I’ve added another icon in the margin. It shows ASH’s Deborah Arnott saying what she herself wrote in January 2007, six months before the UK smoking ban came into force: “Smokers will be exiled to the outdoors.” The icon links to her piece in the Guardian. The words appear in the second paragraph.
I only read this for the first time a month or so ago, thanks to someone’s comment linking to the article. And it’s something that’s changed the way I think about the smoking ban.
Because it means that they knew that smokers were going to be exiled outdoors.
After all, if Deborah Arnott knew, and was candid enough to say what was going to happen, then the Ministry of Health and the government knew it too. They all knew.
And I had always thought that it was an unintended consequence of the ban.
And yet, quite clearly it wasn’t. The government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown knew perfectly well that smokers were going to be ejected from their pubs. But they went ahead and did it all the same. They fully intended the result they achieved.
They deliberately kicked all of Britain’s smokers out of British pubs and onto the streets.
What a vile thing to have done to so many innocent people. What a betrayal of trust.
I can only suppose that people like Blair and Brown, and now Cameron and Clegg, must hate the British people. Why else would they do something so utterly disgusting to them? They must utterly detest traditional British culture – that gentle, congenial culture of pubs and clubs – to have done such a thing. They must want to smash and destroy it.
I have often seen these people described as traitors online, mostly for their subservience to the EU. I’ve personally never felt able to pass such a judgment on them in that respect, because I simply don’t know enough to be so sure. I’m not a constitutional lawyer, after all. But I can well believe that they may be traitors. Because if they could so readily betray Britain’s smokers – all 13 million of them -, and allow them to be publicly vilified and isolated and humiliated, then they could betray absolutely anything and anyone.
It doesn’t mean very much, but I will never vote for any of these political parties again. I won’t vote Conservative, and I won’t vote Labour, and I won’t vote Lib Dem. I never want to see their faces or hear them speak again. Because they have each of them betrayed Britain’s honest and blameless smokers, knowingly exiling them outdoors, knowingly shattering their communities, and knowingly expelling them from society.
And to be quite honest, I really don’t know why anyone else would vote for any of them either. For if these people could so readily betray a quarter of the British population, why should anyone suppose that they are unable to betray the entire population? For if a man were to see some thief breaking into his neighbour’s house, why should he suppose that the same thief would never break into his?
I read recently that over 40% of Tory voters prefer the policies of UKIP. So why don’t they go and vote for them? Why is there such deep tribal loyalty to political parties, even if the leaders of those parties are scoundrels? One would almost think that the bond between voter and political party was some species of marriage, such is the loyalty. How much infidelity does it take before the injured party recognises that the marriage must end?
Anyway, I’ve added the new icon and link, so that I will know where to go to find what Deborah Arnott knew (and the British government also knew), six months before the UK smoking ban came into force. They knew what they were doing. They knew what the result would be. And yet they went ahead and did it anyway.
And that is unforgivable.