Networking

I’m a regular reader of Chris Snowdon‘s blog. I’ve also got two of his books. And I even met him briefly at Stony Stratford.

And I’m also a regular reader of Bishop Hill‘s climate sceptic blog, in large part because I’ve come to realise that the global warming nutters exhibit the same symptoms as the antismoking nutters: both are terrified of trace amounts of gases in the atmosphere, although the gases in question differ slightly from one camp to the other. Bishop Hill even has a place in my sub-blogroll, as a non-smoking-related link.

But I’ve also become a regular reader (but never commenter) of Richard North’s EUreferendum blog, in large part because I have come to identify (with painful slowness) the UK smoking ban as being the product of the EU (and its familiars in the form of the UN, the WHO, and the Tobacco Control section of the WHO). In the process, over a period of about 5 years, I’ve switched from being moderately pro-Europe (in the happy-family-of-nations sense) to strongly anti-EU. I do not see that a superstate that demonises 150 million of its 500 million citizens (and even proposes show trials for prominent dissident smokers) can possibly have any future at all.

But when I go cycling on my internet bicycle from one blog to the other, I seldom expect any of these blogs to mention each other. So it was with some surprise today that I found all three being mentioned in, of all places, EUreferendum.

There is a certain amount of excitement amongst the groupescules over an IEA Report by Chris Snowdon, on government lobbying. In particular, the role of green charities is explored, with the likes of Bishop Hill referring to “The Green 10”, which Snowdon highlights.

See! Both Chris Snowdon and Bishop Hill mentioned. But, alas, Richard North is not impressed.

For my own part, I find it rather ironic to be in receipt of e-mails directing me to the Bishop Hill blog, telling me how important Snowdon’s report is. I muse that, if the issue is so important, why the same people (and Bishop Hill) took no notice when I raised it back in 2008, having first written on it in July 2007.

One also wonders why, since this subject is now deemed so important, why so few of the current commentators took any notice of the Policy Network paper, published in March 2010, on which we then reported – also ignored by Snowdon.

We might thus be forgiven for wondering why concern and “importance” were such narrowly focused things, noting the limited breadth of Snowdon’s own report, which would have benefited from the overview provided by earlier work, and especially the Policy Network paper.

In short, North is saying that he wrote about all that years ago, and in greater depth. Been there, done that. And maybe he has. But how were they supposed to know?

More importantly, in a complex area where we are all fighting well-funded and dangerous enemies, I sometimes wonder why so many writers believe that it is a good idea to waste resources on reinventing the wheel, or indulging on the ego trip of colonising a tiny corner of the blogosphere, in order to dominate some minuscule dung heap from which to crow.

Perhaps I’m mistaken, but Chris Snowdon’s ‘dung heap’ seems to have been getting higher and higher, and also more and more extensive. He started out writing almost exclusively about smoking bans in Velvet Glove Iron Fist, but has since extended to prohibition in general with The Art of Suppression, and even further afield with the Spirit Level Delusion. I fully expect his next book to be about the history of Western philosophy.

But all I want to be able to do is sit in a pub with a pint of beer and a cigarette.

The blogosphere can be a magnifier, compensating for our lack of numbers and resources. But, to be effective, it must be used as a network, with multiple cross links, different people building on each others’ work, the net effect being greater than the sum of the parts and the audience larger than any of us could achieve individually.

I (almost) entirely agree with this. But it’s more than just putting links in blogrolls. It’s also a matter of getting together and doing things (like for example the International Social Impact Survey, in which 20 or so of my readers are co-operating in 8 different countries and 6 different languages). And I would say it’s not about ‘compensating for lack of numbers’, but creating the numbers: there are millions and millions of angry smokers out there.

If we retreat to our own little corners and build our own private little dunghills anew, then our collective power is diminished. That is the point I am making – the only point I seek to make. Our enemies understand it, but the British blogosphere seems to have trouble coming to terms with the idea.

