The Great Betrayal

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.

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26 Responses to The Great Betrayal

  1. The sheer spite continued with the regs for smoking shelters. A shelter that would be deemed illegal for livestock. l and many of my friends simply won’t accept such treatment. Apart from the smoky-drinkys we have pub lock-ins and to all intents and purposes … speakeasys too and they are becoming more and more prevalent. This means breaking the law … so be it!

  2. I think Smoking Hot is right. There is no other option left. After all, what is a law? There are laws so necessary, a majority of citizens accept and defend eagerly. Only a few break those laws, out of envy, lust or greed. But then there are this other laws, that come and go. Those are not laws based on common sense, on survival, on a need for order. They are just political whims, brewed up in one or two generations of people, lost in the next. Is it morally wrong to disobey a smoking ban? Is something inherently inmoral, hurtful, mean? I will not smoke where smoking is not allowed. People in such a place have not necessarily chosen my way of life. But if a bar owner, “unlawfully”, allows smoking in his establishment, that is fair game. And I will support that ,even if right now, that is not legal. They fully have my support.

  3. Keep up the fight guys,we will win. We always do!

  4. legiron says:

    They can never claim they didn’t know, because it happened a year earlier in Scotland and before that in Ireland. The effects were plain to see before they applied it to England and Wales.

    Effect on health – zero
    Effect on businesses and social life – devastating.

    The fact that they went ahead anyway, and that the Coagulation still support it absolutely, can only mean that this was what they intended.

  5. Frank Davis says:

    Leg-iron makes a good point. I don’t live in Scotland or Ireland, so I couldn’t see the effects for myself. And also the news media weren’t reporting what was happening in those places (and I watched TV back then). They don’t report on smoking bans. Nothing beyond the absolute minimum, anyway. It’s not ‘news’ to them. These days I really only know what’s going on anywhere thanks to the network of smokers that’s grown up in the aftermath of these various bans. Like I only manage to keep up with, say, Spanish events thanks to Javier Urgoiti and Lecroix Kwdjer and a few others. But people like Deborah Arnott were already part of the global antismoking network. They weren’t being kept in the dark at all.

    As for revolt, I came across this today:

    The thing about harsh authoritarian regimes is it’s not laws, or courts, or the rigid government hierarchy that makes them run. It is fear. And once the fear is taken out of the equation – suddenly, for the vanishing of fear is always sudden – it becomes clear that these courts, laws and hierarchies do not work. Everything just starts falling apart.

    And it’s fear that keeps people in line with these smoking bans. Fear of being fined (or even imprisoned). Or of someone else being fined or imprisoned. But once the fear has gone (and I can well imagine that it goes quite suddenly) everything changes. I think that one day people everywhere will just walk into the pubs and light up the way they always used to.

    Oh, and that quote wasn’t about smoking bans or anything (although it may as well have been). It was in the Guardian, and it was about Putin’s crumbling Russian regime. And it went on:

    That is what happened here 20 years ago: institutions just stopped taking orders from the Kremlin. The media stopped fearing the censors who still sat in their offices at every media outlet. The police stopped applying absurd regulations, enabling the birth of private enterprise. Ultimately, the heads of the Soviet Union’s 15 constituent republics lost their fear – and the empire fell apart, in what by history’s standards was the blink of an eye.

    We too have our own obedient institutions. We too have our own censored media. And we too have our own absurd regulations. And our enterprise is also being strangled.

  6. Rose says:

    Denormalisation therapy seems to be thought of more as some strange kind of new medical treatment, bullying those for whom some minor part of their lives fits into the current category of “disapproved”.
    I would imagine that the denizens of ASH are really quite proud to have introduced it to England.

    Tobacco Control, Stigma, and Public Health: Rethinking the Relations – 2006

    “If stigmatization does contribute to reducing the human costs of smoking by encouraging cessation or preventing the onset of tobacco use, are the personal burdens it creates morally justifiable?

    Although it provides a point of departure, the utilitarian calculus, so vital to public health thinking, is insufficient for answering the question.
    Much will depend on the nature and the extent of stigma-associated burdens and on how the antitobacco movement deploys stigmatization as an instrument of social control.

    For example, policies and cultural standards that result in isolation and severe embarrassment are different from those that cause discomfort.
    Those that provoke a sense of social disease are not the same as those that mortify.
    Acts that seek to limit the contexts in which smoking is permitted are different from those that restrict the right to work, to access health or life insurance, or to reside in communities of one’s choice.

