Thugs And Bullies

From Taking Liberties, where Simon Clark describes how he came to call a Pembrokeshire beach smoking ban as “idiotic” and “bonkers”:

The funny thing is that while the sentiment is 100 per cent accurate, “idiotic” and “bonkers” were put in my mouth by an agency journalist who rang me, listened for 30 seconds, then asked: “Would you say the decision is silly or bonkers?”

I laughed because I knew exactly what he wanted.

And so it came to pass that “bonkers” (not a word I often use) became Forest’s considered response to yet another ban on smoking in the open air.

In truth my private reaction is much stronger but – to answer those who want me to use words like “thugs” and “bullies” – I am of the opinion that overtly aggressive language rarely plays well in the mainstream media. In fact I can almost guarantee Forest wouldn’t get quoted at all if we went down that path.

Nor does it generate support from middle England (or Wales or Scotland). To get people – non-smokers especially – on our side we have to laugh at the absurdity of these petty rules and regulations which are not supported by scientific evidence.

We have to hold them up, not to abuse but to scorn and ridicule.

Calling our opponents “thugs” or worse is unhelpful. They may be wrong, in our eyes, but many tobacco campaigners and politicians are genuinely well-meaning and sincere. (Others aren’t but we’ll deal with them separately.)

The wrong language makes us appear the aggressor, and that’s counter-productive.

I guess it depends who your intended audience is. I’m not writing for the mainstream media; I’m writing for a bunch of angry smokers, most of whom think that these people really are “thugs” and “bullies” (and worse). So thugs and bullies (and worse) they will remain round here.

As for them being “well-meaning and sincere”, I’m sure that most Nazi concentration camp guards sincerely believed they were doing something necessary (and therefore good). But that didn’t detract from the fact that they were actually just thugs and bullies.

I think we are in a state of war with these thugs and bullies. I’m not interested in any dialogue with them. The only thing I’m interested in doing is defeating them, by helping build an opposition that  starts with the understanding that these people are thugs and bullies, and need to be stopped.

Anyway, a day or two back, I received a new toy in the form of a Transcend DrivePro 200 dashcam. This morning I mounted on my car windscreen, connected it to my cigarette lighter socket (which has never had a cigarette lighter in it), and took it for a spin. And then uploaded one minute of the journey (to a country pub) to YouTube. It was all very easy.

I went out again at midnight to see if it could see stars in the night sky. It couldn’t.

It can record over two hours of 1080p 30fps footage like the stuff above, and includes a primitive mic. I’m going to get a battery pack, so if I go visit an interesting place (like a castle), I can unmount the dashcam from the windscreen, and wander round with it. Or find a river or pond that I can sit beside for hours (which is the sort of thing I like to do).

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About Frank Davis

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29 Responses to Thugs And Bullies

  1. John Watson says:

    “As for them being “well-meaning and sincere”, I’m sure that most Nazi concentration camp guards sincerely believed they were doing something necessary (and therefore good). But that didn’t detract from the fact that they were actually just thugs and bullies.”

    Every camp guard who was tried by the IMT at Nuremberg used the defence of “I was only obeying orders” even Eichmann attempted this defence at his trial in Israel, most were hung for crimes against humanity.

    Thugs and bullies while accurate in some cases, is also an over simplification, they do not know how to behave except as thugs and bullies. A great many of the men and women of the Totenkopf Division were in fact well educated, they knew right from wrong, they chose to obey unlawful orders and policies that were crimes against humanity (unless they won when their policies would be vindicated).

    The same is true of the anti-smoker, a minority of them are thugs and bullies, most though are well educated. The question I would put is who is the more culpable, the thugs and bullies or the well educated who know right from wrong?

    “I think we are in a state of war with these thugs and bullies. I’m not interested in any dialogue with them. The only thing I’m interested in doing is defeating them, by helping build an opposition that starts with the understanding that these people are thugs and bullies, and need to be stopped.”

    I don’t think we are at war with them, I know we are at war with them, ASH themselves have publically admitted that from day 1, they claim their war is with the Tobacco Industry not the smoker, yet their battles have all been against the smokers and not the Industry! As long as we try to fight with our hands tied behind our backs we are going to lose, this is not a gentlemanly war, it is total war, no quarter given. we have been abandoned by those whose products we legally buy,, we were abandoned by the Pubcos, even when we provided over half of their income.

