I always thought that a picture from the ISIS survey illustrated well the impact of smoking bans.
They didn’t effect most people, because most people don’t smoke. And they didn’t effect a lot of smokers that much either, particularly those who entertained friends at home. For them it was an inconvenience.
But for people like me, who conducted the entirety of their social lives in pubs and cafes and restaurants, the smoking ban was not simply an exile to the outdoors, but was a complete expulsion from society. We may as well have been launched by rocket into space, and spent the rest of our lives in orbit around the Earth. Everything changed. And everything changed completely. The world was never the same after 1 July 2007 as it was before it.
Since that day I have been embarked on a journey that I didn’t want to make, watching the world change around me, and watching myself change with it.
One change in me was that I stopped watching TV or reading newspapers. For what I saw on TV was a world to which I no longer belonged, that I was no longer part of, that no longer spoke for me or for people like me. I may as well have been watching Spanish television rather than British television, and not understanding a single word of it.
And gradually I stopped going anywhere. Why should I want to go anywhere when I am not welcome anywhere? Smokers like me are not welcome in cinemas, not welcome in libraries, not welcome in art galleries, not welcome in museums, not welcome on trains or buses, not welcome in hotels, not welcome on planes. And yet once we were welcome in all of them.
The only places left are the gardens outside pubs in summer, where smokers still congregate. I can’t help but think that this was an unforeseen loophole in the law, and that one day smoking will also be banned in pub gardens as it is gradually being banned in other outdoor areas like parks and hospital grounds. And when that happens, my expulsion from society will be complete.
I very occasionally get invited to conferences, or to appear on TV or on radio, but I never go. Why should I want to be on TV? I’m not welcome there either. Nobody is allowed to smoke on TV, unless they’re in some sort of costume drama set in Victorian Britain. I once attended a UKIP conference (uninvited, and without being a member) and spent most of my time sat smoking outside. What’s the point of that?
These days, when I’m interested in global warming/climate change in a thoroughly sceptical way, and spend much of my time constructing computer simulation models of ice ages, I occasionally imagine that I might one day attend a climate conference. But that won’t happen either, because I’m no more welcome in climate conferences than I am in cinemas or pubs or restaurants. So I won’t be going.
I still vote, more or less as a matter of duty. But I’m beginning to wonder why. None of the political parties represents me. And none of them wants to represent me. None of them are proposing to relax smoking bans in any way.
I regard smoking bans as a form of socialism. Socialists want to change society, and change it in fundamental ways. And what was the UK smoking ban but a complete and fundamental change in British society? Usually socialists want to redistribute wealth, bring industries into public ownership, and so forth. But ultimately socialists are people who make plans for everyone, and want to bend everyone to their will. So why not start with smoking bans? They are just as controlling and intrusive as anything else. And they’re a lot cheaper.
Tony Blair and Gordon Brown, who introduced the UK smoking bans, were both socialists. But the nominally-conservative David Cameron did not repeal them. And neither did Theresa May. So they were both just as much socialist as Blair or Brown (or Jeremy Corbyn). All our politicians are socialists. Some are simply more overt than others. And that includes Boris Johnson, because he’s not going to repeal the smoking ban either.
In fact, since Boris has fully adopted climate alarmism, he’s arguably become even more socialist than any of them. For what is global alarmism than an excuse for the complete and radical reconstruction of society in every imaginable way, according to a centrally-devised plan?