What is the World’s Most Serious and Pressing Problem?

A couple of things caught my eye this morning. The first was a headline in the Sun:

Theresa May scraps Brexit vote and vows to beg EU for a new deal – but they’ve already said they WON’T renegotiate

But the second was a remark by one-time Conservative leader William Hague that a second referendum on Brexit would be:

“the most divisive and bitter political conflict in this country in a hundred years.”

I’m not sure it would be. If asked to vote again, I’d just vote the same way I did last time, because I haven’t changed my mind.

But I doubt if I’m going to be asked, for that very reason. So instead, tasked with steering Britain out of the EU, what Theresa May has done has been to simply drive Brexit into the wall. The whole thing has become such a complete and utter shambles that it simply isn’t going to happen. And that’s exactly what the European political class wanted.

But is Brexit “the most divisive and bitter political conflict in a hundred years”? I suppose some people would say it is.

But I can’t say that I wake up every day thinking about Brexit and the EU. I only get interested and engaged in these matters from time to time. For essentially Brexit is of concern primarily for people in Britain, and secondarily for people in Europe. Nobody else is much interested in it.

How about something more global in scope as a cause for concern, like the one highlighted in the Guardian of 6 Dec 2018?

Compared to the threat of climate change, Brexit is a distraction

With Guardian readers writing that

Our national government is focusing on Brexit, which is merely a distraction in the face of what is the greatest threat our species has ever faced.

and

Climate change is the greatest issue the world is facing and readers can’t have the message highlighted enough.

Well, I can’t say that I wake up every morning thinking about global warming.

How about Donald Trump?

Donald Trump is ‘greatest threat to international security’, says former MI6 head

And clearly there are a lot of people who still can’t accept that Donald Trump beat Hillary Clinton to become President of the United States. It seems to be the only thing that some of them think about.

But, again, I can’t say that I wake up every morning worrying about Donald Trump.

So what do I wake up thinking about every day?

The smoking ban. That is the single most divisive and bitter event in the entire 70+ years of my life. It shattered the culture in which I lived. It shattered all the friendships I once had. After the smoking ban I became an exile in my own country. I became an outsider.

Brexit didn’t do that. Global warming didn’t do that. Donald Trump didn’t do that. Only the UK smoking ban of 1 July 2007 had that effect on me. And since the entire world has been buried in recent years under a deluge of smoking bans, there’ll be the same shattered cultures, and broken friendships and exile and exclusion everywhere else in the world.

Brexit is a serious matter, but it’s really only a serious matter for Britain and Europe. Global warming may be a serious matter for the entire world, but it isn’t a problem right now, because the sea levels haven’t been rising.  And if Domald Trump is a problem for some people right now, he’s not going to be one for very much longer, because he’s already half way through his term in office.

But smoking bans are having serious social and economic impacts, right now, all over the world. I think that they have opened up deep divisions in societies everywhere, and these divisions are going to grow deeper. I think they’re going to be seen one day to have been catastrophic political mistakes.

But what do you think?

About Frank Davis

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22 Responses to What is the World’s Most Serious and Pressing Problem?

  1. Rose says:

    Brexit is the most serious and pressing problem in my opinion.

    Particularly for this wretched EU resolution inflicted on the British public and gold-plated by the Blair government.

    Smoking Ban

    Document 41989X0726
    Resolution of the Council and the Ministers for Health of the Member States, meeting within the Council of 18 July 1989 on banning smoking in places open to the public

    NVITES THE MEMBER STATES:

    to take the following measures by introducing legislation or by other methods in accordance with national practices and conditions:

    1. Ban smoking in enclosed premises open to the public which form part of the public or private establishments listed in the Annex. Member States may add to the said list;

    2. Extend the ban on smoking to all forms of public transport;

    3. Provide, where necessary, for clearly defined areas to be reserved for smokers in the above establishments and, if possible, in public transport, particularly for long journeys;

    4. Ensure that in the event of a conflict, in areas other than those reserved for smokers, the right to health of non-smokers prevails over the right of smokers to smoke;
    https://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/EN/TXT/?uri=CELEX%3A41989X0726

  2. Vlad says:

    I voted ‘other – junk science’…that’s at the root of most problems, from anti-smoking to BS eating guidelines to climate change.

