Morality Wars

An interesting discussion broke out in the comments today when Walt suggested that if smokers had all boycotted pubs and cafes and restaurants after smoking bans were introduced, it would all have been different:

If at the very beginning of the bans there’d been a sudden massive and (crucially) sustained boycott, the immediate roars from the no-longer-hospitable “hospitality industry” might have influenced the politicians to repeal or at least soften their edicts because of a threatened economy, loss of taxes, rise of unemployment (which itself is a cost to government) and a loud lobby howling in their ears.

I disagreed, saying that since smokers comprised only 20% of the adult population, a boycott would have damaged the hospitality trade, but not killed it. Nisakiman and Michael M then came back and said that in pubs, smokers made up 56% of customers. So a complete boycott would indeed have been effective. Anyway, Walt went on to say:

But to the extent that maybe 80% of smokers did, in fact, behave according to the Anti’s predictions (would not sacrifice a social life for a principle … they did not stay away fast enough, long enough, and in sufficient numbers to penetrate the iron curtain and razzmatazz rationales of TC and their political and media abettors.

Well, we have some figures now for how smokers responded. And according to the Isis survey, after the ban in the UK about 30% of smokers seldom or hardly ever went to pubs, and another 40% went less often. If ‘seldom or hardly ever’ translates into 90% less often, and ‘seldom’ translates into 50% less often, that amounts to almost a 50% boycott by smokers. And if as Nisakiman says, smokers made up 56% of pub customers, such pubs would have lost 28% of their custom. Depending on the margins they were operating on, that would have been a heavy blow, but many would have managed to limp on, particularly if they’d managed to attract a few of the non-smokers who never visited the smoky old pubs.

My own local pub at the time, the River, was never in danger of closing. Because it had become a successful bar-restaurant pub (it even had a French chef at one point) which catered to the middle classes who arrived in their cars lunchtimes and evening, ate at separate tables, and then drove home. The locals (which included me), who actually talked to each other and formed a community, were being increasingly marginalised long before the ban came into force, in an ever-dwindling smoking area.

But I have an additional reason for supposing that a boycott wouldn’t have worked. And that is that I don’t believe that the antismoking zealots who introduced the ban gave one single damn what happened to pubs or cafes or anything else. In fact, now that we can see that they almost as equally condemn alcohol and food as they do smoking, they may even have wanted to close most pubs and cafes, as dens of iniquity.

For I don’t think that zealots (of any sort) care very much what the consequences of their actions might be. They do things because they think they are as a matter of principle the right thing to do. And as a matter of principle they strongly disapprove of smoking, drinking, over-eating, and any number of other activities. They are puritans. And they work towards an ideal, smoke-free, alcohol-free, obesity-free society.

My own morality doesn’t work that way. For me the moral value of any activity is measured by its consequences, rather than by the principles or intentions guiding it. And in my book, eating, drinking, and smoking are almost entirely inconsequential activities (despite what the antis shriek). And every single thing that anyone does has both costs and benefits attached. A drunken night out spent dancing on tables may be a lot of fun at the time, but the hangover the next day may be very painful. It’s a matter of personal judgment whether the costs outweigh the benefits. Whichever way, if some activity doesn’t harm anyone else, I’m not inclined to condemn it at all.

Not so the puritans. They have an inflexible set of moral principles, written in stone. Things are either right or wrong, and that’s that. And in their view Smoking Is Wrong, and people shouldn’t do it. And even if smokers switch to harmless e-cigs, it’s still wrong, and people still shouldn’t do that either, because it still looks like smoking.

The puritans don’t perform any cost-benefit analyses on any activity. Activities either fall into the category of right, or the category of wrong, and a puritan can instantly tell you whether what you’re doing is right or wrong. And to the extent that they actually get involved in cost-benefit analyses, it is always to assert that there are no benefits whatsoever (in smoking), and an infinite number of costs. Or conversely, that there are no costs whatsoever (in physical exercise), and an infinite number of benefits. Theirs is a black-and-white moral universe.

And this kind of moral thinking doesn’t just apply to eating and drinking and smoking, but to everything else as well. So smoky, smelly, polluting coal or oil-fired power stations are bad, and windmills and solar panels are good. And cars and trucks are evil, and bicycles good. And green is good, and grey or brown or black (like carbon) is bad. And the EU is good, and the nation state is evil, and the cause of all wars. And so on and on and on.

Faced with such moral absolutists (however much they try to hide behind pseudo-scientific epidemiological and environmental consequentialist studies), I still don’t think any boycott of pubs would have made any difference at all. These people know what’s right, and they’re never going to change their minds. If the pubs had all closed in weeks, they would have just gritted their teeth and said the ban was the right thing to do anyway.

Which leads me to think that the whole war that we’re fighting against these people is really a war about morality, a war about what’s right and what’s wrong. It’s a morality war. And in this respect they have the upper hand, because they’re always completely certain about everything, while people like me are still weighing and measuring consequences.

However, because they are unconcerned with consequences, the consequences that will flow from their high-handed edicts are likely to be truly terrible. And that is what’s likely to bring their defeat in the long run.

About Frank Davis

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68 Responses to Morality Wars

  1. harleyrider1978 says:

    Official: Smokers Actually Visit Bars Less Often Now
    Health Dept. Corrects Report On Smoking Ban

    COLUMBUS, Ohio — The Ohio Department of Health has corrected a report on the impact of the statewide smoking ban following questions by a state senator.

    Director Theodore Wymsylo says smokers and non-smokers were flipped in a chart showing how frequently they’ve visited bars since the ban took effect in 2007.

    The graph now shows that 40 percent of current smokers who were surveyed say they visit bars less often, while about 7 percent of non-smokers say they go more often.

    Republican Sen. Bill Seitz, of Cincinnati, and the ban’s opponents have seized on the report, saying it’s flawed and its executive summary omitted certain figures.

    The Ohio Supreme Court is scheduled to hear oral arguments Oct. 19 in a constitutional challenge to the ban brought by bar and restaurant owners.

    Read more: http://www.wlwt.com/health/29420203/detail.html#ixzz1aI1LJt56

  2. Frank, I would disagree, at least in the “ideal” sense. A true boycott, imposed immediately upon the outset of the ban, *would* have resulted in its overturn as the pubs lost roughly 50% of their business all at once and probably 2/3 of them would have expected closure within a year if something wasn’t done.

