Nigel Farage on Smoking Bans

H/T Will for this TV audience interview of Nigel Farage…

…which ended (27:00) with these exchanges:

Moderator: The lady here.

Lady here: Presumably one way you deal with an ageing population is to have us all die of smoking-related causes.

Nigel Farage: Oh dear, we’re back to smoking again, are we?

Lady here: …But it is an issue. You say you’re not a retrograde party, however you want to take a backward step on the smoking ban, and to be perfectly honest your policies seem anachronistic across the board.

Moderator: Very briefly.

Nigel Farage: I’m getting a bit of stick here as a smoker. We all have our sins…

Lady Here: It’s okay, I smoke.

Nigel Farage: Oh do you? Well you’re a sinner too.

Moderator: You’ve got 10 seconds Nigel.

Nigel Farage: Number one, the national health service, smoking-related diseases cost the NHS 2 billion pounds a year, tobacco revenue is about 11 billion pounds per year. Second point, would you say that Germany was an uncivilised, retrograde country, modern Germany?  

Lady Here: I don’t know. You’d have to ask your wife.

Nigel Farage: And she’d tell you that, unlike us, they exercise common sense, so when they brought the smoking ban in, within 6 months they’d reversed the ban and allowed separate smoking rooms. The state can’t tell us how to live our lives.

Lady here: Common sense…(incomprehensible)

Moderator: We’re going to have to leave it. I’m going to have to say goodbye while they’re still talking. That’s it from the audience here in Birmingham. Let’s say thank you to Nigel Farage.

I must say I was a tad disappointed with his response here.

Firstly, he seems a bit defensive about smoking (“Oh dear. We’re back to smoking again.”) Secondly he describes smoking as a “sin” (“We all have our sins”). And also he doesn’t really answer the charge that relaxing the smoking ban would be “retrograde”.

His answer is that a) smoking brings in more tax revenue than it costs in smoking-related disease, and b) Germany relaxed its smoking ban 6 months after introducing it.

On the latter point, my understanding has been that smoking bans in Germany are all regional, and some places have tough smoking bans (e.g. Bavaria), while others have hardly any bans at all. In what regions have smoking bans been relaxed?

But on the former point he’s really conceding that there really are “smoking-related diseases”. So he’s conceding at the outset that smoking is both sinful and harmful.

I’ve said it before, in respect of Forest’s Simon Clark and Angela Harbutt, but really, what’s the point in conceding everything from the very beginning? You’re on a hiding to nothing. You may as well draw a dotted line around your throat with “Slit here” written next to it. Smokers are never going to win anything this way.

All the antismokers’ claims should be contested. Every single one of them. Nothing should be accepted as an established fact. Absolutely nothing.

But what interested me most was the “retrograde” charge. In fact, the Lady Here used three different adjectives to describe UKIP’s smoking policy (and UKIP as a whole): “retrograde”, “backward”, and “anachronistic”. Clearly she’d thought out her question very carefully, to use three different adjectives all meaning the same thing.

But sitting up behind that question is an idea of “progress”, which is that whenever some new law is introduced, it constitutes “progress”, and the world is somehow automatically a better place for it. The best sort of answer to such a claim is to point out that some kinds of “progress” – e.g. off the edge of a cliff – are not in the least desirable, and in such circumstances it’s best to turn back – i.e. step “backward”, or make a “retrograde” move. If Nigel Farage had said something like that, he could then have then followed up by pointing out the ill effects of smoking bans in the form of broken communities and bankrupt pubs, and the need to step back.

But he didn’t. Instead, he conceded more or less everything. No wonder he doesn’t like questions about smoking, and hardly ever mentions the subject.

All that said, I’ll still be voting for UKIP next week, of course. For at least they still want to relax the smoking ban. But unless they take a much more robust line, they’re never going to get anywhere.


About Frank Davis

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36 Responses to Nigel Farage on Smoking Bans

  1. Reinhold says:

    my understanding has been that smoking bans in Germany are all regional, and some places have tough smoking bans (e.g. Bavaria)

    Yes. And Saarland and North Rhine-Westphalia meanwhile.

    while others have hardly any bans at all.

    No. There’s no such place here.

    In what regions have smoking bans been relaxed?

    In Bavaria. :-D
    Some years ago.
    After the Bavarian “main party”, CSU (Christian Social Union), lost its absolute power in an election.
    “Smoking Clubs” were allowed. For members only.
    Untill the Zealots came around again, finding it unbearable that there are still smokers in smokers clubs. Though already about 80-85% (official figures) of the pubs, bars, and restaurants already were “smoke-free” at that time.
    And they won.
    Bavaria’s smoking ban then became (and remained) the worst all over Germany.
    The other party we voted into parliament (FDP, Free Democratic Party) didn’t care a damn.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:







    • chris says:

      C’mon, we all know America’s smartest president left office in 2009. Cheer up, though, maybe his brother will get in next year.