  3. Judd says:

    Didn’t think i would be agreeing with Hague.
    Yes another referendum would be a nation dividing act, because it would not be a re-run of the previous question as we well know, it would be weasel worded to ether split the leave vote or no option to leave (as in clean break WTO terms) at all.

    It is however what i expect to happen because the chief liar herself has already ruled it out, and anything coming from her lips should be assumed to be diametrically opposite to truth or fact.

    Bring it on, prove once and for all to even the most blinkered that the tory party is the party of ultimate betrayal and treason, on a par with modern labour, which was once the party of the working class but since the reign of lucifer/blair especially has come to detest their core voters almost as much as Cameron and May detest their own core voters.

    It will be pleasure indeed seeing the 17.4 million destroying both of these parties, neither of which are worth the time of day.

    Once there is common sense back in politics, and the legion of empty vessels making the most noise are put back in their cradles, there is every chance the smoking ban could be revisited.

  4. Grandad says:

    I voted Other – Politicians. Sort them out and that should fix the rest.

  5. DP says:

    Dear Mr Davis

    Unquestionably to my mind the biggest problem we face is Brexit and The Great Betrayal of the British people.

    We voted to leave the debilitating regulation of the EU.

    Once we regain control of our affairs we can address all the other issues of politicians, junk science, smoking bans, vile taxes, climate change and all the other irritants that our beloved government is wasting our time and treasure upon.

    One can but hope that the people who voted to quit the EU’s suffocating embrace will be less inclined to suffer the same from politicians and bureaucrats close to home and over whom they have, theoretically more control: they just need to make that control in practice.

    DP

    PS You lost “world’s” between headline and poll question. My answer to the “world’s most pressing and serious problem” is “Other” – but I have no idea what.

  6. Smoking Lamp says:

    I voted smoking bans. My rationale: smoking bans are the baseline instrument for instituting broad social controls and sowing societal disintegration and discord. Smoking bans are based on lies (or at least gross exaggerations) and manipulate the public in order to impose draconian restrictions on personal and collective liberties. The elite imposing smoking bans actively surpasses all dissent and censor discussion of opposition to the bans. The smoking ban/tobacco control temple is now being applied to all sorts of personal conduct ranging from drinking alcohol or soft drinks, earring meat, etc. Smoking bans were (are) the pilot project for removing political and social rights.

  7. Dmitry Kosyrev says:

    I voted “other”, mentioning the mad variety of feminism. Basically it’s the same as smoking bans, destroying the very fabric of societies (if nobody stops the mad ladies). The world consisted of smokers and non-smokers, women and men, and here there are people driving these parts of the world against each other.
    Imagine your life without women, when you are afraid of even looking at them. Imagine the idea that women (or men) may be a mortal threat, your enemies. Imagine that the days when them and you had exqusite fun are over. No flowers, no poetry and music – or very different poetry or music, no family as we knew it. You think it’s impossible? We thought smoking bans were impossible, too.
    The difference is that we more or less know that we do fight the TC and may succeed, but we still haven’t even the idea of how to fight that new threat to the very basics of our lives. In the first case we have the right words, at least – while in the second case we are still looking for words (borrowing yet another Frank’s expression).

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Now this from Spain: “Number of smokers in Spain reaches pre-smoking ban levels”
    https://elpais.com/elpais/2018/12/11/inenglish/1544523691_230754.html

    A new survey has revealed that 34% of Spaniards smoke cigarettes every day, compared to 32.8% when the anti-tobacco law was introduced. Of course the antismoker response is too impose even more draconian restrictions on smoking. According to Francisco Rodríguez Lozano, the president of the European Network for Smoking Protection (ENSP), ” Spain should adopt measures that have had success in other countries, such as banning smoking at the beach and in vehicles.”

    • Joe L. says:

      This is great news! It highlights the fact that smoking bans accomplish absolutely nothing. If more stories like this begin to surface, we will see no new smoking bans instituted, and we will slowly see existing smoking bans repealed. Governments will no longer be able justify the costs of imposing smoking bans if data indicates they are completely ineffective at achieving the “endgame” of eliminating smoking. I don’t think Spain is an anomaly here; I’d like to see more studies like this conducted worldwide. Arnott, Glantz et al might want to start looking for new lines of work.

