The Resurgence of the Old Culture

In the aftermath of the UKIP victory, various extinct political dinosaurs have emerged from the mists of time. Today I was watching Michael Heseltine, one of the principal Europhile architects of Margaret Thatcher’s downfall, commenting on UKIP.


People, he said, had been having “a terrible time”.

“Why do you think people have voted for Ukip?” asked Paxo, pointedly.

“It’s the place to go to protest about the way certain things have been happening, which they [the voters] associate with Europe but the real problem is the recession,” said Hezza.

What sort of “terrible time” have people been having? What were the “certain things” they were protesting about? It was as clear as mud. But never mind: the real problem was the recession. And once the economy picked up in time for the general election next year, this year’s UKIP protest vote would melt away.

I’ve been having a terrible time too. It began with my expulsion from polite society on 1 July 2007. Life has been very ugly ever since. It’s a festering sore. And I voted for UKIP last week because they’re pretty much the only party proposing to relax the smoking ban. The smoking ban is the “certain thing” that I was protesting about. And I bet quite a few of my readers were doing exactly the same. In fact, several commented to that effect.

And the man who personifies UKIP happens also to be someone who clearly delights to be seen very publicly smoking and drinking.

You’d think that he was providing some pretty glaringly obvious obvious clues for his popularity. Isn’t it just possible that he’s popular precisely because he smokes and drinks, since a lot of people (who also happen to be voters) enjoy smoking and drinking too? And isn’t it just possible the protest vote was as much against the smoking ban and our current government-enforced killjoy culture as it was against the EU or immigration or anything else?

But I’ve yet to see a single pundit make the connection. It was, they say, a protest against the political class, against immigration, against the EU. Or the recession. It was, in fact, a protest against more or less everything but the smoking ban.

It’s really just like with the pub closures over the past few years (which started in earnest at the end of 2007). People blamed the recession for that too. Or the credit crunch.  Or supermarket sales of cheap alcohol. Everything but the smoking ban got blamed for that too.

Does one have to be some sort of Sherlock Holmes to deduce that the UK smoking ban introduced in 2007 was deeply resented by smokers, and many of them have been taking their revenge seven years later by voting for someone who is an unashamed smoker? Or should we call on the services of Hercule Poirot ? Or perhaps even Lieutenant Columbo?

But perhaps even Columbo (who always knew whodunnit from the moment he arrived at any crime scene) would, like Heseltine, pin the blame on the recession?

The problem may simply be that for the largely non-smoking, ex-smoking, or antismoking middle class – which includes both the chattering class and the political class -, smoking is something that is now completely absent from their lives. They don’t smoke at home, and they don’t smoke at work, and they don’t smoke at restaurants or bars or cafes. And nobody else does either. It’s not part of their world. It’s vanished. And smokers have all been expelled from their world too.

And this is why it’s impossible for them to imagine that a smoking ban could have any ill effects. It doesn’t for them, and they can’t imagine it having any ill effects for anyone else either. In fact, they can’t even begin to think about the effect of smoking bans.

We now have, in effect, two entirely separate and distinct cultures. One is a new, ‘progressive’, ‘smoke-free’ culture. And the other is an old, conservative, smoke-filled culture – the culture in which I grew up. And there is zero communication between the two cultures. Yet every advance by the ‘smoke-free’ culture is always at a cost (and very often a considerable cost) to the old smoke-filled culture. And this breeds rising resentment.

And UKIP’s victory has been the resurgence of the old, conservative, smoke-filled culture.

This is something that’s much deeper than the current recession. It’s deeper even than the problem of immigration. And also even the matter of Europe. And it’s not something that’s going to go away any time soon. It’s a completely new (and entirely unrecognised) division in society.

The important question to ask is: what proportion of the population of the UK (or any other country you care to mention) belongs to the new, ‘progressive’, ‘smoke-free’ culture? And what proportion belongs to the smoky old culture? Or, to put it another way, is the old culture a dying culture on its last legs? Or is the new culture an ephemeral upstart that will be prove to be a passing, insubstantial fad? Because that will decide how UKIP’s fortunes will fare next year, and in years thereafter.