    At that point there would have been mass civil disobedience: better to face fines and stay in business than to simply have to close.

    Unfortunately the Antis played a very skillful (or lucky) game with their bar/pub ban approach: instead of putting the weight on the smokers (who might have been willing to stand up for themselves) they threw the penalties onto the owners/workers. And since the British/Irish pubgoers often had personal relationships with those owners/workers and wanted to neither put those friends into a difficult situation by breaking the law nor hurt those friends in time of need by staging an outright boycott.

    As time went by however, many of those patrons did indeed go less often or even stop going, simply because it wasn’t as much “fun” as before. Thus we see the year-after-year pub closure effect as those old patrons gradually have stopped going and new patrons, the “hordes of hungry, thirsty, ravening nonsmokers” have turned out not to be all that big on hanging out in pubs anyway…whether smoking or not.

    – MJM

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Truly doesn’t matter,the fact is smokers and others stayed away because of the smoking ban and it is directly tied to the outset of the smoking bans beginning date. If that’s not a fact enuf that the smokers boycotted due to the ban nothing is. They demonstrated by going home and smoking besides anything else where it was banned. The losses can be seen across the whole economy when you figure how much isolation it created and folks just quit going anywhere since they had been OUTLAWED. Would you go to the park if they banned smoking and you had the kids. I know I wouldn’t in fact Ive torn down no smoking signs at public parks! Several other redneck things to deface anti-tobacco material at every turn. The pilot truck stop finally just left the signs down on the doors and in the bathrooms………….The other truck stop started out non-smoking and that lasted 2 weeks………..there again the couldn’t keep the signs up! Truckers hate no smoking signs I can tell you. Hell I know truckers that will time there runs to be in a smoker friendly state when they have a meal time coming……….

    • Frank Davis says:

      As I remarked in the comments, the only truly successful boycott in my view would have been if the majority non-smokers had joined the boycott.

      But your point about loyalties is valid, although really more about law-breaking. In the UK, it was the pub landlords that faced the largest fines if anyone smoked in their pubs, not the smokers.

      But also smokers didn’t want their pubs to go bankrupt. In many cases the pub landlords were their friends. So many of them kept going.to their pubs – until they couldn’t wear it any more.

      • beobrigitte says:

        As I remarked in the comments, the only truly successful boycott in my view would have been if the majority non-smokers had joined the boycott.

        Indeed! But then, the majority of the non-smokers received the drip feed “smokers are killing YOU” in order to prevent them to stand up for their smoking friends.

        Right now I am on day 2 of my experiment – and I have even more opportunity to chat to non-smokers than I thought.
        I am staying with a non-smoker who is not scared of passive smoke but since no-one smokes in her home I brought with me an e-cig.
        Naturally we talked a lot about smoking last night. She was baffled that e-cig “smokers” are in the same boat as we smokers and that the anti-smoking zealots are working towards a ban on e-cigs, too. It was refreshing to actually PROVE to a non-smoker that even holding an e-cig (worse even an unlit cigarette!!!) inside an airplane causes the stewardess to approach you, asking you to “put ‘it’ away. The announcement that neither cigarettes NOR e-cigarette use is allowed during the flight followed prior to take off.
        “That doesn’t make sense”, my non-smoking friend replied. “What about the nicotine ‘thing’ you pretend to smoke you can get on prescription? So, you can’t use e-cigs but you can use that stuff? Well, if they lie about e-cigarettes, they must be lying about cigarettes, too!”

        Our talks continue.

        • Frank Davis says:

          “if they lie about e-cigarettes, they must be lying about cigarettes, too!”

          This is more or less what I started thinking nearly 10 years ago, but about the purported dangers of secondhand smoke – which I have always thought was a manifest lie.

          If they were lying about SHS, then were they lying about cigarettes too? Most likely they were.

        • nisakiman says:

          Just posted this on Dick Puddlecotes blog:

          http://www.thedrum.com/news/2014/01/27/banged-ogilvy-vice-president-and-ipa-chairman-arrives-home-after-spending-24-hours?utm_source=Interspire&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=The+Drum+Afternoon+Newsletter+-+27th+Jan+2014

          Being told to ‘put it away’ pales into insignificance compared to this. See my comment on DP’s for even worse.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Frank from what I can summize they did the same thing with second hand smoke studies as they did with first hand smoke studies………….literally!

        • beobrigitte says:

          My non-smoking friend did keep her word – we went to the pub tonight. ASHTRAYS ON TABLES!!!!
          A very comfortable place, music in the background but not interfering with conversation and, surprisingly for a Monday, the place was quite well visited. We did manage to get a little table eventually to settle on.
          Then it came to ordering drinks. Being appreciative of the ashtray provided, I decided to ask for locally produced beer. Most certainly a good choice!!! From my point of view: the LOCALS INVITE me in and PROVIDE for me – I ensure my money goes to them.
          In the meantime I ran into a problem with my e-cigs; both, the nicotine and non-nicotine containing ones. These things need to be charged up…… I didn’t think of that. Tomorrow it is charger hunting time.
          For tonight I have an ashtray.
          Yesterday I “smoked” the e-Lite, nicotine containing e-cigs, today it was the cherry flavoured, non-nicotine containing e-cigs in my friend’s house. Both e-cigs produce about the same amount of “smoke” – nevertheless, I was perfectly happy all day today with the cherry flavoured e-cig. I was also provided with a local e-cig with various tobacco flavours. This one did provide the taste but little “smoke” and was immediately ditched by me and I preferred the non-nicotine containing one.
          In the pub I smoked my rolled cigs. (I rolled 40 on Saturday for the journey and I still have, after tonight, 10 left)
          Fazit: It is not the nicotine content, it is the habit of holding a “cigarette” and watching the “smoke” that has this relaxing effect on me. The E-Lite and the Cherry e-cig really do this much better than I had anticipated.
          I do have one issue with the e-cigs, though: they do not have an end…… But then, I seem to adapt to this, too. I just put it down after a while….

          Right now, though, I have been provided with an ashtray by my friend. Tomorrow we shall hunt for chargers for the e-cigs as I do want to continue my little experiment.

