Like-Minded People

Whatever happened to the sinister, well-funded organisation known as Common Purpose?

Common Purpose is a British-founded charity that runs leadership development programmes around the world. Common Purpose UK is a subsidiary of Common Purpose.

“We develop leaders who can cross boundaries”

There was, as I recall, a good deal of alarm about it 10 years or so ago. The idea was that, in a time of crisis, the leaders that Common Purpose had trained would step out of the shadows and become, well,… leaders. As if, somehow or other, leadership skills could be taught just like carpentry skills or cooking skills or writing skills. It sounded like a thoroughly scary organisation, particularly since its initials – CP – were the same as those of the Communist Party.

It still seems to be around. But its promised army of new leaders seems to have failed to materialise. And nobody seems to talk about them any more.

But it occurred to me this morning that more or less any new movement or organisation must share a common purpose. It will be made up of like-minded people, with shared experiences and shared beliefs. Initially they will meet up in cafes and bars and each others’ homes, and they’ll all be complete nobodies, and they’ll have no money.

There might even just be five of them. Call them Charles and Michael and Brian and William and Keith. And they meet up regularly. And initially they won’t even have a name for themselves. But, after they have attracted interest, and begin to get paid to display their skills, they start calling themselves The Rolling Stones, and they form a company with its own logo and its own unique product. And they all become very rich and famous. And they become an institution.

Much the same happened with Greenpeace, which was formed by a few like-minded people in Canada, and also grew into a global institution.

Or, once again, there might be people with a shared interest in physics, who meet up and discuss new ideas. People like Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr and Werner Heisenberg, and they come up with ideas which fairly rapidly become institutionalised as Quantum Electrodynamics.

And they all make the transition from being penniless nobodies to rich and famous institutions. But in this transition process they become rigid and dogmatic and repetitive. After a while they have nothing new to say. And that’s what’s happened to the Rolling Stones, and Greenpeace and Quantum Electrodynamics. They’ve become fossilised. And they’ve become monsters.

And Tobacco Control has followed the same development trajectory. Some 50 or 100 years ago it was made up of a few like-minded people, all of whom hated tobacco, and who gradually became more and more influential. And in a world in which absolutely everybody came to know with perfect certainty that Smoking Causes Lung Cancer, it was hardly surprising if they found lots of support from a great many like-minded people. And so it became powerful and influential. Tobacco Control became a dogmatic, rigid institution. And of course it became a monster too.

And when they become monsters, they start to lose support. People drift away. I used to be a Rolling Stones fan, back when Brian Jones was their presiding genius. But after he’d gone they became a boring, repetitive R&B band, and I drifted away. And they became an institution. And now they’re an ageing dinosaur, and a kind of monster.

But the Rolling Stones remain a rather benign monster. They don’t do any harm. And Quantum Electrodynamics also remains benign. But Greenpeace, and the Green movement, have gradually turned into something malignant. They’ve become bullies. And Tobacco Control has now become an utterly malignant – in fact satanic – institution. With its bullying and browbeating, it does a stupendous amount of harm. And this is why it must be destroyed. Even if it takes 100 years to do it, Tobacco Control must be destroyed. For, if the Rolling Stones were united by their love of music, and Greenpeace were united by their love of the natural world, and Quantum Electrodynamics grew out of a love of science, Tobacco Control is united by a shared hatred of something. All that Tobacco Control has ever had to give to the world is its hatred, and that is all that has done.

But one result of this is that smokers all over the world now have the shared grim experience of the exile and exclusion and persecution that Tobacco Control has brought them. Smokers are a new group of like-minded people, united in a shared experience in much the same way that 4 or 5 young men were united in the shared experience of the boredom and tedium and sameness of post-war Britain, where about the only thing to do was to strum on guitars in their bedrooms.

Smokers are going to come together. And in fact they already are, in small ways. Most of them are, as ever, penniless nobodies. They have no voice. They have no influence. But that’s were everything always starts. It starts with a few like-minded people, with a shared experience. And it slowly gathers momentum. And it gathers support, because a great many people all over the world have been through the same grim experience. It will become a brotherhood (and sisterhood) of smokers, and it will be as much the product of persecution as was Christianity.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Like-Minded People

  1. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    It is true, disobedient smokers are heretics for challenging the received dogmatic orthodoxy of “everyone knows” smoking is the cause of…(insert hated medical condition or negative consequences as desired).
    I for one am not yet penniless, but going that way from subsidising other taxpayers at about $4800 per annum (£2618, tax only, not total purchase price) for the privilege of continuing to smoke, not yet being hung, drawn and quartered, or pelted with rotten tomatoes.
    My Ukrainian affiliated tobacco merchant told me today the Arizona state dept of bullying smokers shut down their site because the merchant has no licence to sell tobacco in that US state, another continent. Changes demanded by the arid desert bullies were made, but they haven’t released control over the site of a totally legitimate business meeting consumer free choice and demand, or replied to correspondence.
    Arrogant overreach, of questionable legality (extraterritorial jurisdiction?). Recent history tends to indicate the US lacks foreign policy: but does have domestic policy, inflicted on the rest of the world. 🌏

  2. garyk30 says:

    OT, reply to request for 21% of lung cancers being current smokers.
    Table 2
    Current smokers = 21% of lung cancers

  3. Igrowmyown says:

    According to the Royal Brompton doctors”never smoking lung cancer will be the predominant type of lung cancer within the next 10 years” in todays daily mail. Non-smoking lung cancer?