For myself, almost all of of my former friends were pretty much fully-paid-up members of the new, ‘progressive’, ‘smoke-free’ culture.  Many of them used to smoke, but they gradually quit smoking, one by one. And by the time the public smoking ban was introduced, many of them had already banned smoking in their own homes. And they were as sublimely indifferent – as completely blind – to the subsequent exclusion and demonisation of smokers as any Westminster politician or media pundit.

Many of them were also convinced about the reality of global warming, although I doubt if any of them had any understanding of the physics of it. They simply believed “the experts”. They believed whatever it was fashionable to believe. They were dedicated followers of fashion.

And that inclines me to suspect that the ‘progressive’, ‘new’, ‘smoke-free’ culture will prove to be an ephemeral fashion (like the bell-bottom trousers its adherents used to wear). Because there’s no real substance to it. There’s no foundation. There are no core beliefs. There is in fact nothing at all. It’s completely vacant.

And that means that an older, more substantial, and conservative culture – which has already withstood the test of time -, is likely to re-assert itself, and prevail in the long run.

And in UKIP we are beginning to see the resurgence of the old culture. And so UKIP (or whatever party best represents the old culture) is likely to only grow stronger. So it will play a major part in next year’s general election, and in elections thereafter. And something like UKIP will appear in every other country in which the ‘progressive’ new culture has emerged. And may have done so already.

About Frank Davis

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33 Responses to The Resurgence of the Old Culture

    • waltc says:

      At which site I posted the following;

      Utter nonsense six ways to Sunday. Let me try 4 of them:

      1) The larger percentage of today’s college students and college-bound high schoolers simply tend to smoke marijuana instead of, or more than, tobacco and the rates of college weed-smoking and binge drinking are at all time highs (so to speak). How does that illustrate better decision making, optimism, and self-control (and/or self-denial)? Is it a better. more optimistic decision to choose these other substances?)

      2) Say what else you will about smoking tobacco, it’s undeniably proven in study after study after study to enhance focus, concentration, creativity, memory and both mental and physical acuity. So it might also be true that many of the brightest, most focussed students (and graduates) are the ones who smoke tobacco, having made the decision to write better papers and make better grades. (Maryjane, on the other hand, has the opposite effect as does booze.)

      3) The question has nothing to do with inate characteristics in either smokers or nonsmokers (was the self-admitted tobacco-smoking, weed-smoking, coke-snorting Obama somehow lacking the characteristics for success?), you’re simply talking about fashion, or more precisely, the effects of– not education but propaganda. Note that in the classic movie gasser “Reefer Madness,” the good upright kids smoked tobacco while the dumb, spineless wastrels succombed to satanic weed. That was the propaganda of that era. Today’s propaganda attempts to characterize tobacco smokers as the dumb wastrels (this study a case in point).

      4) The Yalies from their ivory tower aren’t accounting for socio-economic differences and the stresses of being on the lower end. The college population and its graduates are not simply (at least arguably) better educated, but more likely, because of their education, to be better off financially, therefore live in better and safer neighborhoods, in less crowded housing, spared the tension of grueling physical labor, the need to hold several jobs, the plight of single parenthood, the monthly stress of facing ends that won’t meet. (etc etc). And again, no matter what else you want to say about tobacco, it undeniably relieves stress.

      • caprizchka says:

        Smokers like to converse with each other which is a risky activity–a conversation with a friend or even a stranger! I like to believe that tobacco contributes to stress tolerance even more than stress relief, in contrast to sheer capitulation to the authority du jour. Obedience training on the other hand produces lap dogs which is its own stress. By today’s standards, obedience = “educated” = risk adverse.

    • Supergran says:

      Frank, if I could do it I would, but I wish someone with good knowledge would create a pro-forma document for thousands and thousands of us to send to our MP’s (and anywhere else we wanted – forums, chat rooms – anywhere where more people could see it) saying, we voted UKIP because they may relax the smoking ban – JUST that. Nowt else. It would say you, and the world NEED to know why we did it, instead of making all sorts of excuses about why they got so many votes. I want it shouted to the world so that the bastards in the media HAVE to pick up on it, and report on it. The most terrifying thing about this smokerphobia is that No-one (mass mediawise) will even mention it! Its like we have never and will never exist and yet we are MILLIONS. I just can NOT believe that there isn’t a rogue reporter or politician ANYWHERE who hasnt got the balls to just “go for it”. I have read masses of stuff about UKIP and apart from blogs like this, it is not mentioned that mostly, its about smoking!!! And if the bleeding world isnt told, how will they KNOW?????????? And if they dont know, how can the word be spread. And then perhaps someone might think “Oh my God, if we start to fight for the smokers, we might WIN!! Sounds simples to me.

