bribe Fat Kim needs to be given, before flies off to a safe place in, say, Paraguay.

Anyway, that’s my guess. It’s the only way I can make it all add up.

But what do I know?

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Natural and Directed Evolution

Interesting discussion on the Smoking Section between Emily Wieja and her father:

Her father was saying that he was not too bothered about smoking bans and the imminent prohibition of the menthol cigarettes he smoked. He saw it as a natural evolutionary process, or ‘trend’, much like traffic patterns and densities. It was just what happened, and was happening all the time. There were the same sort of trends in hairstyles, skirt lengths, music preferences. Or maybe even just the weather.

Listening to him, I could well see his point of view. Getting bothered about smoking bans is like getting bothered about people’s newspaper habits, or choices of shoes. It was changing all the time: live with it. And I think that if smoking bans were part of a natural progression, I wouldn’t be any more bothered about them than he is.

But what we’re seeing happening with smoking isn’t really a natural process of evolution at all. It’s directed evolution. It’s an eugenic social engineering programme. State power is being used to push people in a very particular direction: it’s being used to make them stop smoking.

The difference between a natural evolutionary process and a directed, eugenic evolutionary process is that a natural process is one whose outcome is unknown, while a directed process is one in which the outcome is predetermined. When some number of plants and animals in some area are allowed to grow and multiply uncontrolled, it will not be possible to know in advance which ones will prosper and flourish, and which will become scarce or even extinct. But if they grow and multiply in a controlled environment which favours the growth and prosperity of one particular plant or animal, the outcome is being predetermined. The dice are loaded. The game is fixed.

And there’s a big difference between the two. The natural process of evolution will throw up its own set of ‘winners’. The directed process will throw up a predetermined ‘winner’. And this predetermined winner is very unlikely to be the one which would have won using a natural process.

For example, imagine a number of vehicle manufacturers who each sell vehicles with different numbers of wheels. There are cars with four wheels, tricycles with three wheels, motorbikes with two wheels, and even some monocycles, as well as six-wheeled and eight-wheeled ones too. In a condition of free and equal competition, some of these vehicles will sell well, and some won’t. We might suppose that, although monocycles will be much cheaper than cars, and have lower running costs, they have an unfortunate tendency to fall over and throw off their riders, often causing their deaths. Equally, although eight-wheeled vehicles will be extremely stable, they will cost a lot more, and have much higher running costs. We might therefore not be too surprised to find that, in a condition of free competition, four-wheeled vehicles will tend to predominate, because they combine good stability with relatively low prices and running costs. i.e. most people will drive cars, because they are on balance the best buy, all things taken into account. A natural evolutionary process throws up cars as the ‘winners’.

But if the competition is fixed, with a strong emphasis placed on health and safety, so that all vehicles must have at least twelve wheels, then the predetermined ‘winner’ is the twelve-wheeler. All vehicles will have twelve wheels or more. But since we know that in a state of natural competition, four-wheelers are the ‘winners’, this must mean that the planned, directed society of twelve-wheeled vehicles will one where much more fuel, and a great many more wheels, are needed to keep the same amount of traffic flowing. People in the twelve-wheeled society will be much busier than those in the four-wheeled society, as they have to replace wheels more frequently, and acquire much more fuel to power the heavier twelve-wheelers.

So planned, directed, controlled societies will always be ones in which non-optimal choices are being made. And if everything is planned and directed, all products will be sub-optimal. It won’t just be cars, but also televisions, radios, and even cups and saucers. Everything will be sub-standard, and everything will always be getting worse. And this is more or less exactly what happened in the planned, regulated, controlled economies of the former Soviet Union and Eastern Bloc. In fact, it’s the principal reason why they are ‘former’.

The same will apply to tightly controlled societies, with lots of rules and regulations governing personal behaviour. The more controlled people are, the less freedom of action they have to respond flexibly to unforeseen events. They are being kept busy by rules and regulations. They are being kept far busier than they need be. For if there are signs in a park saying, “No Walking On The Grass”, this will mean that everyone must stick to the paths while crossing a park, and take far longer than they would if they had just walked straight across the grass. They have to walk much further, and keep much busier.

Many years ago I read a story, perhaps apocryphal, of how Genghis Khan once demonstrated to a visiting ambassador the discipline of his army by commanding a cavalry detachment to ride off a cliff to their deaths – which they duly did, unhesitatingly. No doubt this impressed the ambassador, but it also demonstrated a fatal weakness in the army, because it showed that Genghis Khan’s disciplined, obedient cavalry could not even stop themselves riding off a cliff to their deaths. This might explain why that army was eventually defeated, and Europe saved from the Mongol hordes.