Well, we all start out with our little dunghills, and they get slowly bigger (or not), and they gradually overlap other neighbouring ones. We discover, largely by accident, that we have a number of shared concerns, even if we arrived at them from different directions. I share most of Chris Snowdon’s concerns, and a great many of Bishop Hill’s concerns about doing good science, and also some of Richard North’s concerns about the EU. There is a growing commonality. There are a set of natural alliances emerging. Smokers who aren’t bothered by a bit of tobacco smoke in the air are unlikely to be bothered by a bit of carbon dioxide in the air, and vice versa.

What I would like to see, but have yet to see any trace of, is some recognition of this commonality. It would be, for example, refreshing to see Bishop Hill recognising that Global Warming pseudoscience has a great deal in common with antismoking pseudoscience, and may even be a direct descendant of it. It would equally well be refreshing to have Richard North observe that Britain’s smokers have been among those hardest hit by draconian EU rules and regulations. But neither has done so, to the best of my knowledge. I regularly mention AGW and the EU on my blog, but neither Bishop Hill nor Richard North ever mentions smokers. So who exactly has retreated to their own private dunghill?

And is this about the British blogosphere? In the case of smokers, it is now smokers everywhere in the world who are being hounded and vilified. In the case of Global Warming, the centre of concern is inherently global. And in the case of the EU, it is not just a large number of Brits who are heartily sick of it, but a great many French and German and Spanish and other people all over Europe (and beyond it).

And it’s about more than just climate change and the EU and smoking bans. The eugenicist assault is not just on smokers, but also on drinkers, and stout people, and in fact upon absolutely everyone in one way or other.

Politics, it might be suggested, is a form of trade. I will support you in your cause, if you will support me in mine. And the more actively that you support me, the more actively I will support you.

But in the comments under his piece today, Richard North rather sorrowfully writes:

The bigger picture, though, is that the independent political blogosphere in Britain is dying. Even I am seriously wondering whether it is worth continuing.

Well, my narrow little semi-political blog is doing very well, and getting about 1000 hits per day. And I think that’s because I reach out to people who share my concerns, whether they be in Barnsley or Bogota. And because I reach out to people whose concerns I don’t entirely share, but with whom I can readily empathise (e.g. Christians). And because I am derisive only of my enemies, not those who could readily be my friends.

P.S. I tried to post a comment on EUreferendum mentioning this post, but the comments appear to be invite only. No wonder the political blogosphere in Britain is dying.

About Frank Davis

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29 Responses to Networking

  1. junican says:

    It is a pity about the EU. When it was the common market, it was quite successful in raising standards and increasing trade between the members. The horror has been the politicisation of the organisation, which brought with it the influx of eugenicists. It also brought with it the ridiculous idea that 27 countries with different formal or informal treaties with each other could unite behind a common ‘Foreign Office’, or that different cultures could unite in having a common ‘High Court’.

    I would not mind seeing the demise of the EU, but I would hate to see the end of the Common Market. Some EU advocates employ the usual scares of claiming that the the end of the EU would bring back internecene conflicts and an end to economic co-operation. Why should it? As far as I am aware, the result would be an unravelling of the (unbelievably expensive) bureaucracy and an end to the new aristocracy.

  2. Christopher Snowdon says:

    I have also failed to comment on North’s blog so for the record I’ll say here that, far from ignoring the Policy Network report, I cite it and quote from it on p. 25 of Sock Puppets and reference it in full on p. 40. Is it asking too much for people to read my stuff before they start getting chippy about it?

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Chris this may be of interest to you in particular:

      WHO’s cancer agency: Diesel fumes cause cancer
      http://www.wral.com/lifestyles/healthteam/story/11197401/
      LONDON — Diesel fumes cause cancer, the World Health Organization’s cancer agency declared Tuesday, a ruling it said could make exhaust as important a public health threat as secondhand smoke.

      The risk of getting cancer from diesel fumes is small, but since so many people breathe in the fumes in some way, the science panel said raising the status of diesel exhaust to carcinogen from “probable carcinogen” was an important shift.

