What Matters Most To You?

H/T Stewart Cowan on Facebook for this UK Conservative Party online survey.

I took a look at it, and rapidly discovered that the Conservative party didn’t actually want to know what matters most to me (which is the smoking ban, of course). Instead, I was first offered a list of ‘issues’ that might be important to me. And of course the smoking ban wasn’t on the list. Instead it was all stuff like ‘the EU’, ‘immigration’, ‘schools’, and so on. It even had ‘climate change’ in it, FFS.

The second question was exactly the same as the first question, but which were important to the country.

I couldn’t see that my replies would be particularly helpful. If I ticked the box next to ‘EU’, it could mean anything from strong support for Britain remaining in the EU, or strong support for Britain leaving the EU as soon as possible, or any number of other things.

The third question was about ‘dealing with’ Britain’s deficit and debt. What did ‘dealing with it’ mean? It could have meant anything from increasing the deficit and debt as fast as possible, to auctioning them off to the highest bidder, or just forgetting about them.

The fourth question got down to the nitty gritty. Who was I going to vote for at the next election? And of course that’s what they really wanted to know. They don’t give a damn what matters most to me. They just wanted to know who I was going to vote for.

I was about to skip the whole thing, and read something else, when I noticed that there was an ‘Other (Please State)’ option at the bottom of the list of parties that I might vote for. And in this I saw a way of making known to them what really mattered most to me.

So I filled in the questionnaire up to question 3. And then on question 4 I indicated that there was no chance whatsoever of me voting for Labour, Lib Dem, or Conservative. And I indicated a 90% chance that I’d vote for UKIP. And then in the Other box I wrote ‘Any party that will repeal the pub smoking ban’, and gave a 100% chance of me voting for that party.

So whether or not they want to know what matters most to me (and they don’t), I think I may have managed to convey it to them anyway.

But I thought I’d recommend that people fill in the questionnaire, if only to use that ‘Other’ option to make a statement. It needn’t be about the smoking ban. It could be about the potholes in the roads in Burnley. Or the high price of whisky. Or anything.

Just so long as it’s What Matters Most To You.

Which reminds me that there was local town council election today. I didn’t know there was one until I happened to open a letter about it this morning. I wondered if I could vote in it. So, since I was going shopping in the town later that day, I took the letter with me.

When I finally reached the polling station, I was gratified to find that I could vote. And I was handed a ballot paper with 3 names on it, and headed off to the voting booth with it.

But once there, I discovered that there was no information about which parties they represented. So I went back to the registration desk, and asked what parties they represented.

The gnomic response was that there was no further information available except what was on the ballot paper. Although I was told that the first name on the list was in favour of ‘Positive Steps’, and the second one was an Independent of some sort. The third was a company director.

‘Oh good!’ I said. ‘I’m all in favour of Positive Steps!’

From these tiny morsels of information, I deduced that the company director was probably a Conservative, and Mr Positive Steps was some sort of radical Labour party progressive. So I marked my cross beside the Independent, since he wasn’t either.

It was about an hour later that I began to wonder what I had voted for. They could have been anybody. One might have been a Trotskyite. Another a Nazi. And the ‘Independent’ might have been a member of the Independent Al-Qaeda Death-to-Western-Civilisation Popular Front.

And it was him that I’d just voted for!

Joe Trippi, Democrat political guru, talking about Libertarianism and the internet.

About Frank Davis

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21 Responses to What Matters Most To You?

  1. Frank, you have now been listed in the official rolls as a staunch member and supporter of the IAQDWCPF! You will receive your toy plastic, but fully functional, AK-47 in the mail. Please do not practice on the postman as he may have others to deliver on his route and you would distract him from his duty.

    Death To All Non-IAQDWCPFs!!!!

    – MJM, the ever-tolerant

  2. waltc says:

    Well, since Western Civilization is rapidly committing suicide, a “death to it” candidate might simply be in favor of dispatching it as quickly and painlessly as possible.

    OT over at Snowdon’s, he links to a blog where the Nannying Tyrants guy says he’s leaving both the UK and EU to try to salvage some personal liberties. My question is: where’s he going to go to do that? For some reason, I can’t post this q over there since I always get a message telling me I’m an imposter who doesn’t own my own account. Anyway, I’d seriously like to know where freedom isn’t just another word for nothin’ left to lose. Might be worth renewing my passport.

  3. waltc says:

    @smokervoter yesterday;

    ” how about a non-partisan (wink, wink) smokervoter.com? From there we negotiate with the powers that be, either quietly in the background or right up front.”