  9. slugbop007 says:

    I just did some research on M. Lozano. He is being sponsored by the EU.

    Journal development is co-funded by the 3rd Health Programme of the European Commission.

    You are paying taxes to support these people. Bring on Brexit!

    slugbop007

  10. slugbop007 says:

    They wrote this disclaimer at the very bottom of the page:

    This journal is currently funded by the Health Programme of the European Union Neither the European Commission nor any person acting on behalf of the European Commission is responsible for the use which might be made of the information contained herein. The views in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policies of the European Commission.

    In this case they most certainly do.

    slugbop007

  11. slugbop007 says:

    Here is the link:

    http://www.tobaccopreventioncessation.com/Author-Francisco-Rodriguez%20Lozano/30563

    Can’t we do something to make his life miserable? I would not be surprised if he doesn’t even have a degree in medicine.

    slugbop007

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      He may be a grifter but he has degrees; looks like his specialty is dentistry and tobacco control:

      Francisco Rodriguez Lozano – President of ENSP

      • Medical Doctor, Univ. Zaragoza
      • Specialist in Dentistry, Univ. Complutense Madrid
      • Magister in Tobacco Control, Univ. Cantabria
      • President of CNPT (National Committee on Tobacco Control), 2011- 2015
      • President of ENSP (European Net for Smoking Prevention), 2015- nowadays
      • Vice-president of CED (Council of European Dentists), 2008 2011
      • Board member of SEDET (Spanish Society of Tobacco Management and Control Specialists), 2007-10
      • General Secretary of Spanish Dental Association, 2006-2010
      • Associated professor in the Magister in Tobacco Dependence Management, Univ. of Cantabria and Sevilla
      • Author of different guidelines on smoking cessation for dentistry professionals
      • Lobby work with Spanish parliamentarians, union representatives and journalists for the

  12. waltc says:

    For me, personally, the bans, but I can’t be that narrow. Moving out concentrically from there, political correctness and the divisiveness it breeds which seems to be international (and includes Dmitri’s women v men–which I Think will be self-limiting–as well as the political, racial and other manufactured divisions that may not be so easily and necessarily cured. I care about Bexit because I think it’s emblematic of the whole struggle against the demagogic, control-freak “elites” and a victory would be the first domino in their fall. Domestically, I have the same concerns here as I do for England.

  13. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Eloquently expressed by all, and most perceptive. My survey answer was ‘other’: hard coercive paternalism and government hyperregulation generally.

    The obesity ‘epidemic’ is the latest target of sanctimonious politicians and fellow traveller ‘public health’ (now a euphemism for temperance and prohibition) tax and ban bullies here in Paternalism Central, aka Australia, now a police nanny state.

    Here is but one example of the arrogant ‘we know best’ dictatorial mentality, lifted from the tobacco bully song sheet, using ‘find and replace’ tobacco with ‘unapproved’ sugar, and calories from any foodstuffs other than mung bean and tofu paste with a side dish of organic kale…
    https://www.canberratimes.com.au/lifestyle/health-and-wellness/obesity-a-problem-worth-fighting-20181210-p50l8l.html

    That article is further to a ‘public health’ item last week, stating that poorer people would ‘benefit’ the most from a (failed, catch up!) sugar tax as they spend proportionally more on fizzy drinks, cordials and ‘soda’. I wrote to the editor asking when being forced to pay lifestyle extortion tax was redefined as a ‘benefit’. My brief pithy 98 word missive was binned. As usual, those directly affected by such illiberal prohibitionist policies are denied any voice, needing guidance from the infallible state.

    And yes, Brexit is fascinating, to me mainly because I wonder how the 600 or so Irish border crossings will be controlled. Back to being a smugglers paradise if there is a sin tax/VAT differential…

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  16. Charles Burns says:

    I would say that some of us in the USA follow Brexit with hope and interest. Britain is our parent, from whom we had to break away from by force, to form what once was the best republic ever. But now, socialism has made deep inroads and so, well, we want to see our parent strike a decisive blow for freedom, for once. So sad it may well not happen

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