    I agree that at this point in time there is no point in attempting dialogue with them, they don’t need to talk to us, they believe they’ve won that all they have to do is mop up! The time for dialogue is when we are in a position of strength.

    I think that every person who posts here wants to beat the ‘enemy’, we as a segment of society have no plan, we make a small verbal protest and there it ends, then, we fall back into an ever shrinking perimeter. To beat them means we have to get out into the field, we need to fight not talk about fighting, we need a plan that hits the enemy where it hurts them the most.

    By all means recognise that some of them are thugs and bullies, but they are supported by intelligent people, take the intelligent people away the thugs and bullies revert to the moral and physical cowards that we all know they are.

    • waltc says:

      Who says there can’t be intelligent thugs and bullies or that thugs and bullies can’t be intelligent? TC seems to use its intelligence (cannily manipulating science, legislators, the media) to forward its thuggishness. Some of the footmen in the Gestapo and SS may have been merely dumb brutal amoral thugs, but the upper command were smart brutal amoral thugs. Thugs either way.

      And, not btw, what’s your plan?

      • John Watson says:

        We all understand that the motivation of the politicians is revenue, it hurts them when they lose revenue, especially when times are bad and money is tight.

        We also know that as the black market increases revenue decreases, that no-one wants to pay taxes on anything, that’s human nature. Everyone also realizes that taxation is a necessary evil, that it pays for defence, infrastructure and national and state/county debt. Large communities need higher taxation than small communities.

        The problem with the black market is it annoys taxpayers as more £/$ tax is required to fight it. The war on drugs shows that governments will pay anything to win, it is a war that they are a long way from winning, after all there is no shortage of drug dealers on the streets and no shortage of drugs. The same is becoming true of tobacco, Governments will pay any amount to stop smoking out of the taxpayers pocket on the say so of anti-smoking groups.. If they banned tobacco tomorrow the infrastructure is already in place to supply tobacco and they know it.

        We need to turn this into an economic war not a civil liberties war, When I wrote of small smoking communities that were self taxing, your view was that they would send in SWAT teams, most likely they would, their problems would be that firstly it is very expensive deploying SWAT teams, there is also a risk that the deployment of Swat teams would become a catalyst for riots particularly in areas where tension is already high.

        If the premise of small smoking communities is that it saves non-smokers from discomfort or risk, that they reduce medicare or NHS bills then sending in SWAT teams says that it is not about health (which we the smokers already know) because the idea of smoking communities would be to reduce or remove that risk from the non smoking community, so how could they justify deploying Swat teams? Would the non smoking public accept their deployment against smoking communities when they pay their own way with little or no cost to them, especially when it is their £/$tax that is paying for those actions?

        It’s something to consider.

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    Tortured smokers in life rehab suregery depts.

    https://www.facebook.com/groups/Antismokin/

    • Lepercolonist says:

      Get well harley. After a few cigarettes you will feel much better.

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Harley, I am glad to see you back! It sounds like you have been through an ordeal. Look forward to seeing you back on the front lines soon. S/F

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        Im g0ing to be back and with a whole new perspective on how human being are used as shit machines no matter the physical harms.

    • RdM says:

      “You must log in to continue.”
      Not on Facebook, so not visible to me and others who aren’t either.
      Can’t you make it a publicly visible page? (Just sayin… plenty folks not on FB!?)
      Cheers!!!

  3. Lepercolonist says:

    I was impressed by your dashcam video. Excellent resolution.

  4. smokervoter says:

    What a beautiful countryside you live in Frank. On a sunny day England must be an absolute joy to behold. I couldn’t help but notice the marvelous hedgerows, no doubt filled with hedgehogs, right? WordWeb tells me that they’re what we would call porcupines. That’ll keep unwanted trespassers off the property.

    And if there’s a bustle in your hedgerow… lyrics that are forever lodged in the mega-terabyte sized hard-drive behind my eye sockets. Long live Jimmy Page & Company.

    By the way, did you realize you were driving on the wrong side of the road?

    • Frank Davis says:

      On a sunny day England must be an absolute joy to behold.

