A Ticking Time Bomb

I’m posting up a comment by Rose. First Sir George Godber:

“Godber recollected that he had said in 1962 to Keith Joseph, another of his Conservative ministers, that “we really have to do something about abolishing smoking”

“Godber replied: “No, but I want to see it reduced to an activity of consenting adults in private.”

“Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places?

The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”
http: //legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/nub2aa00/pdf

Then columnist Melanie Reid writing in the Times in June 2007, a month before the UK smoking ban came into effect:

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

“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.”

Rose concludes:

Now it seems to have gone horribly wrong. The “addicts” are more than petulant and will never forgive either them or their political allies.

The drugs don’t work, the pubs started shutting shortly after the ban and haven’t stopped since, now there’s the problem of e-cigs and above all else the constant and unrelenting stress of pretending it’s all been a “Huge Success”

In addition, Melanie Reid wrote:

“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.

And of course earlier in 2007, ASH’s Deborah Arnott wrote:

Smokers will be exiled to the outdoors.

They all knew what was going to happen. Smokers were going to be exiled to the outdoors. They were going to become a  sad, excluded, sheepish army of no-hopers. They would face great alienation.

That’s a terrible, terrible thing to do to anyone. And it’s far, far worse that it was going to be done to millions of people.

Didn’t any of them ever ask: Is this the right thing to do?  Ought we really to be doing this?

Did they not know what it was like to be exiled, to be excluded, and to be alienated?

And if they knew that smokers were going to be exiled to the outdoors, they must have also foreseen that this would separate the smokers outside from their non-smoking friends inside, and so divide communities. And if they knew that smokers were going to be exiled to the outdoors, they must have foreseen that many smokers would stop going to pubs and cafes and restaurants, and that the hospitality trade would suffer badly. It was all entirely foreseeable.

And so they can’t ever claim that these were ‘unintended consequences’. They knew what was going to happen, and yet they went ahead and did it anyway.

It’s really rather surprising, given that it seems to have been common knowledge among the cognoscenti, that the BBC didn’t announce on 1 July 2007 that “smokers were exiled to the outdoors today, becoming a sad, excluded, sheepish army of no-hopers facing great alienation.” Because the BBC must have known too. And all the politicians as well.

The only thing that they seem not to have known is that, as Melanie Phillips reported, while ASH was hoping that nearly half of the remaining smokers would give up smoking as a consequence of the ban, few actually did.

And so now there’s a 10-million-strong army of sad, excluded, alienated, exiled smokers in Britain. And probably everywhere else that smoking bans have been enacted in the world.

And that’s a ticking time bomb. Because sooner or later that sadness and alienation and exclusion is going to find its expression – particularly when accompanied by anger and determination.

As Rose says, it’s all gone horribly wrong. The smoking ban was supposed to relegate smoking to “an activity for consenting adults in private.” By now they should have been mopping up the last remnants of the ‘no-hopers’. But no such thing has happened. Smokers are as numerous as ever, and as visible as ever.

And now we have a divided society.

About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to A Ticking Time Bomb

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    It started with the Indoor smoking sections………….divide and conquer

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      particularly when accompanied by anger and determination.

      THATS US TO A TEE! Tell me Frank just how determined has it made you running a daily blog on the bans and loving every minute of it I would assume. Knowing you pissed them so bad they even included you and several others in condemnation awhile back in there hate study!

      Just sad I didn’t make their cut,I tried I really did try.

  2. “sooner or later that sadness and alienation and exclusion is going to find its expression – particularly when accompanied by anger and determination.”

    I’m sure it already has, in many poorly defined, fairly unnoticed, but very real ways. The overall destructiveness of the antismoking movement in our societies is incalculable. Disrespect for authority, tax avoidance, personal alienation and depression, business closures and economic dislocation … and all of these things, as well as myriad other aspects of the problem, all having multiplier effects of various kinds that ripple through our communities.

    This was neither unforeseen nor unintended. It was clear even back in the late 1970s when I first saw it starting to take over the liberal/radical activist community here in the States, although it’s come harder and faster than I expected. The Antismokers KNEW what they were doing, but they decided it was worth the price, whatever the price was from their different motivations — personal, greed, idealism, neuroses, whatever. The old “End Justifies The Means” excuse.