          My non-smoking friend is getting more interested in questining the anti-smoking drive to exterminate us. I will take her to the official ASH document of “denormalisation” of smokers tomorrow. She needs to learn to treat us with contempt. (She was not keen on my choice of words when I told her that)

          Stripping propaganda away is not as difficult as I thought! Debbie, eat your heart out!!! I SHOW facts.

  3. Junican says:

    It is easy to forget some salient facts:
    1. The Health Bill was deliberately changed at the last moment to include wet-led pubs and private clubs.
    2. The Bill was deliberately introduced into the Lords to coincide with the impending Xmas recess.
    3. The date of implementation was 1st July (mid-summer).

    The whole situation was surreal. On 30th June, life was normal. On 1st July, the world went bent and twisted. The laws of physics ceased to exist, and the laws of propaganda replaced them. For a few weeks, it was fun to sit outside in the warm evenings with lots of others. It really was fun. But 17 year old ‘children’ bar staff were itching to exercise their new-found power, and they did. Kids were telling their granddads to get outside, even outside the porch. I remember one slip of a girl telling me that “The law says that you have to be five yards away from the door”.
    It was only when the autumn arrived that the amusing outdoor scene faded away – NEVER TO REAPPEAR.
    It is probably true that a complete boycott would have worked, but where would the organisers have come from? The pubcos had fallen for the ‘level playing field’ confidence trick, and the independents feared swingeing fines. The idiots fell for the ‘cafe culture’ (aka ‘pub grub’) swindle. Why did they not observe that the market place was already swamped?
    So what has happened is that the ‘boycott’ has happened, but it has been a gradually enacted boycott. It is hard to believe that a pubco bankruptcy is not imminent. It is hard not to see the worthlessness of pubco shares as an indication that big investors have no confidence in their continuing existence.
    You may call me a rotter if you wish, but I cannot wait for a pubco to go bust, with full fanfare, to be followed by another one, and another, in quick succession. Only then might a politician stand up in Parliament and utter the forbidden words: “Erm, forgive me if I am making a complete ass of myself, but, erm, might it just be possible, do you think, that the smoking ban might have been a tiny bit instrumental?”

    But there is another reason that I dream of pubco failures, which is that the ‘market’ would then be wide open for entrepreneurs (conservatives!) to whisper into the ears of ‘Government’ that vast fortunes were available if the smoking ban was relaxed to allow small, ‘family owned’ bars to be smoking bars. Let’s face it, all these disgusting, filthy, stinking smokers should not be visible, but should be exiled to the indoors “to smoke among consenting adults in private”.
    All the PP stuff is irrelevant. Give us back our ‘private’ places.

    • Junican, those “salient facts” regarding the political timing/implementation of the ban over there were by no means chance occurrences. The Antismokers had some very talented and highly skilled political helmsmen guiding a lot of their ban efforts: that sort of last-minute jockeying took place all over. Heh, one of their “smoothest” moves was scheduling last minute ban hearings so bar owners wouldn’t even know about them while the Antis (of course) would all show up in force — and when the bar owners were sharp enough to be watching for that then the Antis would just schedule the hearings for St. Patrick’s Day when all the bar folks were head over heels busy with the crowds.

      – MJM

    • “So what has happened is that the ‘boycott’ has happened, but it has been a gradually enacted boycott. It is hard to believe that a pubco bankruptcy is not imminent. It is hard not to see the worthlessness of pubco shares as an indication that big investors have no confidence in their continuing existence.”

      Very true analysis, and the pubco stuff is shown in absolute pristine purity in this graph:

      where you can see what the “opportunity” offered by the smoking ban in 2007 brought the British pub industry.

      – MJM

    • Frank Davis says:

      a gradually enacted boycott

      That’s a good point. The smokers didn’t all leave on Day One. In the UK they drifted away as summer turned to autumn and then winter. It was a full 6 months before the real impact was felt – by which time it could be ascribed to some other cause.

      Furthermore, the process of pubs losing customers continued thereafter at a slower pace. One day, a year or so after the ban came into force, a non-smoking pub-goer asked me why he never saw me at the pub any more. I replied that when I had a pint of beer, I wanted to smoke a cigarette too, and if I couldn’t I didn’t want to go. “Then the ban should be lifted,” he said. “Because the pub is dead these days.” The ban was not lifted, of course, and so he has now probably stopped going to it as well.

    • Rose says:

      A pubco did go bust, Junican.

      Managing Director of The Massive Pub Company – 2004

      “The only ultimate provision and safety for us will be a smoking ban.
      We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.Since April 27 cases have been taken on – this is the start of a tidal wave – in my view.

      The industry, through the various trade bodies is looking for a voluntary ban with 80% of premises having smoke free areas by 2007.

      Having attended the conference I am of the clear view that far too many of us could be fighting legal battles by then, and perhaps we will be preferring a total national ban.”
      Page 7

      Click to access ASH_405.pdf

      Massive in administration – January 2008
      http://www.morningadvertiser.co.uk/General-News/Massive-in-administration2

      • Total nonsense from ASH as per usual: “We all need to be forwarned that the next growth area for the legal system will be prosecutions of publicans for not protecting staff from the dangers of ETS.”

        Given the difficulties Junican so well outlined for us in his analysis of the McTear case, try to imagine someone arguing that a three year stint as a waitress someplace gave her cancer forty years later! Even if a nonsmoker worked for forty years as a barkeep in the same pub, their exposure level would be on the order of 1/1,000th of that experienced by Mr. McTear, and the target of responsibility would be far more vague than McTear’s target of the tobacco companies.

        It’s simply a bugaboo dragged out of the closet to frighten the children (the pub owners) and has no more substance than the bugaboo in the closet.

        – MJM

  4. Lepercolonist says:

    Lepercolonist,

    Smokers are less productive workers because they take smoke ‘breaks’ ? When confronted by my supervisor, “ You are out here smoking on a nonscheduled break !” I replied, “ I never went outside before the plant smoking ban. In fact, I have several awards in my file for exemplary productivity. You forced me outside due to SHS. Where am I supposed to go ? All my work is on time. When non-smokers roam around the plant talking to their friends, are they admonished” ? He gave me verbal warning, then a written warning, followed by a 2 week suspension.
    Thank God the head production manager heard my story when we were enjoying a cigarette at lunch time. He told my asshole supervisor to have some tolerance for older workers.

