Sine Qua Non

A couple of weeks back, I was pleased to report that at its Doncaster conference UKIP had announced that:

UKIP will amend the smoking ban to give pubs and clubs the choice to open smoking rooms properly ventilated and separated from non-smoking areas.

Today, in Breitbart UK, UKIP deputy leader Paul Nuttall wrote a piece with the title:

BRITAIN’S PUBS ARE DYING, ONLY RADICAL MEASURES CAN SAVE THEM

 Early in the piece, he wrote:

Certain sectors of the hospitality and leisure industry, such as pubs, have been in the doldrums for over a decade. Indeed, a massive 10,000 have closed since 2002. This is particularly sad because part of our British culture is being destroyed before our very eyes, yet our political class seem at best ambivalent at best towards this loss.

I become livid when I hear politicians try to justify the closures with excuses such as ‘oh well it’s the market’ or ‘people’s tastes have changed’ because both statements are blatant drivel.

The reality is that senseless and harmful legislation, such as the draconian blanket smoking ban in 2007, has led to a dwindling footfall and declining revenue. Indeed, it is the same politicians that use the ‘market’ or ‘tastes’ excuses who told us that more people would actually go to pubs after the ban came into force. However, on the contrary, over fifty a week on average were closing in the first year of the smoking ban.

This is pretty much true. And it’s good to see the blame placed squarely on the smoking ban. Although he points to other reasons as well:

Successive governments have also allowed the pub industry to become dominated by a cartel of large companies who are bleeding the industry dry. These companies, known as PubCos, are making running a pub such an unprofitable job that tenants are simply walking away because they can’t afford to live.

and

Finally, pubs are facing unfair competition from supermarkets, which in some cases are selling alcohol for less than the price of bottled water, thus leaving making it impossible for pubs to compete on price.

Well, alcohol is cheaper in supermarkets, but I think that the idea that in some it’s cheaper than water is a bit of a myth.

It is now clear that something needs to be done. At the moment over 30 pubs a week are closing their doors. This leads to job losses and in some cases the loss of a community’s focal point. If this trend cannot be reversed, then we must at least do something to halt it in its destructive tracks.

So far, so good.

We must make pubs appealing to people once again and the first way to achieve this is by making them affordable, and that doesn’t mean taking a penny off beer duty here and there as the Tories seem happy to do, it means something more radical.

This is why I support a reduction in VAT for the leisure and hospitality industry from 20 percent to 5 percent.

No, no, no, no , no!!!!!

As a smoker, I don’t go to pubs because I can’t afford them. I don’t go go because, since the smoking ban, they no longer have any appeal for me. I’ll only ever go to them on warm sunny days when I can sit in a pub garden like I would have done in the past.

Affordability is not the same as appeal. For even if alcohol in pubs was cheaper than in supermarkets, I still wouldn’t want to spend time inside one. In fact, if they handed out free beer in pubs, I still wouldn’t find them in the least bit appealing.

The price of beer is irrelevant. What matters is to be able to sit on a chair, and drink a pint of beer, and smoke a cigarette.

The smoking ban is what is destroying “part of our British culture”. In fact, smoking bans are destroying a global culture all over the world.

In fact the smoking ban is really nothing but an attack on our culture. There is no medical justification whatsoever for them. The smoking ban is simply a top-down attempt to change people’s behaviour, and make them conform to a set of wholly alien, healthist dogmas. The smoking ban is a fundamental attack on freedom – the freedom of people to live in ways that they themselves choose, rather than some ‘expert’ or ‘authority’ doing the choosing for them.

Of course, Nuttall didn’t actually say that UKIP wasn’t going to introduce smoking rooms. And maybe he wasn’t speaking for UKIP, but just for himself. And maybe he was just thinking of lowering VAT in addition to introducing smoking rooms.

But for me the re-introduction of smoking into Britain’s pubs is the sine qua non of UKIP getting my vote, and the vote of many people like me – who utterly detest what has been happening to our country for the past 7+ years.