    • harleyrider1978 says:

      They knew what they were doing alright.
      They had an anti-cigarette movement before as we all know and they used the same decpetions and legislative tricks back then as now. Although they were all repealed in time but it appears that course was about 20 years for that to happen. I think we are real close to that point now. The tide has turned and I think we can see that weakness was to many hands and no direction in TC’s command and control. To many wild claims made with junk studies to back them up. The coordination seems to have really fell apart back when the 3rd hand smoke scam came down and Crapman put out a directive to drop it like yesterday as it was just to far out there.

      Then they got a new rule book to play from and already tried out………

      Hitlers anti-tobacco playbook and even stealing his passive smoking tools.

      From what Ive seen of todays play out thru the last several years are nearly carbon copies of hitlers programs to a tee!

      TC is likely the bigger part of the entire world wide health Nazism we have seen as we see all the other issues being planned like the anti-cigarette campaign……….

      But when you run to many fights as in to many fronts you create to many enemies and they will converge to take you out as Hitler found out.

      Whats the lesson to learn, a simple one Human Nature never changes and its why history so often repeats itself especially HOLY ZEALOTS/PROHIBITIONISTS.

      They’ve had their run and now its coming to an end. Now we continue the fight and await the final end likely a few years away yet but coming none the less.

  3. Marie says:

    Thats pure evil, but they are psychological ignoramuses.

  4. We smokers have sadly proven ourselves to be the pathetic sheep that was predicted. I, and you, share some of that embarrassment. Yet, disaffected, alienated people often find a way to retaliate. Usually, that retaliation is a single, focused event, created by a single person. But with about 15-20% of the population still smoking, that needn’t be the case. Strong economic pressures can be exerted to
    stop and/or reverse some of the most stupid and onerous regulations. It would not be that difficult and would not cause hardship to the protesters, but would hurt various businesses in their wallets, which is the absolute only way to get them to act. What is needed is a charismatic figure to do the organizing. Find that guy and we have a chance to regain some territory. The logistics and strategy are exceedingly simple, as I envision it.

    • nisakiman says:

      You are right in your evaluation of the situation insofar as 20% of the population, if organised could destroy Tobacco Control. But it isn’t just for the lack of a charismatic figure that we fail to organise, it’s because we have been denied access to the mainstream media, and thus lack the vehicle to spread our message. Yes, we have blogs like this one and several others, but what percentage of smokers are aware of the existence of these blogs? 1%? Less than 1%? Probably a lot less than 1%.

      Tobacco Control have effectively shut us out of the debate, and will continue to strenuously do so, because they know that if we were able to disseminate the knowledge we have to the general public, then they would be finished. They control the independent media by virtue of having forbidden tobacco advertising (which to my mind, although seemingly a minor victory at the time, was their greatest coup), thus making the MSM largely dependent on advertising revenue from the TCI and ‘Public Health’; and their editorial stance will reflect their source of income. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. And of course the BBC will always toe the Public Health line.

      Which means we have been, to all intents and purposes, silenced and sidelined. We don’t have access to the bottomless pocket of taxpayer funding, so we are unable to mount any sort of meaningful riposte to their lies and exaggerations. And that is why we will struggle to make headway.

      • “Tobacco Control have effectively shut us out of the debate, ”

        Nisaki, I’d disagree. While we may be like the Vietnamese with bicycles opposing tank battalions and B-52s, I think it’s our bicycles (largely our inputs on news boards and blogs) that have thrown the sand into the treads of the Antis’ blitzkrieg attempt of the last ten years. Yeah, they made BIG headway for a while, but they’re having a much harder time gaining new territory right now and they’ve even had to absorb some losses.

        We need to find ways to be MORE effective, but I still think we’re having a real effect. That’s why we’re seeing concerns about things like the comments on their PSAs and why grant shills like Marita Hefler write articles on the importance of controlling the “social media” and are afraid to share their thoughts and plans with us. You may remember, I wrote her and asked for a courtesy copy of her study last year. She said she’d be happy to share it … and then, once she realized who I was, she suddenly said she had “no interest in assisting (me) or (my) group.”

        When scientists and researchers are afraid to share their data and thoughts with those who oppose them it shows (far better than we ever could manage ourselves) how corrupt and weak their positions and arguments are. As you’ve seen repeatedly throughout TobakkoNacht, and as I stress repeatedly in my public news-board postings.

        – Michael
        P.S. Nightlight, that is QUITE a perfect Kipling for here!

