I almost met her at Stony Stratford. I was sat at a table with a beer and a cigarette, and she passed by my table, and said “Hi Frank,” as she sailed on by. But that’s what Stony Stratford was like with pretty much everyone else as well.

But Emily has been talking to Pat Nurse:

I’m always glad to see smokers talking to each other. In fact I think it’s about the most important thing they can do, because the more they talk to each other, the greater the solidarity that they will feel with each other,  and the easier it will become for them to speak out on each others’ behalf.

Pat Nurse used to write a blog: Tea and Cigarettes. And the first question Emily asked her was why she stopped writing it.

The first answer Pat gave was that she didn’t want her journalistic employment prospects prejudiced by it.  And the second answer was that she didn’t want to keep on moaning.

As a blogger in the exact same line of business, all I can say is that I’ve never been worried about my employment prospects, because I’ve never been needing to look for work. I’m 70 years old now, and regard myself as pretty well retired from my working life as a self-employed computer programmer (although that doesn’t stop me from carrying on writing computer programs).

But I could understand her concern. Yet I couldn’t help but think that there were plenty of other politically incorrect things one can do, which might prejudice one’s employment prospects. Voting for Brexit, for example.

And if outspoken smokers might find it hard to find employment, then what about outspoken antismokers? Shouldn’t they be worried too? Shouldn’t they be a bit worried that one day their past will catch up with them? After all, someone like me would like to see the senior ranks of the medical profession completely purged of antismoking zealots. If I had anything to do with it, they’d all lose their jobs tomorrow morning. And Tobacco Control would be destroyed. Do they all think that the wind only blows one way? Can’t they imagine a time when the hatred and animosity that they’ve shown towards smokers comes back to haunt them? Because I think it will. I think that many of the most prominent antismokers are going to have to flee like Nazi war criminals. In fact, I think it’s inevitable. But then, Nazi war criminals probably never thought that their past would one day catch up with them.

And as for moaning? I wake up every day thinking about the smoking ban. That’s just how it is. It’s like waking up every morning and feeling the shattered stump of your leg which got blown off at Passchendaele 11 years ago.  It’s a profound injury. It never goes away. It still aches a bit every time you strap on the tin leg.

George Godber once said that “smokers will be petulant for a while” after smoking was banned:

“Need there really be any difficulty about prohibiting smoking in more public places? The nicotine addicts would be petulant for a while, but why should we accord them any right to make the innocent suffer?”

Well, Godber was wrong. It’s been over 11 years since the introduction of the UK smoking ban, and I’m still petulant after all these years. And how could I not be? On 1 July 2007, I was expelled from society, and I became an exile in my own land. And it’s a profound and terrible thing to do to people – to make exiles of them. And I feel my exile every day. And my exile only ever gets deeper as the years pass.

I’m not moaning about it. You’re moaning about something if you’re just saying the same thing over and over again. That’s what moaning is. But I’m always taking a new look at the experience of exile. Every morning I return to it from a new angle. Every morning I have a different take on it. I’m quite creative about my exile. I’m always dreaming up new ways in which to fight the bastards in Tobacco Control. And I long for the day when they in their turn will become exiles themselves on Desolation Island. For that day will one day come.

Anyway, Pat Nurse then went on to say that smokers needed to have a voice of their own, and be included in the public debate, but there was nobody speaking for them. But surely people only get a voice of their own when they open their mouths and speak? Or when they write? Or, more particularly, when they write blogs?

But Pat doesn’t want that sort of voice. She wants her voice heard in the corridors of power in government. She wants conference tables on which there are not just assigned seats for antismoking zealots like Deborah Arnott, but confirmed smokers like Pat Nurse, both given equal time to have their say.

It’s not what I want. I don’t want to talk to a filthy little shit like Deborah Arnott. I wouldn’t even want to be in the same room as that poisonous reptile. And I was very sorry for Dmitri Kosyrev when he found himself sitting right next to her at some conference a year or two ago. How horrible!

No, I don’t want to talk to these bastards. And I don’t need to. Because I know they’re reading my blog, because they’ve got a page devoted to me on Tobacco Tactics. I don’t actually have to be in the same room with them to have my voice heard.

And that’s because we’re living in a different world than the one we were living in 20 or 30 years ago. Back then, if you wanted to get heard, you had to attend the conferences and debates in Hull or Grimsby or Workington, because otherwise you’d never get heard. But with the arrival of the internet, everyone can have a voice, and be heard all around the world. You don’t have to go to Grimsby any more. You don’t have to go to the conferences. You don’t have to get your hand-painted protest placards in front of the BBC TV cameras.