    • And one of the unintended (and unrecorded) side effects of the workplace bans where they’re nastily enforced is that you have a substantial chunk of the working force that then feels resentment over their treatment and, consciously or not, move from being happy and highly productive workers over to being unhappy and negative-impact workers. Productivity/business/profits go down — and everyone wonders “Gee, why is this happening?”

      – MJM

  5. Ripper says:

    “They do things because they think they are as a matter of principle the right thing to do. And as a matter of principle they strongly disapprove of smoking, drinking, over-eating, and any number of other activities. They are puritans. And they work towards an ideal, smoke-free, alcohol-free, obesity-free society.”

    No they don’t. They have little care for any morality. The zealots have one reason only. Money. They are largely rent seekers, whilst their drones have been brainwashed beyond recognition. Tobacco is in the main, all used up now, so they are turning to alcohol, salt, sugar etc. in a never ending attempt to justify their salaries.

    • Ripper, I’d disagree. See the quickie one-page analysis of the first fifty pages of “Brains” at: http://www.sott.net/article/128768-Recognising+Anti-Smoking+Types and you’ll see my basic argument. I’ll fully grant that I probably underplayed the influence of “The Greedy” in my analysis of ten years ago (I’ve corrected that to at least some extent I think in my more current “TobakkoNacht>”) but it remains important to realize that we ARE fighting a hydra-headed monster out there and we can’t focus on just a single motivation and try to describe everything that happens as coming from just that one group. Without the crazies, neurotics, bereaved, victims, angry-ex’s, etc the money end of the antismoking movement would never have achieved as much as it has.

      The money-driven zealots are important and we should expose them and their dirty underwear every chance we get, but we can’t totally ignore the fact that there are large numbers of people in the antismoking movement out there that have to be approached with other tactics: there ARE “idealists” and “neurotics” and even (in their own twisted way) “moralists” who push the antismoking agenda.

      – MJM

      • Ripper says:

        I don’t know MJ, you make a good argument but somehow the way you describe it is different than I seem to have seen it. Perhaps I haven’t looked deep enough but this chaos seemed to me, originally, to start with the anti lobby and spread to ordinary people like a disease in a ‘monkey see, monkey do’ manner. I don’t know how to describe it but it was like people who I had known for years as level headed logical beings were suddenly spouting all the rubbish put out by the antis, such as ‘smoking will cause your limbs to drop off’, and ‘smoking rots teeth’. These are what I now call the drones (from Leg Iron). The lobby groups aka ASH, CRUK et al, are the rent seekers, pushed into their positions by big pharma money.

        I know you are right in what you are saying, but then there is the money trail.

  6. waltc says:

    Frank, you make a good case and, in any case, I won’t defend my scenario unto death, especially since, as a fantasy “what if”, it’s an unprovable proposition. Unprovable either way. However, I wasn’t talking about the zealots themselves changing their minds, bending to reason, or lowering the decibels of their rattling tambourines, but rather I was talking about the plastic politicians, only a few of whom were actual zealots. Most of them were just demagogic slugs who succumbed to the raucous rantings of the healthists and the irresistible yammerings of “For The Children”™ They were somehow convinced that they’d taken some voter-proof moral high ground but, fingers to the wind, they might have been equally convinced, at the start, of the damage it was causing and the probable damage, not only to the economy but their own political fortunes. At such an imaginary point in history, they might (just might, not “would”) have grabbed on to the contrary side of the science (not that I believe that they understand science) but grabbed it as a cover for an easier way out.

    It’s all just speculative and pointlessly so. But there’s unanimous agreement that all of them are bastards.

    • Frank Davis says:

      They were somehow convinced that they’d taken some voter-proof moral high ground

      I think that this is indeed what convinced the politicians. As I write below in response to Stewart Cowan, Tobacco Control managed to capture the moral high ground, in large part by portraying tobacco companies as satanic drug pushers. Any politician who resisted them was automatically a ‘stooge’ or ‘shill’ for Big Tobacco. No politician dared to be seen to be allied with such satanic friends.

      The question is: how did they manage to capture the moral high ground, and how can they be ousted from it?

      Agreed of course, they’re all utter bastards.

  7. Bill says:

    The saddest thing for me is how easily one and all, okay perhaps not one and all, but the majority of so called ‘adults’ on these islands give children* (the political class which includes the people who make all fake charities, quangos, NGO’s, governments, corporations) authority over themselves.
    In doing so the so called adults are doing the real children massive harm by showing them that whoever presents themselves as having authority must be obeyed no matter what the consequences.

    * With apologies to the real children, the youthful population of these islands. This old git couldn’t find a better analogy, sorry.

  8. Normally, I agree with almost everything you write, Frank, but this is no moral crusade by the PTB. They are not puritans in any sense. They aren’t attacking smokers, drinkers and eaters of food they disapprove of or worry about climate change out of a sense of duty (well, the normal constituency thicko probably thinks he is, but he just votes how he’s told). That’s why they give billions of our tax money to fake charities to make their case, because there is no genuine puritanical grass roots movement large enough in any of this and (as you know) there is no genuine evidence to back up most of their claims.

    The people doing all this to us are social engineers, who are anything but puritanical. That’s why they want the age at which children receive sex ‘education’ reduced to five. Ed Balls has been championing this for Labour for years. Now, I believe, it may start at nursery school.

    This is because the earlier they can subvert (and pervert) a child, that child is likely to experiment and apparently, the more that youngsters ‘play the field’, the less chance there is they will be capable of settling down to a normal family life later on.

    And that’s the point. It’s driven by the eugenicists who want to reduce the population (have loads of sex, but don’t dare have babies) and the Fabian influence of destroying the family as we know it for total socialist control (see Bill’s comment).

    Same with the smoking bans, to close pubs and break down communities. It’s not like the temperance movements of old, which were led by women who were sick of their husbands rolling home at all hours, spending all their money on booze. That was a moral crusade on their part (and who could blame them?) which didn’t require fake charities to get started or make achievements.