      • smokervoter says:

        I’ll take a stab at quantifying the share of UKIP’s triumph attributable to the voting power of smokers in the UK.

        Utilizing my own secret special blend of reasonings, assumptions and guessitmates, I predicted the UK Euro election turnout at 15,584,000. The actual outcome was 15,831,400. I was off by a mere 1.56%. If we assume 20.5% of British voters who showed up to mark their X’s also smoke, a grand total of 3,245,430 votes were cast by them.

        Using the crudest of crude political calculus, if 20.5% of UKIP’s vote came from smokers that would constitute 892,170 votes. That’s a critical factor because 3,459,881 would have been the final UKIP take absent these smokers’ vote, for a third place finish. I estimate that there are 10,346,900 cigarette smokers in the UK. The UKIP take of 892,170 smokervoters represents 8.6% of that total. If so, nine out of ten either couldn’t be bothered or worse yet, voted for LibLabCon. That’s a sad statistic.

        How smokers distribute their sizable vote is the great Verboten Topic. It’s unthinkable that it is never, ever, ever broached anywhere in media, academia or amongst the chattering classes as a legitimate issue worthy of typeset. When I started up back around the turn of the last century, that mystifying absence was the raison d’être for what I then modeled as a monthly e-Zine.

        Following J. Paul Getty’s billion dollars worth of free advice to ‘find a need and fill it’, I had visions of thousands of daily hits as smokers flocked to a unique site that specialized in galvanizing the smoking vote. I even coined the term smokervoter for this purpose. It was hosted on Yahoo’s GeoCities platform, the predecessor to MySpace and Facebook. There were no traffic stats to be had back then, but when I searched for my page on the net (using Yahoo no less), sometimes using a full sentence verbatim, alas nothing turned up. So much for that dream.

  1. Nightlight says:

    “Or, to put it another way, is the old culture a dying culture on its last legs? “

    Communists in USSR empire thought so, too. And they had their social controls buttoned down far tighter than anything western lefties, social engineers and utopians could dream of. Yet, their system collapsed practically overnight, despite all the massive weapons and security forces “defending” it, when people woke up one day and said enough, we don’t have to take this any more.

    The same will happen here. We already see the signs and precursors of the general awakening. There is no stopping it. The best they can hope for is to delay it a bit so they can have enough time to squirrel away some gold and jewels in Swiss banks before their last flights out.

    • waltc says:

      Trust me to take the somewhat less optimistic view (which according to the Yale researchers above means I’m poorly educated and also lack the good decision-making powers possessed by optimists). While I agree with you and Frank that “this, too, shall pass,” I have to remind us that it took 70 years for the Soviet Union to implode, that the Russia that followed never truly restored individual liberties as we know– or once knew– them, and the last 25 years have shown it to be rapidly regressing, just under a different label. Then too, while I don’t for a moment doubt that an impressive percentage of Ukip voters were smokers, the scary question is: what percentage of Ukip voters are anti-smokers, even smoker phobes, who like the rest of the Ukip program, but also like the smoke ban and believe all the rest of the propaganda? I can tell you from over here, that a lot of people who hold generally libertarian views nonetheless draw the line on the far side of smokers.

      • I believe that the supposed collapse of Soviet communism was fully planned. The relative ease with which it happened is evidence enough for me. The only genuine revolution was in Romania and they probably didn’t need one, but they weren’t to know it was a geopolitical con trick to aid socialist global governance.

        If UKIP is a genuine entity – and I have been voting for them for years in that hope – they will be crushed somehow, barring a miracle; barring the people fully waking up and taking a far more active role in their own lives and country – our equivalent of standing in front of tanks in Tiananmen Square before we have to actually do this in Trafalgar Square, Times Square and the Place de la Concorde. Or Red Square for real next time!

