From my Tobacco bookmarks comes this piece from the West Briton in June 2012:
And so the smoking ban came to pass from the New World Order after a prolonged suitable period of brainwashing, whereupon the critical mass bought it hook, line and sinker, based on quite pathetic research.
So much for being concerned about your health when you consider those awful diesel fumes, et al, that we breathe in when walking down the street or when stuck behind smoke-blowing vehicles, yet to be addressed. Ah ha ha ha, ah ha.
Much more disturbing though, is the new culture of home alcoholics which is now way out of control. Still, out of sight, out of mind eh? When you went to the pub, you knew when you’d had enough.
At the outset, I predicted an unmitigated disaster. I’d already seen it in Ireland, so much like our own rural duchy. However, I didn’t foresee the unbelievable damage it would cause until it arrived here. Cornwall’s village community spirit is now being well and truly torn apart. In my area alone, two village pubs have just closed, and another is in receivership. I’m aware of many others that have gone under, including working men’s clubs throughout Cornwall. They are all the social hub for so many and a necessity to keep the community spirit that brings people together for numerous occasions.
Town establishments are also suffering big time. One place I work, also doubles as a coffee house by day for the shoppers. It’s 700 cups down per week. And what of the ladies who liked a ciggy with their morning coffee? Another little luxury lost. Wading through crowds smoking outside on the pavement with cigarette ends everywhere, while avoiding traffic at the same time has become an art form. It’s increasingly difficult for the entertainment industry with venues still closing at the ridiculous rate of 16 per week even after four years. I support non-smokers’ rights to the hilt, but there is absolutely no need for this, with so many people suffering, including the enormous loss of jobs. The negatives are endless. It’s all so absurd.
It’s the same story everywhere. The smoking ban has been an unmitigated disaster. But our political class pretends not to notice. Conservative, Labour, or Lib Dem, they all back the smoking ban. Many of them are even proud of it. And it was them who decided on this ban, not us.
Sometimes I think it’s all a New World Order thing, and the smoking ban is part of a carefully-worked-out plan – Agenda 27 (or is it Agenda 21?) – to improve people’s physical health, or something. Only I never have much belief in carefully-worked-out plans or agendas. They always go wrong. Every time. And this one is going truly spectacularly wrong. But they’re pressing on with it anyway, perhaps because it’s the only plan they’ve got. It’s what everyone else is doing, after all. Even poor old Putin.
And then sometimes I wonder whether they know perfectly well that it’s all gone horribly pear-shaped, but they’re too frightened to even talk about it, too frightened to admit it’s been a disaster, and hoping that the problem will just go away somehow if they ignore it for long enough.
They’re like Varus’ Roman legions, tricked by Arminius into marching through the Teutoburg Forest in 9 AD, and strung out in a thin line along dozens of miles, their flanks defenceless against the attack that is waiting them, but continuing on anyway with sinking hearts towards their annihilation. Here the role of Arminius has been taken by Tobacco Control, with its promises that the smoke-free new pubs would not only not lose any customers, but actually gain them. And that smokers would soon get used to the new regime. And how they would also grab the golden opportunity to quit smoking, like 70% of them really wanted to do. And how everyone would be so much healthier and more productive. And how everything would all be fine and dandy, no down side at all.
All lies, of course. But that’s what Arminius does: tell lies.
The problem won’t go away like they hope. It’ll just get worse and worse. Because the damage is cumulative. I used to go to my local pub in Devon for an hour every day. That’s 365 hours a year of sitting and drinking and smoking and quietly gazing into space. Now I only go about 30 times a year, when it’s sunny enough to sit outside. So I lose 335 hours of quiet meditation per year. It’s not the same doing it at home, somehow. So over the past 7 years I’ve lost 2,345 hours. And I miss them. Next year it’ll be 2,680 lost hours. And the year after that it’ll be 3,015 hours. And so on. It all adds up. It’s cumulative.
And what’s cumulative for me is cumulative for everyone else, even non-smokers. They’ve been losing too.
It’ll come to a head one day. The accumulated grievances will become insupportable. It’ll probably be something other than smoking bans that will tip people over the edge. It’ll be some completely unrelated new insult. But they’ll have had enough all the same.