      “It’s on the same order of magnitude as passive smoking,” said Kurt Straif, director of the IARC department that evaluates cancer risks. “This could be another big push for countries to clean up exhaust from diesel engines.”

      Since so many people are exposed to exhaust, Straif said there could be many cases of lung cancer connected to the contaminant. He said the fumes affected groups including pedestrians on the street, ship passengers and crew, railroad workers, truck drivers, mechanics, miners and people operating heavy machinery.

      The new classification followed a weeklong discussion in Lyon, France, by an expert panel organized by the International Agency for Research on Cancer. The panel’s decision stands as the ruling for the IARC, the cancer arm of the World Health Organization.

      The last time the agency considered the status of diesel exhaust was in 1989, when it was labeled a “probable” carcinogen. Reclassifying diesel exhaust as carcinogenic puts it into the same category as other known hazards such as asbestos, alcohol and ultraviolet radiation.

      The U.S. government, however, still classifies diesel exhaust as a likely carcinogen. Experts said new diesel engines spew out fewer fumes but further studies are needed to assess any potential dangers.

      “We don’t have enough evidence to say these new engines are zero risk, but they are certainly lower risk than before,” said Vincent Cogliano of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. He added that the agency had not received any requests to reevaluate whether diesel definitely causes cancer but said their assessments tend to be in line with those made by IARC.

      Experts in Lyon had analyzed published studies, evidence from animals and limited research in humans. One of the biggest studies was published in March by the U.S. National Cancer Institute. That paper analyzed 12,300 miners for several decades starting in 1947. Researchers found that miners heavily exposed to diesel exhaust had a higher risk of dying from lung cancer.

      Lobbyists for the diesel industry argued the study wasn’t credible because researchers didn’t have exact data on how much exposure miners got in the early years of the study; they simply asked them to remember what their exposure was like.

      Further restrictions on diesel fumes could force the industry to spend more on developing expensive new technology. Diesel engine makers and car companies were quick to point out emissions from trucks and buses have been slashed by more than 95 percent for nitrogen oxides, particulate and sulfur emissions.

      “Diesel exhaust is only a very small contributor to air pollution,” the Diesel Technology Forum, a group representing companies including Mercedes, Ford and Chrysler, said in a statement. “In southern California, more fine particles come from brake and tire wear than from diesel engines.”

      A person’s risk for cancer depends on many variables, from genetic makeup to the amount and length of time of exposure to dangerous substances.

      Some experts said the new cancer classification wasn’t surprising.

      “It’s pretty well known that if you get enough exposure to diesel, it’s a carcinogen,” said Ken Donaldson, a professor of respiratory toxicology at the University of Edinburgh who was not part of the IARC panel. He said the thousands of particles, including some harmful chemicals, in the exhaust could cause inflammation in the lungs and over time, that could lead to cancer.

      But Donaldson said lung cancer was caused by multiple factors and that other things like smoking were far more deadly. He said the people most at risk were those whose jobs exposed them to high levels of diesel exhaust, like truck drivers, mechanics or miners.

      “For the man on the street, nothing has changed,” he said. “It’s a known risk but a low one for the average person, so people should go about their business as normal … you could wear a mask if you want to, but who wants to walk around all the time with a mask on?”

      ___

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Lobbyists for the diesel industry argued the study wasn’t credible because researchers didn’t have exact data on how much exposure miners got in the early years of the study; they simply asked them to remember what their exposure was like.

        More questionaire studies Ehh!

      • Frank Davis says:

        So they’ll be taking all the trucks off the roads then?

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Actually they will be forcing cleaner fuels and this new fangled fuel additive tank that has its own pump that injects this additive into the catalytic converter of new trucks with diesel engines……..It totally sux my brothers new dodge dually diesel has it on it and wont start or run unless the tank has the fuel in it! Yes more EPA standards via obama forced onto the auto manufacturers………..Lets remember Dr Kabat was attacked and fired over his own diesel study that showed no harm………This his school would not stand for claiming he didnt tow the schools standards of LYING in the studies to back the green agenda……….

