Close Down the BBC

I don’t watch or listen to the BBC these days (because I would have to pay the £155 licence fee if I did), and so it was only because Simon Clark had transcribed a recent BBC interview of him on his blog that I was able to read what was said. It was a useful reminder of why I no longer listen to the BBC. Here’s the BBC interviewer:

Andrew Edwards: But aren’t we dancing around the issue that we all understand which is that smoking is very bad for you, it kills an awful lot of people, and we’ve known that forever, and shouldn’t we just be saying rather, ‘Here’s something that is less harmful,’ we should just be saying, ‘Look, let’s get rid of it altogether.’ And I take your point that you are pro-choice and you think it’s a legal product, nobody is denying that. Shouldn’t we though just be saying, for the sake of the health of the generations to come, our children, our children’s children, ‘Look, let’s just get rid of it.’ Like that texter Jonathan said to me, you know, people will look back on it like some of the madnesses, as they now see it, of taking what turned out to be poisonous things to try and cure our ailments.

This is the BBC floating the idea of complete tobacco prohibition. Deborah Arnott won’t do that herself, of course. So instead you get a piece of work like Andrew Edwards to inject the idea into an interview, not just once, but several times.

‘Aren’t we dancing around here? Isn’t the point that we should just ban smoking tobacco altogether?’

And in this manner you familiarise your viewers and listeners to the idea of tobacco prohibition, so it doesn’t come as quite such a shock to them when tobacco prohibition is introduced, “by public demand”.

It may work. But, rather like the US mainstream media that recently failed to either persuade the US people not to vote for Donald Trump or predict his victory, I suspect that the BBC doesn’t have quite the influence that it used to have.

The BBC is in fact the prime example in Britain of an institution with an internal culture that has gradually parted company from the wider culture of the country. It was always left wing and “progressive”, and now seems to have become even more so. Perhaps now is the time to float the idea of simply closing down the BBC. It is, after all, really just a state propaganda organisation that dates from a time when a few megaphone media outlets entirely dominated the airwaves, and is thus a lumbering dinosaur now being overtaken by leaner, fitter, and nimbler shoestring internet outfits. It really only survives by demanding with menaces a  £155 “licence fee” from every Briton it can gouge. Let’s not dance around the issue: Auntie should have her life support switched off. People will look back on it and wonder how it ever managed to survive for so long, like an ancient rusting ironclad battleship in an era of drone warfare. What madness was that?

In fact, I wonder if there is any real point in people like Simon Clark appearing on these sorts of interviews, except to act as a handy foil for the likes of Andrew Edwards as he delivers his predetermined talking points. Why not just let him prattle away on his own to his few remaining listeners, like Hillary Clinton before an empty hall?

Very occasionally I get invited onto these shows, usually at very short notice. But I’ve never actually managed it. And in fact I have no wish to appear on them. Because I don’t want to talk to these bastards. There’s nothing to say. The debate is over. It never started. The only thing that I want to do is to destroy them. Certainly I don’t see the point in preserving the semblance of a debate that never actually happened.

Nor is it even that I find Simon Clark a particularly persuasive “voice of the smoker”. After all, he doesn’t smoke. So how can he speak for smokers? He certainly doesn’t speak for me. I’m not one of the Smoke On The Water crowd. For example:

The overwhelming majority of smokers don’t smoke in a car with children because they know that it’s inconsiderate at best.

Nor do the overwhelming majority light up in children’s play areas or by the school gates.

Health isn’t the issue – they’re outside, for heaven’s sake. The principal reason is that, without legislation, most smokers have decided that it’s probably inappropriate and and have changed their behaviour voluntarily.

What comes to mind reading this is the strong image of my father smoking at the steering wheel of his Bellila, and tapping his cigarette on the dashboard ashtray as he drove the family past malodorous mangrove swamps to the beach at Fajara on the river Gambia 60 years ago. Or my grandfather at the steering wheel of his tiny Ford, lighting a pipe after having just exerted himself for several minutes to start it with a hand crank, before pottering slowly up narrow Sussex lanes to be late for church with tone-deaf Father Mac. Was my father ‘inconsiderate’? Was my grandfather acting ‘inappropriately’? Of course not. And what wasn’t inappropriate or inconsiderate then isn’t inappropriate or inconsiderate today. And what’s really needed in children’s playgrounds these days are some decent sheds behind which they can learn to smoke, as did my generation, and many previous generations before us.

It’s not for the government or the medical profession or the BBC or anyone else to decide what is and isn’t inappropriate or inconsiderate. It’s not their job. The job of the government is to represent the people. The job of the medical profession is to care for the sick. And the job of the BBC is to report the news. Anything else is over and above their remit, and they shouldn’t be doing it. Values and norms are constantly being negotiated and renegotiated between countless ordinary people in the course of their everyday lives, not handed down from above by self-styled authorities of one kind or other, who are anyway all going to be swept away some day soon. And the sooner the better.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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19 Responses to Close Down the BBC

  1. Lecroix says:

    Hear, hear.