You don’t need to get your face in the mainstream media to be heard any more. The mainstream media are melting away. A month or two ago, in one of his YouTube videos, (not this one) Lionel Nation said: “We are the mainstream media now.” And by “we” he meant people like him, sat in front of webcams with microphones, talking: people like Alex Jones, and Jordan Peterson, and the whole galaxy of new faces that have emerged in the online media, faces who could never have managed to get a hearing in the MSM. And he was quite right. The mainstream has divided into an infinite number of streams, like a river arriving at its delta. The BBC is becoming just one little stream among a million streams. And if you want to get heard, you make a video, and hope that it gets a few likes, and a few comments, and maybe a mention in one or two blogs.

Like Emily and her interview of Pat Nurse, which I’m sure lots of smokers will want to watch. They’ll never find anything like it on the BBC. They won’t find it on Alex Jones either. But they will find it here.

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21 Responses to Solidarity

  1. RdM says:

    I’m grateful to be watching the interview with Pat Nurse …
    Just finished now.

    I wish that we could could congregate with her in the smokydrinkybar.
    It’s been too long, perhaps, just a haunt for a few old regulars.
    How to re-energise, energize this?

    Slightly off topic:

    • Pat Nurse says:

      I had a look at smoky drinky from the link on Frank’s blog but there was no one there and I couldn’t figure out how to work it.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Just go there. If there’s anyone else there you’ll meet them. There’s nothing you have to do. Come along tomorrow night. Friday nights is when I usually drop in, usually sometime around 9 pm. And Emily often shows will show up at midnight on Friday. Bucko’s going to try it from Corfu.

      • RdM says:

        “I had a look at smoky drinky from the link on Frank’s blog but there was no one there and I couldn’t figure out how to work it.”

        I don’t know when that was (I’ve been in for the last few hours, alone, about to leave… )
        but it might help? to look through their help documents.

        There may be some technical issues, because a new technology – some web browsers work better than others; Chrome, Firefox, Opera OK, latest versions are all good;-

        Only maybe the very latest Safari, even then not quite; for iOS you need the app.

        For old operating systems, like Windows XP, I think, with a webcam on Firefox it might work, not the last XP compatible version of Chrome.
        Everything gets updated…

        So, what ‘platform’ are you operating from, what ‘devices’ are you utilising?
        A modern laptop would have a built-in webcam and microphone and speakers.

        For some sort of stand-alone PC you would need a separate webcam & speakers, or audio out to your hifi system (& even from a laptop to enhance) if you have one.

        As I do. So, folk seem in the room over the hifi system. ;=})
        But many folk wear earphones, about as good.

        So … when you go there, it will ask permission to use camera & microphone.
        Of course grant that, it’s what you came for…

        Ideally,someone will be there… at least on a Friday night UK time!
        If not, wait, or set something up by email… or phone…

        I hope that helps a bit; apologies if a bit unclear!

        It’s nearly 2 am here, and there’s still nobody in the smokydrinkybar!
        That’s 2 pm in the UK.

        Obviously nobody really cares, or they’re too busy, or …

        Take it as it comes … or goes.

        But you may need to check out the actual requirements – it could be well worth it!

        Hope those scattered thoughts help, even a little?

  2. Pat Nurse says:

    I had a giggle with Emily as we chatted. In the first informal, not recorded interview, I also mentioned that another reason for abandoning my blog was because there were other people more effective at blogging – and I named you and your blog as one example. I also didn’t think that moaning – as I did, a lot – in my own echo chamber was going to get me or other smokers anywhere. I find now talking to smokers in the real world, and non smokers too, tends to be more effective and often enlightens them about things they would never have known – such as how the scam of SHS first started – and I have found many coming around to the way smokers think on the issue. I also wake up angry about the ban and treatment of smokers every single day and I will never accept the ban – hence I do not, will not, nor ever will until the law changes, choose to buy a drink either indoors or outdoors from any pub, cafe or restaurant in the UK and why I save up all the money I would have spent here on buying tobacco, or on leisure time, to take abroad each year where other countries in the EU have better compromises and even indoor places for smokers to meet and much cheaper tobacco for them to buy – without the theft of brand recognition even if there is still the graphic porn adorned on the outside of packs. At least abroad I know what I’m buying.