    The extent to which the deployment of stigmatization exacerbates already-extant social disparities or has long-term counterproductive consequences for the effort to confront the epidemic of smoking-related morbidity must also be considered.”

    “Only when we understand the circumstances under which stigmatization transforms behaviors linked to disease and early death and are able to distinguish these from the circumstances in which stigmatization has negative impacts on public health will it be possible to weigh the competing moral claims of population health and the burdens that policy may impose on the socially vulnerable.
    Then it will be possible to make choices informed by hard evidence rather than wishful thinking.”

    They had already tried fear and persuasion with limited success, so now they wanted to try a slap in the face.

    • Frank Davis says:

      It never ceases to astound me that people can spend their whole lives trying to control other people. What a miserable goal in life to have.

      Either that, or their ideal world is some sort of prison. In which case it would only be right and fitting to reward them for their efforts with life imprisonment.

      • Rose says:


        “There was a feeling on the part of many participants that fear had failed as an instrument of persuasion, that apathy among the public had developed with respect to claims concerning smoking and health and that, in many instances, the matter had been cast in terms of morals rather than health.”

        The Principle in an Anti-Smoking Cure and the Introduction of the Measuring of Carbon Monoxide.
        Describes use of carbon monoxide measurements to scare patients.”

  7. jaxthefirst says:

    (Sorry to tag this on as a reply, Frank, but I can’t get the WordPress login screen to show any other way)

    In fairness, the dreadful Arnott did make this statement after the Health Act had been passed by Parliament and made public, and it was very clear in the Act that smokers would indeed be exiled outdoors, so the statement actually doesn’t imply any “prior knowledge.” It was, of course, highly likely that there was some, but this statement doesn’t prove it.

    As you know, I’m loathe to offer any fairness to ASH and their ilk, being as they are completely incapable of offering any fairness to smokers, as they have so ably shown, but I thought I’d point this out to you before some blog-spying anti rushes in to point it out!

    Just as an aside, does anyone know of a list anywhere of dated quotes from the likes of ASH, anti-smoking politicians, ban-supporters etc from the pre-ban days saying things like: “The ban is only going to apply to public spaces – we aren’t proposing to ban smoking in private places,” or “Smokers can still smoke in the open air – the ban isn’t going to extend outside. What’s so difficult about stepping outside for a few minutes?” or “We are only proposing to ban smoking in places where food is prepared and served,” or “This isn’t the slippery slope that the nay-sayers are predicting – it’s only about smoking, because smoking is so harmful to non-smokers,” etc etc – followed by later comments or reports, contradicting those statements?.

    • Frank Davis says:

      it was very clear in the Act that smokers would indeed be exiled outdoors,

      Where in the Act does it say that smokers are to be exiled outdoors? I don’t remember anyone saying that smokers were going to be exiled outdoors.

      • jaxthefirst says:

        OK, I accept that the Act doesn’t actually use the words “exiled to the outdoors” but pretty much the whole of the “Smoke Free Premises” section of the Act from start to finish is about doing just that (OK, with the teeniest little section of exceptions). I suspect that Arnott’s public use of the word “exiled” is just the kind of triumphalist, let’s-get-in-a-bit-of-denormalisation-speak language that anti-smokers use at every opportunity. And I don’t doubt that, as you indicate in your article, behind closed doors in the committee rooms at ASH HQ the word “exiled” had probably been bandied about long before the Act was passed.

        PS: Thanks for the 1999 letter, Rose. I’ve copied and kept it, and I’m going to start making a little collection for future reference …

    • Rose says:


      Letter to The Publican re. protecting employees from passive smoking
      7th June 1999

      Dear Editor

      Re: smoking in pubs

      It is true that the Health and Safety Executive is developing a new Approved Code of Practice to deal with passive smoking in the workplace (Pubs face new smoking bans, Code is a blow, 7th June 1999). All the ACOP will do is provide meaningful guidance on how the Health and Safety at Work Act (1974) should be applied to tobacco smoke in the workplace. This law already exists and has no exemptions for the hospitality industry. The ACOP will clarify the law and help publicans comply with it.

      A new ACOP would not mean that all smoking must be banned in pubs. The heart ofthe law is that employers have an obligation to do what is reasonably practicableto reduce their employees’ exposure. That could include segregation,ventilation, banning smoking at the bar or other measures. It also means the ‘do nothing and ignore it’ approach is not an option. The best approach for any pub is to wholeheartedly embrace the Charter agreed by the Government and trade bodies such as ALMR and BII and to do what is reasonable and practical to protect their employees. That is good professional business, and it should not be a cause for alarm, despair or resistence.