        As for the UKIP smoker vote. Does anyone know? I think what people are learning (regardless of their position on smoking) is that the smoke-filled culture was far better than the smoke-free, ‘progressive’ one.

        Roll on a UKIP by-election victory in Newark next week, overturning a huge Tory majority.

        • Harleyrider1978 says:

          Generally in America once the real polls show how the vtoers are pissed off with current policies the politicians bend to the will of the people and back off their pre conceived plans.

          Political survival is always job one with any politician. But something is amiss with these UK idiots when they came out and said we are going to further the nannystate everywhere 2 weeks before the elections knowing full well it was simply going to drive even more voters to UKIP.

          As I said something is up and the major party players have yet to show their hand.

          But it would appear now UKIP is the major party they have to make a deal with lets just hope we all don’t get sold out somehow by the monster that is the EU and the UN ran global takeover that brought all this nannystate BS down on us all………….

      • Frank Davis says:

        what percentage of Ukip voters are anti-smokers, even smoker phobes

        Well, there are bound to be some. There are also bound to be some genuine racists and anti-semites and misogynists and all the rest of them. But since Nigel Farage is such a public smoker and drinker, I can’t imagine that too many antismokers are going to be attracted to UKIP.

        But I’m supposing that like attracts like, rather than unlike.

  2. Rose says:

    But at base, I think that all these problems do stem from being ruled by a foreign power, whether we realise it or not.

    Commission calls for Smoke Free Europe by 2012

    It seems that the EU’s anti-tobacco policies on smoking bans pre-date the FCTC and even the Partnership Project.

    “The WHO European Partnership Project on Tobacco Dependence”

    I didn’t believe there would be a blanket smoking ban in England, social engineering on such a massive scale is just so damned unBritish.
    Perhaps the previous Government thought there would be safety in numbers.

  3. prog says:

    As far as I can gather, UKIP has said little about the domestic nanny state in the run up and aftermath of the recent elections (I may be wrong). Understandable ,perhaps, re the EU election, but not so for the local elections and we don’t really know to what extent the ban has influenced voters. I think you, or one of the commentators here, mentioned that ASH et al has also gone quiet, when an ideal opportunity to remind the public that smoking bans are very popular has been missed. The antis are probably running scared, knowing full well that their definition of popular is very different to the reality. Then again, I guess the same applies to claims by the LibLabCons. Clearly, a major section of the electorate don’t believe their lies and spin. It’ll get far more interesting as we near the general election, though the current political elite know that UKIP will not win many seats in a first past the post poll.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      The antis are probably running scared, knowing full well that their definition of popular is very different to the reality

      Oh yes indeed their running scared knowing full well there so called polls that always showed 70% approval for their bans were all bullshit! The voters got out and showed those polls are all bullshit to begin with!

  4. Harleyrider1978 says:

    It was a vote against everything the Nannystate represents which is the political parties and the EU!

    The smoking ban was the beginning of the end of the EU! From it was where everything else began in the nannystate war ie EU war on all of us!

  5. Steven simon says:

    Even dinosaurs become extinct and that includes political ones

  6. Rose says:

    Hand guns should be legalised and licensed, Nigel Farage has said

    “He added: “Proper gun licensing is something we have done in this country responsibly and well and I think the knee jerk legislation that Blair brought in that meant that the British Olympic pistol team have to go to France to practice was jut cracker – if you criminalise handguns then only the criminals carry the guns”


    “Peter Squires, professor of criminology at Brighton University and a member of Association of Police Officer’s advisory group on the criminal use of fire arms said that Mr Farage’s comments were “irresponsible”.

    He said: “If public safety is a consideration then it’s a particularly stupid thing to say. It opens up the problem that we have almost dealt with successfully.

    “It will generate a demand, it will generate illegal traffic around that demand – the problem with hand guns is that they are small and concealable and they are already the weapon of choice of gangs members and criminals.”

    “the problem with hand guns is that they are small and concealable and they are already the weapon of choice of gangs members and criminals.”

    And thanks to the ban, the aforementioned criminals can be absolutely sure that the law abiding don’t have them.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Gawd I love that Man,he has to be my TWIN BROTHER! We freeking think alike……..

      the great thing with hand guns is that they are small and concealable and they will be the weapon of choice of Law abiding members of our formerly free society just as America has successfully done.