    You assumed I want a place around the Govt table when discussions on how to make smokers lives that bit more miserable come up. :) I don’t, but I do want a representative of smokers to be there to fight our corner because currently none, not Simon Clark or F2C, or you, are even consulted or considered when forging ahead with some new petty or cruel restriction on our movement, consumer rights, or freedom of association. If MPs can think of vapers and talk about opening new indoor clubs for them, while encouraging the general public to be more tolerant of vaping, because vapers are more effective in getting their message across (usually at our expense to be fair), and they are willing to step outside of their echo chamber, then that shows to me that we do need a place around the table to speak up for ourselves and not what other organisations want to say on our behalf when we despise them so much, and we do need to step outside of the echo chamber or else moaning for England, America or the rest of the world will expel some of the anger felt but actually get us nowhere at all in terms of turning back some of the worst of the laws made against us.

    • Frank Davis says:

      On the second paragraph topic, my understanding these days is that tobacco companies are quite simply not allowed to have a say in these debates about what is to be done with their product. They can’t be consulted. They’ve been no-platformed. They’re regarded as so evil that they cannot be allowed to be heard, particularly by children of any age.

      And it’s effectively the same with smokers. We’ve been no-platformed as well, and for the same reason.

      And it’s the same with lots of other things as well, these days. It’s how political correctness works. It works by shutting people up, to the point that there’s only one thing that can be said, everything else disallowed. So in the global warming debate, the sceptical “deniers” are not allowed to make their case. But if they’re not allowed on TV or in the public debate, they can and do make their case online, outside the mainstream. And they’ve made their case so successfully there that they even seem to have swung the debate in their own favour.

      • Pat Nurse says:

        The FCTC does stop consultation with industry but was never meant to stop consultation with the consumer. It is often misused by the likes of ASH who have persuaded Govt that the FCTC applies to us too. In fact that bunch of con artists use the FCTC to threaten Govt into doing exactly what they want whether covered by the FCTC or not by threatening naive politicians that they are in breach of an international treaty if they so much as look in our direction. The only reason Brexit voters can find searching for employment difficult, and why climate change deniers are not heard is because it was all done to smokers first, they have a template and they are now using the same to silence others who are off message or against the agenda whatever the subject.

        I once got criticised for saying at the time poor Anna Raccon was ill in hospital and denied her ecig in the most appalling way that it was because of the attitude towards smokers and only by fighting for dignity for smokers and against the current treatment of smokers would vapers ensure they can never be treated so badly again. It’s no good screeching “but we are not smokers, and this isn’t smoking” because to the vast majority of healthists it is the same. My argument is expose the myths on the harm of smoking and the cruelty in which smokers, especially those at hospital, are treated then naturally no one would even think of taking an ecig from a sick and dying women at her most needy. Vapers are getting it in the neck simply because of the attitude to smokers and smoking. Fight that and I believe all battles from climate change denial, to vaping, to Brexit and being overweight will be won at the same time. The problem of course is that smokers can see it but those who don’t smoke but find themselves disaffected because of their beliefs or lifestyles won’t.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Further to my comment above, from the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, Article 13

      4. As a minimum, and in accordance with its constitution or constitutional principles, each Party shall:

      (a) prohibit all forms of tobacco advertising, promotion and sponsorship that promote a tobacco product by any means that are false, misleading or deceptive or likely to create an erroneous impression about its characteristics, health effects, hazards or emissions;

      So signatories to the treaty cannot allow anyone to speak up for – i.e. “promote” – tobacco. So tobacco companies can’t get a hearing, and neither can smokers, because anything they say is bound to be ” false, misleading or deceptive.”

      No debate or discussion is allowed.

      • Pat Nurse says:

        But speaking up for consumer rights is not promoting tobacco or smoking. To do that one would have to eloquently describe how wonderful tobacco is, which brands are more delightful than others and so on. No. This is just one way that shows exactly how ASH and their cronies have managed to freeze us out of talks that adversely affect us. If we had a place at the table, we could obviously point out that smokers who smoke are concerned about social exclusion, prejudice, health inequalities that are being created for us, consumer rights that others are entitled to including alcoholics that are denied to us – none of that promotes tobacco or smoking but all of it is open to misinterpretation which is exactly what ASH and their stooges hoped for so that they could use it to impose all sorts of things that no other consumer group in this country is subjected to – yet – at least until the template is set for smokers. We know that already they are pushing for gross packaging on junk food and alcohol not because of the FCTC but because they got away with doing it to smokers first using as a front an international treaty aimed at the industry and not the consumer to push for the creation of health and social inequalities for adults who smoke.

  3. Emily says:

    Frank- thanks for posting this, and Pat- thanks so much for speaking with me. I really enjoyed the discussion! Reading the comments here, I’m thinking that the FCTC and tobacco industry consultation with consumers (and no-platforming of tobacco companies) would be a really interesting topic to touch upon in future conversations.

