I got tagged on Facebook last night by Lecroix Kwdjer ( who lives in Spain, I believe):
Anger? C. C Frank Davis talks about anger but we need an even angrier attitude. Say no to pubs, restaurants and the like. Just say damn NO. Show governments what our wallets can do. A penny spent in a pub is a penny spent against those who enjoy smoking. Fight!
He also added, in a subsequent, unrelated remark, that anyone who sat drinking outside a pub was a dolt.
I can see where he’s coming from. But I still do sit outside pubs, in exactly the way I used to sit outside them when there wasn’t a smoking ban: i.e. on warm, sunny days. On those days, pubs become what they used to be for me, places to go and relax. And on those days I can forget about the smoking ban.
And also I don’t want to punish the pubs. They didn’t introduce the smoking ban themselves. The government did. And in the UK, pubs that permit smoking are fined far more than smokers. They could have fought harder against the ban, of course. But, as things are, they’re stuck.
It’s a bit like people saying I shouldn’t buy overtaxed UK tobacco. I wish I didn’t have to. But I don’t know any Man in a Van. And right now I can’t get out of the country because I don’t have a valid passport. But even if I did, I don’t know where to go to buy cheap tobacco, seeing that the prices seem to have been jacked up all over Europe.
And anyway, is it possible to “show” the government anything? The following Sky News report says:
Fifty Pubs Closing Every Week, Research Says
And in the list of reasons it gives, it fails to mention the smoking ban at all. It’s only a few people in the comments who point out the obvious. There are a lot of people out there who really have managed to kid themselves that the smoking ban hasn’t been one of the major causes of pub bankruptcies. And it’s probably because they aren’t smokers, and so don’t know what the impact of the smoking ban has been on smokers (and maybe also don’t care). They simply can’t see it. Or they simply won’t see it. Even if it’s a big, hairy, grinning elephant in a tutu walking on a tightrope through the middle of the room, and singing Jumpin’ Jack Flash at the top of its voice.
Leggy was writing about anger a day or two back:
Still I say, drop the anger. Get cold and get calculating. Think before speaking and especially before acting. They won’t, so you have that advantage right at the start.
The Americans have a saying: “Don’t get mad, get even”.
There is sense in this. Don’t fall into the Government trap of ‘divide and rule’. Instead, use it. Turn their weapons on themselves. You cannot do this angry. You have to do it calm, calculating and cold.
And he’s quite right. And I know he’s quite right because extreme anger is actually incapacitating. I know it because after the smoking ban came in, I would sometimes spend entire days consumed with such fury that I was actually incapable of doing anything at all. And that’s no good to anyone. Anger like that is like a bonfire. What’s needed is a thin blue blowtorch flame, far hotter and more concentrated, that can cut through steel if it’s used by somebody who is calm, calculating and cold.
Despite saying that, though, I still have days when the fury wells up, and the red mist descends. And I sometimes wonder whether that angry man, Gian Turci, who died of a brain haemorrhage aged 58 (I think), was experiencing exactly such fury when he died. For I suspect that anger is not only incapacitating, but can sometimes even be lethal.
And in fact this may well be yet another way that the genocidal war on smokers is killing off smokers.
I’ve often said that this blog of mine is powered by anger. And it is. But it’s not a disabling kind of anger. It’s an anger that’s sufficient to keep me erupting in words every single day, and tossing out news and ideas and stuff (and plenty of hot air). Sometimes it’s even a amused anger. But it’s always there. And I think that it always will be there. It’s become part of me.
These days I even think that it’s a good thing to be angry in this way. A week or so back, when I was chatting with him on Facebook, Wiel Maessen said that it was despair that governed my blog. And I disagreed. Because despair isn’t something I’ve ever felt about the smoking ban. There’s no room for despair alongside the anger that I feel.
And, aside from the anger, I genuinely think that us smokers are going to win in the end. I’ll cheerfully agree that we’re nowhere near winning right now, but that doesn’t matter. This is going to be a long war. In fact it already has been a very long war. But in the end we’re going to win. It seems to me, in fact, that it’s perfectly obvious that we’re going to win. I don’t care if we’re up against the World Health Organisation backed by every government in the world, and all the electronic and printed mass media, and every single university: we’re still going to win.
And when we do, it’s going to be like the Day of Judgement.