        • Quick follow-up on Marita: after her refusal to share, I sent her the following. Of course I got no response from her:

          I was not asking for assistance. I simply asked for a copy of your research and you said you would send one if I responded with my details. I was honest in my response to you, and I would expect you to be honest in fulfilling your commitment. Obviously it would be a poor researcher who would want their research to be read only by their supporters. I would think you should, as an honest researcher, welcome having your research examined by those who might disagree with it.


          – MJM

  5. Nightlight says:

    “And that’s a ticking time bomb. Because sooner or later that sadness and alienation and exclusion is going to find its expression – particularly when accompanied by anger and determination.”

    by Rudyard Kipling

    It was not part of their blood,
    It came to them very late,
    With long arrears to make good,
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    They were not easily moved,
    They were icy — willing to wait
    Till every count should be proved,
    Ere the Saxon began to hate.

    Their voices were even and low.
    Their eyes were level and straight.
    There was neither sign nor show
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    It was not preached to the crowd.
    It was not taught by the state.
    No man spoke it aloud
    When the Saxon began to hate.

    It was not suddenly bred.
    It will not swiftly abate.
    Through the chilled years ahead,
    When Time shall count from the date
    That the Saxon began to hate.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Nice quotation. I don’t think that you actually intended the whole thing to be so emphatic. But I think it actually works better that way, so I’ll leave it.

      Here’s another Kipling poem.

      Norman and Saxon

      “MY son,” said the Norman Baron, “I am dying, and you will be heir
      To all the broad acres in England that William gave me for my share
      When we conquered the Saxon at Hastings, and a nice little handful it is.
      But before you go over to rule it I want you to understand this:–

      “The Saxon is not like us Normans. His manners are not so polite.
      But he never means anything serious till he talks about justice and right.
      When he stands like an ox in the furrow with his sullen set eyes on your own,
      And grumbles, ‘This isn’t fair dealing,’ my son, leave the Saxon alone.

      “You can horsewhip your Gascony archers, or torture your Picardy spears;
      But don’t try that game on the Saxon; you’ll have the whole brood round your ears.
      From the richest old Thane in the country to the poorest chained serf in the field,
      They’ll be at you and on you like hornets, and, if you are wise, you will yield.

      “But first you must master their language, their dialect, proverbs and songs.
      Don’t trust any clerk to interpret when they come with the tale of their wrongs.
      Let them know that you know what they’re saying; let them feel that you know what to say.
      Yes, even when you want to go hunting, hear ’em out if it takes you all day.

      “They’ll drink every hour of the daylight and poach every hour of the dark.
      It’s the sport not the rabbits they’re after (we’ve plenty of game in the park).
      Don’t hang them or cut off their fingers. That’s wasteful as well as unkind,
      For a hard-bitten, South-country poacher makes the best man-at-arms you can find.

      “Appear with your wife and the children at their weddings and funerals and feasts.
      Be polite but not friendly to Bishops; be good to all poor parish priests.
      Say ‘we’, ‘us’ and ‘ours’ when you’re talking, instead of ‘you fellows’ and ‘I.’
      Don’t ride over seeds; keep your temper; and never you tell ’em a lie!”

  6. waltc says:

    Kipling is always a tough act to follow (and tbat”s an apt quotation) however, .undaunted..,

    I believe that many of them genuinely believed that we’d buckle under the pressure. That the shaming and shunning would bring us to heel. That we’d quit to be allowed to rejoin Polite Society or gladly go gentle into that dark (raw and rainy) night for a forbidden cigarette in order to enjoy, if only for a while, the warm companionship of Debra Arnott and Stanton Glantz. (I mean, who could resist?) In their early literature they talk quite a lot about man as a social animal and how cutting us off from society would violate human nature and force us to our knees. That we’d adapt to survive– or wouldn’t survive which was okey with them. I don’t think they counted on the unforeseen power– economic and otherwise– of passive resistance, and I don’t believe they recognize it yet, to this day, or if they do, won’t acknowledge it. They can only count the smokers who go to the bars and then “nip outside,” but they can’t count the smokers who don’t go at all and who don’t, as a result, go to other places either and whose politics have changed along with their desire to “contribute” to a society that kicks them in the teeth. Let alone will the acknowledge the arrogant cruelty of their Noble Experiment Part Two,

    • Frank Davis says:

      they talk quite a lot about man as a social animal and how cutting us off from society would violate human nature and force us to our knees.