  4. Holy SHIT! Emily is like…awesome at this.

    Interesting stuff.

  5. Rose says:

    Tony Blair has just popped up again on the Express.

    ‘I get blamed for everything!’ Tony Blair in remarkable FEEBLE defence as he slams Brexit
    Oct 11 2018

    “TONY BLAIR claimed that it was a “good thing” to “blame” him for “literally everything” after being quizzed about whether his immigration policy as Prime Minister eventually led to the Brexit vote”

    But surprisingly,the 204 commenters so far, blame him for a great many things but not the Smoking Ban.

    Tony Blair’s 10 years of tobacco control
    “On July 1, 2007, 4 days after Tony Blair stands down as the UK Prime Minister, legislation prohibiting smoking in public places and workplaces in England will come into force, completing the implementation of smoke-free policies throughout the UK”
    https: //

    Tony Blair’s 10 Years Of Tobacco Control
    “Blair promised much for tobacco control but required considerable pressure before he delivered”

    • beobrigitte says:

      Let us hope that Gordon Brown, the new Labour Prime Minister, is able to act on the radical advice on long term planning and promotion of public health he commissioned in 2004, and responds to the nation’s major public health problems with timely and powerful solutions.”
      Labour policy: Blame others for they mess they create.

  6. beobrigitte says:

    I thoroughly enjoyed the interview, thanks very much, Emily and Pat. Also, thanks, Frank for posting it!!!
    It’s amazing how many aspects of the smoking ban and anti-smoking rhetoric can be addressed in >30 minutes!
    Although Pat may well be right pointing out that smoking may contribute to some health issues, picking as an example COPD is interesting. The anti-smoking zea…. erm …. advocates insist smoking causes COPD. My never-smoking mid 40s friend must be an exception then. In her case it’s either genetic or microorganisms were involved?
    The only concession being made is:
    and this was in 2010.
    I do have a question for the theory in the link above:
    HOW will microorganisms GET to the lung tissue when thick mucus blocks the majority of them? Wouldn’t it make more sense to look into how these various bacilli (?also virae, e.g. HPV) possibly CAUSE this debiliating illness?

    The anti-smokers’ grip on research seems air tight. It looks like the microbiologists don’t get much cash for (considering the rapid growth of “super-bugs”) researching REAL causes of illnesses.

    Just curious: how much of this is broadcast in the news?

    It looks like the “smoke-free” world will be a “people-free” world. Until that happens I will be content to be a happy smoker regardless what THEY (the anti-smoking lobby) will do to me. Reason will return the day we face REAL threats.

  7. Twenty Rothmans says:

    Tobacco is £35 for 50g here. I see a man filling his pipe with tobacco from dog ends he’s cultivated from ashtrays. I know him. He is an OAP. born in Vienna.
    He now lives in the lucky country.
    My fond regards to the usual suspects, SDB not an option due to time difference.

    • RdM says:

      Oh come on…
      I assume you’re in the semi-mythical land of Oz, now?
      £35 is about AUD 65 presently according to xe dot com, 71 NZD, that about right?

      Whereas 50g Drum here in NZD is $93.90, presently about £46.35
      (Our dollar has slumped a bit since the Coalition Of Losers became the government, but not so long ago is was actually about £50 for 50g… )

      And pipe tobacco even worse, despite manifestly less “harm” …
      50g of Erinmore Flake or Mixture is in 2018, NZD 98.90

      Blinkered ignorant corrupt imadness that needs to be severely challenged!

      Anyway, about the time differences…

      Since both the UK & NZ are at present (until the end of October) in Daylight Saving, midnight there is midday there … and I assume 10am for you in some parts of Oz?

      That’s not too onerous, is it?

      Hey, maybe even 9am? ;=})

      See you there!

      (And when is Mark J going to show up, grace with his presence? ;-)

      • Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

        Haha goodonya RdM… Yes myself and friend Ray fully intended to join the sparkling repartee of the Smoky Drinky Bar but haven’t yet…time, also I have been quite overworked as our Melbourne security consultant quit. Bright spot is I fly into Queenstown in the spectacular NZ Sth Island next Friday, to ‘tramp’ the Hollyford Track with my talented wife for our wedding anniversary. We have already hiked Milford Sound/McKinnon Pass, and Routeburn Track. The self righteous NZ government are even worse thieves than the bullying Australian government! When will this public funded robbery and mass brainwashing propaganda campaign cease…enough has been more than enough for decades. Butt out, prohibitionists.

  8. roobeedoo2 says:

    It would seem Russian ‘hacking’ is the new ‘secondhand smoke’…

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