    • Frank Davis says:


      6,000 Brits who have never smoked die of lung cancer annually, with rates rising

      Scientists say non-smokers will overtake smokers among sufferers in a decade

      Lead author Professor Paul Cosford, medical director of Public Health England, said: ‘For too long, having lung cancer has only been thought of as a smoking-related disease.

      ‘This remains an important association but, as this work shows, the scale of the challenge means there is a need to raise awareness with clinicians and policy makers of the other risk factors, including indoor and outdoor air pollution. By delivering on the promise of a clean air generation we can reduce the number of lung cancers among those who have never smoked.’

      Separate research published by the Royal Brompton Hospital in London found the number of lung cancer operations among non-smokers had doubled in six years.

      It said non-smokers made up 13 per cent of lung cancer cases at the hospital in 2008, but that rose to 28 per cent by 2014. The Royal Brompton doctors said ‘never-smoking lung cancer will be the predominant type of lung cancer within the next ten years’.

      Professor Mick Peake of University College London Hospital, who co-authored the new paper, said: ‘Despite advances in our understanding, most people who have never smoked do not believe they are at risk and often experience long delays in diagnosis, reducing their chances of receiving curative treatment.

      ‘The stigma of smoking has been the major factor behind the lack of interest in, knowledge of and research into lung cancer. Therefore, in many ways, never-smokers who develop lung cancer are, as a result, disadvantaged.’

      • Rose says:

        Dr Kitty Little

        “Since the effect of the anti-smoking campaign has been to prevent the genuine cause from being publicly acknowledged, there is a very real sense in which we could say that the main reason for those 30,000 deaths a year from lung cancer is the anti-smoking campaign itself.”

        Quitters finish first
        Health warning: giving up smoking can kill

        “The danger of cigarettes is mostly not in smoking them, argues a study by three doctors at the KS Hegde Medical Academy in Mangalore, India. Or, put another way: the danger comes from not smoking. Figuratively blowing smoke in the face of conventional wisdom, the study asks: “Are lung cancers triggered by stopping smoking?”

        Arunachalam Kumar, Kasaragod Mallya and Jairaj Kumar take little for granted. They begin: “The clinically high correlation between smoking and carcinoma of the lungs has been the focal point in societal campaigns against the habit and the tobacco lobby.” But their experience with patients suggests to them a different, seldom-told story. “We are struck by the more than casual relationship between the appearance of lung cancer and an abrupt and recent cessation of the smoking habit in many, if not most, cases.”

        Experience is their guide, numerically speaking. Of the 312 lung cancer patients they treated during a four-year period, 182 had recently quit smoking. The report goes into detail. “Each had been addicted to the habit no less than 25 years, smoking in excess of 20 sticks a day. The striking direct statistical correlation between cessation of smoking to the development of lung malignancies, more than 60% plus, is too glaring to be dismissed as coincidental.”

    • Joe L. says:

      This is clear evidence that lung cancer is not a “smoking-related” disease. If both smokers and non-smokers are subject to developing lung cancer, then simple arithmetic will show you that as smoking rates decline (and thus the number of smokers), the number of non-smokers developing lung cancer will grow, whereas the number of smokers developing lung cancer will decrease. This should also hold true for all other “smoking-related” diseases. If these diseases were truly linked to smoking, then the overall rates of incidence should closely follow smoking rates. There wouldn’t be an inverse increase in incidence among non-smokers.

  4. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Non smoking lung cancer is mainly caused by diesel fumes. This was always the case.

  5. Igrowmyown says:

    The reason for questioning “non-smokers lung cancer” is because what they are really saying (but dare not admit) is that not smoking will leave you more susceptible to lung cancer in 10 years time. Various theories have been propounded over the decades but non have been proven as yet. My favourite is fungi, bacteria and viruses.

  6. waltc says:

    I wouldn’t blame deisel either. Most people aren’t exposed to that much for that long. Genetics. Age. Random chance. And/Or X.

    • Joe L. says:

      I agree, Walt. The whole supposition that these “smoking-related” diseases can take upwards of 40 years to materialize is absurd, and indicates that they are not influenced by environmental factors at all. The more likely explanation is that these are genetically-coded, age-related diseases.

    • RdM says:

      I would blame diesel.
      Where I live, it’s hideous, over multiple city blocks.

      Walking uphill, or even on a level, if you have to pass 3-5 idling buses in a row as a pedestrian, with nowhere to escape to to breathe fresh air, you feel threatened.
      Even more if they take off in front of you, belching obvious diesel smoke ahead . . .

      Poisonous;- I hold my breath.

      Cleanliness of diesel, disputed, quality of refinery.
      Ideally soot & water, but if not what other hydrocarbons are surfing along?


  7. Smoking Lamp says:

    The realization that the lung cancer justification for persecuting smokers has been steadily mounting for the past several years. Of course the hypothesis was always suspect-until the antismokers captured the public health movement and actively suppressed all dissenting opinions.

    Here is the Guardian’s take: “‘You do think: why me?’ The shocking rise of lung cancer in non-smokers”

  8. jameshigham says:

    Deep in Momentum too these CP people according to Labour people I spoke with.

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