UKIP can chop and change all it likes over Europe and immigration. It can raise or lower VAT to its heart’s content. It can do a deal with the Conservatives or Labour or anyone else. It can do more or less anything it likes. But if it ever waters down or drops the promise to bring back smoking to Britain’s pubs, my vote will go elsewhere. Because it’s the only reason why I’ll ever vote UKIP.

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About Frank Davis

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34 Responses to Sine Qua Non

  1. wobbler2012 says:

    The sad thing is Frank is that UKIP can promise the moon on a stick and will say anything to curry favour with people, but what they say and what they actually do are two different things.

    I’m hoping that they get a few seats in next years election to give a short sharp shock to the big two parties who treat us all with utter contempt.

  2. The Blocked Dwarf says:

    Back in the 80s there was a campaign by the Licensed Vituallers AND Alcohol Awareness (or whatever they both called themselves back then) against homebrewing, It was felt that “Drunkenness would abound” if drinking were not done in ‘supervised premises’. One of the commercial brewers complained that it couldn’t be right that people could brew a pint at home for pennies.

    My point, besides pointing out the roots of Publican and Public Healthite bedfellowing, is that it has always been cheaper to brew your own and that the pubs survived the home brew boom of the 80s and the ‘booze run’ of the early 90s. It has never been about price.

    Or as my publican Granddad once put it “the publican who thinks his business is selling beer will go broke, brewers and Off Licenses are in the business of selling beer. Pubs sell ‘homely-ness’-the clue is in the name ‘Public HOUSE'”.

  3. chris says:

    “Cheaper than water”. Isn’t that the Welsh version of “dirt cheap”?

  4. waltc says:

    As I read it, he was talking about doing all three. His headline is “measures” plural. However, if in power and under pressure from The Usual Suspects, they might indeed cave on Issue #1. So why don’t you write a letter to the guy. Or write it in the form of an online petition, get lots of signatures with addresses or at least districts/zip codes, and mail him the hard copy. Let him know that it’s the main motive for smokers’ votes, that they’ll expect action, and if there’s any wimping out, the winners will be voted out before they can unpack.

    • Frank Davis says:

      You’re probably right about the “measures”. And I don’t know much about Nuttall. I don’t even know if he smokes.

      But I do know that Nigel Farage smokes, and what he thinks about smoking bans. I was at Stony Stratford, and heard him speak. And in UKIP it’s what he thinks that matters, at least at present.

      • JJ says:

        UKIP have been given support by large numbers of people that smoke…I’m sure about that, and at the next election we want our support to be recognised, at the very least by Nigel Farage demanding that if either the Cons or Labour want his help, then he makes it a condition that at the very least a very serious amendment is required. Better still a full repeal…after all he will have the big stick. No deal…then no support from UKIP!

        Make no mistake about this – there will be no better opportunity! I also hope Simon Clark can make this clear as well to UKIP. A great deal of help has come one way or another from those like us! It will be pay back time.

        Recommend if you feel so inclined (commenter’s on Frank’s blog) but read the whole piece makes the stats look better thank you. http://t.co/FMetcLnJKy

  5. Smoking Scot says:

    Cost of six cans of Perrier water. GBP 3 (15.2 pence per 100 ml)

    http://www.waitrose.com/shop/HeaderSearchCmd?searchTerm=perrier+water&defaultSearch=None&search=

    There’s another brand that costs 19.7 p for 100 ml and oh so many that cost more than cheap beer.

    http://www.waitrose.com/shop/HeaderSearchCmd?searchTerm=mineral+water&defaultSearch=GR&search=/page/2

    Cost of four cans of Tesco Lager or Bitter. GBP 1 (5.70 pence per 100 ml)

    Cost of 24 cans of Carlsberg. GBP 13 (12.3 p / 100 ml)

    http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/shelves/beer_in_tesco.html

    And I lifted this link from a comment Harley left on your blog.

    http://www.middlewichguardian.co.uk/news/11404144._/

    “The smoking ban also severely hit pubs right across the country – if landlords want a well-ventilated room set aside for smokers they should be able to make that choice.” (Mr Nuttal)

    The poll on that newspaper is hugely suspect. It was mid 70% in favour for ages.