      Speaking as a (slightly involuntary) hermit these days, I must say that their model of human nature would seem to be a bit flawed. I won’t do absolutely anything in order to remain a member of Polite Society. Particularly if I think that society is barbaric. And the contemporary treatment of smokers is truly barbaric. Why should I want to be a member of their barbaric society? I don’t.

      But their model of human nature probably reflects themselves. They are probably all groupthinkers who will go along with the current ‘consensus’ (on anything at all, and not just tobacco). It’s them who are desperate to be accepted into Polite Society, and accorded honours (in the UK, they all seem to be Sir This or Baroness That) and recognition and status and a fat salary. For them, personal meaning and worth are only to be found in the eyes of other people. They never go it alone. They dread the outer darkness of exclusion from the In Crowd.

      And that’s probably where their greatest weakness is to be found.

  7. magnetic01 says:

    It should be noted that there was nothing extraordinary about Georgie Godber. He was typical of a rabid antismoking fanatic/zealot/extremist. And there were others like him that formed the clique that convened at the WHO World Conferences on Smoking & Health that went on to become high-profile, well-funded antismoking activists in their respective countries. Godber was probably the most vocal, Narcissistic, and “imaginative” in his derangement at the time.

    Mike Daube is also an important figure in the current antismoking crusade. He’s been with the crusade from the outset. He, together with Chapman and a few others, has been instrumental in producing the serious antismoking circumstance in Australia. Daube has been a major adviser to the Federal government for years.

    Now compare Godber’s comment in 1975, which is the gist of the Godber Blueprint – to ban smoking indoors and out so that it becomes a private matter (i.e., in one’s home) between consenting adults. The intent is to ban smoking in essentially all the places that people typically smoke, i.e., de facto prohibition.

    George Godber – 1975: “I imagine that most of us here know full well that our target must be, in the long-term, the elimination of cigarette smoking…… We may not have eliminated cigarette smoking completely by the end of this century, but we ought to have reached a position where a relatively few addicts still use cigarettes, but only in private at most in the company of consenting adults.”
    [Remember, this statement was made 6 years before the very first, forced study on secondhand smoke by the antismoker Hirayama and 18 years before the flawed EPA(1993) Report that declared secondhand smoke as a “hazard” to nonsmokers. Godber is also referring to smokers as “addicts” even though tobacco use was not then considered an addiction. It was incoherently redefined as an “addiction” in 1988 by the Office of the Surgeon-General, an organization that had long been hijacked by the very same antismoking zealots]

    Here’s an article by Daube of only a year ago (2012) that reiterates the Godber Blueprint:
    “Extending restrictions on smoking in any environment so that it essentially becomes a practice only for consenting adults in private.”

    And there are others – connected by the GlobaLink Network – that now allude to the very same:
    “She said allowing the devices (e-cigarettes) into places where cigarettes are now banned also could “renormalize” smoking and undermine the public perception that the habit is now acceptable only in the privacy of one’s own home.”

    • magnetic01 says:

      Some more on the Daubster:

      Mike Daube is professor of health policy at Curtin University and Director of the Public Health Advocacy Institute of Western Australia. Before moving to Curtin in January 2005 he was director general of health for Western Australia and chair of the Australian National Public Health Partnership. He has played a leading role in public health, health policy and health advocacy in Australia, the UK and internationally since 1973. He has been a consultant and adviser over many years for WHO, International Union Against Cancer, Bloomberg Philanthropies, governments and NGOs in some 30 countries, as well as an author or co-author of many major reports. He is a regular commentator in the media on health issues.

      Mike is currently deputy chair of the Australian Government’s Preventative Health Taskforce, president of the Public Health Association of Australia, the Australian Council on Smoking and Health and the Heart Foundation of Australia (WA), chair of the Western Australian Alcohol and Drug Authority, and a member of many editorial boards and committees including the NHMRC Public Health Research Review Advisory Committee. He has received awards for his work from organisations including WHO, the Australian Medical Association, the National Heart Foundation, the Public Health Association of Australia, Healthway, Australian Council on Smoking and Health, Curtin University and the Australian Red Cross.

      Here’s an updated pic of Mike Drab:

  8. magnetic01 says:

    So, of particular interest is a short interview featuring Daube that appears in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization (Dec, 2012).