          Heres what happens to scientists that dont tow the line that second hand smoke is real!

          Epidemiologist James Enstrom’s appointment ended today because his research on air pollution did not align with the department mission and failed to reach funding requirements, according to a June 9 layoff notice from Richard Jackson, environmental health sciences department chair.

          Enstrom contended that the short explanation given for his nonreappointment is invalid and filed an appeal on Friday.
          “When (people) make an outrageous statement like my research isn’t aligned with the mission of the department … it’s patently false,” said Enstrom, who has worked at UCLA’s School of Public Health for more than 34 years.

          The stated mission of the department is to study the relationship between environment and health, according to its website.

          Citing the confidentiality of personnel issues, various representatives from the School of Public Health did not comment on the matter but emphasized that the potentially controversial content of Enstrom’s research was not the reason for his layoff.

          “The nature of research results, political views or popularity are not appropriate factors and are not considered when evaluating individuals for reappointment,” said Hilary Godwin, associate dean of academic programs in the School of Public Health, in a written statement.

          Held in suspense

          James Enstrom is anxiously anticipating this day, yet hoping for his circumstances to change.

          Jackson notified Enstrom he would be laid off on Feb. 10, when funding for his position would end in April. In May, the department faculty voted against his reappointment, Enstrom said. On June 9, he received a second layoff notice that extended his term to June 30.

          Enstrom wrote to Linda Rosenstock, dean of the School of Public Health, arguing that he was not given the expected 60-day notice before being laid off and that funding actually did exist to support his position, contrary to Jackson’s explanation. Enstrom’s term was extended, but only until Aug. 30.

          His multiple layoff notices all cite that his research is not aligned with the department’s mission.

          The details of research

          Enstrom, who describes himself as a loner, has created unexpected ripples in the world of academia with his divergent research in air pollution.

          He believes that as a result of publicizing his work, his department has responded by refusing his reappointment as a researcher.

          http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/a

          In particular, his research on fine particulate air pollution in California implies that miniscule diesel particles do not have a significant effect on mortality.

          His findings contradict conventional wisdom and other studies, which contend that this type of air pollution causes thousands of deaths each year.

          “There’s plenty of data from other studies that show this is pretty dangerous,” said Dr. John Telles, a member of the California Air Resources Board, a government agency working to protect air quality.

          The controversy over his research refers to his work on fine particulate air pollution, which refers to dirt, soot, chemicals and other particles smaller than 2.5 micrometers.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          UCLA researcher James Enstrom not reappointed to position

          By KELLY ZHOU
          Published August 30, 2010

          http://www.dailybruin.com/index.php/article/2010/08/ucla_researcher_james_enstrom_not_reappointed_to_position

      • Smoking Scot says:

        Interesting they seem to have ignored one obvious group at risk. Bike and motorcycle couriers. Just an hour or so in London traffic and any face mask is covered in these insignificant fine particles and by the end of the day its close to black.

  3. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank its because you dare to say ” THE EMPEROR WEARS NO CLOTHES” Besides all the great commentary from your well educated commentors like Rose,Magnetic etc…………………smokervoter so many I cant name them all.

    Yes indeed once word gets out where the truth can be found they flock like buzzards to the kill!

  4. harleyrider1978 says:

    Heres a new one,the first news piece I have ever scene that states EUGENICS in its title in the same story as anti-smoking……… Magnetic needs to jump this comments section QUICK!

    No eugenics funding in NC Senate budget plan

    http://www.wbtv.com/story/18768331/senate-budget-passes-committee

  5. junican says:

    “It’s on the same order of magnitude as passive smoking,” said Kurt Straif, director of the IARC department that evaluates cancer risks….”

    Utterly and completely minuscule, then.

    “For the man on the street, nothing has changed,” he said. “It’s a known risk but a low one for the average person….”