    Certainly was when I penned this piece.

    http://www.smokingscot.com/ukip-wants-smoking-rooms-in-pubs.html

  6. Rose says:

    The pubs shut down because New Labour signed us up to the FCTC , the excuse being the calculated fantasy of secondhand smoke, what’s diverting me at the moment is the 1.7bn surcharge based in part on the calculated fantasy of the estimated contribution of immoral earnings to GDP backdated to the 90’s.

    Searching the papers and the discoveries of diligent commenters, rumour has it that is due to the Lisbon Treaty which Gordon Brown signed us up to and on which Cameron refused the referendum he had promised before the election.

    It appears that no one read the small print, someone on PM muttering that we should ask Baroness Ashton about it as she was never there at the meetings in which it was discussed.

    “Ashton was appointed Leader of the House of Lords and Lord President of the Council in Gordon Brown’s first Cabinet in June 2007. She was instrumental in steering the EU’s Treaty of Lisbon through the UK’s upper chamber. In 2008, she was appointed as the U.K.’s Commissioner for Trade in the European Commission.

    In December 2009, she became the first person to take on the role of High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy that was created by the Treaty of Lisbon”
    http: //en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_Ashton

    Baroness Ashton’s EU diplomatic service ‘inadequate’ and ‘beset’ with problems
    June 2014

    “Bureaucratic turf wars, a lack of political direction and Lady Ashton’s lack of attendance at key meetings in Brussels are among the troubles that are still plaguing the European External Action Service (EEAS), four and half years after its creation.”
    http: //www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/eu/10936172/Baroness-Ashtons-EU-diplomatic-service-inadequate-and-beset-with-problems.html

    The Office of National Statistics has duly waved it’s wand and produced firm figures on the unknowable.

    Paying for bad habits: sex work and drugs lift UK’s EU bill

    “The EU applies its complex calculation of how much member states should pay into its coffers largely on GDP levels. The bigger the national income, the bigger the contribution. So far, so simple.

    However, earlier this year the UK’s GDP was given a £10bn boost after officials calculated that sex work generated £5.3bn for the economy in 2013, with another £4.4bn coming from the sale of cannabis, heroin, powder cocaine, crack cocaine, ecstasy and amphetamines.

    Other countries have been affected too after the EU calculated how much of their hidden economies should be brought on the books. Greece faces a larger contribution despite losing a fifth of is national income since 2009. Italy is another victim, though arguably it has only included a fraction of the mafia’s business in its GDP calculations.”
    http://www.theguardian.com/business/2014/oct/24/drugs-prostitution-uk-gdp-eu-bill-increase

    http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_365274.pdf

    I bet David Cameron wishes he had kept his “Cast Iron” promise now.

    “Today, I will give this cast-iron guarantee: If I become PM a Conservative government will hold a referendum on any EU treaty that emerges from these negotiations. No treaty should be ratified without consulting the British people in a referendum.
    http://order-order.com/2009/11/01/cameron-flashback-i-will-give-this-cast-iron-guarantee/

    • Frank Davis says:

      Since Cameron is so pro-EU, he’ll pay up the £1.7 billion of course. He might even add on a bit more, as a sweetener..

      My question is the question you asked yesterday:How do they know how big any country’s black economy is? At best it’s going to be a guess.

      And from what little I’ve read about it, it’s the UK that has had the largest demand from the EU. And Germany the least. I suppose that must be because there’s no prostitution or drugs in Germany.

      And since the nature of the black economy is that its participants don’t keep books, and don’t pay taxes, the EU is asking for the law-abiding majority to pay the unpaid taxes of the lawless minority.