    Q: When did you start campaigning for tobacco control, and why?
    A: I started working on tobacco in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and
    Northern Ireland in early 1973, as the first full-time director of Action on Smoking and Health, so – a long time ago. Recently, an American researcher working on the early days of tobacco control phoned and said excitedly, ‘I’ve just discovered that you’re still alive!’ In those days there was no tobacco control advocacy as we now know it. I saw tobacco as a massive public health problem that was barely being addressed and that needed a different approach. There was overwhelming evidence on the magnitude of the problem and concern in the medical establishment, but very little was actually being done. It was a campaign crying out to be fought.

    Q: What was it like campaigning in those days?
    A: It’s difficult to describe how tough it was. Things were so different. Misconceptions were rife. The media thought that every time someone spoke about the dangers of smoking, “balance” required someone from the industry to deny the evidence. A leading health reporter told me in 1973, “you’re never going to find anything new to say about smoking”. The tobacco companies were powerful and respectable: their leaders got knighthoods and peerages. Respected medical researchers worked with and took funding from tobacco companies. The Royal College of Physicians invited comments and amendments on its reports from the tobacco industry, until I got them to stop. At my first ASH meeting in the Royal College of Physicians in 1973 some of the country’s most distinguished doctors, frustrated by the lack of progress, debated for two hours what they could do to make the government quake in its boots. Eventually they had the answer: they would write a letter to the “Lancet”.

    Q: Why was there so little understanding of tobacco control?
    A: Most people didn’t understand the magnitude of the problem and just how ruthless the industry was and, in those days, we didn’t have access to confidential industry documents now available following the US Master Settlement Agreement. There was no real peer group in the country, and only a few colleagues outside the United Kingdom. There was very little money for campaigning. Once I had to deliver media releases to the newspaper offices around Fleet Street on foot in a thunderstorm! The first time I bought shares in tobacco companies so that we could ask questions at their annual general meetings – such as “How many deaths were the company’s products responsible for in the last year?” – I didn’t dare to tell the ASH board. But after the first one, they all wanted to join in the fun! I am amazed, in retrospect, at how generous the medical hierarchy was to a young man with long hair and a penchant for purple suits, who wanted to turn ASH into a real pressure group. I was unbelievably privileged to work with some of the great figures in the United Kingdom’s public health history: Charles Fletcher, Sir George Godber, Keith Ball, Lord Platt, David Player and Sir John and Eileen Crofton, as well as wonderful international colleagues including Nigel Gray, Kjell Bjartveit, Michael Pertschuk, Stan Glantz and Matt Myers. A real joy of later decades has been working with Simon Chapman, Melanie Wakefield, Maurice Swanson and other terrific colleagues in Australia and elsewhere.


    • “first full-time director” of ASH eh? Obviously a paid position give the “full-time” phrasing. So this guy’s been getting paid to attack smokers for FORTY YEARS at this point???? It’d be interesting to see how much money he’s been paid for his jihad.

      – MJM

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Itd be even more exciting to know he is the last of theTC employees world wide to fired.

        First and Last sounds good to me!

      • Marie says:

        Is it possible to find out?

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Marie itd be enuf just to know he watched us destroy his smoekfree world

        • Well, it’s pretty likely he’s been getting between $30,000 and $150,000 a year.

          So, multiplying those by 40 would indicate he’s pocketed between $1,200,000.00 and $6,000,000.00 in his career of persecuting smokers.

          Of course he’s not in it for the money like those Big Tobacco people, right? Right?


          – MJM

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Those rich snobbish look down upon the lil people haters.
          Us poor redneck and hippies don’t stand a chance………….wait ya we do!
          Anybody got a spare 10 million for a repeal movement!

        • Marie says:

          §30,000 a year is not very much, Michael

        • Marie says:

          $30.000 I mean ;)

  9. wobbler2012 says:

    Although I’m a non-smoker these days I applaud all the smokers that have stuck two fingers up to these nannying arseholes. You describe the situation perfectly Frank, it’s been nothing short of an absolute disaster and should teach pricks like Arnott that these days you can’t just bully people around, because these days people don’t put up with it and carry on smoking in an act of defiance to all this demonization.

  10. Jay says:

    A tiny, but surprising, thing happened today.

    I was half-listening to a R4 programme this morning when I realised the presenter was interviewing two people about pub closures. At the end of the programme the presenter summed up by saying to the listeners, “That was (can’t remember name) denying that the smoking ban had anything to do with pubs closing and (someone who didn’t deny it)”.