    If you’re serious, I’d say talk it over with Audrey. You should either join forces with her for a start on a broader base (and you’d need Numbers to be effective) , or she’ll tell you enough ugly stories about trying to get smokers to do anything even when it’s nonpartisan to make you throw up your hands. Though of course with enough of a membership, you and she could claim to speak for X thousand people. OTOH (and there’s always another hand– reaching into the cookie jar and stealing all the Mallomars) I think we also tend to think that most smokers would naturally share our political philosophy but dem Dems stay Dems– hell, high water and anything else their party throws at them.

  4. Perhaps we should all reply to this one in the Daily Telegraph Frank.
    Why do you support UKIP?


    Again it would be necessary to have a huge number participating I think.
    What do you think?

    • Frank Davis says:

      I looked at that yesterday. And there were all these UKIP people saying why they were voting UKIP. And none of them said it was because of the smoking ban. And really that’s the main reason why I vote UKIP. And I sure there are others who feel the same way. But because it’s the Telegraph doing it, they can pick and choose which points of view they show.

      But by all means have a go. I don’t know how you make a video for them, but it’s probably explained somewhere.

  5. I gave UKIP 90% as well. The real joke is that the Tory Party soooo wants to know what I think that the official Conservative Party Facebook page which first posted the poll barred me from commenting on everything they post. As has the Labour Party. I never bothered with the DimLumps.

    Of course they don’t give a fig what we think. They have an agenda to fulfil and us ‘cattle’ who aren’t idiots just get silenced. Same with the ‘newspapers’. Like the Guardian, where most people seem to be able to post anything pro-Establishment or mildly anti, but all my attempts to comment have been pre-moderated for about the past year. I reckon one of my comments was too near to the bone and so I’m on the watch list (or ‘ignore list’). Not that I bother to try to comment on these rags now very often at all.

    • Stewart, regarding your comment censoring problem: I look at the importance of it for us in TobakkoNacht:

      As a choice of battlefield, the Internet offers a much better playing field than television for a debate in which facts should matter more than style and sound bites. Again as noted earlier, a lot of what we may say in opposing the status quo may now seem counterintuitive to our listeners, an audience who has had contrary opinions and ideas drummed into their minds innumerable times and through many different avenues over the course of decades. Presenting the contrary argument in a medium where those who are skeptical can easily hit a pause button and quickly open a web page to check on a fact works strongly in our favor – and against ban advocates who regularly stretch the truth far beyond its limits.
      How long this window will remain open to us is questionable.

      Topix is a very popular news board which has been a great offender in the comment censorship area. They do it sneakily, through something called Shadow-Banning. SB lets them make your commenting invisible to EVERYONE… except you. Meanwhile, you continue to happily spend hours writing cogent political commentary, seeing it go up there in public…. but then seeing NO ONE respond to you. If you’re sharp enough to notice what’s going on, either by checking post numbers (they don’t match up with posting totals when the board censors folks) or by signing on from another browser/IP, you’ll realize what the game is. See here:


      where there are 35 comments published, but the comment numbers are up to 41 at the moment. If you don’t catch the trick, you might just end up discouraged and dropping your communications effort on Topix and maybe elsewhere … which is exactly what the antismoking board moderators at Topix prefer. (I’ve generally stopped trying over there, although occasionally I’ve made a comment that snuck through: the censorship is at least partly “after-the-fact” and if you’ve had something there long enough for a good number of people to see/rate/respond-to, a moderator may be reluctant to make it disappear so publicly.)

      We can fight this in a few different ways: (1) Avoid giving the moderators an “excuse” to censor us … i.e. avoid extreme attacks, plagiarism, extensive cut ‘n pastes over multiple posts, obscenity, off-topic posts etc; (2) Add a comment noting any that you saw but which a few hours later were gone; (3) Talk about the censorship or shadow-banning of particular outlets when writing elsewhere: if a site admin is smart they’ll change their ways or risk losing participants. (4) Always be VERY vociferous whenever discussions/polls etc on ANY sort of internet censorship come up — even if it’s for something we might have sympathies about. I remember seeing the door to “politically correct” language censorship opening up in the late ’70s in the activist community and warning about the dangers of it, but the activists were just as bad as anyone else when it came to wanting to “control content” to “send the correct message” for “the greater good out there.”



      • beobrigitte says:

        Thanks, Michael! I have encountered this difference in the number of comments stated and actually counted.

        Actually, the holy anti-smoking zealots do censor out even the most polite replies ….