      • Rose says:

        How do they know how big any country’s black economy is?

        Because the Office of National Statistics dutifully published the figures in May
        http://www.ons.gov.uk/ons/dcp171766_365274.pdf

        See 3. Illegal activities (drugs and prostitution)

        Apparently the figures were based on a variety of “sources and assumptions”, but now we have to pay for them in cold hard cash.

        Germany gets a rebate of £614m and France gets £801m
        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-29751124

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          They just added drugs and prostitution along with Grant moneys to the GDP in the EU to make the outlook better than what it was. They did the same in America save the prostitution part…………

          If ever the IRS audited the government itself or any revenue agency audited its governments spending and bullshit…………….theyd likely shit!

          Its no wonder there has never been an auditing of the FED in America…………

          100s of trillions would be found propping up everything and paying off everyone worldwide Im quite sure!

      • The Blocked Dwarf says:

        “. I suppose that must be because there’s no prostitution or drugs in Germany.”

        Been a while since I lived there now and being married to the Bestes Frau In The Whole Widest World, when I do go back over then I don’t really pay much attention to the state of the Personal Pleasure market in the Fatherland these days. However if I recall alright Prostitution is legal in Germany and regulated accordingly…regulated thoroughly in the way only the German state can -so that wouldn’t show up as ‘Black Economy’. There is no doubt a lot of ‘illegal’ prostitution there now but maybe not enough to effect the EU Stats? Also it would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that your average German drug dealer pays the full income tax on all his ill gotten gains….

        • Reinhold says:

          it would not surprise me in the slightest to learn that your average German drug dealer pays the full income tax on all his ill gotten gains….

          Of course he does.
          I spoke with him last night and he was very busy to make his Einkommenssteuerersatzausgleichsantrag.

        • nisakiman says:

          Blimey, Reinhold, you Germans certainly know how to string a word together! Mind you, even words like Einkommenssteuerersatzausgleichsantrag start to look simple when you look at the Thai script. They have something like 44 consonants and 32 vowels in their alphabet, no punctuation and no spacing between words. And if that wasn’t complicated enough, the spoken language has five tonal levels – low, medium, high, rising and falling, and getting the tone wrong alters the meaning of the word.

          And I thought Greek was difficult…

        • Reinhold says:

          Sounds very interesting, Nisakiman! If I only was a little talented in languages I’d be quite enthusiastic about learning Thai now. Since I’m not, I’d at least love to see you reading and writing it, and, even more, listen to you speaking it. Could prove to be some kind of Vorabendunterhaltungsveranstaltungshöhepunkteinlage.

        • Reinhold says:

          In other words:

          klingtsehrinteressantnisakimanwennichnureinbisschensprachbegabtwärewürdeichthaijetztmitbegeisterunglernenwollendaichdasnichtbinwürdeichdirgernbeimlesenundschreibenzusehenundnochlieberbeimsprechenzuhörenkönntesichalsvorabendunterhaltungsveranstaltungshöhepunkteinlageherausstellen

          Looks like this, that Thai?

  7. lleweton says:

    Sine qua non. Absolutely.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    This is from last week in Lubbock where they voted down the ban,but look at what this Nazi says.

    Matthew Harris, co-chair of the coalition, said its goal is not to reinvent or drastically change the ordinance, but to close some of the loopholes that exist. He went on to say the loopholes are the bars and sports grills that still allow smoking.

    Harris said the reason is public health, or more specifically, secondhand smoke. Sitting on a table inside Harris’ office is a small jar full of 42 red hearts, each one representing 1,000 non-smoking Americans who Harris said died of secondhand smoke last year.

    http://m.lubbockonline.com/filed-online/2014-10-22/smoking-ordinance-could-soon-include-lubbocks-bars-and-sports-grills#gsc.tab=0

  9. carol2000 says:

    It all misses the bigger issue, namely that all the health fascists, food fascists as well as anti-smokers, are committing scientific fraud by falsely blaming lifestyle for diseases that are really caused by infection. What is needed is a purge of the health establishment to eliminate those charlatans.

