New Pastures

Frogmarched by commenters, this post should be the first one of mine that goes out on Twitter. I seem to have acquired a few followers there even before posting a tweet. So if anyone sees one by me, I’d appreciate it if they dropped a little comment under the blog, saying “I saw it! And it was this big! And it was coloured green. With blue flecks around the edges. And then it flew away.”

And in another new move, I’ve signed up on Richard North’s EUreferendum blog forum, which was opened up today for new commenters. This is something that only happens once a year, as far as I can see. So it is in effect a semi-private forum, and any trolls that have managed to get in can soon be evicted.

I’m not sure what they all discuss, so I’ll probably sit in the back row for a while, just listening. I’m supposing that it will be about the EU, and the possibility of a referendum to get out of the damn thing. But they had a conference in Harrogate last weekend, in which they were trying to frame six demands to government, in the spirit of the Chartists. Which sounded interesting.

I, of course, come at it all from the perspective of a smoker who has been expelled from society by the EU-driven smoking ban, so I utterly loathe the EU now. And, as I’ve said many times before, I can see no future whatsoever for a political organisation that promptly makes second class citizens of a third of the people in it. That would have been like America’s founding fathers excluding Virginia from the Union, because they were all smokers or tobacco farmers there. The USA would have been stillborn. And the EU has been stillborn.

Which reminds me of a recent article by Vaclav Klaus, in which he wrote:

We should also stop the constantly expanding green legislation. The Greens must be prevented from taking over much of our economy under the banner of such flawed ideas as the global warming doctrine. And we should get rid of the centralisation, harmonisation and standardisation of the European continent and start decentralising, deregulating and desubsidising our society and economy. It should be made possible for countries that are the victims of the European Monetary Union to leave it and return to their own monetary arrangements. And we should forget such plans as a European fiscal union, not to mention anti-democratic ambitions to politically unify Europe. We should return to democracy, which can exist only at the level of nation-states, not at the level of the whole continent.

I agree with pretty much every single word of that.

I’ve not been much of a political animal most of my life. And if I’ve started getting engaged with it now, it’s because things have been going badly wrong, and something’s got to be done about it.

It’s really only when things go wrong that people start taking an interest in anything, whether it is the spin-dryer or the State. And I guess that in Britain, until 5 years ago, the spin-dryer was working perfectly well, and so there was no need to get exercised about it.

And, for most people, everything still seems just fine. They weren’t smokers, and so they weren’t expelled from society. Life carried on as normal. And even if they were smokers, they very often managed to persuade themselves that the smoking ban didn’t really affect them, didn’t really bother them, and that they really quite liked standing outside in a howling gale with water dripping onto their heads, because, well, “It’s so much more sociable outside now.”

I can understand this. People try and look on the bright side. Particularly us Brits. Nobody wants to think: This is just totally awful. But some of us have been moved out of our comfort zone, and are never going to find our way back. We have become permanently disenchanted.

But while people manage to look on the bright side, they’re not going to look critically at the world around them. They’re going to carry on voting the way they always had, just like I kept on voting for 25 years for the Liberal Democrat party because I was under the misapprehension that they were a) Liberal, b) Democrats. I had just read what was written on the tin, and I hadn’t looked inside. Because I was quite content, and wasn’t looking critically at anything much, and was taking everything on trust, looking on the bright side.

But then, even if you can no longer see the bright side of anything, you can always convince yourself that there’s nothing that can be done about it. As Lynn wrote in the comments earlier:

they bleat with a shrug of the shoulders ‘there is nothing we can do, we are stuck with them’

This was something I encountered frequently in the immediate aftermath of 1 July 2007. “There’s nothing we can do about it. Nothing’s going to change. It’s the way things have been going for a long time, and it can’t be undone.” It was a grim fatalism, a surrender to whatever fate had served up. They wouldn’t even pen a brief note to their MP articulating their dismay. “It’s pointless,” they said.