  3. Marvin says:

    I think the guy did pretty well considering. Don’t forget the producers know and select the questions beforehand, the candidate does not have that privaledge. Nigel does not use a script, tele-prompter or autoqueue he answers the questions spontaneously and by deliberatley leaving the smoking question until last, he had effectively 10 seconds to put his case. If you had 10 seconds what would you say? I remember you turning down an offer to go on the radio and you would have had far more than 10 seconds.

    • virtualbarman says:

      I agree…

      I watched the whole thing and I thought he did brilliantly while facing a barrage of (obviously) anti-UKIP audience members.

      It seemed to me that the smoking question had been kept as ‘the sting in the tail’ and he had very little time to answer all the points while the questioner kept shouting at him.

      I think the UKIP policy of separate, well ventilated smoking rooms is wrong as it does concede the ‘harm’ angle. Clearly, letting the landlord decide to be smoking or non-smoking is the only way forward.

      However, I have to say that the whole of the MSM and all of the other political parties are against UKIP. It makes it very difficult for UKIP to promote more radical policies as they would be shouted down by just about everybody.

      • Rose says:

        I think the UKIP policy of separate, well ventilated smoking rooms is wrong as it does concede the ‘harm’ angle

        But I do think it’s a very good start, the most important thing is to get people in out of the cold, we can argue the rest later.

        • Marvin says:

          For once I agree with Rose…
          If some pubs are allowed to have smoking customers within them, then it’s a defeat for TC. It is the equivalent of establishing a beach-head from which other “small victories/exemptions” will follow……….then it’s onwards to Berlin!!……..and get the whole anti-smoking nonsense scrapped.

        • Bandit 1 says:

          It’s like the beginning of the non-smoking area programme, but with the restoration of smoking instead of its banning as the aim.

          How sweet it will be to see each small, logical step in the process unfold…

      • “Clearly, letting the landlord decide to be smoking or non-smoking is the only way forward.”
        Right. And unlike the the solution of “smoking rooms” there is really no non-smoker argument against this. No smoke hating non-smoker would visit a smoking pub anyway.

  4. jaxthefirst says:

    Mmm. I’m afraid that exchanges like this don’t do anything to convince me that Farage hasn’t quit tobacco, as I’ve mentioned on here before. Maybe, for the sake of maintaining the smoker-votes he might still be seen outside a pub or two waving a lit cigarette around, but that doesn’t mean that he’s genuinely still smoking. And his labelling of himself as a “sinner” is a worrying move away from the unabashed, unbowed smoker that he previously seemed to actually quite enjoy portraying himself as, into smoker-apologist territory.

    This rather feeble rebuttal of the accusations isn’t reassuring; it’s another indication of the inevitable ex-smoker’s slump into mental bluntness and lack of mental speed and dexterity; as Rose so deliciously put it in a previous comment, the ability to “think round corners.” Why waste time apologising as a “sinner” when time was – as the presenter had just warned him – so short? Why waste even more time trying to point out that “we all have our sins?” when there clearly wasn’t going to be time to go into the whole slippery-slope/lifestyle-control debate generally. The fact that he automatically strayed onto the boringly-predictable argument-path monotonously adhered to by non-smokers the world over, albeit trying rather hopelessly to put an opposite “spin” on it, is typical of someone who no longer has the tobacco-inspired ability to see at the same time both the enormous breadth of arguments against the smoking ban legislation and yet to be able to hone in on the most pertinent of those arguments to pull out of the hat in response to the question in hand.

    To my mind (and it would have been quicker for Farage to get straight to the point and mention it), it was the smoking ban which was “retrograde,” in that it opened the door and gave a tacit nod to a move back to the attitudes of pre-Industrial Revolution society, when one’s betters or one’s superiors assumed a God-given right to tell lesser mortals what they should or shouldn’t be doing, whether it was legal or not. Ergo, any policy which aims to stop the powers-that-be from moving society in this direction cannot be described as “retrograde” themselves – it’s impossible, after all, to be both “retrograde” and “anti-retrograde” at the same time – but would be more accurately described as “stemming a retrograde flow before it becomes a flood.” Farage could and should have done much for UKIP’s cause by pointing out that this is an important matter of principle, regardless of any individual’s personal like or dislike of smoking itself; do we as a society want to move back to those unwelcome, unequal times or not? Just because in this instance the first step back to those social attitudes has this time been directed at smokers shouldn’t detract from the principle itself. His inability to pick this out shows a non-smoker’s inability to see – and make clear to others – the close and dangerous connection between the minutiae (smoking) and the wider issue (paternalism).