    What’s happening now is a total fraud, dressed up as concern, but designed to control us, infantilise us, reduce our numbers, tax us until the pips squeak and create a world government through the newly subverted and dehumanised and demoralised population, who have been trained to trust the government. That’s why, at every general election, the main elements the prospective candidates concentrate on are education, the health service and police keeping us safe.

    All three have been subverted and made dangerous and none is puritanical. ‘Education’ deliberately dumbs down children so they’ll accept all this stuff and increasingly provides the nurses with the contraception. The ‘health’ service kills massive numbers of people and causes immense misery, while helping out with the subversion process, as a quick look at the posters and leaflets in any GP’s waiting room will show you. And all those TV cop shows have brainwashed the public into trusting the police because they’ve all got a D.I. Frost or an Inspector Morse who’ll work round the clock if they have to and break the rules to make sure that we who are considered nobodies by the PTB get justice.

    I used to wonder why almost every single new major ITV series was set in a police station (usually following the same formula of a detective inspector and faithful sergeant). The BBC seems to go for the medical ‘dramas’ (soaps) because the doctors care so much (about their salaries and pensions and freebies from Big Pharma).

    Puritans may or may not be right, but I think their hearts are in the right place, but these others are social Darwinists with no moral compass, just a ‘mission’ to fulfil, like “smokers will be exiled to the outdoors”.

    • prog says:

      ‘Same with the smoking bans, to close pubs and break down communities.’

      I agree (and with your comments in general*). Most politicians and members of the public haven’t cottoned on to this. In effect, they’re more or less being compliant. At best, the current, yet weak, line of attack (boycotting apart) among those who object is to plead for separate smoking rooms/pubs. This approach does nothing to address the big lie. It’s unclear how many actually believe it though – those that do are putty in the antis hands.

      * Re inspectors and faithful sergeants. Been watching re-runs of The Sweeney. Could barely be less PC these days.

      • Hello prog,

        Yes, 70s telly would be considered shocking by the younger generation. Just been watching DVDs of Man About The House, with words like ‘poofters’ in the script and Chrissie saying how her mum worries she’ll marry a black man and Robin doing Chinese impressions. Plenty of smoking going on in the pubs!

        In the follow-up, George and Mildred, there’s even a bit of anti-Scottishness. To paraphrase:

        George: I like good old English food, like Welsh rarebit and Irish stew.

        Mildred: You missed out Scotch eggs, George.

        George: I don’t like that foreign muck.

        As a Scotsman, I’m not offended. I think it’s funny, as it was meant to be.

        But I suspect that the vast majority believe the great lie, including smokers. Like Frank says, we’ve been gently (to start with) indoctrinated for decades.

        And people think that if they just keep their heads down, they’ll stay out of trouble and are optimistic that things won’t get any worse. Cowards and fools, if I’m being unkind, but honest. What have I done? A sporadic (these days) blog plus comments elsewhere, communicating with politicians on FB and Twitter who often unfriend and block me and sending off emails, letters and making phone calls occasionally. And the online petitions (if one has ever done any good?).

        It’s like using a soda syphon to extinguish a fire at an oil refinery.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You make very good points, Stewart. Tobacco Control is everything you say.

      However they do actually advance their cause under a banner of moral rectitude. They portray tobacco companies as evil pushers of a lethal drug. They portray them as utterly satanic, in fact. But in so doing they cast themselves in the part of angels, or David facing Goliath. If the tobacco companies are the forces of evil, they are the forces of good.

      And they also portray themselves as benign ‘helpers’ of smokers who are in the grip of a terrible ‘addiction’. They are helping them to quit smoking. They are doctors fighting the tobacco ‘epidemic’. And that also casts them in the role of healers, and among the forces of good.

      Regardless of their underlying mendacity, contempt, corruption, and eugenic motivations, they have nevertheless managed to occupy the moral high ground. And anyone who challenges them is automatically a ‘stooge’ or ‘front group’ for Big Tobacco, and thus automatically consigned to the same satanic regions.

      They are Doing Good. And I suspect that this is what makes them invincible, and why politicians roll over and do their every bidding. How can they do otherwise? It is as if they were Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King all rolled into one.

      It is of course all a ‘confidence trick’. And I believe that they can only be defeated by re-taking the moral high ground from them, by showing the colossal amount of real harm that they are doing. It’s then that they will come to be seen for what they really are, which is more or less everything you say they are.

      • Well, I can’t argue with any of that either, Frank. It’s the difference between perception and reality. I was just thinking a short time ago about my ‘problem’. My medical dilemma, details of which I have not yet divulged, but have been disowned by the local medical establishment, but my friends could so easily help me. I explain what’s wrong and they’re shaking their heads when they could readily solve one problem in particular, which would take them about ten minutes a week. I know – with some of them, at least – that they just cannot put two and two together and get four.

        I could just say, but I refuse to state the obvious to them and so I carry on being bewildered, like I am with most of what goes on these days.

        When will people wake up, generally, I wonder? The harm that’s been done to this country has been phenomenal, yet we’ll get another Labour or Tory government again within the next 16 months or so and things will keep getting worse.

        When will the penny finally drop?

        Maybe when they can no longer afford their telly tax or daily paper and have to start thinking for themselves?

      • prog says:

        But, since the ban, their policies have done little or nothing to reduce smoking rates. The only things they’re good now at is moralising and demanding legislation. But now we have the new kid on the block, the e-cig, which only the most deeply buried ostrich heads refuse to acknowledge as an effective cessation/reduction product.

        I have a theory that part of the reason (at least in the UK) is that they’re shit scared that local smoking cessation groups are seriously threatened by vaping. E-cigs are manna from heaven for would be quitters, a vastly superior option than patches. And safer than the really nasty NRT. And we know a lot of the anti smoker propaganda emanates from these organisations at the local level.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        However they do actually advance their cause under a banner of moral rectumtude

  9. Bucko says:

    One point often missed about the smoking ban is that the pub companies bought everything they were told about droves of non smokers starting to use the pubs.
    Even when there was going to be an exemption for working mens clubs, it was the pubs who faught that on the grounds of a level playing field.