It’s one reason why everything’s gone wrong. People won’t engage, and so the people who do engage – i.e. all the politicians – are able to get away with murder. Because nobody will stop them. Nobody will even protest.

Maybe I’m wrong, but I have the sense that things are about to get very much worse for everybody quite soon. And those people who will do anything for a quiet life, and who always look on the bright side, will maybe start finding that there’s no quiet life to be had, and no bright side to be found.

I don’t know what motivates the folks over on EUreferendum. But I get the slight impression that they’re probably not Lib Dems. And that they don’t always look on the bright side. Or think that nothing can be done.

About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to New Pastures

  1. wobbler2012 says:

    Frogmarcher here! Twitter working fine Frank! I hit you up with a retweet* (so now your tweet goes out to all my followers, albeit only 28 of them!) And hopefully other people will start following you (who will have much bigger followers) and retweeting* too, and then you’ll be loving Twitter.

    You can actually add some info to your profile about yourself and your blog but probably best not to run before you can walk! :-D

    * I know both terms sound wankerish but sometimes you just gotta go with the flow.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Totally agree Frank,I too voted a str8 republican ticket until!

    I had a tennessee state level senator on the phone the other day who was appointed to fill out a term and is now running for a regular term. I asked him if he was in favor of repealing the state smoking ban! Lmao at the response,this guys a pharmcist in Gallatin tn selling NRT products like they were candy and giving pep rallys to all his victims……I really tore him a new one and his ending words were ”WHO DO YOU WORK FOR!!!!!! Especially after I nailed his ass with the 98% NRT failure rate and I asked him if he was getting Pharma kick backs while pushing NRT products so religously and yes he is a religous wacko.

    So no you cant vote by party anymore especially with the bans now. Rinos Republican in name only are everywhere in the party,even the so called conservatives are liberal/progressives in their views.

    Its time for us to probably run………..

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      for office!

      • Tom says:

        Actually, one of my fears, what if one left uber-lib-communist held territory like SF and other areas of CA for the high plains, deserts or mountains somewhere inland, hoping to find more common sense and decency reigning, then discovering once one gets there it is controlled by corrupt RINOs who are no different than the lib/comms from where one comes. It would be the same old story, including smoking bans and pro-UN one-world-government type adornment, just from a slightly different angle and wearing a disguise so as not to frighten anyone off who was formerly conservative but will be also hoodwinked into oh-so-believing in smoke-bans and everything else that is false-“goodness”, the same as the ignorant lib/comm’s rush into wilingly and with pride. In that case, then a RINO controlled area would be just as contemptible and taking of basic rights as would be a lib/prog/communist held territory left behind.

  3. reinholdfrombavaria says:

    Which reminds me of a recent article by Vaclav Klaus

    Vaclav Klaus is a great man, indeed.

    A drop of bitterness however:
    He signed the WHO’s “Framework Convention on Tobacco Control” on 2 May 2012, too.

    • Frank Davis says:

      2012? That’s a very, very late signature. The UK promptly signed on the dotted line in 2004.

      Klaus is not a smoker. But I believe he didn’t want to sign this (and quite a few other things as well).

      • reinholdfrombavaria says:

        Yes, and I wondered for a long time why they didn’t decorate Czechia yet with the “Dirty Ashtray Award”:

        These are quite fine people who invent things of this sort, aren’t they?

        That’s a very, very late signature.

        Sure, but signed is signed.

        Very strange what’s going on all over the world. Very strange. Hardly a politician that doesn’t act like a puppet at long last.

        • Frank Davis says:

          At least we know who (unwillingly) signed for the Czech Republic.

          I still don’t know who signed for the UK. And I kinda doubt that I ever will know.

        • magnetic01 says:

          I think Rose has information on who signed for the UK (may have been a trade minister?)

        • ” the disgrace this award has caused the country ” exists only in the minds of a small group of crazy people who think they represent all of humanity. These people truly ARE mentally ill, something that I think was first recognized by Richard DiPierri in his amazing 600 page “Rampant Antismoking Mentality,” but which has only continued to get worse.