    And if UKIP’s stance on smoking is “anachronistic,” well, surely that’s something to be celebrated, not criticised, if it means that it makes them different from the other parties. UKIP is, after all “anachronistic” in comparison to the other parties regarding the EU and immigration, and it’s precisely “anachronisms” such as these which have led to their rise in popularity. Because, just because all the obedient, “non-anachronistic” major parties are singing firmly from the same songsheet on certain policy areas doesn’t mean that they are necessarily taking the people of this country the way they want to go in respect of those policies.

    But more importantly if, without tobacco, Farage can’t even argue effectively for his own party’s stance on the single issue of smoking, how on earth is he going to cope with the much more complicated and thorny questions he’s likely to get thrown his way regarding our membership of the EU? Methinks that the chances of the UK ever getting our much-desired in/out referendum may be vanishing as quickly as the smoke from Farage’s (newly non-existent?) cigarettes.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Seems Murdocks lil chat with Nigel last November time frame was to shut up and join the club or else……………That’s my guess for the lil secret meeting they had.

    • Rose says:

      Jax, Nigel Farage did seem as sharp as usual with all the other questions and the smoking question was asked so late in the programme that there could be no time to answer it properly before the programme finished, but you’ll notice that even though the presenter called proceedings to a halt, Nigel Farage was continuing to answer the questioner in the background, but what his further arguments were we can only guess.

      Once again, very skillful of Jo Coburn to make sure that the question was asked but the full answer could not be broadcast except for a few introductory remarks.

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    Smokers have been barraged with so much antismoker propaganda that many feel like pariahs. The natural state for smokers now is to be defensive. For that to change, smokers need to assert their rights, demand smoking venues, and expose tobacco control’s lies.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Yep I been doing just that for 7 SOLID YEARS………..No Im sorrys ever…………fuck the Nazi Twits. Id sooner hang them all and their apologists.

  6. Ed says:

    I’m afraid Farage lost me when he said we would have to surrender some of the previous liberties and freedoms that we enjoyed in the name of security, when discussing the IS threat and “Muslim 5th columnists” and then called for more state powers to deal with this threat.

    This is at a time when ukip daily is hypothesising that GCHQ is monitoring UKIP members actively and conducting a discrediting operation;

  7. waltc says:

    I stick with the “he only had 10 seconds” defence. If you’ve never been in that position –trying to rush thru your own hundred thoughts and rapid-fire back some too-compressed version– it’s. not fair to jump on him. He might better have said “the alleged” smoking related diseases but he was still making a point. And he was trying to counter the “retrograde” argument with his (incorrect, it seems) example of Germany. As for “sinner,” I took that as irony.

    I don’t think it’s reasonable to conclude from any of that that he’s quit and now smokes only for show. Don’t know if he has, but wouldn’t base an opinion on that short interchange. But I’ll stay with my appraisal of a few days ago that his doctor has been hounding him and telling him all his own physical troubles are caused by his smoking and that, because it’s gotten personal, it’s beginning to affect him.

    As for the whole misguided notion that whatever comes Later is automatically Better, that Newer beats Older, that Now beats Yesterday in terms of either progress or enlightenment, when faced with that premise, I’ve pointed out that Hitler came after the Weimar Republic and the Ayatollah succeeded the Shah.

  8. Will says:

    I’m thinking he might have a plan in the longer term? if you go all out on a BBC audience claiming smoking isn’t bad for you and the effects of SHS are complete bullshit most of the brainwashed population will go into denial and start thinking you’re absolutely crazy.

    A good way to fight them back is to use their own tactics against them. Request a reasonable compromise such as “seperate ventilated rooms” and then gradually go all out with the facts and evidence.

  9. Frank Davis says:

    if you go all out on a BBC audience claiming smoking isn’t bad for you and the effects of SHS are complete bullshit most of the brainwashed population will go into denial and start thinking you’re absolutely crazy.

    Therein lies the problem. It has become impossible to speak the truth. So everything is a species of lie.