      It is. Around this time of year, the English countryside is rather gorgeous, particularly when you get off the main roads (along which I’m driving above), and head down the narrow, winding lanes that connect them. I’ll take the dashcam down some of these soon. You’ll be able to see it better because I’ll have to drive a lot slower than the 50 mph I was doing above. You occasionally meet cars/trucks, cattle/sheep going in the opposite direction, and have to pull over to allow them past.

      It’s the upside of living in a country which is often wet and miserable. For all that rain ensures that England is clothed in a rich mantle of vibrant greens, which is truly glorious on sunny summer days..I used to notice the difference when I flew to Spain, where fields all seem to be covered in the brownish, half-dead grass that you only ever see in England at the end of a long, dry summer.

      And yes, there’d be hedgehogs in those hedgerows. And badgers, and foxes, and voles.

      This is about Ireland, which is the same, and even wetter. Or it was when I visited Skibbereen:

      And, well, everyone else drives on the wrong side of the road….

      • nisakiman says:

        Contrary to what the Americans and Europeans tend to think (that only the Brits drive on the left), there are in fact a surprising number of countries that drive on the left. Off the top of my head, there’s Cyprus, South Africa and a couple of neighbouring countries, India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, indonesia, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Many of the Caribbean countries, and I believe a couple of Central American countries. And I’ve probably missed loads.

  5. Thank you! Your work in this blog is good for me in Brasil, São Paulo city.
    I like your beautiful countryside.
    And I hate so much this notice: “Tobacco and e-cigarette products will not be permitted at the UEFA Champions League final as part of the ‘Respect your Health’ campaign”
    http://www.uefa.org/protecting-the-game/security/news/newsid=2254004.html
    Cute and lovely and dishonest campaign.
    Big hug for you.
    p.s. – please, nazi chat deserves another place and also sooo study.

  6. RdM says:

    Now I think we need a category for uploads of (videos of) pleasant smoking experiences…
    ;=})

  7. kin_free says:

    This is similar to my view of banning smoking on the beach – or anywhere else for that matter; This from of all places – the anti-smoker utopia (dystopian) California! Not all from Ca. are anti-smoker nutters!

    • caprizchka says:

      I do not miss living in California. It is unfortunate that this attitude is spreading eastward.

      • smokervoter says:

        Ah yes, the multi-talented and extremely funny Adam Carolla. A real live local yokel southern Californian. When he had his terrestrial/analog radio chat show (he took over Howard Stern’s slot when he went $13/month digital-satellite) it was so refreshing to hear him describe in great detail life in California before the Summer of Love mass eastern invasion washed over my formerly free-wheeling home turf.

        We were known for our devil-make-care experimental ways back then. Ian B. recently mentioned in a comment somewhere that there were the sex and drugs and rock ‘n roll hippies and there were the brown rice puritans. The latter, at least here in California, came in droves from what I call the Eastern Puritan Belt from 1967 to the present.

        Stanton Glantz is from Ohio. His partner in the Non-Smokers Rights camarilla was a basketball player from Michigan. John Banzhaff, from points east, then joined in the fray. Assemblyman Terry Friedman, who marshalled the smoking ban through the state legislature, was from Somewhere Back East (don’t want to bother looking him up right now). The 50 cents/pack sin tax of 1998 was the brainchild of actor Rob Reiner who, the minute he opens his big trap, you know is from Noo Yawk.

        Now before Harley, MJM, Walt, GaryK and Juliette start hating on me for bashing the east coast, let me just say that I really liked the early 60s transplants. To me they talked like gangsters (or Johnny Cash) and were wild and crazy to the max. Hell, they could drink and smoke and fornicate most of us natives under the table. I love y’all, I truly do.

        I looked it up one day and it seems quite a few of the 1930s Stanford/Glendale eugenics loony tunes were California natives. But the majority of us (at least down south here) were like this Adam Carolla character. I know, I was here on the receiving end with my eyes and ears wide open when the dam broke in 1967. I was born here. My mom and dad (almost, he was 5 years old) were born here. When their parents settled here in the 1920s California had 4.5 million people. There’s damn near 40 million now. The UK would have 450 million inhabitants if it had grown similarly in just 90 years time. How British would it be by that same token?