          I remember seeing stories of Glantz talking about how “normal” people would wave their arms and cough and back away if someone lit a cigarette anywhere near them.


          – MJM

        • Rose says:

          Sadly not, Magnetic.

          Junican put an FOI in but didn’t get the name.

          However late Vaclav Klaus signed, it has to borne in mind that the WHO European Partnership Project on Tobacco Dependence is funded by huge global drug companies who also did the “evidence based research” and they could do some very nasty things to your health service’s capabilities, particularly now that they have managed to shut all the herbal alternatives across Europe down.

          Upsetting the World Bank is probably not the best idea either.

          “The announcement comes on the day that a report from the World Bank revealed that a 10 per cent increase in the price of cigarettes worldwide would save millions of lives.
          The report said that 40 million smokers would quit as a result, and 10 miilion tobacco-related deaths would be prevented.

          The World Bank stopped lending money to countries to finance tobacco production in 1991, and the report estimated that the number of smokers worldwide would rise from 1.1 billion now to 1.6 billion by the end of 2025.

          It suggested that by 2030, tobacco was likely to be the single biggest cause of death in the world, and called for countries to ban tobacco advertising, and offer nicotine replacement therapy for smokers.”

        • nisakiman says:

          “The report said that 40 million smokers would quit as a result, and 10 miilion tobacco-related deaths would be prevented. “

          What complete and utter tosh.

  4. Andy Dwelly says:

    Yup. I saw you. Welcome to twitter.

  5. Tom says:

    Here is an interesting article about the EU I saw yesterday, in which they claim it is not nationalism but EU imperialism that is going to be the more likely cause of a next major war.

    An interesting quote is:

    “Nationalism does not lead to war. Attempts to build European empires lead to war. The urge to impose a straitjacket on the will of peoples will leads to war. In short, the European project will lead to war.”

    and the article goes on to argue it is just another reincarnation of Hitler’s or Napoleon’s empire is all the EU resembles and that in those former instances it wasn’t nationalism but some one’s drive to create a unified empire that ruined everyones’ cultures and democracies and basically stirred up all the trouble that resulted in wars, that maintaining national identities and law making within nation states was how they avoided wars, prior to empire builders ruining democracies.

    • Frank Davis says:

      “Nationalism does not lead to war. Attempts to build European empires lead to war. The urge to impose a straitjacket on the will of peoples will leads to war. In short, the European project will lead to war.”

      This is certainly the way I see it. Once you start imposing things on people, things that they don’t want and didn’t ask for, it breeds resistance. And the resistance deepens. And eventually people fight back.

      The smoking bans around the world are a great example. People didn’t ask for them, and don’t want them, but they’re imposed anyway, and they breed deep resentment. Which is why smokers are beginning to unite and fight back. And the result, very possibly, will be an explosion.

      • Rose says:

        Just out of interest, the view from the other side.

        Anti-British outburst in Nazi newspapers – June 26, 1939

        “There has been a concentrated attack on Britain in speeches and the Nazi Press during the weekend.

        Commenting on Mr. Chamberlain’s speech at Cardiff the semi-official “Deutsche Dienst” declares: “Mr. Chamberlain can rest assured that every attempt to represent the present actions of the Foreign Office as a policy of understanding and compromise with Germany is doomed to failure.

        “If England is no longer capable of discernment and honour she should at any rate abstain on grounds of good taste from describing military, political and economic alliances against Germany by the name ‘peace front.’”

        The Prime Minister’s suggestion that there were possibilities for valuable co-operation between Britain and Germany, adds “Deutsche Dienst,” gave rise to the suspicion that London was “covering her back for all eventualities in view of the threateningly high price demanded by the Soviet Russians.”


        Dr. Ley, chief of the German Labour Front, who has recently become a vilifier of everything Britain, delivered two sabre-rattling speeches at Essen and Potsdam.

        Addressing a mass meeting of the Labour Front at Essen, Dr Ley declared: “For us there is no going back! We have taken our fate into our own hands and shall triumph over it this way or that.

