Tiny Influences

I sent my Conservative MP an email yesterday. It’s the first one I’ve sent in about 18 months. I’m not a frequent writer to him.

In large part recently it’s because I thought he would probably be too busy with the internal rifts over Brexit inside the Conservative party. But now that MPs have finished voting for their next leader, I thought he might want to know what some of his constituents are concerned about. And my MP greatly impressed me when he told a number of his constituents in a town hall meeting in June 2016 that he wanted to represent his constituents. How amazing! He wanted to do his job!

Here’s my email:

Dear X,

Is this some stunt by the outgoing Theresa May administration to queer the pitch for what looks set to be Boris Johnson’s new administration?

The Government will vow to get all smokers to either quit the habit entirely or switch to e-cigarettes within the next 11 years

The government has no business getting the British people to do anything. It is instead the business of the government to do the will of the British people.

If this socialistic measure goes ahead, I will never vote Conservative again. And I’m sure that I will be joined by many others as we switch to voting for the new Brexit party, led by the smoking and drinking Nigel Farage, who I bet has no intention whatsoever in forcing smokers to do anything.

Best Regards,


Do these letters and emails have any effect? Of course they do. They get read, and reading them will have an effect on whoever is reading them. It may not be the desired effect, but it will have an effect all the same.

Words have effects. I write a new blog post every day, and a few hundred people read my blog every day, and so I have a slight effect on those people. And some of those readers respond with comments under my blog, and I read all those comments, and so my commenters have an effect on me. That’s how words work.

Back in 2007, when I was living in Devon after the smoking ban came in, I used to encourage people I knew to write to their MPs about it. But they said it was “pointless”, and there was “nothing that could be done.” And that more or less ensured that nothing would be done. Because politicians really only respond to people who tell them things. And if you don’t tell them what you think, they’ll never know. How can they possibly know?

I complain about the public silence about smoking bans, but that silence is as much the silence of smokers as it is the silence of politicians or the mainstream media. It’s the silence of my angry Devon friends, who didn’t write to their MPs because they thought it was “pointless” to write. They all hated the smoking ban just as much as I did, but they thought there was absolutely nothing they could do about it.

It’s very simple: If you say nothing, you won’t be heard.

And I intend to write to my MP again soon, about this:

A Midland hospital trust has warned patients and visitors: ‘If you smoke ANYWHERE on our site you will be fined £50 – even in your car.’

Sandwell and West Birmingham hospitals NHS trust has brought in a zero tolerance ban – and all smoking shelters are now off limits except for vapers.

Bosses are warning that patrols will scour the sites at Sandwell and City Hospitals – dishing out fines to anyone they catch.

And when I write, my words will exert a tiny influence upon whoever reads it. The influence will be so tiny as to have an almost negligible effect. But, over time, the sum of these tiny forces adds up to a very considerable force.

Even if you go down to the sea shore, and a drop a little pebble in the sea, the ripples from it will spread across all the oceans, and all the way round the world. And the sum of all these little ripples is what creates huge storm waves.

About Frank Davis

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10 Responses to Tiny Influences

  1. The great British inertia. We, the proles, might not have it all, but we generally have food, shelter, and a steady diet of dross sport and worse tv to keep us dumb and compliant. Independent thinking is discouraged, and dying out. Our national IQ is not great, thanks to an education system that doesn’t, our politicians are a joke. National institutions, like the heath service, military and police are tied up in knots trying to please everyone, who are all now entitled to a gold service… another pointless rant from me, but thank you for you daily dose of words, it’s a great comfort to know others are in despair too…

  2. Supergran says:

    I agree with you Frank, but the LOUDEST voice should have been the pubs and clubs. I will never forgive them. They never stuck up for me, so I never go to them now (except very occasionally on a summer day). Not for me anymore standing outside in the pissing down, having a cig.

  3. I just nicked your email and sent it to my MP. It’s been a while since I had a spat with jake Berry

  4. beobrigitte says:

    The Government will vow to get all smokers to either quit the habit entirely or switch to e-cigarettes within the next 11 years
    WHAT government in the first place? I thought the anti-smokers were awfully quiet recently. Of course they were. There is not enough of them to keep their terrorism going whilst lobbying possible incoming governments.
    My confidence in ANY incoming prime minister is non-existent. None of them asks the anti-smokers why there are sooooo many baby-boomers left to claim their pension, leading the governments to raise pension age because “we all live longer”.

    And I intend to write to my MP again soon, about this:
    A Midland hospital trust has warned patients and visitors: ‘If you smoke ANYWHERE on our site you will be fined £50 – even in your car.’

    Midland Hospital, MY car is MY property In short, FUCK OFF telling me what I can do in MY property regardless where it is parked. End of. Property rights are settled. No discussions. Stuff your fines.

    Idiotic laws are made to be disobeyed. Anti-smokers, your lobbying will create worse than that. Deal with it.

  5. Smoking Lamp says:

    It’s time to stand up and challenge these attacks on liberty and stop the persecution of smokers.
    The second hand smoke ruse and the corruption fueling the persecution of smokers must be exposed!

  6. Clicky says:

  7. RdM says:

    Just for fun, irrelevantly, shades of inventive idle idiosyncrasy

    “Living Made Easy”

    Two men wearing revolving top hats with several attachments for optical aids and tobacco etc. Coloured etching.
    Science Museum, London


    Some cool images here;- if you click through you can download large images… and a medium size.

    Do as search on ‘tobacco’ and you’ll find all sorts, old books, pamphlets for and against.

    (Try ‘distilling’ as well!) ;=})

  8. Daniel says:

    Well said. We had a prime minister in New Zealand who despite a lotvof protests against the Vietnam war in the 60s said that he knew not many people were concerned because nobody wrote a letter to him on the matter. Letters do count.

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