Building A Bitter World

I had an email from a Guardian editor yesterday in response to my completion of their questionnaire about the smoking ban. She wanted to “confirm that you would still like to use the name in your submission if it is featured.” I’d given my name as C. F. Davis. Perhaps they were bothered by that. If I’d given my name as Charlie Davis – or better still Coriander Davis – I’d have had a bit of credibility. But C. F.? It’s borderline anonymous. I could well imagine the scene in the editor’s office as they mulled over which submissions to publish:

“We can’t publish something by someone called C. F. Davis. He sounds like he’s a dentist who lives in Tunbridge Wells.”

“I agree. But I think we should publish the one by Ariadne Cornfellow. She sounds much more interesting. She’s probably a redhead who lives in Scotland, and climbs mountains at weekends.”

“Did she have anything interesting to say about the smoking ban?”

“I don’t know. I just thought she had an interesting name.”

“Perhaps someone should write to ask the C. F. chap in Tunbridge Wells whether he really wants to be called C. F. It’s so dull and dreary. He would be so much more credible if he was called Charlie.”

“Or better still, Coriander,”

The email set me wondering whether the Guardian was contemplating publishing my rather bleak reflections on the smoking ban. But I still think the odds of that happening are about 100 to 1. It didn’t fit the narrative. And the narrative is that smoking bans are a great success and everyone wants more of them, because they don’t have to wash their hair when they get home, and put their clothes in the washing machine, and count to 100 before going up to kiss the children goodnight. What I wrote didn’t fit that narrative.

The editor who emailed me included a helpful photo of herself, with long, slightly tousled hair, and an insouciant smile on her face. In fact I thought she probably had some slight variant of that insouciant smile permanently on her face, even when she was buying parsley and cucumber rolls from Subway at lunchtime, or riding the Underground back home to Islington, or jetting off to the south of France for the whole of August.

I used to read the Guardian, many years ago. I started reading it when the Times stopped being published by a strike circa 1972, and I was forced to read something else. Back then the Guardian was a simple broadsheet newspaper with a few ads in the centre pages. And it had thoughtful opinion pieces by someone called Jill Tweedie, who I always imagined liked all-weather hill-walking in Scotland, and had slightly tousled long red hair as a result, and who wrote her pieces while grilling oat cakes over a peat fire in her isolated crofter’s cottage when she got home, while her panting border collie watched attentively in hope of a crumb or two. I read the Guardian for several years until they started adding supplements with as many pages as the original newspaper. The supplements were full of ads for jobs in local government.  And they kept adding more and more supplements. And the newspaper got heavier and heavier. One day, after lugging the beast home, I couldn’t even be bothered to lift it out of the plastic bag I’d been carrying it in, and which it completely filled. Next day I started reading the Independent.

Back then I was a bit left wing, of course. Although I’d already started my long slow trek to the right, I suspect.  Leftists are idealists who want to Build A Better World. That’s why they always occupy the moral high ground, above right-wingers who want to make it worse. But the right don’t actually want to make the world a worse place than it already is. They’re just trying to stop it getting any worse. On the windswept mountainside where they’re both standing, the left is looking upwards at the peaks above, and the right is peering down at the abyss below. The left is full of good intentions. But the road to hell is paved with good intentions. And that’s where the left almost always leads everybody.

What’s “better” anyway? Tony Blair used to regularly talk about making the world a “better” place, without ever once saying what he meant by “better”. As he used it, it gradually became increasingly meaningless. Eventually I found myself imagining that he had actually said “batter” or “butter” or “bitter” instead of “better”. And perhaps “bitter” is what he actually meant. He left Iraq a broken, bitter country. And he left us smokers broken and bitter too.

The left’s vision of the “better” future always entails elaborate planning. Theirs is always a planned new world, and their plans are extremely detailed. They have plans for everyone else, that invariably entail spending everyone else’s money. But in peacetime, as in war, the plan is always the first casualty. Plans always go wrong. And that’s why they always eventually lead to hell.