      Yours sincerely,
      Clive Bates

  8. junican says:

    Damn it, Frank! I have just lost a whole post because of the insane demands of WordPress. Why does a new pane appear if you click ‘Post Comment’ without first logging in? What is the new pane for?

    OK. I said that Arnott must have known in advance what was going to happen. It was already cut and dried.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Yes, it can be a bit tricky. I’m logged in the whole time. And I quite often save a draft as I go along.

      The puzzle for me is that WordPress auto-saves as you write, but I’ve yet to find a way of recovering the auto-saved text. So I don’t know why they bother auto-saving it.

      • alanxxx says:

        You have to adjust your sensitivity filters for for me being pissed for this post (absinthe and vodka, and bloody good it is too!).

        By fate, I ended up on a holiday for the millenium in New Zealand in 2001, and this is the first place I heard the “out the door” policy applied to smokers. This by my brother btw (and let us not forget how much anti smokerism gets inside families, not to mention my personal extreme familiarity with cancer cases).

        Err . . . . the “smokers out the door policy” struck me as utter knob rot in New Zealand, and this helped me to realise very quickly that it was utter knob rot here as well.

        I reckon Arnott et al picked up the smokers out the door idea from the same source as the idea in New Zealand, which is probably American.


        By being “satisfactorily explained to me”, I mean managed to make a dint in someone who has done deathwatch to the grave twice, knows the intimate details of four cancer cases and knows of information from thirty other cases.

        Apologies to any Ash spies hovering over this blog, but your stories all look like fucking fairy tales to me, or at best, cynical rent seeking.

        I guess a deathwatch chain smoker is Ash’s nightmare, but I know of others.

      • alanxxx says:

        Oops, hope I didn’t get too dark in the last post. It’s been an outstandingly good Christmas for me and looks like the foundation of many more.

        What really gets me vengeful is the MARKETING of cancer to me by people who obviously have never been in the front line of the disease. This to me is a matter of extreme grudge, and I take pleasure in it. Ho ho ho!

  9. waltc says:

    Of course the ironic contradiction is that now it’s “smokers exiled FROM the outdoors” as the next wave– banning us from parks, beaches, sidewalks, parking lots, entire college, office and factory campuses– is full steam ahead. This is spreading in waves across America now. And in tandem with a push to ban us from smoking in private apartments in what’s bureaucratically known as “multi-unit dwellings.” It’s a kind of bait and switch, isn’t it. The world was going to be safe for democracy if only the smokers would just stay outdoors, and now, voila!, the outdoors isn’t safe if there’s a smoker in it.

    I’ll leave you, on the brink of the new year, with a quote from C.S. Lewis that I just came across that seems appropriate to this blog and to the gathering and growing community of exiles:

    “Friendship is born the moment when one person says to another, “What? You too? I thought I was the only one!”

  10. Rose says:


    Try this, Alanxxx

    From the ASH Political Bulletin 2004

    Thompson’s Solicitors Smoking Workplace Hotline

    “Since the last political bulletin, ASH and Thompsons have launched their new hotline through a leaflet called “secondhand smoker?”
    It is aimed at people who don’t smoke themselves but are suffering from ill health due to exposure from tobacco smoke pollution at work.
    Thompsons and ASH have been very pleased at the response so far.”

    From the same bulletin

    Letter to the Publican

    Managing Director of The Massive Pub Company
    “The only ultimate provision and safety for us will be a smoking ban.
    We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.Since April 27 cases have been taken on – this is the start of a tidal wave – in my view.

    The industry, through the various trade bodies is looking for a voluntary ban with 80% of premises having smoke free areas by 2007.
    Having attended the conference I am of the clear view that far too many of us could be fighting legal battles by then, and perhaps we will be preferring a total national ban.

    We need to take a very close look at what is happening elsewhere and learn from their experiences.The clearest message from this conference is that on health and legal grounds a ban is an absolute must and an absolute certainty.
    That frightens us and requires us to change will, ultimately, be irrelevant.

    I would strongly recommend that every trade body and industry representative invites some of the speakers from this conference, or workshop.
    At least that way acknowledge of the dangers of ETS and to our livelihoods and businesses will be more widely available.”