    • margo says:

      And I remember sitting with the other parents smoking on a bench in the sun at the park while our kids played. Happy days. RooBeeDoo, I love those kids in your Da Nooz picture. Aren’t they great!

      • beobrigitte says:

        And I remember sitting with the other parents smoking on a bench in the sun at the park while our kids played.
        So did I – and the other mums. And when we didn’t play with the kids we sat on the bench with a flask off coffee and cigarettes. Great times and no screwed up kids who can’t hack adult life.

  2. prog says:

    ‘Look, let’s get rid of it altogether’.

    Naive BBC drone – the not so inconsequential truths that billions of essential revenue and millions of votes are at stake. Even governments and hangers-on aren’t that stupid when it comes to risking losing easy money and careers.

    As for Simon, well it seems Forest has morphed into Soft Forest.

  3. Timothy Goodacre says:

    You are totally right Frank. I’m getting very fed up with these arseholes conspiring to stop me enjoying tobacco. Why can’t they leave us alone ?
    Understand Arnott et al that we love smoking tobacco and will never give up. I dont want to vape and i dont want heat not burn. I love the aroma of tobacco smoke.

  4. Clicky says:

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    The media is out of control when reporting on smoking. They have abandoned independent investigative journalism and embraced the role of tobacco control propagandist. Just today the US media is reporting that just one cigarette a day poses a cancer risk, ignoring the fact that smoking bans haven’t dropped the smoking rate in Ohio after 1o years despite the country tobacco control claims,m and praising bans on smoking in cars with children in Scotland and in public housing across the US. Never are the tobacco control claims critically examined. Rather than statement s of fact the press blindly reports the propaganda and frequently amplifies it out of solidarity or ignorance. The media decries the “post-truth”m era when in fact they helped farm it and usher it in…

    • beobrigitte says:

      The media is out of control when reporting on smoking. They have abandoned independent investigative journalism and embraced the role of tobacco control propagandist.
      Of course. Investigative journalism died long ago. It was a case of: “YOU ARE FIRED” when a poor guy was trying to stick to the truth….

  6. beobrigitte says:

    Andrew Edwards: But aren’t we dancing around the issue that we all understand which is that smoking is very bad for you, it kills an awful lot of people, and we’ve known that forever, and shouldn’t we just be saying rather, ‘Here’s something that is less harmful,’ we should just be saying, ‘Look, let’s get rid of it altogether.’
    I have no idea who Andrew Edwards is (as soon as the BBC is done with news I switch to another channel these days) but this (in my view arrogant) sentence explains about everything to me. A person who either has no question or dares not to ask questions. Perhaps the mumbling of the question: “Who funded the majority of the so called tobacco-harm-research and where is the independent research?” will lead to instant job loss?

    and shouldn’t we just be saying rather, ‘Here’s something that is less harmful,’ we should just be saying, ‘Look, let’s get rid of it altogether.’
    Ah, the e-cig is “less harmful”? If vegetable glycerin and propylene glycol are harmful we do need to address the food industry as a matter of urgency!
    [This does remind me, I did finally find the e-liquid of my choice. It is 100% vegetable glycerin and eases my tobacco stretching even better!]

    It’s not for the government or the medical profession or the BBC or anyone else to decide what is and isn’t inappropriate or inconsiderate. It’s not their job. The job of the government is to represent the people. The job of the medical profession is to care for the sick. And the job of the BBC is to report the news.
    Perhaps enough people are waking up (or are disgruntled, or are disillusioned with lobby group sock puppets) to remind each of them what EXACTLY THEIR JOB is? It’s sure beginning to look that way.

    And, all this leads to another question I fear will affect me in the future. During one of my recent flights I met an elderly lady. Unfortunately during starting the flight everyone had to be seated and she looked incredibly uncomfortable. Naturally I asked if she was scared of flying, which she denied. Once we were at cruising hight, the lady shot off to the ‘powder room’. When she got back she was quite chatty and told me that she was visiting her son. Somehow we got to difficult child births and the nice little old lady became bitter. Her GP was only interested in her cholesterol and when she asked for a repair operation to preserve her dignity, her GP just said that ‘it’s age, you best live with it’.
    I researched what can be done once I came back home. After all, I might be in the same position in 10 – 20 years DESPITE training for a tough mudder.
    And there is a lot that can be done. And it does not involve tablets. Only one or two minor operations. But these are brushed under the carpet. After all, there is no real money to be made.