  10. Twenty Rothmans says:

    I haven’t been to Bavaria since the ban. Shisha bars in Berlin were okay, but my favourite (Das Klo) is non-smoking and it’s a bugger to get outside. I found a smoking pub (unofficial) in Duesseldorf last year and I’ll be visiting again in a few weeks.
    In Frankfurt I have two favourite smoking pubs at opposite ends of the city. I shall plug them:
    Bockenheimer Bierbrunnen
    Klingers (Klingerstrasse)
    The ones around the main railway station are a little rough. In Bad Vilbel, there’s one I go to but they started serving food (had to ban smoking), went broke and reopened as a smoking pub.

    Smoking is a vice, which is more or less a sin to some, like drinking heavily, chasing women and gambling. I thoroughly enjoy doing all of these. The cat’s arse-lipped don’t just not want to do these themselves, they want to stop us from doing it.

    When dealing with people like these, you simply have to remind them of all the ‘bad’ things that they are doing. Drinking tea, coffee (caffeine! tannin! they’re poisons!) , mineral water (gives you kidney stones), their shoes were stitched by six year olds in some Oriental hellhole.

    My favourite for my antismoking sister is the semen in hotel rooms. She now wipes down all the door handles, taps and phones when she travels (which is frequently). When I travel (which is also frequently) I treat antismoking hotels as Keith Moon would.

    • Some French bloke says:

      The cat’s arse-lipped don’t just not want to do these themselves, they want to stop us from doing it.

      “Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live.” (Oscar Wilde)
      There’s an element of self-congratulation that makes this kind of “compound selfishness” (or better still “selfishness by proxy”) more attractive, and profoundly immoral, than the plain, unselfconscious selfishness of animals.

      • Twenty Rothmans says:

        Bon mot!

        Look at the way chavs are castigated – “chain-smoking”. Plenty of successful men are/were chain smoking.

  11. Pat Nurse says:

    The lady who asked the question claimed to be a smoker – or at least someone who smokes. Frankly, she’s either lying or she’s as bad as the antis. How many genuine smokers would attack another smoker for their views on smoking? In my opinion, either those who are lying when they say they smoke or those who are ashamed that they smoke. I wish that sort would quit and do themselves and us a favour because I am heartily sick of those apologetic, weak and pathetic sort who want to blame just about anyone for the fact that they smoke – except themselves of course – and they are too damn cowardly to admit they won’t quit because they enjoy it.

    • smokingscot says:

      @ Pat

      She’s lying for sure and the “It’s okay” (I smoke) was intended to confound the man. He’s used to fairly hostile NON smokers.

      Another aspect was the rapid response to Nigel’s standard reply about Germany. Straight off, don’t fall for it, turn it on it’s head.

      However Nigel managed to say one thing that sums up the entire UKIP ethos:

      “The state can’t tell us how to live our lives.”

      And that, for many, is enough.

  12. nisakiman says:

    I’m inclined to give Farage the benefit of the doubt, there. It’s very easy to be an armchair critic, but when we’re under the spotlight the fact is that we say things that in retrospect we would have said differently. It’s the “My kingdom for a snappy answer…” syndrome, and I think most of us have probably had situations where we’ve thought of some perfect retorts to a verbal challenge….after the event…

    It looked to me like it was a pre-planned scenario put in place by one of the anti-smoking organisations with the collusion of the TV station / producer. It was all just too neat, the provocative question / accusation followed up immediately by the ten second time limit. If I was ASH, that’s exactly how I would do it. Catch him on the back foot with no time to reply. Thoroughly underhand, but then that’s what we have come to expect from TC. ‘Underhand’ is what they do.

    • waltc says:

      The French have a great phrase for that (you probably know it): l’esprit d’escalier. The wit of the staircase. The great comeback you think of as soon as you’ve left.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Nisaki I would never have buckled under,not once.

      The SPIRIT to FIGHT is the SPIRIT to LEAD!

  13. Rose says:

    Extraordinary article in the Express

    Ukip is in touch with ordinary British people
    THE nation stands at a crossroads.

    “It invites change with its far-reaching, fully costed and independently verified manifesto based on old-fashioned common sense:”

    Which includes –

    “Reforming our smoking laws, which are so draconian that they have led to pubs, the social hub of most communities, shutting at a rate of 31 a week.”

    How nice to see a newspaper come straight out and say that.

  14. harleyrider1978 says:


    A University of Nevada, Reno delegation was thoroughly schooled by lawmakers Wednesday in the very skill their institution is supposed to provide: critical thinking.

    As reported Thursday by the Review-Journal’s Sandra Chereb, the delegation came before the Assembly Judiciary Committee in support of Senate Bill 339, which would authorize Nevada’s college campuses to impose rules against smoking that are stricter than state law.

    Smoking is unhealthy and uncool. Cracking down on tobacco, on the other hand, is very cool. SB339 won unanimous approval in the Senate.