    Click to access ASH_405.pdf

    Anti tobacco has managed to terrify the ignorant into believing that the smell of a cooking vegetable is deadly.


    “Many plants of the Solanaceae family, which includes the genus Nicotiana, of which the tobacco plant is a member, contain solanesol; particularly those that contain trace amounts of nicotine.
    These include the tomato, eggplant, potato, and pepper.

    The potential interference due to these sources is negligible, cooking being the only likely potential source of interference. An interference of this type would bias results high, overestimating the contribution of ETS to RSP.

    Click to access CRM_52.pdf

    “With secondhand smoke, the main concerns are exposure to levels of carbon monoxide and respirable particulate matter.
    While air nicotine metabolised as cotinine provides a marker for measuring exposure to tobacco smoke, the nicotine is not present in such quantities as to present health concerns”.
    Link no longer works, unsurprisingly.

    So where did this idea come from?

    SECOND WORLD CONFERENCE on Smoking and Health

    “But psychologist Daniel Horn, of the U.S. Public Health Service’s National Clearinghouse on Smoking and Health, observed that “under certain conditions” an increase in carbon monoxide from others’ cigarettes might be harmful to someone with a heart condition.”

    Researchers Explain Carbon Monoxide’s Anti-Inflammatory Effects – 2007

    “In a study appearing in the April 2007 issue of The FASEB Journal, scientists from Harvard University and the University of Pittsburgh have shown for the first time that the anti-inflammatory effects of carbon monoxide originate within cells’ own molecular engines, mitochondria.

    Specifically, mitochondria react to low levels of carbon monoxide by releasing chemical signals that reduce or shut down the body’s inflammatory response, raising the possibility for the development of new anti-inflammatory therapies, one of which may be low levels of inhaled carbon monoxide.

    According to the study’s first author, Brian S. Zuckerbraun, M.D. of the University of Pittsburgh, “this study may contribute to our understanding and development of controlled carbon monoxide as a therapeutic agent.”


    So much for evidence based legislation, seems that all that’s left is the tiny respirable particles along with flakes of human skin and the falling dust from the paint on the ceiling.

    The result?

    Analysis Reveals that Institute of Medicine Report Failed to Include Data that Found No Effect of Smoking Bans on Acute Coronary Events in 3 Countries

    “I have analyzed the data which the Institute of Medicine included and failed to include in its report and today, I reveal that the report failed to consider data from three countries (England, Scotland, and Wales) which seem to clearly show that the smoking bans in these countries had no significant short-term effect on acute coronary events. These data are all national data which include all hospital admissions at all hospitals in these countries. Thus, they represent a better source of data than what was used in some of the published studies (which only included a sample of hospitals).
    Moreover, they cover large populations, with a sample size greater than that of all other studies combined. Thus, the data from these countries are critically important an carries much weight in the overall analysis.”

    I wonder why

  11. lleweton says:

    I switched to UKIP before the last election after my local Tory MP (affably) failed to see the point of my plea for an amendment of the smoking law in pubs and clubs. I don’t really think he thought me to be serious. It seemed he really did not believe anyone could think the issue mattered that much. He’s Mr Middle England indeed and very good around the constituency. But this is what we are up against. He knows I have changed my vote and we still correspond in an affable way. As for persuading him to change his mind ….well ….

    • Frank Davis says:

      I know the kind. They don’t think it matters. It doesn’t matter to them, and so they suppose that it can’t possibly matter to anybody else either.

      • Rose says:

        Perhaps if your MP was defamed in the papers and on tv, wrongly accused of causing great harm to others, and made unwelcome everywhere he went by an official act of public shunning, he might be anxious to get to the bottom of it and clear his name too.

        Mind you, as a politician it might happen to him regularly and he’s simply got used to it, but as law abiding member of the public, I certainly haven’t!

  12. Frank Davis says:

    I found a comment by Rose on Pat Nurse’s blog, and I’ve copied it here:

    Later that year Melanie Reed clearly didn’t feel the same need to be subtle.

    Prepare to be ostracised, all you smokers of England
    11 Jun 2007

    “Smokers of England, lay down your cigarettes. Yes, right away; stub them out. Now take a few deep breaths, to allow your blood to become reoxygenated, and your brain function to be restored.

    What I’m about to tell you is very important. It is the story of what is about to happen to you, and the society you inhabit, when the smoking ban in pubs, restaurants and workplaces comes into force on July 1.