        Caprizchka, I’m sorry to hear that you left in exasperation. You’re the kind I wish would stay. And I don’t blame you one bit for not missing what this state has become. I don’t reside in either L.A. nor the San Francisco Bay Area, so I still like it here. When I go body boarding at the beach I, as a matter of instinct, go ‘where they ain’t’ and smoke my brains out. BTW, that first smoke when you come back in from the waves is right up there with the one after a lusty roll in the hay.

        • caprizchka says:

          All that sounds about what I remember. I like my cigar in The Keys after a day of snorkeling myself.

        • garyk30 says:

          “Now before Harley, MJM, Walt, GaryK and Juliette start hating on me for bashing the east coast.”

          Nope, I quite agree with you.

          But then, I am from the ‘Bible quoting, gun toting’ Mid-West.

          What is called ‘The fly over country’.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    Treat the NHS as a religion, and you give it the right to run your life

    On a radio discussion show shortly before the general election I made the not terribly original point that the NHS had become our national religion. The first…

    http://www.spectator.co.uk/features/9547992/doctors-orders/

  9. Bucko says:

    Thugs and bullies is right. I sometimes think Forest are just playing the game and not really sincere about winning it.

    I have a dashcam from Ebay. It’s only basic but it helped out when I clipped the back end of a chap who changed lanes in front of me and didn’t see me. Handy little tools.

  10. smokingscot says:

    Just finished a cracker of a novel (Bernard Cornwell, “Vagabond”) where he goes into great detail about the Catholic church in the 1300’s. Seems the people charged by the church to keep punters in line could do pretty much anything they liked so long as they didn’t draw blood.

    So it was that they came up with so many novel ways of getting people to confess their sins and sort things out in acceptable manner to remain as a good Christian. Burning was a big favourite as well as anything to do with water and of course the rack.

    But they got their all clear from those who claimed to have the God given right to do these things. This didn’t always involve the Bible, rather in those days the chief honcho’s could get away with personal visions, even divine intervention.

    However it seems the priests charged with upholding the law mostly got a very big kick out of it. They were feared – and to many that’s hugely addictive.

    And like their equivalents in Nazi Germany, having the right uniform – and State authority to do as you wished with those deemed to have done wrong was massively powerful.

    I shan’t go into all the sexual deprivations both lots carried out with women and children, frequently a short period before they were going to die. But one thing sticks in my mind and that’s the guy who had a lampshades made up in segments, each with an interesting tattoo removed from the cadavers.

    But we’re seeing this with the Islamic State lot. As one of the commentators here mentioned recently they go around killing smokers because they’re committing suicide by smoking. And their authority is some Mullah with a down on cigarettes.

    And so it is that FCTC gives Tobacco Control authority to do pretty well anything they wish to reduce the number of smokers. Including sounding off the possibility of sterilising mothers who smoke in front of their kids, to save future offspring from the toxic effects of second hand smoke.

    http://thejackalman.blogspot.co.uk/2013/04/bruce-wilson-asshole-of-week.html

    But FCTC was drawn up by a bunch of lawyers in the pay of terribly sensible, level headed people (and all reformed smokers) like Ted Turner, Michael Bloomberg and Warren Buffet.

  11. Some French bloke says:

    At a time when excellence was still a requisite for artists, a disgruntled painter from Vienna found thuggery and propaganda to be more up his alley, and wrote:

    “Why babble about brutality and be indignant about tortures? The masses want that. They need something that will give them a thrill of horror.
    What you tell the people in the mass, in a receptive state of fanatic devotion, will remain words received under an hypnotic influence, ineradicable, and impervious to every reasonable explanation.” (Adolf Hitler)

  12. Smoking Lamp says:

    The antismoking movement has transformed itself into a culture war complete with a modern day version of the “Hitler Youth’. In Enfield education authorities proudly hail their campaign to coerce parents into not smoking near the school by using children to demonstrate. Hera we see the old totalitarian tactic of pitting children against their parents to achieve social change. See: “School pupils tell parents to bin the cigarettes as Carterhatch primary school in Enfield urges parents to stop smoking at front gates” at http://www.enfieldindependent.co.uk/news/localnews/13317514.Children_tell_parents_to_stop_smoking_by_school_gates/

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