  7. I voted for UKIP on the ‘smoking issue’. I don’t like the EU, but I can tolerate it. I don’t like immigration, but I can tolerate it. I don’t like the smoking ban and I cannot tolerate it.
    Will thousands of pubs be re-opening as the ‘recession’ fades ? I doubt it.

    • Harleyrider1978 says:

      Will thousands of pubs be re-opening as the ‘Smoking ban is abolished ? Yes indeed and likely thousands of newer ones too!.

  8. jaxthefirst says:

    I wonder whether UKIP’s relative silence on their more moderate stance on the smoking ban is a means of not “giving the game away.” With more and more people (smokers included) getting their news via the internet, particularly from blogs like these, I suspect that more smokers than you’d think knew about UKIP’s policy and voted for them for that very reason. And I’d guess that Farage’s lack of concern about being pictured with cigarette in hand is an indication that he knows it too. But the major parties and the MSM – convinced as they are by their own rhetoric that everyone loves the ban, that all smokers want to give up, and that pub and club closures are nothing to do with the ban – are unlikely to twig exactly how large a part smoker votes may have played in UKIP’s success. Which means they’ll go on ignoring us; which means that we’ll go on voting against them. All of which, of course, is extremely good news for UKIP and our Nige. No wonder he’s keeping them all nicely distracted by letting them think that all those votes for him were purely about immigration and the EU.

  9. Mr A says:

    I would like to support Supergran’s comment. In the light of UKIP’s recent success and the absolute absence of any mention of the smoking ban, I would love to email Cameron, my local MP etc with a simple “I smoke, I voted UKIP” comment (much like the current “Hands off our Packs” form where you just add your details and off it goes). If they received even a few hundred of these, it would focus their minds. As Frank says, while with some it is a genuine conspiracy of silence I suspect for many it just simply does not occur to them.

    I know I could just email them directly but my local MP is a waste of space – the impact would come from receiving hundreds of these things not just the odd one or two. Unfortunately I am hopeless with computers so I can’t do it myself….

  10. Harleyrider1978 says:

    I need a breakdown on this

    Cigarette smoking and subsequent risk of lung cancer in men and women: analysis of a prospective cohort study.

    Freedman ND1, Leitzmann MF, Hollenbeck AR, Schatzkin A, Abnet CC.

    Author information



    Whether women are more susceptible than men to lung cancer caused by cigarette smoking has been controversial. To address this question, we aimed to compare incidence rates of lung cancer by stratum of smoking use in men and women of the National Institutes of Health (NIH)-AARP cohort.


    Participants in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health study responded to a postal questionnaire between Oct 13, 1995, and May 6, 1996, and were followed up until Dec 31, 2003. The questionnaire asked participants about their past and current smoking status, demographics, alcohol intake, tobacco smoking, physical activity, and included a food-frequency questionnaire of 124 items. Incident lung cancers were identified by linkage to individual state cancer registries. We present age-standardised incidence rates for cancer and multivariate hazard ratios (HRs) adjusted for potential confounders, with 95% CIs. This study conforms to the STROBE guidelines.


    279 214 men and 184 623 women from eight states in the USA aged 50-71 years at study baseline were included in this analysis. During follow-up, lung cancers occurred in 4097 men and 2237 women. Incidence rates were 20.3 (95% CI 16.3-24.3) per 100 000 person-years in men who had never smoked (99 cancers) and 25.3 (21.3-29.3) in women who had never smoked (152 cancers); for this group, the adjusted HR for lung cancer was 1.3 (1.0-1.8) for women compared with men. Smoking was associated with increased risk of lung cancer in men and women. The incidence rate of current smokers who smoked more than two packs per day was 1259.2 (1035.0-1483.3) in men and 1308.9 (924.2-1693.6) in women. In current smokers, in a model adjusted for typical smoking dose, the HR was 0.9 (0.8-0.9) for women compared with men. For former smokers, in a model adjusted for years of cessation and typical smoking dose, the HR was 0.9 (0.9-1.0) for women compared with men. Incidence rates of adenocarcinoma, small-cell carcinoma, and undifferentiated tumours were similar in men and women; incidence rates of squamous tumours in men were about twice that in women.