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    New Method Sought to Make Ebola Drug Grown From Tobacco

    By Robert Langreth and Makiko Kitamura Oct 10, 2014 11:01 PM CT 16 Comments Email

    Biotechnology researchers and U.S. officials are rushing to try to make more of what may be the most promising experimental drug to treat Ebola after supply ran out in August.

    The drug, ZMapp, is made by Mapp Biopharmaceutical Inc. Mapp and its partners have had early discussions with Amgen Inc. (AMGN) about the feasibility of increasing production of the antibody cocktail using a traditional biotechnology manufacturing technique, said Bryan Callahan, a senior program officer with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

    The foundation gave Mapp a $150,000 grant to look at whether a new large-scale production technique is possible. “No final decision has been made on the pharma partner,” Callahan said in an e-mail. Amgen, based in Thousand Oaks, California, is the world’s biggest biotechnology company by sales.

    ZMapp is currently made using tobacco plants, which can be induced to grow the antibodies in the drug. Federal officials have also considered an expanded tobacco-based production process.

    The cocktail of three antibodies has been used to treat two Ebola-infected American health workers who recovered, a Spanish priest who died and three Liberian health workers.

    Mapp, a closely held, San Diego-based company, developed ZMapp with the Public Health Agency of Canada and the U.S. government. For now, production has been limited to a handful of doses. That’s far too few to have an impact on the current outbreak in West Africa that, according to the World Health Organization, has infected more than 8,000 people, killing about half.

    Tobacco Plants

    To produce therapeutic proteins inside a tobacco plant, genes for the desired antibodies are fused to genes for a natural tobacco virus. The tobacco plants are then infected with the artificial virus, producing the antibodies. The plants are then ground up and the antibodies extracted.

    The Seattle-based Gates Foundation said yesterday its $150,000 grant would look at the possibility of using Chinese hamster ovary cells, similar to how many other complex biotechnology drugs are made, Callahan said. While the technique “offers a slower route than plant production, the infrastructure for manufacturing in CHO cells is well established, which means that production can be scaled up rapidly,” he said.

    Kristen Davis, an Amgen spokeswoman, said the company was “in discussions with the Gates Foundation and other organizations to see if Amgen can help with this effort.”

    The Texas A&M Center for Innovation in Advanced Development & Manufacturing is in daily talks with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services about how it and its partner, Caliber Biotherapeutics LLC, can product large quantities of ZMapp from tobacco plants, a Texas A&M official said.

    Drug Manufacturing

    “We possess high capabilities for production in plants, which is the process necessary for manufacturing the experimental Ebola therapeutic, ZMapp,” Brett P. Giroir, chief executive office of the Texas A&M Health Science Center, in an e-mailed statement.

    The Caliber facility could produce 25 kilograms to 75 kilograms of ZMapp antibody per year, based on preliminary estimates, starting within weeks to months of an order from the U.S., Giroir said. The production facility and its capabilities were created in a joint effort between Texas A&M and Caliber, he said.

    ZMapp is difficult to make in large quantities for a number of reasons, researchers said. It involves three antibodies, which triples the amount of tobacco plants needed. In addition, the dose used to treat patients is high compared with many drugs, increasing the needed supply.

    Timeline Unpredictable

    How long it will take to develop an efficient production system “is unpredictable,” said Charles Arntzen, a plant biotechnology expert at Arizona State University. “This is a biological challenge and we are developing the rules and processes as we go along.”

    Caliber Biotherapeutics “is by far the largest facility in the world” for producing pharmaceuticals in tobacco plants, said Robert Kay, CEO of iBio Inc., a Newark, Delaware-based biotechnology company that owns one of the technologies used to make drugs in tobacco plants. “If anybody is going to produce this, it is almost axiomatic it has to be with Caliber involved.” Caliber didn’t immediately return a phone message left at its offices.