    You’ll find some of this story quite unexpected: indeed, I would struggle to believe it myself had I not experienced it in Scotland in the 15 months since the ban was introduced here.

    For a start, there will be no rebellion. All those rumblings you’re hearing about boycotts of pubs, of unrest and civil strife? Fights over the B&H? Of landlords defying the law? Forget it.
    Those are but the defiant mutterings of a defeated army, beginning the long retreat from Moscow.

    There will be no trouble at all.
    The smokers, meek as lambs, will either stand obediently outside or refrain from smoking”

    “And that, dear smokers, is the great alienation that you face. In the reborn, smoke-free England, prepare to become perceived as a relic. You’ve been left behind. Worse than that, you must prepare to be regarded as, well . . . ever so slightly down-market.

    As you stand outside your pub or your club or your restaurant, or even your friend’s dinner party, you will find you have become part of a sad, excluded, sheepish army of no-hopers, the huddled masses who loiter, sucking deeply on their drug of choice.”

    “And it’s not just the company smokers that are forced to keep, it’s the surroundings. Away from the high streets, where chairs and tables outside have helped create a (long overdue) mood of café culture, Scotland has sprouted a forest of shabby plastic awnings, scuffed beer gardens with patio heaters, and Perspex shelters that look like bus stops.
    Littered with fag butts, these are not the places for the fashionable to be seen.
    Without protest, these shelters have subsequently been banned at all hospitals. Councils have stopped staff smoking outside offices, depots and schools.

    So will snobbery be the unexpected weapon of the antismoking lobby in England? I expect it will.
    The organisation Ash hopes that four million people, or almost 40 per cent of smokers, will stop because of the ban.”

    Now behind a paywall, but I’m sure I was not alone in finding that article wonderfully motivational at the time, though possibly not in the way that Melanie Reed intended.


    • alanxxx says:

      Quote from Melanie Reed: “The smokers, meek as lambs, will either stand obediently outside or refrain from smoking” -???, how about this as irl translation: this smoker, vibrantly offended has very occasionally stood outside under extreme sufferance and preached the lunacy of the smoking ban.

      Practically speaking, I nearly always go sit in my car on the tiny number of occasions my fag smoke is required outside of buildings. Being used as an embodied advert for the fictional “success” of the anti smoking laws is downright rebarbative, for that’s what going on the naughty step means to me.

      Quote from Melanie Reed: “As you stand outside your pub or your club or your restaurant, or even your friend’s dinner party, you will find you have become part of a sad, excluded, sheepish army of no-hopers, the huddled masses who loiter, sucking deeply on their drug of choice.”

      er . . . it isn’t MY pub, or MY club or MY restaurant, a fact that was suspected by myself well before it was proved by Parliament that the air in them actually belonged to King Tony. ” . . . your friend’s dinner party, . . . ” – er . . . , any f**ker who invites me to anything like a dinner party had better make sure I can smoke indoors before I’m invited.

      Practically speaking (shock horror) as something of a Champagne Anarchist these days, the fact of me openly smoking indoors in the company of non smokers regularly occurs, with me sat next to a bap 1550 smokestop air purifier as a concession. If anybody is pissed off by my fag smoke they are welcome to go outside.

      ” . . . sad, excluded, sheepish army of no hopers, . . . ” – no, rather one of a gang of what Frank calls wasps.

      • alanxxx says:

        I suppose my point is made – but here’s hoping that my rant at the end of the bar in Frank’s cyber pub is acceptable.

        Reed’s use of specialised political concepts of Time is marked: we are ” . . . relics . . . ” – whilst ” . . . reborn, smoke-free England . . . ” depicts as if a country that has died of secondhand fag smoke and then been resurrected. The posh word for this kind of imagery is Messianistic.

        Ho hum, a smug sense of fun in sadism at the smoker’s plight is shot through Reed’s writing as surely as the word Blackpool drives through my rock. The smoker’s plight in my case has meant the stealing of 90% of my social life by uber sanitised Microfascist nincompoops with underlying Philosophies about as profound as a bag of jelly tots.

        Roll on the reaction to these horrid modern mentalities . An old mate of mine who was at Art School in the ’50’s tells me it was quite the done thing then not wash too much and have a bottle of Hock hanging out of your duffel coat pocket.

        – ” the whirligig of time ” will have its revenges. (S)

      • alanxxx says:

        Oops typo: “not wash too much” should reed “not to wash to much”

  13. Pingback: A Ticking Time Bomb | Frank Davis

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