    The tone he used when speaking of the denier was the tone usually reserved for Big Tobacco denying that smoking is harmful! And this on the Beeb!

    There are chinks appearing in their edifice of lies (remembering also the recent articles in the DT & DM). They offer a crumb of comfort that, with sustained resistance, too many chinks will appear to allow the edifice to keep standing.

  11. Rose says:

    On an entirely different topic, but one I have been following, not infrequently travelling through the Somerset Levels.

    Prime Minister links flooding to climate change, saying he believes the phenomenon is causing a rise in abnormal weather events
    http: //www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/energy/10559114/David-Cameron-very-much-suspects-climate-change-causing-abnormal-weather-such-as-floods.html

    Mr Cameron may believe what he likes but the truth is more mundane.

    The rivers feeding the reclaimed lands of the Somerset levels, formerly swamp land, have not been dredged in 18 years.

    Somerset Levels dredging call raises £30,000 in four days

    “A public appeal to raise cash to dredge rivers on the Somerset Levels and “shame the Government” into match-funding has raised £30,000 in just four days.”

    “The Environment Agency stopped dredging rivers 18 years ago, saying it was: “uneconomic.” Silt build-up means the Tone and Parrett are running at only 60 per cent of their potential capacity.”


    NFU urges for river dredging in Somerset

    “THE National Farmers Union is urging for the re-introduction of “significant and consistent” river maintenance work – specifically dredging across Somerset.”
    http: //www.bridgwatermercury.co.uk/news/10958040.NFU_urges_for_river_dredging_in_Somerset/?ref=rss

    Fund Somerset Levels dredging or face “catastrophe”, Government warned

    “MPs this week warned a huge area of Somerset was “drowning” and blamed the Environment Agency for not dredging rivers, particularly the Parrett and the Tone, which are blocked by silt build-ups”
    http: //www.westernmorningnews.co.uk/Fund-Somerset-Levels-dredging-face-catastrophe/story-20495801-detail/story.html

    Villagers tire of island life on flooded Somerset Levels

    “Yesterday the deluge continued, forcing the local council to declare a “major incident” as the Met Office gave an amber warning for rain. With 10 to 20mm forecast to fall on the saturated ground over the next few days, the villagers are braced for another difficult weekend.”

    “The last time there was a flood of this scale was in 1928, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the Environment Agency no longer dredges the local rivers. We know we live on the Somerset Levels and roads and fields will flood, but it’s not normal for homes to flood or us to be cut off for so long”
    http: //www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/villagers-tire-of-island-life-on-flooded-somerset-levels-9084105.html

    Flooding (Somerset Levels)
    4:10 pm – two days ago

    “Ian Liddell-Grainger (Bridgwater and West Somerset, Conservative)

    “Nineteen years ago, the two main rivers that run through Sedgmoor were regularly dredged by the old river boards. Dredging was expensive, dirty and repetitive, but it was a job that everybody realised had to done, because rivers on low-lying land silt up if they are not dredged. That is common sense.

    Once upon a time, Sedgmoor was probably part of the Bristol channel, until the Romans arrived and dug ditches. It took Dutch engineers to tame the levels in the 17th century. They understood the consequences of doing nothing, as much of their own country is below sea level. It is well worth dwelling on that fact: over Christmas and in the ghastly wet days that followed, almost the same amount of rain that flooded my constituency fell in the Netherlands, but there were no floods in the Netherlands, because in Holland they dredge, they prepare and they protect. They plan for the worst and rarely suffer a problem.

    One of the benefits of regular dredging is that the riverbanks are built up at the same time. It is a double whammy—ask any Dutch hydrologist. However, 18 years ago the Environment Agency was created and it made a policy U-turn that took everybody completely by surprise, and we have all been suffering from it ever since. Regular dredging of the Parrett and the Tone came to an abrupt end, and the agency decided that the future lay in managing any floods that might result.

    The agency bears huge responsibility for all the problems that have happened. The Parrett and the Tone are now so silted up that in some places they no longer act as rivers at all.”

    Well now the insurers know who to claim their money from rather than the general population.

  12. The smokers are their own worst enemy. They do still go for a drink and obediently stand outside for a smoke. They do still go to the restaurants etc. and stand outside to smoke. The only way to reverse this spiteful ban is for ALL smokers to stop using places that make you stand outside that used to welcome you inside before July 2007.
    That will not happen because smokers will not sacrifice a few nights out to win the battle. I have not bought a drink at a pub or a meal at a restaurant since the ban. Just imagine if 20% of the population had done the same.