    So, diesel fumes being no worse than SHS (statement one), and diesel fumes being a low risk (statement two), then SHS is an equally low risk. Nobody becomes ill or dies from SHS. Thank you Professor Ken Donaldson.

  6. roobeedoo2 says:

    I love EU Referendum. It opens up its Forum (comments) periodically for new members. I suppose this is Richard North’s way of keeping out the trolls, plus I think he used to being in a political party. He’s got a day planned in July at a hotel for a big conflab, he’s written about it today.

    I read all the blogs you’ve mentioned plus lots more besides (I like smoking and reading and thinking, it’s what I do on my time off). I would like to see the results if the smoking bloggers got together for a smoky-drinky to thrash out what your blogs are really capable of achieving, if you worked together and utilised each other’s strengths better. You (Renaissance Man), Leg Iron (Deliciously Devious), Dick (Top Promoter), Nurse Pat (Radio Superstar), N2D (Hello? Changing the lives of cross-border shoppers 4Ever) are brilliant at what you do – perhaps it just needs to be knitted together better. Meet, design some strategies that you can sell to your readers, commentators. followers, other bloggers, the world to fight back. Create a template that can be rolled out by other blog groupings against threats to our civil liberties and freedoms. Exactly like ASH et al have done so successfully, although they continue deny the credit. It would be apt if the birthplace of Anti-Antis formal fightback were a smoky-drinky.

    Cost might be a factor for some but then smokers aren’t spending their money on anything else these days, and perhaps the small investment in a brain-storming get together of the UK smoker bloggers could actually end up benefitting mankind.

    ‘Sock Puppets’ though is a brillant term and the image on the front of the report is just inspired. If I saw the cover of that report once over the last day or so, I’ve seen it a million times. Was Chris involved in choosing that? If so, it’s because he is a blogger. Perhaps that’s a lesson Richard North could learn from Chris Snowdon’s success at penetrating the MSM.

    Anyway enough for tonight, goodnight.

  7. harleyrider1978 says:

    Smoking, drinking, being fat have little effect on sperm count: study

    The peer-reviewed findings to be published on Wednesday in the medical journal Human Reproduction fly in the face of the common advice that men having fertility problems should stick to a healthier lifestyle.

    The study looked at sperm samples from 2,249 British men recruited from fertility clinics and andrology labs.

    The researchers found that men who wore briefs rather than boxer shorts, had testes surgery, or did manual work that would expose them to chemicals, were more likely to have a low motile sperm count.

    However, “no relation was found to consumption of alcohol, use of tobacco or recreational drugs or high body mass index,” the article says.

    In fact, having very low body mass index appeared to have a negative impact on sperm quality, although that sample size was too minute to be meaningful, the study said.

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/health-and-fitness/health/smoking-drinking-being-fat-have-little-effect-on-sperm-count-study/article4253872/?cmpid=rss1&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+TheGlobeAndMail-Front+%28The+Globe+and+Mail+-+Latest+News%29

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Sorry about all the O/T stories Frank but damn there just everywhere today!

  9. harleyrider1978 says:

    Who Really Pays for Smoking?

    Seems the NAZIS just cant stand losing their SLUSH FUND!

    Many smokers remember the price of a pack of cigarettes when they quit. Proposition 29 was an initiative in California designed to encourage this kind of price-sensitivity to smoking, and, at the same time, to provide dedicated funds for cancer research. The defeat of Prop 29 strikes a blow against health because tobacco taxes reduce smoking rates and discourage smoking in price-conscious consumers, especially young people.

    The defeat also points up the disconnect in the public’s mind between the sale of tobacco products and their economic costs to all taxpayers. In reality, these products cause almost a third of cancers in the U.S. In dollars they account for $96 billion of our nation’s health care cost each year and another 97 billion in lost productivity. That means the true costs of smoking continue to be shifted onto taxpayers through our health care system, which can ill afford them.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/daniel-seidman/smoking-health-care-costs_b_1584311.html

    • Frank Davis says:

      Looks like at least one Tobacco Controller can see the defeat coming.