        “We do not want war. The men of our political leadership have experienced it at the front. But we want justice! If it is refused us a people of 80,000,000 will know how to fight fanatically.

        At Potsdam this morning Dr Ley spoke to 16,000 “political leaders” of the Nazi party on “the policy of encirclement pursued on the old lines by England against National – Socialist Germany.”

        Britain, he declared, was experiencing in Tientsin the kind of blockade that Germany had suffered during the war, but above all she was being put to shame. In the far East it was not so much a question of material things but of the fact that England was having to suffer dishonour.


        “England would have been able to save herself this situation.” Dr. Ley said, “if she had not refused repeated suggestions of the Fuchrer that she should come to a friendly and sensible alliance with Germany.

        “But England’s pride and blindness are alone to blame for the fact that there is fear of war in the Western States. Germany does not want war, but if she were forced to it she would go on parade, and fight to the last man for her honour.”

        The “Boersen Zeitung” carries the headline “Chamberlain plays the siren: The Pied Piper of Cardiff.” England’s policy declares the paper is one of “sugar and lash.” But Germany under Adolf Hitler was by no means a suitable subject for this method.

        Mr. Chamberlain’s offer of friendship with Germany is described simply as “a crude attempt to play us and the neutral world for suckers – double “suckers.”

        The “12 Uhr Blatt” carries in its current number a headline in scarlet lettering, three inches deep. “Twelve naked Englishmen make world history.”

        • nisakiman says:

          Very much along the lines of “We don’t want to demonise smokers, but they just won’t see sense. If only they’d go along with our agenda, there would be no need for all this denormalisation stuff. It’s not our fault…”

        • Rose says:


          You might find this one interesting too.

          The Coffee Drinkers

          Goebbels speech explaining why the coffee shortage in Germany was a sign of the success of the regime, and that people who complain about it are the wrong sort and the reason why Germany has no colonies.

          “Such people are naturally only a ridiculous minority, but they are in the position to damage our people’s good name. And it is always the same people. They give reluctantly to the Winter Relief drive, they abuse the National Socialist government and the National Socialist movement, oppose everything that we do, lose heart in every crisis, find the party block warden in their building an annoyance, are convinced adherents to confessional movements, love political jokesters, and get their news from foreign radio stations or newspapers.”

  6. Not a Twitterite here. I’m one of those Stone-Age Neanderthals who still pounds away on a computer keyboard or occasionally babbles into a Dragon Naturally Speaking program (which has gotten ***MUCH*** better in the last couple of years!) Heehee…. I dictated the initial version of TobakkoNacht into DragonSpeak from notes on bar napkins back in the 90s and the results were SO comical that when I went to try to fix it up a few years later there were entire paragraphs that just left me scratching my head in bewilderment!


  7. Rose says:

    Look what comes of random searches on the internet.

    Previously –

    Nitric oxide: From menace to marvel of the decade – 1996

    “Previously, nitric oxide was regarded as an environmental pollutant and little else: at best a chemically reactive nuisance, at worst a poison. In the exhaust fumes of cars it reacted readily with oxygen to produce smog, increasing the risk of asthma. When discharged into the atmosphere from power station chimneys it contributed to the ecological damage from acid rain.”

    “Consequently, a response bordering on disbelief greeted the discovery that cells lining the walls of blood vessels, endothelial cells, intentionally synthesised nitric oxide as a muscle relaxant. The molecule is short-lived, and a constant supply is generated by endothelial cells in response to the sheer stress of the blood flow on the artery wall. The notion that such a noxious little molecule should also hold a key to a healthy body and mind was counter-intuitive, and is still disconcerting to some people.”

    Nitric oxide yields of cigarettes – 1996

    Now you can check your favourite brands!

    • Margo says:

      Goodness me, whatever next? Wait for it – before long they’ll be saying smoking’s good for you:
      Menace to marvel of the decade – 2020

  8. I just followed you as well.

    Welcome to the world of 140 characters.