    I think most smokers thought that it was Blair and the Government who were the bad boys, not the pubs, and therefore they didn’t want to punish the pubs. The truth is that the industry just bent over without a wimper. Maybe if that had been more common knowledge at the time we would have seen the kind of boycott you are talking about.

    • nisakiman says:

      What they bought is the threat of damages claims being brought by employees, as threatened by ASH. What was it? “The date of guilty knowledge” or something? They were crapping their pants, knowing that there were hordes of ambulance-chasing lawyers just itching to make a killing in the back of the SHS scam. That’s what was behind the calls for a ‘level playing field’, and the blame for all that sits firmly in the laps of ‘Our Debs’ and her unholy alliance.

      • nisakiman says:

        Oops! That should have been “on the back of…”

        I do wish WordPress had an ‘edit’ facility. Typos seem to increase in direct proportion to the number of units consumed…

      • Rose says:

        Nisakiman

        The “date of guilty of knowledge”

        2004

        “ASH has sent a registered letter to all the UK’s leading hospitality trade employers, warning them that the “date of guilty knowledge” under the Health and Safety at Work Act is now past, and that employers should therefore know of the risks of exposing their staff to secondhand smoke.
        http://www.ash.org.uk/media-room/press-releases/ash-and-thompsons-tell-employers-dont-say-you-werent-warned-over-secondhand-smoke

        “In 1998 ASH obtained a legal opinion from John Melville Williams QC which suggests that the date of guilty knowledge in respect of SHS would be likely to be held by the Courts to be some time in the early 1990s.”
        http://www.smokefreeaction.org.uk/archive/gsfethompsons.html

        In a legal opinion obtained by ASH, J. Melville Williams QC suggests that not only has the date of guilty knowledge passed for employers, but also for the Health & Safety Executive and Commission
        http: //occmed.oxfordjournals.org/content/55/8/583.full

      • Bucko says:

        Also true.
        Still, they did nothing to fight this either. I worked for a brewery at the time and they welcomed the legislation with open arms, and so did others (at least to the employees).
        Debs may have started all this but the industry got straight into bed with her.

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    Keep government out of business and we all will have jobs and freedom.

  11. roobeedoo2 says:

    I’ve mentioned it here before but we are in a Fourth Turning (approx 20 year period), when the Prophet architype generation reaches elderhood. Working backwards, these Prophet/4th Turnings were: Boomers (2001 – ), Missionaries (1929-1946), Transcendentals (1860-1865), Awakeners (1773 – 1794), Puritans (1675 – 1704) and Reformationers (1569 – 1594).

    The leadership style of the <Prophet generation transitioning to elderhood (in a 4th Turning) is described as ‘righteous, austere’ (sound familiar?). The Fourth Turning period is always considered a winter/crisis period. Personally, I think we are already over the hump of this current 4th turning (I have it starting in 2001 with 911) and as the turnings themselves seem to be shortening in length just a tad (I think because the development of technology/communications have sped up).

    http://www.lifecourse.com/about/method/timelines/turnings.html

    and

    http://www.lifecourse.com/about/method/generational-archetypes.html

    “History doesn’t repeat itself, but it does rhyme”, Mark Twain (Smoker)

  12. Junican says:

    I agree that the Public Health Industry (incorporating its subsidiary, the Tobacco Control Industry) is chockablock with supporters who have all sorts of different motives, but those at the very top are of a specific character. I am talking about the likes of Glantz, Chapman, Rapace, etc. They are the ones who simply enjoy the power and the money. They are the Board Members of the Public Health Industry.
    The (only?) way to dislodge them is going to be by de-funding them. That will only happen when a sufficiently strong group of politicians realise and accept that these leaches produce nothing but trouble and costly damage while promising some sort of vague ‘wellbeing’ at some future, always on the horizon, date.

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    Attack em
    http://www.wlox.com/story/24552117/s?fb_comment_id=fbc_1458039204417740_264105_1458046934416967#f373048c6eec92e
    Kids rally for a smoke-free Waffle House

    wlox.com

    Some young local activists lined up in front of Waffle House in Biloxi Sunday afternoon to urge the company to implement a nationwide policy to ban smoking in the facility.

    • magnetic01 says:

      Harley, could you post the following comment (If I post in FB, my comments will disappear after 10 mins – not sure why)

      It’s America that’s popularized antismoking insanity – again, and which other countries are following suit. The problem with Americans is that they are clueless to even their own recent history. America has a terrible history with this sort of “health” fanaticism/zealotry/extremism or “clean living” hysteria – including antismoking – that goes back more than a century.

      Antismoking is not new. It has a long, sordid, 400+ year history, much of it predating even the semblance of a scientific basis or the more recent concoction of secondhand smoke “danger”. Antismoking crusades typically run on inflammatory propaganda, i.e., lies, in order to get law-makers to institute bans. Statistics and causal attribution galore are conjured. The current antismoking rhetoric has all been heard before. All it produces is irrational fear and hatred, discord, enmity, animosity, social division, oppression, and bigotry. One of the two major antismoking (and anti-alcohol, dietary prescriptions/proscriptions, physical exercise) crusades early last century was in America. [The other crusade was in WWII Germany and the two crusades were intimately connected by physician-led eugenics]. The USA has been down this twisted, divisive path before. Consider the following: The bulk of claims made about smoking/tobacco were erroneous, baseless, but highly inflammatory. Unfortunately, the propaganda did its destructive job in the short term, producing mass hysteria or a bigotry bandwagon. When supported by the State, zealots seriously mess with people’s minds on a mass scale.
      http://www.americanheritage.com/content/thank-you-not-smoking
      http://community.seattletimes.nwsource.com/archive/?date=19981129&slug=2786034

      Click to access bmj00571-0040.pdf

      It was in the midst of this “health” hysteria in America and Germany early last century that the children also became the focus of the zealots. The moralizing zealots have to concede that a subset of adults is a “lost cause”. But if the children can be gotten to early enough, they can be shaped into the required beliefs by the zealots’ propaganda. Urgent measures had to be instituted to protect children from ever becoming one of those “terrible, dirty, smoking addicts”. In America, children took pledges to never smoke. In Germany, the Hitler Youth and League of German Girls were forbidden to smoke. In Germany there was also an obsession with [mythological] “pure air” – there was even a magazine that went by that name. These children were “taught” within the educational system all manner of deranged beliefs about tobacco (and alcohol).