      But Stan is still twisting slowly, slowly in the wind, the noose slowly tightening round his neck, and fighting for a breath that may never come.

      It must be real hard to say goodbye to $735 million.

      Real, real hard.

      I’m kinda enjoying this! :-)

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Frank its a tad bit more than that. This was their big slush fund to keep financing their war on us and to replace the money lost from states cutting their anti-smoking funds nationwide! Ol Stan can claim all he wants it was for everything else. I know what it was really for,to save tobacco control because after the army is disassembled by no pay you can never get it back again…….The next quest should be a proposition to repeal the MEATHEAD tax that supports the tobacco control school in california of which glantz gets his funding from and also that creep DR. who created the third hand smoke junk study!………….But either way this defeat will likely spell the end of the formerly well financed TC army.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Yeah but, right now, Stanton Glantz is hoping against hope that somehow or other the numbers will come out right for him in the end.

          It’s all so tantalisingly close.

          I think he’s lost it because the mail-in votes are going nowhere near the 66% Yes level he needs to win. They’re only doing 52% yes. And that’s nowhere near good enough.

          Stan is slowly dying, hanging on the end of a rope. And you got no empathy for the pore man, Harley! Cain’t you imagine what it’s like, swinging on the end of that rope?

        • Frank Davis says:

          Screw you,

          And screw all your days and all your nights, Mr Stanton fucking Glantz.

          Little by litle, we will destroy you, and everything you stand for.

        • beobrigitte says:

          Just curious; what happened between 03:21 and 04:28 on 13.06.2012 (Frank’s 2 replies) here?

        • Frank Davis says:

          I probably had a coupla whiskies, Brigitte.

  10. Walt says:

    On the topic of dying blogs (and/or How to kill them), could you translate this stuff into American, please? I’m not sure what it means in all its legal ramifications.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2157937/New-laws-make-Facebook-Twitter-responsible-internet-trolls-unless-them.html

    Does this only apply to places like FB and Twitter? or to all hosted blogs? Any way it goes I can sense its potential as a double-edged sword. Our recent resident trollm and his cohorts in frenzy, could monitor every post and cry “Mommy!” at every line. Could Harley (“we will destroy you”) then be subject to extradition? Or would Frank, as his host, just go bankrupt paying the fine?

    This strikes me as another slippery slope in the making.

  11. Tom says:

    What is the new post, “5334” supposed to be about? It’s only a single harsh sentence. Has someone hacked into your website and posted something there behind your back – are you aware this even just got posted? Have anti’s infiltrated somehow?

  12. smokervoter says:

    While we’re on the topic of Glantz’z defeat here’s the latest.

    If you’ll recall from the article in that Silicon Valley news rag, the author presented the 10 largest counties (representing 84% of the voting) and I took them and crunched the numbers on that screenshot. Well, I did them one better and crunched up the next four largest, 3 out of 4 which are Yes leaning. Now we’re talking 95% of the votes. Remember the small counties? The 5% that went 65%-35% NO, well I added them in for good measure as well.

    Well the four newbies knocked us down to the tune of 12,500 votes and the small counties came to the rescue and put 9,500 back our column (to the good as I say). Net loss 3,000 to the bad. All told we gained should have gained 30,000 No votes en toto.

    Since we started off with a 63,000, we should be 93,000 ahead by now. Instead we are currently only 30,000 ahead. That’s a discrepancy of 63,000 votes.

    Anyone remember my comment from Day One?

    smokervoter says:

    Two reactions here.

    1. Until they miraculously find 64,000 overlooked Yes ballots in the basement at the University of San Francisco.

    2. I need a bigger ashtray, and another shot of Tequila.

    Let me take a keyboard break and finish up.

  13. smokervoter says:

    Furthermore that original assumption of the eventual uncounted tally amounting to 20% of the first results is miraculously out the window. We’re at 23% and climbing. And what was originally advertised as the lowest turnout in June election history is now suddenly at 28.7% thus exceeding the 2008 one that featured Obama/Clinton. This one was Obama vs No One and Romney already the Victor. Why all the sudden interest I wonder.