    While it is unclear what the best dose of ZMapp is, by some estimates, the 25 kilograms to 75 kilograms may translate into enough of the drug to treat several thousand patients.

    Kay estimates the production capacity of Caliber is about 100 kilograms of ZMapp per year, which he said could yield enough to treat 20,000 patients with the drug cocktail.

    Kentucky Production

    The original supply of ZMapp drug was produced in tobacco leaves at a plant biotechnology facility, Kentucky BioProcessing LLC, a unit of Reynolds American Inc.

    Kentucky BioProcessing has “completely rebooted” its production plans to focus exclusively on making more ZMapp, said David Howard, a spokesman for Kentucky BioProcessing at parent company Reynolds American Inc.

    “All of our attention and all our efforts right now are on the production of more of the ZMapp compound,” Howard said. “We are starting to produce amounts of the compound right now as we speak.”

    Ebola is normally treated by keeping patients hydrated, and using antibiotics to fight off opportunistic infections. The hope is that a patient’s immune system will eventually fight off the virus’s aggressive attack.
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-10-10/new-method-sought-to-make-ebola-drug-grown-from-tobacco.html

  11. harleyrider1978 says:

    Not much of a story but at least one that says leave us alone……….other than that the wirters a complete NAZI.

    Bill Gibson http://www.edmontonjournal.com/…/10319173/story.html

    Staples: We need more tolerance of smokers, not more bans

    We’ve come a long way, baby, in the fight to rid our…

    edmontonjournal.com|By David Staples

  12. harleyrider1978 says:

    My wife was basically forced to have to see a PA in he doctors office and the woman was an absolute Nazi or lifestyle policeman. I saw her too for a back xray and the woman came off with her anti-everything propaganda.

    I asked her are you like trained to be a lifestyle policemen or what.

    Then she mentioned the ACA/ obamacare law where they are required to preach such crap……….

    Needless to say I argued with her over everything and she wasn’t going to do anything for anyone anyhow. I went back to my regular Doctor who didn’t have a very high opinion of the PA physician assistant program saying it was like putting your health in the hands of a witchdoctor.

    But the ACA is basically forcing the PA system down every ones throats.

    Why is it theres a shortage of doctors…………. Lets just say they’ve been put out of business by the ACA………….My own Doc had to go to a CASH only fee base and he keeps his own in house Pharmacy and lab for basic testing and drug supplies cutting out the middleman.

    Those pharma samples they drop off to every doctors office………..ya he gives them away rather than make you go buy them. But then he cant keep everything and still has to write scripts for some things.

    The Physician Assistant Will See You

    http://www.nytimes.com/2014/08/03/education/edlife/the-physician-assistant-will-see-you.html?_r=0

  13. harleyrider1978 says:

    David Cameron Angrily Attacks EU Cash Demand As ‘Clubbing Britain With A Lead Pipe’

    http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2014/10/24/david-cameron-european-union-budget-demand_n_6041278.html?utm_hp_ref=uk

  14. Radical Rodent says:

    On Question Time last Thursday (23rd Oct), the UKIP member was challenged about not having a policy (as if “having a policy” was essential), and she brilliantly batted that idea aside with (paraphrased): “Of course not. We will let the people decide what they want to do with this.”

    Could there be a flaw in this argument?

  15. A jar of coffee in a supermarket is probably around £3 and will make many cups of coffee. ONE cup of coffee in Costa etc. is probably £3 and yet these coffee shops are busy and more opening each day. How can they say that people do not go to pubs because the supermarkets sell cheaper beer ?

  16. Tony says:

    I think Paul Nuttall has spoken out in the past against the smoking ban. I met him briefly on the House of Commons terrace at a Forest ‘Save our Pubs and Clubs’ event in 2011. He was with (and I believe travelled down with) Nick Hogan, the publican who had recently been jailed for failing to prevent people from smoking in his pub.

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