      And the zealots have gotten to the kids again, even having the kids do their antismoking bidding. We have kids that can’t even wipe their noses that have already been so brainwashed onto the antismoking bandwagon that they, drone-like, stand in front of a store with placards and parrot the standard antismoking slogans. Truly pitiful.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        I got the same problem mine disappearing after just a few minutes too. Likely cause the station keeping the story as an advocacy only story

  14. magnetic01 says:

    The current antismoking crusade is a moralizing one and it’s important to note this. “Moralizing” doesn’t mean it’s necessarily morally sound. It simply means that it promotes prescriptive/proscriptive edicts. To antismokers, people should/must not be smoking, i.e., in this case proscriptive. Or, people should be non-smokers, i.e. prescriptive.

    So, there is an absolute stance, i.e., antismoking, that is then further rationalized in “moral” terms, e.g., good vs evil. Antismokers believe they have a definitive world view that everyone should abide by, even through coercion through law, to produce a “better” (e.g., “healthier”) society. The social engineering, e.g., multiplicity of policies towards a tobacco-free world, is the pragmatics of moralizing. If people should not be smoking, then all efforts should be made to eradicate the activity.

    In the 1970s, there were few takers for a tobacco eradication crusade. Many seemed to easily recognize the typical language of moralizing and didn’t much care for it. Even if the lifelong risks of smoking were reasonable, the prevailing view – in protecting individual autonomy, a cornerstone of relatively free societies – was that the government’s role was to disseminate accurate, impartial information to consumers who were the ultimate arbiters of whether they continued an activity or not. And the case of tobacco is quite peculiar. It’s not like narcotics or alcohol. There is no “high”, intoxication, or potential lethality from one dose/session of consumption (and this is not considering any benefits of smoking). It was considered repugnant that an absolutist/prohibition group – antismokers – should have their view inflicted on everyone through law.

    The crusade only proceeded from the 1970s by making it appear that antismokers were only interested in the detrimental “health” effects of secondhand smoke, that any call for smoking bans was only to “protect” nonsmokers from hazard. They were very sure to point out that they weren’t moralizing, that they weren’t attempting social engineering, that they weren’t trying to force smokers to quit through draconian measures. Well, we know that that was all one massive crock. We’re now at the point where the zealots are very clear about the moralizing, social-engineering intent. The standard moralizing terms now come thick and fast – “to reduce the number of smokers”, “for a healthier society” – and with legislative support. Worse still is that the repugnance at this moralizing of 30 years ago is gone. Much has changed. Three decades worth of State-sponsored inflammatory propaganda has manipulated many to an extreme position that not all too long ago was utterly unacceptable, particularly for relatively free societies.

    So, it is a moralizing crusade. Although many religious groups have since been duped onto the bandwagon, the crusade is an aspect of a wider physicalist/materialist assault. Physicalism is morally relativist. Yet, along the behavioral dimension, it has conjured absolute [moral] imperatives from a plethora of “relative risks”. It’s substituted its own for Biblical commandments –
    Thou Shalt Not Smoke
    Thou Shalt Not Consume Alcohol
    Thou Shalt Eat/Drink X, Y, Z
    Thou Shalt Not Eat/Drink A, B, C
    Thou Shalt Do Regular Physical Exercise

    Given all the moralizing, the question can well be asked as to whether it has any coherent moral basis. The moralizers demand obedience. They portray themselves as good, caring, and honest, contrasted with the tobacco empire which is depicted as evil, uncaring, and dishonest. Let the moral scrutiny continue. There’s plenty of evidence that the zealots are not good, are uncaring, and are dishonest – man, are they dishonest! [We even have a document – Chapman’s “The Lung Goodbye” – that recommends the “good vs evil” drama as a “strategy”] There’s also a long history of this zealotry, particularly in America, that indicates the same. All manner of inflammatory propaganda is promoted under the auspices of science and scholarship, i.e., appeal to authority. We also know that “health” is a multi-dimensional phenomenon, at least acknowledged in the WHO definition of health. Yet physicalism strips health of its multi-dimensions, and the propaganda used to coerce conformity to physicalist edicts is an assault on the other dimensions of health. That the WHO is at the centre of the current physicalist/antismoking assault puts it in direct violation of its own definition of health. To this already perverse circumstance can be added the corruption of vested financial interests and greed (Big Pharma and Government through extortionate taxes).

    The greater the scrutiny, the constant moralizers look more and more like moral frauds: The zealots’ moralizing is a load of destructive trash.

    • magnetic01 says:

      Here’s how the Daubster gets the “morality” in the moralizing (and there are probably many others in TC with the same rationalization):
      “Mike Daube says he’s driven by a desire to fix an injustice – people dying from smoking.”
      http://www.abc.net.au/local/audio/2013/06/05/3775404.htm

      Given what we know about the zealots, their incessant lying, and their contorted “conscience”, this quote by C.S. Lewis is most apt:
      “Of all tyrannies, a tyranny exercised for the good of its victims may be the most oppressive. It may be better to live under robber barons than under omnipotent moral busybodies. The robber baron’s cruelty may sometimes sleep, his cupidity may at some point be satiated; but those who torment us for our own good will torment us without end, for they do so with the approval of their own conscience.”

  15. Tony says:

    In an earlier comment Frank said:
    “The question is: how did they manage to capture the moral high ground, and how can they be ousted from it?”

    I think they originally managed to grab the high moral ground because they had the support of many doctors. In my experience most people thought they were somewhat deranged and were expecting them to slide largely unnoticed into the history books. And prior to the 21st century they had none no real harm.

    But once they had the advertising ban in place, along with a ban on anything that might promote the smoking of tobacco, everything changed. No one was allowed to seriously challenge them in the media and so with no dissenting voices to be heard they continued to hold the high ground by default. At that point they could create as much havoc and damage as they wanted without fear of criticism.

    I remember being totally unconcerned about the advertising ban. If anything I thought it would reduce marketing costs and so ultimately lower the cost of tobacco in the shops.