    And shouldn’t the two largest Yes counties Santa Clara (Silicon Valley) and Alameda (home to UC Berkeley and the Harley-mentioned discoverer of Thirdhand Smoke) basically reflect a 20% uncounted ratio? Try 31% for both of them. Lots of last minute voters there for some reason, 50% more than the average to be exact.

    Now if little old me, a mere carpenter/building designer from Cali with a garish, amateurish counter Nanny State website (since 2001 !) and fair to midlin’ math skills has noticed these anomalies, do ya’ suppose RJ Reynolds and the gang have too? They need to get people observing the count in all 14 of these counties.

    I think they’re probably already on it.

  14. Very interesting analysis SmokerVoter! Well done! I’ve been keeping some records and doing a bit of math along the way as well, but hadn’t caught the nice fish you just landed! :)

    Yes, I should hope PM and RJR are putting their resources heavily into watching this. They know their opponents well enough to know they need to have oversight.

    – MJM

  15. Interesting. The figures are rolling in faster now, with two separate reports today. And the gap, which had narrowed down to about 30,000 votes, now seems to have popped back up to 40,000. With the increased base number now at about 4,780,000 it would take a pretty incredibly tilted set of votes for Prop 29 to win. If my fast figgerin’ is right, they’d have to pull up another 400,000 votes at a 55 to 45 percent ratio in favor of the tax.

    – MJM

  16. jaxthefirst says:

    I’m surprised that North hasn’t at least made a passing reference to the myth of SHS somewhere in one of his blog articles, because he and Booker devoted a whole chapter on it in their book “Scared to Death.” But then I’m often surprised at how people (particularly non-smokers) just don’t seem able to see the connection between the anti-smoking movement, its tactics, and the precedent which many of its “successes” have set, with the much-discussed “slippery slope” which we are all sliding down in many, many other areas of life.

    Perhaps the most obvious – again, much discussed on here and elsewhere – are the stark and frighteningly obvious similarities between the anti-smoking movement in its infancy in the 1970s and the first tentative steps of today’s anti-alcohol movement. But there are other parallels in other areas, too. As you mention, Frank, there’s the similarity of the manipulation and distortion of “science” by climate change advocates to “prove” that they are “right;” and now we see the hitherto unheard-of legal precedent set by making one person (a pub landlord) punishable for the actions of another person (an illegally smoking customer) being suggested in another area – the blogosphere. The “reclassification” of diesel fumes as a “definite carcinogen,” not because of any evidence that it is one (even if it is), but in order to “push people into cleaning up their act” has a nastily familiar ring to it, too. And is it surprising to anyone that any argument against these new campaigners is always, without exception, linked to someone from Big Oil, or Big Diesel, or Big Junk Food. Now, where have we seen that before – the argument that the only people who are “against” banning [whatever] are Big Industry vested interests, not nice, “normal” people, who (of course!) are all 100% wholeheartedly behind “the cause?”

    All of these tactics and more are ones which have first been tried and tested by the anti-smoking movement. Even the often-held attitude amongst the – shall we say – more “intellectually challenged” members of the public that if something is “bad” then the only solution is to ban it – which is so common these days when anyone disapproves of anything ranging from dogs off leads to chocolate bars at checkouts – has its roots in the anti-smoking movement’s “no compromise” approach. No doubt there are yet more campaign groups with favourite hobby-horses of their own waiting in the wings to follow some of other tools from the anti-smoking movement’s toolkit, too.

    In fact, the only time these other “anti” groups ever make any connection with the anti-smoking movement which they are so busy emulating is when they cite that “[disliked substance/activity] could be the new tobacco/smoking,” without any sense of awareness that only the similarity which their pet hate actually has to tobacco is in the methods which they themselves are using in their own efforts to do away with it.

  17. Pingback: Response to Frank Davis’s ‘Networking’ « Churchmouse Campanologist

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