And while we’re on about Europe:

The European Union evolved, devolved actually, from basically a free trade pact among a few countries to a giant, dysfunctional, overreaching bureaucracy. Free trade is an excellent idea. However, you don’t need to legislate free trade; that’s almost a contradiction in terms. A free trade pact between different governments is unnecessary for free trade. An individual country interested in prosperity and freedom only needs to eliminate all import and export duties, and all import and export quotas. When a country has duties or quotas, it’s essentially putting itself under embargo, shooting its economy in the foot. Businesses should trade with whomever they want for their own advantage.

But that wasn’t the way the Europeans did it. The Eurocrats, instead, created a treaty the size of a New York telephone book, regulating everything.

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Bleeding Obvious

After learning of Theresa May’s shock announcement yesterday that she wanted a General Election on 8 June, I wondered what had prompted it. I read somewhere that she’d only made up her mind about it over the Easter weekend, while on a walking holiday.

I was also wondering whether Kitten Heels might be a secret smoker like Barack Obama and David Cameron. What better way to enjoy a few gaspers with nobody noticing than on a long walk in the Peak District?

It was with these thoughts in mind that I re-read these lines in the essay I wrote on Easter Saturday:

If I’m surprised that more pubs haven’t closed, I’m equally surprised that the Conservatives haven’t used pub smoking bans as a very big stick with which to beat both the killjoys in the Labour party, and the killjoys in the Lib Dem party. Because 90% of Labour MPs, and 95% of Lib Dem MPs, voted for the indoor smoking ban. By contrast only about 30% of Conservative MPs did. I can imagine any number of jibes along the lines of “Vote Labour if you want to kill off the rest of the pubs and clubs in your constituency” or “Vote Labour if you want to destroy what’s left of British culture”.

Because, as far as I can see, and said so yesterday, that’s exactly what the Labour party of Jeremy Corbyn want to do. They want to completely destroy the entire culture, and replace it with something else.

And everything fell into place. It all added up. It was bleeding obvious. It was a simple matter of adding 1 and 2 and 3 together to make 123.

It goes like this:

Last Saturday, Theresa May had come home to her little rented cottage in the Peak District, a bit annoyed that she’d had to walk seven miles to find somewhere to enjoy a quiet smoke, all entirely thanks to Labour’s parliamentary killjoys. So she typed “Labour’s parliamentary killjoys” into her ipad while brewing up some tea, and found herself reading my little essay about them.

And as she read the bit about the “very big stick” she said, “By Jove, he’s right! There are about 10 million royally pissed-off smokers in Britain begging for someone to speak up for them. Nigel Farage has been doing it in a small way, but he’s not even an MP, let alone a Prime Minister like me. So why not make a strong bid for the smoker vote that’s currently going UKIP’s way, because nobody else wants their filthy votes? Why not offer them the same thing as UKIP does: smoking rooms in pubs? We’d win by a landslide!”

Within minutes, as she toasted scones over the cottage’s coal fire, she was on the encrypted blower to Anthony Fothergill-Sprote, one of her key political advisers. “What do you think, Tony?” she asked, after running the idea past him.

“Great idea,” he replied. “But why not go one step further than UKIP, and say that it should be up to pub landlords, not governments, to decide whether their pubs are smoking or non-smoking? After all, wasn’t that what Brexit was really all about: getting big government off people’s backs? You know, power to the people, and all that?”

“But what about all the antismoking bastards in the Department of Health and ASH and the WHO?” Theresa May asked, as she smeared butter on the charred, smoky scones. “They’ll have a fit, won’t  they? They’ll say that we’re condemning millions of people to a slow lingering death.”

“Just ignore them. Or refer them the The Smokers’ Graveyard for all the deaths that smoking bans cause. Real deaths too. Like falling out of windows. Not just imaginary mathematical extrapolations, conjured out of thin air.”

Theresa May glanced up at the No Smoking sign fixed on the wall of the cottage’s tiny living room, as she ate the last of the hot, charred, buttered, jammy scones. She licked her fingers and reached for the Benson & Hedges pack in her handbag, trying to ignore the pictures of screaming, crucified children on it.

“You know what, Tony? You know what I’ve got a good mind to do? I’m going to announce this from behind the lectern outside 10, Downing Street, wearing my kitten heels…”

“And a gypsy outfit with a feather boa…” Tony interjected.

“…and light up a queen-sized B&H right then and there, in front of all the BBC and Channel 4 cameras,” Theresa May continued, as she climbed onto a chair to hang out of the living room window, light up her cigarette, and gaze down at the rose bush below. “And then blow smoke in their faces. Really stick it to them, with a cruel smile on my lips.”

I think something like this is what must have happened. Theresa May is, very daringly, going to make a bid for the smoker vote that Labour and the Lib Dems didn’t dare touch – in fact, couldn’t touch. This will win her a landslide victory.

It’s obvious really.

Don’t you think it’s bleeding obvious?

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