A planned world is entirely incompatible with a free world. In fact, it entails the negation of freedom. Because in a free world, people do what they want to do, rather than what some planner wants them to do. That’s why it’s only the right who speak of freedom, and the left never use the word if they can possibly help it. I’m not even sure if they know what it means. The more planned any brave new world is going to be, the less free it will be. In a completely planned world, freedom will cease to exist.

It’s the left who’ve been dreaming of a brave new “smoke-free” world. That’s why 90% of Labour MPs voted for it, and Tony Blair and Jeremy Corbyn too. The really astonishing thing is that over 30% of Conservative MPs voted for it as well. They voted to abolish the congenial smoky pubs in which much of English culture and discourse was conducted. They may as well have set fire to them all. But that’s planning for you. It always entails breaking a few eggs, doesn’t it?

And as a left-wing newspaper, the Guardian is almost certainly 100% in favour of a planned, globalist vision of a smoke-free, carbon-free, fat-free world with a global government controlling absolutely everything. For it is only in those senses that they understand freedom. They don’t want a free world: they want a smoke-free world.

And that’s why they won’t be publishing anything I wrote about the dystopia that they’ve created with their smoking bans. It doesn’t fit their narrative of ever-onward and upward progress. Neither do people with names like C.F.

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About Frank Davis

smoker
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37 Responses to Building A Bitter World

  1. Rose says:

    You never know, Frank.

    Sledgehammer’ smoking ban ruling played part in pub and club decline in Bolton
    Today

    “Bolton Council licensing sub-committee chairman, Cllr Martin Donaghy believes the strict and sudden ruling played a part.
    He said: “It has definitely hit the licensing trade, particularly the clubs. I can only go off my own experience in the town but there is only one Labour club left in the whole of Bolton, all the others have shut down.

    “There are other factors involved, but one of the main ones is the smoking ban on premises.
    “They would have been better served with a dedicated room in the club with modern extraction system.
    “It was like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, there was no room for manoeuvring. It was just a blanket ban, full stop.”

    “Steve Hoyle, owner of town centre Oscar’s Bar and Nightclub, has been chairman of Bolton Pubwatch and has worked in the leisure industry for over 20 years.
    He said: “The ban did have a massive effect on all the bars.

    “How can you tell a 40 or 60-year-old they are not allowed to smoke? It was a difficult situation.

    “With the combination of lots of cheap drink being available to buy, it has had an impact.
    “You will probably find a lot of the older generation stopped going out because the socialising had gone, gone are the days when you could sit with a pint and a cigarette.”
    http://www.thisislancashire.co.uk/news/15380973.__39_Sledgehammer__39__smoking_ban_played_part_in_pub_decline__says_council_chief/

    • Bandit 1 says:

      Well, DUH. Give that councillor a banana and a Stating The Bleedin Obvious certificate.

      But I guess it makes a change to have the truth plainly stated, in these soviet days.

      The comments below the story are entirely and depressingly predictable, of course.

      “Where was the offer of a smoke free room for those of us who had to put up with streaming eyes, clothes reeking of smoke or even burnt by a carelessly held cigarette and, worst of all, damage to our health?”

      The Blocked Dwarf has more patience than me, to try reasoning with such tossers.

    • smokingscot says:

      Yes Rose it does seem all political parties have seen their “social clubs” reduce in large numbers. Of course the Labour Party had a huge network, though I believe a goodly part of that was the requirement of Labour Union Members to join the Labour Party.

      Anyway in 2010 the Labour Party Social Club in Blair’s constituency shut its doors, with the reasons:

      “The club secretary said that finances had been hit by the smoking ban and cheaper supermarket drink prices.”

      http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/10427511

      Though by then Blair was no longer the PM, nor even an MP.

  2. RdM says:

    Oh, I don’t know… C.S. Lewis did okay.