    • Rose says:

      I will go to places that chose to be non-smoking long before the ban because it was genuinely the owners choice, as for the rest no, I don’t go there any more.

      I quite agree that people standing outside, though they may think that they are only obeying the law, are actively contributing to their own denormalisation because that is what the law was set up to do.

      Professor Ian Gilmore explains in 2008 that people who stand outside to smoke, shivering in the cold, demonstrate that tobacco is a “drug of addiction”.

    • Junican says:

      I think that there is a lot more to it than that, N. I doubt that The Public Health Industry will be affected in the least by whether or not you or I go to the pub, if we so desire. In fact, there is every reason to believe that The Public Health Industry is perfectly happy to see pubs closing in droves – remember that the PHI is a continuation of the Prohibitionists. They never went away.

      The PHI no longer holds ‘the high moral ground’. They lost it when they opposed ecigs. Maybe lots of smokers are pretty ignorant about what the PHI has been up to, but vapers are not. The PHI is making enemies by the million, even if it is only low level hostility. Don’t forget the fatties and the drinkers.

      In the end, what will do for the PHI (at least, the ‘control’ aspect) will be de-funding. I don’t mean the minor costs of ASH ET AL, I mean the de-funding of the massive NHS costs of maintaining the Tobacco Control, Alcohol Control, Salt Control, Sugar Control, Fat Control infrastructure. They will fail under the weight of the edifice that they have been building. Eventually, and it can’y be much more postponed, someone with clout, is going to start asking questions like: “Seeing that smoking and drinking have been in decline for a long time, why is it that NHS costs are continuing to increase exponentially?”

    • Frank Davis says:

      They do still go for a drink and obediently stand outside for a smoke.

      If they’d all stayed home, a lot more pubs would have closed. But would that have changed anything? I doubt it. After all, a lot of pubs have closed with many smokers still going, and that has changed nothing. If they’d stayed home, you’d never see any smokers outside pubs, and Tobacco Control would have been crowing that they’d successfully denormalised smoking. As it is the smokers outside the pubs (particularly in summer) are continuing to keep smoking normal.

      I only go to pubs in the summer. But I’m always pleased to see other smokers when I’m there, keeping the flag flying.

  13. Pingback: Smokers & Vapers.......A Ticking Time Bomb ...

  14. Surface Raider says:

    Smokers are to blame for the ban’s “success”,they could have kicked off,but did’nt,they could
    have shunned the venues in greater numbers,but did’nt,they could have organised more physical resistance,but preffered to whimper down the webs controlled avenues.
    The social media groans under the flood of discontent from petrified malcontents,thousands tip
    tapping keyboards under the apprehension,someone is reading their grief
    If you want to noticed ,you have to select the stalwarts and kick out the chaff
    Seek the ones who mean business ,give the whispering ghosts their marching orders .they are
    but Judas Goats. Let us ask,who will fight under One banner,let us also ask who wont ,and WHY
    ………………………..Be seen, or be silent……………………………..

  15. Rose says:

    Yay! I beat Christopher Booker to it by a whole 5 minutes!

    http: //cfrankdavis.wordpress.com/2014/01/25/a-ticking-time-bomb/#comment-88341January 25, 2014 at 4:26 pm

    Somerset Levels: There’s nothing ‘natural’ about this man-made flooding
    Catastrophic Somerset floods are the result of the Environment Agency’s policy against dredging its rivers
    4:31PM GMT 25 Jan 2014
    Christopher Booker

    “Talk to the locals, and to the experts of the Royal Bath & West agricultural society, representing hundreds of farmers – the Levels comprise a fifth of all Somerset’s farmland – and they are in no doubt as to why these floods are the most devastating in memory: it is because, since it took over prime responsibility in 1995 for keeping this vast area drained, the Environment Agency has deliberately abandoned the long-standing policy of dredging its rivers.

    Thanks to the agency, the four main rivers have become so clogged with silt that there is no way for floodwaters to escape. The farmers and the local drainage boards that used to keep the pumping stations in working order are only too keen to play their part in clearing the maze of drainage ditches. But the agency’s officials have decreed that, as soon as silt is lifted on to the banks, it cannot be spread on nearby fields without being classified as “controlled waste”, making it so difficult to move that much of it just slides back into the water.”

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    Checked the headlines enemy in retreat………..

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