    But the stomp-smoking crowd has a credibility problem that they’re seldom called out on. Not only is tobacco a legal product, and not only is its use by adults legal (with restrictions), the product is taxed to the hilt. Moreover, the very people who demand that tobacco users be shamed and exiled also support ever-more-punitive tobacco taxes and ever-larger sums of public money to be spent on government programs.

    So it was quite something to see UNR President Marc Johnson, who wants to make his campus tobacco-free, asked to reconcile this policy disconnection.

    And it was something more to see that he couldn’t.

    “You want more money for higher ed,” said committee chairman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. “But we’re going to tell people who pay the tax they have no right to smoke on a government campus.”

    University leaders are all about diversity these days, but Mr. Johnson provided a textbook example of the lack of diversity of ideology that plagues so many college campuses. Neither Mr. Johnson nor any of his fellow smoking foes had given a single thought to the fact that smokers help fund higher education and might merit some consideration. After the hearing, he told Ms. Chereb he was taken aback by the questioning because public health concerns should outweigh tax issues.

    Assemblyman Glenn Trowbridge, R-Las Vegas, continued the lesson by asking whether UNR would accept reduced state funding in exchange for the ability to ban tobacco and “bear the responsibility of the consequences.” Then he asked Caden Fabbi, president of the Associated Students of University of Nevada, how much more per credit he would be willing to pay to replace lost tobacco tax funding. Mr. Fabbi said student government supports a smoking ban.

    Mr. Johnson, Mr. Fabbi and others simply cannot comprehend their hypocrisy. And that lack of comprehension is a result of an absence of intellectual rigor on issues that affect unpopular, oppressed minorities — the kind of people universities claim to champion.

    The Assembly committee took no action, which was kind. It should have rejected SB339.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Finally voice of reason! Nevada still allows smoking in casinos and bars (including airports). Hopefully a beacon of rationality,

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        SL look below at what elsethe GOP is finally doing………….I ant believe it,its like they finally are acting like Conservatives again…………I hope it aint just a dog and pony show.

  15. harleyrider1978 says:

    You want more money for higher ed,” said committee chairman Ira Hansen, R-Sparks. “But we’re going to tell people who pay the tax they have no right to smoke on a government campus.”

    Truer words were never spoken before……………..You want to chop off the hand that feeds you.

    Such is socialist dogma and its the same dogma they use running a company or a government.
    They create such regulation and laws that ultimately destroy what produces the economic revenues that feed their unsupportable agendas of social disentigration.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      When they ran out of other peoples money……….insert tax on savings accounts that pay no interest/take all money in accounts CYPRUS and Greece. At the same time printing 50-100 times the money that was in the system both electronically and physically to keep the stupid unsupportable pyramid scheme of world socialism running.

      They will be lucky if the people don’t burn down the EU Brussels Government buildings and the UN head quarters in NYC…………

  16. gainny says:

    From March: “Should French smokers really pay €13 a packet?” ( From the last paragraph: “Smoking is the main cause of death in France. . . .” Commenter Brian Dear asks, “Should we raise the price of water as well? Every single person who drinks water eventually dies — many of them ending up in the hospital with long, expensive illnesses.”

  17. harleyrider1978 says:

    GOP rep introduces bill to gut EPA

    House Republican wants to cut 13 programs at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including all of its grants and its ability to regulate ground-level ozone and carbon dioxide.

    Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced a bill, the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act, which he said is a money-saving measure, citing a Heritage Foundation forecast that it would save $7.5 billion over 10 years.

    “As a fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should be respectful of taxpayers’ dollars and live within its means,” Johnson said in a Thursday statement.
    “American taxpayers certainly don’t need to be paying for the EPA’s empty and unused buildings and its wasteful programs,” he said. “This bill does right by the hardworking folks in my district and across the country and is part of my ongoing effort to get our fiscal house in order.”

    The measure would force the EPA to close all of its field offices, sell or lease certain properties, cut various climate change programs and stop its environmental justice activities.

    It would also stop the EPA from regulating ground-level ozone and from limiting the greenhouse gas emissions from vehicles and power plants, the subject of the most controversial EPA programs recently.

    Payback time has arrived,,,,,,,,,,,,,wont get owebummers signature but its on the way to happening in the future now.

  18. harleyrider1978 says:

    Congress To Slash NASA’s ‘Global Warming’ Research Budget

    Republican lawmakers have introduced legislation that would slash what National Aeronautics and Space Administration spends on earth sciences, including funds…

    Look like Republicans are finally acting like republicans…………..

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