    Maybe you’re being a bit gloomy;- maybe she worried for you that you were being too revealing, so obviously a real name, that you might have seized the chance on second thoughts to be published as .! ;=})
    (Offering perhaps to protect your privacy because she was going to publish it? :-))
    _

    OT, though, the last few days I’ve been dealing with nasty browser redirects; I was able to stop the page loading after a few goes, and copy paste the links; a second or so of qis {dot} balloonchatted {dot} com/followed by 1418 characters (I used Count Characters to check!) – followed almost instantly by a redirect to a nasty “Tech Help” site, www {dot} reimageplus {dot} com (don’t go there!) – on almost any link I clicked, from a search result to a link on this or comment even on this and dickpuddlecote’s … or my local TV listsings.

    I think I’ve stopped it by learning about the Hosts file in Windows, and ticking a box in Chrome’s Settings, Protect me against malicious websites etc. – don’t know why that wasn’t!

    (A search on something like block websites by using hosts file (or editing hosts file).)
    Guiding Tech had a good one, led me to a program called HostsMan Editor, which apart from adding the above sites, had optional pre-filled adware & malware site names to add too.

    But since then, despite it seeming fixed, and this is the main point – does
    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/ (or your local variant!) look hacked to you?

    (Or, anyone else?)

    On Chrome on this Win PC, on Safari & Firefox & Chrome on the iMac, it looks like this:
    (in part, shrunk, cropped from full-screen)

    On clicking somewhere on his page, I got a new nasty redirect, which I was able to stop loading just in time to copy-past (Notepad) that URL – ironically, perversely, beginning with
    qrt (dot) mediumsizedthieve (dot) com/andanother1200oddtrackingcharacters!…

    So be careful, people! Read up about the hosts file on Win, maybe also Mac, etc.

    It doesn’t seem to have affected Chris Snowdon’s VFIG site which is also a blogspot, and I’m confident after the last couple of days that I’ve blocked these adware sites hitting my machine, so I think whatever’s affecting DP’s (if anyone else can confirm) is separate…

    OTOH… if I use the ‘Inspect Element’ right-click menu in Chrome on even this page, I can see a lot of red ink in one small window of sites that my PC has blocked, and mediumsizetheive is among them;- it occured to me after visiting DP’s that I hadn’t rebooted or restarted the browser after making the changes, but while my redirects have stopped, his page still looks hacked!

    Apologies for the OT communique, but it seemed important;- it’s taken days to get sorted!
    And DP’s place looks like no other… : – (

  3. RdM says:

    Hmm, I had used diagonal brackets around “insert pseudonym”, which of course were stripped out as bad html… (and my brackets around my ‘dot’s are replaced with curly ones!)

    I meant to write “chance on second thoughts to be published as (insert pseudonym)! ;=})”

  4. buckothemoose says:

    I got the same email about my submission. I used my full name. I was going to mention it last night in the Smokey Drinkey but forgot all about it. Probably the rather diverse conversation we was having…

    • nisakiman says:

      Heh! Yes, it did rather go off at a tangent!

    • Joe L. says:

      So RdM’s assumption above is correct– the Guardian is attempting to “protect the identities of smokers.”

      In actuality, however, I believe they are saying, “Are you absolutely certain you would like your real name published along with your bat-shit crazy against-the-grain pro-smoking comments? Why aren’t you more self-loathing and ashamed that you’re a smoker? We’ll give you one last chance to slink back into anonymity to spare you the humiliation (while at the same time, discrediting your comment by making it look like it was posted by a Big Tobacco shill).”

  5. waltc says:

    I’d guess they’re just using any excuse to check if the email addresses are genuine or if they come from a bot. Iirc, the “name” slot specifically said you didn’t need to use your real or your full name. Given that I needed to pass for British to do the form at all, and since my actual email address is clearly American, as long as I was lying, I decided to become a 70 yr old female widow and gave a phony gmail address in the hopes that gmail was universal. IOW, to repeat, I think they were just verifying addresses. Too bad. My widow had a fine sob story.

    • margo says:

      I used a false name and a false phone number. Weirdly enough, I had a phone call from this fake number yesterday, but they hung up when I answered.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    I think the antismokers thrive on creating a ‘bitter’ world. The ramp up to the anniversary of the smoking ban has led to a blitz of tobacco control propaganda stimulating an excess f antismoker astroturf abuse. The comments section at the articles are dominated by stock antismoking comments and abuse of smokers (using all the standard lies, including I get to go out and not smell like an ashtray, etc.) Of course the press parrots the antismoker sentiments and even quotes the astroturf comments as if they were something other than orchestrated memes ti shout down dissent.