  9. Mike says:

    Beware of “probably sit in the back row for a while, just listening”, because if I remember rightly Richard North has a policy of deleting forum userIDs if that person hasn’t commented within a week or two of signing up.

  10. garyk30 says:

    “I saw it! And it was this big! And it was coloured green. With blue flecks around the edges. And then it flew away.”

    Also, a tree in a very huge forrest fell; but, there was no one there to notice if it made a sound. Only us ants that had our home in the roots of the tree and were torn from the Earth.

    Rather like a smoking ban that hardly creats a whisper; but, tears smokers from the Earth/Society in which they lived.

  11. churchmouse says:

    @Rose: re Coffee Drinkers post above —

    The more things change … ;)

    This week I blogged about an organisation for which John Banzhaf is legal advisor. It is called Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), which some of you might know as a food policing organisation.

    The founder, Michael Jacobson, wanted to remove the coffee machine in the office until 60 employees said they would quit if they did (emphases mine below):
    citing: :

    CSPI co-founder Michael Jacobson considers caffeine such a blight on civilization that he complains about people socializing over coffee. Unsurprisingly, he suggests that Americans patronize a “carrot juice house” instead. CSPI’s in-house food policies are so strict that Jacobson once reportedly intended to get rid of the office coffee machine—until one-third of his 60 employees threatened to quit.

    ‘CSPI also has a bias against meat and dairy. Jacobson, himself a vegetarian, wrote in an issue of CSPI’s Nutrition Action Healthletter that proper nutrition “means eating a more plant-based diet … It means getting your fats from plants (vegetable oils and nuts) and fish, not animals (meats, milk cheese, and ice cream).” In keeping with his personal vegetarianism, Jacobson quietly sits on the advisory board of the “Great American Meatout,” an annual event operated by the animal rights zealots at the Farm Animal Reform Movement (FARM) …

    ‘Alcohol, even when consumed in moderation, is perhaps CSPI’s most hated product. The group’s Healthletter has asserted that “the last thing the world needs is more drinkers, even moderate ones.” CSPI wants hefty increases in beer taxes, increased restrictions on adult-beverage marketing, and even poster-sized warning labels placed in restaurants. George Hacker, who leads CSPI’s anti-alcohol effort, has accused winemakers of “hawking America’s costliest and most devastating drug.”

    ‘The thousands of readily available and relatively inexpensive food offerings we enjoy today are for CSPI something to lament. “People tend to eat most healthily during hard times,” Jacobson has argued. “Heart disease plummeted in Holland and Denmark during the most severe food shortages of World War II. Records of English manors in the 1600s reveal that the peasantry feasted on perhaps a pound of bread, a spud, and a couple of carrots per day.” And that, to Jacobson is “basically a wonderfully healthy diet.” Yum.’

    As I mentioned in the post, I’d seen some years ago a documentary about the Netherlands near the end of the Second World War. The Nazis dumped wheelbarrows full of tulip bulbs (shown on archive film) for people to eat. Survivors — children then, elderly now — remember how horrible those days were.

    How Jacobson can say that people ‘feasted’ on bread, a potato and a couple of carrots a day whilst working in the fields for hours on end 500 years ago beggars belief.

    Yes, heart disease no doubt plummeted — people died instead. But, hey, why argue with a statistic?

    • Tom says:

      “… Jacobson, himself a vegetarian …”

      … just like Hitler …

      CSPI is another huge fake-charity interfering in personal choice and trying to usher in the new Fourth Reich way of living. They get quoted as source of information in so much “health news” online trying to condition everyone into accepting dictatorship as “normal”. And MSM carries them constantly in all these “news” stories that are nothing but PR campaigns and press releases – probably because MSM derives most of its ad revenue from drug companies these days, especially in the US where prescription drug ads appear 24/7/365 on television, more so than even tobacco ads appeared back when that was still legal and not hog-tied the way it is today.