    The BBC has to answer a lot of questions as it trumpets the “longer-living-elderly” so proudly. The thing is, it’s the elderly NOW who live sooooo much longer. You know, the ones who were youngsters in the 30s, 40s, 50s.
    WHERE DOES SMOKING FIT IN? And WHY does the BB not mention growing old with dignity? Or are the oldies to them what they are to the job market that mobs the older staff out of their job with the reasoning that “we-need-to-have-youthful-and-presentable-staff”? [This is currently happening all over the place!!!]

    And what does the BBC do? Harps on about the oh-so-dangerous-smoking/eating/drinking habits of people. No wonder the once respectable NEWS station has become a laughing stock!

  7. waltc says:

    And in the 20’s we all understood (or were made to understand) that alcohol is very bad for you and kills a lot of people… and in the 30’s, that reefer caused insanity and criminality…and prohibitions worked so well. It took only 12 years to repeal liquor prohibition but we’re going on 90 for marijuana.

  8. smokingscot says:

    An insightful quote from Andrew’s article:

    “It happened in Bradford this week, when I talked to 24 year nine students from four high schools across the district.
    They’re all talented young people, selected by their teachers for a leadership programme run by an organisation called Common Purpose.”

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/local/bradford/hi/people_and_places/newsid_8345000/8345126.stm

    And it begs the question.

    What does Common Purpose find so compelling about Andrew Edwards that they’d invite him to talk with their chosen ones?

  9. Ana says:

    This reminds me of an interview Simon Clark did on BBC (if I remember correctly) a while ago about plain packs – and the interviewer was like ‘ why oppose this measure if it will save X lives, prevent kids from starting smoking and so on’. Simon missed the opportunity to get back at the interviewer along the lines of ‘ how would YOU like it if your favorite bottle of wine, ready meal or whatever you like to consume frequently would come in these so-called plain packs, you unimaginative moron’.

    • beobrigitte says:

      I would never have been so impolite. I just would have asked the interviewer to explain my healthy existence considering I have been a smoker for >40 years + grew up with cigarettes and ashtrays in houses and cars being the norm.

  10. beobrigitte says:

    In fact, I wonder if there is any real point in people like Simon Clark appearing on these sorts of interviews, except to act as a handy foil for the likes of Andrew Edwards as he delivers his predetermined talking points.
    There is no point anyone appearing on the BBC unless you want to be taken apart and make concessions you didn’t intend to, hence become someone to be laughed about.
    NONE of the people invited to the BBC has asked the financing and independent research question. WHY? Is it that questions are disclosed beforehand and an interview denied if tobacco control&friends financed research is questioned on their basis??

    And, let’s face it. There are some pieces of research out there that look good. However, this piece of research is a needle in a hey stack which hits on other (often unrelated) research which in turn could turn the whole picture into yet another perspective. The ones who so eagerly learn about 1 of these needles in a hey stack often aren’t equipped to deal with that simply because they do not know the field.

    It’s a mine field out there. And the Deborah Arnott BBC tries to lay the mines.

  11. slugbop007 says:

    The NHS employs over 1.6 million people. According to Forbes, they are the fifth biggest employer in the world. They are wrong. The ILO calculated that around 100 million people work in tobacco production worldwide. That makes us, the smokers, the biggest employers in the world.

    slugbop007

  12. Manfred says:

    There’s been a subtle shift in the message. As coal fired power stations to UN defined ‘climate change’ (both non-problems created to implement UN ‘justified’ top-down policies) so are tobacco smokers to public health. Second hand smoke is an irrelevance, as are ridiculous statements about smoking a single cigarette. Such statements encapsulate unbridled fanaticism. Similar strategies of demonisation are used elsewhere, ‘climate change’ and CO2 for example. An emergent goal is to now make fossil fuels ‘socially unacceptable’. Having lost key rational arguments in spite of the relentless barrage of propaganda, over renewable economics, reliability of power supply, or environmentalism and ‘saving the planet’, the eco-Marxist globalists are compelled instead to resort to ‘social acceptability’. It should take the average ‘deplorable populist’ a clutch of nanoseconds to figure out that ‘social acceptability’ is a most tenuous justification – here today, gone tomorrow and more so, it has a fetid history of condoning the most inhumane and ugliest moments in human history, whether by tacit support or deliberate ignorance. Endeavouring to rig social policy on the basis of ‘acceptability’ is pure UN ECOSOC. Just take a look at the Tobacco Free Initiative (TFI) and The United Nations Ad Hoc Interagency Task Force on Tobacco Control of the WHO http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/un_taskforce/en/
    with the participating UN agencies, http://www.who.int/tobacco/global_interaction/un_taskforce/agencies/en/
    …a perfect example of the corruption of science, where evidence-based policy has indisputably become policy-based evidence.

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