    Our findings suggest that women are not more susceptible than men to the carcinogenic effects of cigarette smoking in the lung. In smokers, incidence rates tended to be higher in men than women with comparable smoking histories, but differences were modest; smoking was strongly associated with lung cancer risk in both men and women. Future studies should confirm whether incidence rates are indeed higher in women who have never smoked than in men who have never smoked.

    • caprizchka says:

      I am not an epidemiologist however I can offer an alternative wild-assed theory for the results. The lungs are protected by palmitic and stearic acids. Coughing may actually be therapeutic within limits. However, if one is dieting all the time or adhering to modern mainstream dietary advice then one is less likely to have enough dietary fat to coat the lungs. Perversely, although the body manufactures saturated fat from excess carbohydrates, in most women, estrogen encourages storage of that manufactured fat rather than using it to both coat the lungs and fuel the heart. Exercise can change that dynamic by reducing estrogen and thereby fat storage but there’s still not quite enough saturated fat in the lungs to protect them not to mention membrane integrity. Moreover, insufficient calories for whatever reason (including poverty but also modern diet obsession or aging) doesn’t provide enough fuel for coughing or sufficient turnover of cells in the lungs. So yes, there may be social rather than direct gender-related issues in play. Women who use smoking to keep slim for example, may be making a deal with the devil. However, simply adding a little extra butter, eggs, and cheese to one’s diet will probably not result in fat storage unlike excess carbohydrates and adds some protection for the lungs. Vegetarians take note. Even in a nonsmoker, breathing a little ambient tobacco smoke can be beneficial. However, a person not sufficiently protected in the lungs will have an adverse reaction. Because of modern values, that person with an adverse reaction is more likely to be a woman or child but that doesn’t mean that women in particular shouldn’t smoke. Birth control pills are supposed to magnify risk however–perhaps from increased estrogen? There may have been wisdom to men withdrawing to the drawing room for their cigars while the women remained in the parlor with their knitting. However, there’s always going to be a few rebels and outliers who are every bit as fit to smoke as men. This statement not approved by the FDA. :)

      • Frank Davis says:

        Fastest growing area of lung cancer caused by oestrogen, not smoking

        Non-small cell lung cancer has risen from 12 per cent of all lung cancer to 40 per cent in the last 20 or so years in America. And it is controlled by oestrogen (estrogen) receptors, in much the same way most breast cancers are.

        The first clues came in a Canadian study covered in Cancer Watch about 5 years ago, where the growing area of lung cancer was amongst non-smokers and particularly younger women. An inconvenient truth for the cancer charities and health authorities who want to tell you it’s your fault because you smoke!

        There are differences between lung cancer in women, and lung cancer in men. And, it is now known that lung cancer cells have oestrogen receptors. An evaluation of research to date in America has shown that women with more children have less risk of lung cancer, women who have an early menopause have greater risk of lung cancer, and women who have taken HRT have a 60% increased risk of dying from lung cancer whether or not they smoke. Conversely, women who have a diet high in phytoestrogens (plant oestrogens) have a lowered risk of lung cancer. And men may be protected by their oestrogen receptor sites.

        • caprizchka says:

          Thank you for that. I guess I’d better stop singing and swimming given my 52-year old lungs are doomed. LOL. (everything but the HRT is in the “risk” column). Disappointed that I won’t be living forever, except, wait, it would appear I’m not all that feminine nor estrogen dominant. Personally, I think that women who take HRT are doing so out of fear. It turns out that I just don’t have enough of that–fear that is. I should be ashamed! :)

        • Frank Davis says:

          In the world of magic bullets, smoking causes lung cancer.

          Why Would An 18-Year-Old Who Never Smoked Get Lung Cancer?

        • caprizchka says:

          Thank you but the irony is killing me! Long Beach, CA. 52 year old woman dies laughing. Blogosphere blamed. :)

  11. Hampy Hamp says:

    #WeSmokeWeVote UKIP is not racist, mysogynist or homophobic. Pereception and reality are two very different things as we smokers know.

  12. Pingback: I smoke, I voted UKIP | Frank Davis

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