      • churchmouse says:

        Interesting — maybe living in the UK we’ve been insulated from CSPI, although we are probably still getting their press releases in the media. I’d not heard of them before.

        Re tobacco v pharma ads. In the US, whereas tobacco ads were only one page of space, the pharma ads are at least two pages, sometimes more, as all the medical info has to be listed. Nice little earner! ;)

    • Rose says:

      Seeing which way the wind was blowing, I found that as part of a search on the Nazi view of coffee a couple of years ago.It occured to me that I might have to justify all my small pleasures against sound-bites and science by press release, on the basis of health and nutrition and that caffeine theory might just be another of those non scientific prohibitionist folklore that still hangs over us today.

      If lots of people enjoy it, then it must be bad for you, as a rule they seem to take the natural pesticide that the plant requires to survive, blow it’s toxicity out of all proportion and then proclaim that as the only important chemical in the whole plant and the sole reason why people persistantly consume it.

  12. smoky says:

    I contacted all my representatives after the ban, I only received a reply from my MP who said it was a devolved matter, of course a short while later he voted for the English ban.

    So how do I get “involved “politically” when you are generally ignored?

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank and everyone you have to read this:

    Peters stands up for Maori smokers

    Habitual smoker Winston Peters stood up for low-income Maori who will pay up to $20 a pack for cigarettes after new tax rises, and challenged medical evidence smoking causes 5000 deaths a year.

    But in a select committee hearing yesterday, the New Zealand First leader was a lonely voice against new tobacco taxes.

    He told the committee that new levies on cigarettes would “thump the pockets” of poor Maori.

    “I wonder how many Maori are behind you on this issue?” he asked Maori Party vice-president Ken Mair, whose party was pushing the tax rises.

    Mr Mair responded by inviting Mr Peters on a field trip to a pub to see how Maori felt about paying more for their cigarettes.

    “I’m more than happy for you to come to Wanganui and come to a bar and we’ll canvass them and survey them and we’ll see.”

    Maori Party MP Te Ururoa Flavell eventually stepped in, saying: “Not every Maori lives in the pub … there’s a hell of a lot more Maori in this country who have actually provided positive feedback on this kaupapa and those are the ones we need to focus on.”

    The Maori Party was making submissions on a bill that would raise taxes on tobacco and increase the price of a pack of 20 cigarettes to more than $20 in four years.

    Mr Mair had earlier pointed the finger at the tobacco industry.

    “There seems to have been a lot of emphasis in regard to the terrorists of the Ureweras. From our point of view, the real terrorists in this country are the tobacco companies. These terrorists cause immense death to the scale of 5000 [people a year].”

    Mr Peters challenged Mr Mair to prove the figure of 5000 deaths.

    But he left the the room soon after, leading to speculation from one MP that he had gone out for a cigarette.

    When he returned, Professor Richard Edwards from the University of Otago was asked to provide a science lesson for Mr Peters on smoking-related deaths.

    The public health expert said: “This figure was not plucked out of the air. You work out from the increased risk that smokers have of developing conditions like lung cancer.

    “You then work out from the prevalence of smoking among people with those conditions what proportion [of deaths] are due to smoking.”

    Based on this research, 80 per cent of 1200 lung cancer deaths a year had been found to be related to smoking.

    A large proportion of bronchitis, heart disease, pancreatic cancer, and cervical cancer deaths were also linked to tobacco.

    Mr Peters, undeterred, then asked why Japanese people had high life expectancy when they also had high rates of smoking.

    Professor Edwards: “It just goes to show that cigarette smoking is not the only determinant of longevity, and Japanese people would live longer if they didn’t smoke so much.”

    The debate led Green Party MP Kevin Hague to tweet: “This experience of the Finance & Expenditure considering the tobacco excise bill underlines why Govt should have allowed it to go to Health [committee]!”

  14. harleyrider1978 says:

    Mr Peters shoudl read Franks blog we covered this topic in great detail!

    And the Debate was Over

  15. Pingback: Leaving the Old World to find better pastures | Marcus' s Space

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