    The true horror only dawned on me the day after the advertising ban came in. A large, prominent local billboard that had been used almost constantly for tobacco advertising for over ten years was taken over by the anti-smokers. A simple message writ large saying ‘passive smoking kills’. This was years before I really started looking seriously at the subject but even then I knew this was a barefaced lie.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      The MSA put a GAG order against Big tobacco to say anything against what these Nazis might claim…

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      This was years before I really started looking seriously at the subject but even then I knew this was a barefaced lie.

      That’s why Franks Blog and our daily fighting is whats needed to reverse this course and reeducate folks on the truth! Its working

  16. harleyrider1978 says:

    It doesn’t take long to clear the field of the Nazis after just a few direct statements they run for cover and or jump to the personal tragedy defense.

  17. Bill says:

    Georgie Porgie sells pork pies?
    Pigeons home to roost?
    Shitting hitting the fan?

    All ends up it is shaping up into a year where the financial world may well grind to a halt and then watch how quickly ASH & Co get stubbed out.

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-27/remember-european-recovery

    That graph is as stark as it gets imho.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Your right Bill when it collapses the first thing toosed out is what takes revenues away and what costs revenues to enforce against the biggest revnue generator there is TOBACCO!

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    [URL=http://s231.photobucket.com/user/harleyrider1978/media/7226681854_e4df3ecdcf_b_zps63bec9b1.jpg.html][IMG]http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee147/harleyrider1978/7226681854_e4df3ecdcf_b_zps63bec9b1.jpg[/IMG][/URL]

    STATE OF THE EUROZONE

    Remember The “European Recovery”?
    Tyler Durden’s pictureSubmitted by Tyler Durden on 01/27/2014 13:42 -0500

    http://www.zerohedge.com/news/2014-01-27/remember-european-recovery

  19. Frank Davis says:

    Smokingscot. Was this the Punch Taverns chart?

    Certainly seems to peak in 2007. No big surprise there.

    Extremes London Stock Exchange
    10-year High (05/15/2007) 271.66
    10-year Low (01/21/2009) 5.5

    Peaked 1.5 months before UK smoking ban.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Total collapse after the ban went into effect and I believe the same chart DP was using the other day in a comments run on the telegraph

    • smokingscot says:

      Yep, and thank you for that. Nisakiman’s comment made me curious. His suspicions were perfectly correct.

      Did a little more searching and found a similar chart profile for Rank Group, who run bingo halls.

  20. harleyrider1978 says:

    Plain packaging will fuel illicit sales, Irish newsagents warn

    NFRN Ireland has asked the Department of Health to introduce alternative measures including better education for teenagers in the dangers of smoking, and the promotion and support of electronic cigarettes

    Jan 27 2014
    Cigarette
    NFRN Ireland has warned the government that putting tobacco into plain packs will not stop people from smoking but will exacerbate the illicit trade.

    In a submission made to the Department of Health this week, NFRN Ireland cautioned that the only people to benefit from standardised packaging is the criminal element who sell smuggled or counterfeit tobacco.

    “Criminals are highly unlikely to ask children for ID and therefore willing to sell them tobacco, meaning the smoker is exposed to the health risk earlier,” the NFRN Ireland response said.

    Instead the organisation advised the Department to consider other ways to stop people from starting to smoke, such as better education for teenagers in the dangers of smoking, and the promotion and support of electronic cigarettes. However, for this to be successful e-cigarettes had to be available from a variety of outlets.

    The submission warned: “NFRN Ireland would strongly urge government not to regulate these products for pharmaceutical sale only. In order to maximise the opportunity of getting smokers to try an electronic cigarette the alternative product needs to be placed in proximity to the traditional cigarette. By removing electronic cigarettes from newsagents and convenience stores and placing them in another building with shorter opening hours the likelihood of a smoker spontaneously deciding to try an alternative cigarette is diminished.”

    Also in its response NFRN Ireland included recommended solutions for tackling the illicit market. This included a Smartphone app which could be used to determine whether a product has had duty paid, increasing the number of scanners at ports from two to eight and banning the sale of tobacco at markets and from door to door.
    http://www.shelflife.ie/article.aspx?id=4719&utm_source=dlvr.it&utm_medium=twitter

  21. XX I disagreed, saying that since smokers comprised only 20% of the adult population,XX

    And according to “official” figures, ragheads are only 4 to 10% (Depending on source) and see what power THEY weald in out so called “democcracys!”

  22. Frank Davis says:

    Here’s another that took a hit in 2007, but seems to have recovered. Greene King:

    • Thanks Frank. Something I’ve noticed over the years as being fairly common is shown nicely in that last chart. Immediately after a ban, for a year or two, variables that HAD been climbing quite nicely beforehand take a HUGE dive. Then they bottom out and go back to their ordinary climb.

      EXCEPT…. that it’s a climb FROM that disastrous bottom! In that particular chart, things are complicated because of general economic problems hitting in 2008, however to my eye it looks like most of the damage was already done by the ban. By 2011 we start to see that climb resumption, BUT it’s a climb from a value of about 440. If there had been NO smoking ban it might have been a climb from 1440 or 2040!

      HOWEVER… when you talk to people today and say, isn’t your biz suffering because of the ban, you’ll often get “Oh, actually we’ve been doing quite nicely lately!” The poor folks are looking at the climb from that bottom and FORGETTING just how LOW that was compared to what it would likely have been. People seem to forget how good things were back in the early 2000s and just compare their present state to how they were doing two or maybe three years ago.

      In the first few years of a ban the weaker businesses die, leaving only the strongest and the best. Even those strongest and best are hurt, BUT… not quite as badly since they pick up some of whatever was left of the custom from the ones that died. A casual observer walking down the street and looking at the businesses will have the impression that everything is great! What they won’t realize is that there are indeed fewer venues to choose from, prices are likely higher, workers are likely making less, and things are, indeed NOT nearly as good as they would have been if not for the disaster! And the business owners themselves, since they DID survive, and since they *seem* to be doing at least OK, are now hesitant to do anything to “rock the boat” because, hey, any change MIGHT be a change for the worse.

      That’s why the Antis are always so absolutely desperate to hold a ban in place for what they like to call a testing period or “giving it a reasonable chance” or, supposedly, “time for the angry smokers to get over it and come back.” They count on memories being weak, the loss of bottom rungs removing the main dissidents, and then the general fear of change.

      – MJM

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