    In that vein, as I posted on yesterday’s thread (Multi-tasking), the article contains the poll on the smoking ban has been removed by the Buxton Advertiser and all the other outlets carrying it (no doubt because it was starting to trend again the ban). This suppression of dissent and organized persecution of smokers must stop. The only bright side, is the rising hysteria and need to repeatedly employ relentless propaganda and outright vile attacks on smokers shows the foundation of their incremental prohibition are weak and may indeed be crumbling. I believe The Antis call that the ‘scream test’. It’s ironic to their own construction in play against themselves.

  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    Speaking of bullying in pursuit of a ‘bitter’ world, they are trying to impose a new smoking ban on bars and casinos in Baton Rouge *after a failed attempt last year. The vote was slated for June 28th but was postponed due to visible opposition. Now they are planning to hold a vote again on August 9th. The antis are especially virulent on this shouting down all dissent (just like in NOLA).

    See this arrive (with accompanying poll) for details: “Smoke-free East Baton Rouge gears up for next vote” https://www.businessreport.com/business/smoke-free-east-baton-rouge-gears-next-vote-2

  8. Pingback: Missive From ‘Merica: The Truth Is… Sumwear? */shrugs…* – Library of Libraries

  9. Clicky says:

  10. Smoking Lamp says:

    Well one more poll. This time at Cornwall Live: “The smoking ban is 10 years old – was it a good thing?” at http://www.cornwalllive.com/the-smoking-ban-is-10-years-old-was-it-a-good-thing/story-30417810-detail/story.html#70h3cpIw3GwczYe6.99
    I expect it will stay up for a while since the responses are 85% antismoker and only 15%beliveing the ban was ban as of this post.

    • Joe L. says:

      We’ll, the poll is now sitting at 58% “smoking ban good” vs. 42% “smoking ban bad.” Only 35 votes total at this point, though. The British antismoking trolls are just waking up at this time; we’ll have to see what happens tomorrow. However, if the poll continues this trend, we might just see another UK smoking ban 10-year anniversary article magically disappear without a trace.

  11. Rose says:

    It’s strangely quiet this morning, “health campaigners celebrate” disappeared off the tickertape on BBC news by 10 and the only interview I’ve seen is from someone from Cancer Research saying that there are fewer smokers. Not a word about vaping, which curious omission was remarked on by the presenters at Sky who said that there were lots of people vaping and seem to attribute that as the real cause of a fall in numbers of people smoking.
    Perhaps Deborah Arnott is a late riser and we’ll see more triumphalism later.

  12. Rose says:

    ‘It has had a real social impact’: readers on the smoking ban ten years on
    We asked you to share your memories of the public ban that came into effect in 2007. Here’s what some of you said
    https://www.theguardian.com/society/2017/jul/01/it-has-had-a-real-social-impact-readers-on-the-smoking-ban-ten-years-on

    • Emily says:

      Well done, Frank and John!

      • buckothemoose says:

        I am surprised they published so many comments against the ban :-)

        • Frank Davis says:

          I thought the anti-ban comments were rather better constructed than the pro-ban ones.

        • “comments were rather better constructed than the pro-ban ones.”
          Indeed (and I’m still shuddering about that ‘dirty little tinker’ -as Granny Dwarf would have said- who rejoiced at not having to change her knickers every day ) I got the impression the Pro ban comments would have done better to have contemplated their response over a cigarette …or two.

        • nisakiman says:

          I didn’t bother to expand the comments, but two were showing (with the ‘read more comments’ button under), one of which disputed (or at least, questioned) the fact that ‘CF Davis’ was actually a real person!

        • He should have gone with ‘Coriander’…

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Very nice comments Frank! I raise a cup of Bushmills and fire up a Cohiba in respect.

  13. Pingback: It’s Not A Free Country Any More | Frank Davis

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