        • I’d never heard of Shadow-Banning, Michael, so thanks for the tip. And I’ve never left a comment on Topix to my knowledge. With me railing against the PC agenda constantly, I have been sidelined by the mainstream (media and parties – even had arguments with politicians with the latest version of PCmax installed into their soul). I have most success at the Telegraph. I don’t think they are SBing me, as I tend to get lots of up votes (unless they’re also invented!).

          Much like my ban on Richard Dawkins’ blog a few years ago, which was actually great, as it saved me hours of tedious replies to my comments every week and I was no longer subjected to the incredulous and illogical abuse by the majority of the Wise Ones who think that simply by rejecting God they instantly became more intelligent.

          I was banned for allegedly proselytising, when what I was doing was replying to people’s questions about scripture. I was there to offer scientific evidence to discredit evolution theory, but the typical Dawkins’ numbnut knows nothing about what they defend so vociferously which is the reason they resort to abuse and quoting scripture which they found on some other blog or forum and which is taken out of context.

    • nisakiman says:

      I have the same situation with the Daily Mail. I only ever comment on their smoking related articles, and not once have they ever published a comment of mine. I’ve tried posting with no links, I’m never offensive and I don’t use swearwords there, but all to no avail. My comments go straight into moderation, and never see the light of day. I’ve given up bothering now, which is probably what they want.

      • I have maybe a 50/50 sucess rate at the Mail, not that I’m on there much at all. It really irritates when its says comments aren’t moderated and you still don’t get through. They are clearly all moderated.

  6. Rose says:


    Gibberish is spreading like a virus from academia

    “This particular academic paper was written – or rather, “randomly generated” – for me by SCIgen, a piece of software invented in 2005 by researchers at MIT. Their aim was to show that many academic conferences and journals would accept any old gobbledegook, as long as it contained enough long words. They got SCIgen to churn out a nonsense paper, put their names on it, sent it to an academic conference and had it accepted. Point proven.

    But instead of ending the experiment there, they made SCIgen available on the internet. And now it appears that SCIgen papers have been popping up all over the fields of academe. A French scientist, Cyril Labbé, has identified more than 120 computer-generated papers published by respectable academic institutions in Germany, China and the US.

    Labbé uses his own computer programme to detect SCIgen papers by analysing vocabulary patterns. So genuine academic prose, written by humans, has become so impenetrable that only a computer can distinguish it from randomly generated twaddle.”

    “Thus is the virus of gibberish spread – by well-meaning people too embarrassed to admit they can’t understand the incomprehensible”

    Anti-tobacco science in a nutshell.

    When reading a study you just have to stand back for a moment and remember that they are talking about a plant so closely related to everyday foods like peppers, potatoes and aubergines that they are graft compatible.

    • beobrigitte says:

      “Thus is the virus of gibberish spread – by well-meaning people too embarrassed to admit they can’t understand the incomprehensible”

      Anti-tobacco science in a nutshell.

      Yep. It does not say much for our politicians, does it? I bet most of them struggle when it comes to the abstract; materials and methods are beyond them, anyway; skim reading the discussion and copying into the conclusion.

      It really is EASY to write a paper these days….

  7. Snap! I filled it a few days ago in almost the same way as you Frank, except that I used the box to say I’d vote 100% for “any party which puts an end to the nanny state and restrictions on freedom of choice” along with a few examples (MUP, Plain packs etc). Hopefully they’ll receive quite a few like that now you’ve highlighted it. :)

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Hell Im just anti-government across the board anymore. That way I know I covered everything!

  9. cherie79 says:

    I have added the same comment too. Just maybe someone will pay attention,

  10. smokingscot says:

    Completely O/T

    What 450 did in Cuba on the 27th Feb. Try to smoke a cigar and not lose any ash. Lady won it, leaving less than half an inch of stoggie unsmoked!


    no children were present and it was held indoors.

  11. beobrigitte says:

    First: the questionnaire. Done. And, yes, any party that amends the smoking ban will get my vote. 100%.
    I must say, though, that it is outright cheek to ask for a donation at the end of the survey! If there was an option to leave a reply to this, I would have pointed out that for as long as this government finds it appropriate to throw cash at ASH et al so they can continue to bully me, there will be no donation. By the way – I no longer buy tobacco in this country, either.

    The gnomic response was that there was no further information available except what was on the ballot paper. Although I was told that the first name on the list was in favour of ‘Positive Steps’, and the second one was an Independent of some sort. The third was a company director.

    ‘Oh good!’ I said. ‘I’m all in favour of Positive Steps!’

    That is a brave choice! -These days I recoil from EVERYONE who states: “Positive Steps” … Usually this involves a step up in bullying smokers…..

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    We should be left alone to enjoy our lives – not bullied into living longer


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