With a US Presidential election just days away, I ought to be interested in it. In the past, I’ve almost always been more interested in US elections than UK or EU elections. I guess that was probably because I regarded US elections as more important than anything that happens in a little backwater like Britain.
After all, British politics is pretty much defined by its EU membership, and the EU is all about Europe trying to become a major player in global politics – like the USA already is. The EU is trying to catch up with the USA, and become a European version of the USA, with a White House in Brussels, etc, etc.
But this time around I’m just not at all interested in the US Presidential election. Why?
It’s quite simple, really. Barack Obama gave up smoking because his wife demanded it as a price for her continuing political support. In my book, that’s blackmail. And I don’t think much of blackmailers, or people who give in to blackmail. So I’ve thought less of her, and less of him. And he was something of a phenomenon when he first got elected. But now he seems to be a shadow of what he was back then. I don’t know why. But with an antismoking wife, and an antismoking Secretary of State in the form of Hillary Clinton, he’s surrounded by antismokers. Maybe they’ve been slowly killing him.
And Mitt Romney isn’t much different. As governor of some state (Connecticut?), it seems he signed a smoking ban into law.
Even Ron Paul was no friend of smokers, it seems.
The only candidate that I liked was Herman Cain.
But the loss of interest isn’t just in US politics, but in pretty much all politics. David Cameron and Nick Clegg in Britain were both smokers, but both seem to have gone and done an Obama, perhaps under pressure from their wives. And although I don’t know for sure where Ed Miliband is on smoking and smoking bans, I’m prepared to bet that he doesn’t smoke, and that he supports smoking bans.
The only shining example of a smoking politician who’s openly against smoking bans is Nigel Farage. He even went to Stony Stratford to sit on a bench and smoke a cigarette. And he came to the meeting there we had a week or so later, and spoke to us. I saw him standing on the pavement outside the pub afterwards, yards away from me talking to someone, and I felt like going over and shaking his hand. But I didn’t.
And of course all the EU politicians are antismoking (although I’m sure that there are Farages in every country in the EU). And the EU parliament voted a few years back for a Europe-wide smoking ban, with show trials for prominent dissidents – something that killed any enthusiasm I might have had for the EU.
These days, I measure everybody according to whether they’re pro or anti smoking. It’s the only thing that matters any more.
And none of these antismoking politicians represents me. And none of them ever can or ever will. There’s (almost) nobody worth voting for in the UK, or the EU, or the USA. And I’ve ceased to be interested in what any of them say, or what any of them do. I detest them all.
And it’s why I’m glad I don’t have a TV, so I don’t have to see or hear any of the bastards.
I don’t know whether this response of mine is at all representative of smokers. There wasn’t a political question in the ISIS survey. But there was one about “experts”, and at least in my personal survey, there was a remarkable collapse in confidence in them. So I’d expect that there’s also been a collapse in confidence in politicians.
Smokers have been air-brushed out of political life more or less everywhere in the world. They’ve become non-persons whose interests don’t matter. They exist only to be castigated and demonised, and punitively taxed. They have become ghosts.
But as I was writing last night, there are one heck of a lot of them on this planet. Over a billion. That’s one hell of a lot of people to completely write off.
I think it’s all going to come back one day to haunt the global political class. Perhaps a bit like the murdered Banquo’s ghost in Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Particularly if all those millions of exiled people come back one day as a global political movement of the kind that I was talking about last night.
Because I think they will come back. Or, like Banquo, their descendants will.
Anyway, next week somebody or other will win the US presidential election, and I don’t really care who it is, because it’s not going to make any difference to me. As far as I can see, it will business as usual, whoever wins.