I used to think that the 1960s was about the most turbulent event I ever lived through. But I now think that the 2007 UK smoking ban tops that by a country mile. If nothing else, the 1960s really meant a period from about 1967 to 1970. It didn’t last very long. By contrast, the UK smoking ban’s ill effects have been not only lasting, but ever-intensifying over a 10 year period. I’m a different person from what I was 10 years ago. I live a completely different life. All purely the result of the smoking ban.
And I don’t think I’m very unusual in this respect. I think that all Britain’s smokers took a big hit on 1 July 2007, in multiple ways. They took a hit to their self-esteem. They took a hit to their sense of being valued members of society. They took a hit in their communities and friendships. They may even have taken a hit in their jobs and homes and families. And of course they’ve taken a hit to their pockets, as taxes have been ratcheted steadily upwards on tobacco.
And it’s not just here in the UK. The same thing happens wherever smoking bans are introduced. The ISIS survey I published included survey results from not just the UK but also the USA, Canada, Holland, France, Spain. And the story was the same everywhere.
With the Queen signing the Brexit bill into law this morning, I couldn’t help but remember that I used to be quite pro-EU only 7 or 8 years ago. It was something that changed very suddenly, almost overnight, when I learned that the EU parliament had voted through a European smoking ban, with provisions for show trials of prominent offenders. With that, what had seemed once to me like a “happy family of nations” started to look like the Soviet Union or Nazi Germany.
And I was wondering this morning how many other smokers had the same experience. I know Dick Puddlecote did, because he said so. And given around 10 million smokers in the UK, I wonder how many of them became disenchanted with the EU because of it. In fact, I wonder how many of Europe’s 150 million smokers became disenchanted too. We keep reading about the rise of populism in Europe, even if Wilders in Holland doesn’t seem to have ridden the wave far enough:
Gloating EU JUBILANT at Geert Wilders loss as France & Germany try to stop Le Pen support
MARINE Le Pen’s rival has congratulated Mark Rutte’s election victory over nationalist Geert Wilders in the Dutch election, as world leaders welcome the result.
I can’t help but think that some of that “populism” is being driven by angry smokers, not just in Britain and Europe, but in the USA as well
But you never hear about Britain’s smokers. Or Europe’s smokers. Or even America’s smokers. Not in the MSM, anyway. There’s dead silence. Even though the 2007 UK smoking ban was (for me at least) a first magnitude life-changing event, bringing sweeping changes in all my outlooks and attitudes, smokers simply don’t exist on the political landscape. They’re non-people. They don’t count. They were all thrown under the bus 10 years ago, and they’ve remained there as roadkill ever since.
Nisakiman remarked yesterday that:
Support for smoking is political suicide these days.
He’s right. But why is he right? The answer, it seems to me, is because the mainstream media and press and TV are all completely under the thumb of Tobacco Control, and if any politician steps out of line on tobacco, any number Deborah Arnotts will immediately start screaming and shouting.
It’s just like in the USA, where Donald Trump has become President in the face of exactly this sort of continual screaming and shouting by the US MSM. And he hasn’t even said anything at all about US smoking bans. And trying to figure out what his administration is likely to do about them – if anything at all – is an exercise in reading tea-leaves, of a kind I was engaging in only yesterday.
The MSM – wherever they are in the world – are the guardians of political correctness. As Mika Brzezinski recently remarked on Morning Joe: “That’s our job (…to control exactly what people think).” There are a whole number of “correct” or “responsible” or “acceptable” positions on everything from smoking and global warming and the EU, any deviation from which will bring the MSM thought police hammering on your door.
Your opinions will only get aired if they’re the right opinions. Everything else gets silenced or shouted down.
But it might be beginning to change. It’s not as easy “to control exactly what people think” as it was 20 years ago. The internet is changing how information gets around. The MSM no longer has a monopoly on what and what isn’t news.
One day the roadkill smokers, who’ve been shut out of all public discourse, are going to come back to life, and tell their stories, and have those stories heard. It’ll be a roadkill resurrection.