Due to the move of the blog to Wordpress posts from Jan 2012 onward will have commenting disabled (when I remember to do it)
Cheers - AE

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

When will someone get around to banning bans?

That's not a ban - THIS is a ban!

Via Mummylonglegs and Dick Puddlecote I see that Duncan Bannatyne, the dour Scot out of Dragon's Den, is keeping up the dour Scot act even when British TV owners aren't being forced to pay him for it (despite having a wad so big that NASA recently mistook it for an asteroid on a collision course with a Scottish health resort and golf course). Duncan used to smoke. Duncan doesn't like smoking. Duncan, by the sounds of things, doesn't like smokers. I think both Mummy and Dick smoke and are properly upset. Ladies first.
…..which is worse? A born again Christian or an ex-smoker?

From what I have heard born again Christians are often thought to be full of vim and vigour regarding their conversion and are also believed to be quite hot on converting others. I have come across these peeps and they always appear to be quite happy to say their piece and leave you in peace if you don’t agree with them. An ex-smoker on the other hand, well………
I’ll only be happy if smoking is banned
We should no longer tolerate the minority threatening the lives of the majority.
I have to wonder if Duncan Ban-it-time would be happy if I removed the word 'lives' from that second sentence and substituted 'freedom' or 'liberties'. Still, Mummy is just getting warmed up.
The government’s “de-normalisation” of tobacco is welcome, but it’s taking too long. The Health Bill proposes to restrict cigarette-vending machines in pubs. But they should be banned altogether. Even smokers don’t like them, because they typically give you only 16 cigarettes instead of a normal packet of 20 and cost £6, about £1 more than in the shops. And many pub landlords think the government’s halfway-house proposals are unworkable because bar staff would have to check people’s age ID before operating the machine by remote control.
Duncan, if the Government really were that concerned about the health of the nation they could just make smoking illegal. Why do you suppose they haven’t? (something to do with duty?). Ha ha ha, yes most of us smokers hate vending machines because they are a rip off, but we don’t want them banned, we will pay £6 for 16 rather than not be able to buy any at all. Duh. And many pub landlords now what the fuck they are talking about.
Well, the ones who are still left. The 50 or so per week whose businesses go tits up are probably too fed up to give much of a shit anymore. But I have to agree with Mummy's point here. Any government with a healthy majority could easily pass legislation classifying tobacco as a controlled substance, and because the smell is fairly noticeable and it doesn't have the high of weed they could expect reasonably high compliance. So why don't they? I'd bet the answer is a very simple one - tobacco is heavily taxed and governments of all parties are far more addicted to that revenue than probably any smoker has ever been addicted to the nicotine. They make a lot of noise about helping people give up and 'banning' smoking for everybody's health but really all they've done is bring in a ban that's nothing of the kind (heroin is banned, smokers have merely been put to an inconvenience - don't fucking kid yourselves that that counts as a ban) and put the price up until smuggling is worthwhile and people will seriously think of buying illegal baccy. Well, as long as HMRC is happy with lost revenue going into the pockets of the smugglers I suppose it's nothing to do with me anymore. The buggers had the last money they'll ever see off me a couple of years ago now.

Incidentally, 'de-normalisation', as well as being a word that to me doesn't fall easily off the tongue or look right on the page, is a scary concept. Think about what that means in English rather than this crypto-Newspeak - it means making what is thought of as normal considered abnormal instead. So shall we stop calling this particular spade a person powered soil inversion horticultural device and use a clearer term for it? Might I suggest 'reprogramming'?

Dick Puddlecote on the other hand has gone in for a little psychoanalysis of the BBC's joyless pet porridge wog:
Well, would you credit it? Just what we need right now - yet another selfish, bigoted, closet Nazi from Jockland. Is there something in the fucking water up there? Some severe strain of viral puritanism which turns every kilty into a mouth-frothing paternalist with a sideline in sadistic subjugation of those they consider unclean, once given a badge/microphone/newspaper column?

So, what has this deeply miserable multi-millionaire got to say to back up his anti-social view?
I used to be a smoker.
Ah. I think we know where this is going.
I tried several times to give up, but only lasted a few months before going back. During one of the periods when I was off cigarettes, I went to the pub. Somebody bought a round, then someone passed round a packet of fags. I foolishly took one – I'd had a few drinks – and the next thing I was a smoker again.
Er, Duncs, I've been there myself and do you want to know who I blamed for my succumbing to temptation?


If your willpower isn't that strong, and Jesus smouldering Christ I know from personal experience how strong it needs to be, especially when the fucking gum and nicotine plasters and hypnotittery hasn't worked and willpower is all you've got left, but if resisting temptation in the pub is a struggle then don't go to the fucking pub until you can say no. Personally I simply gave up drinking at the same time and took up driving like a twat when leaving the pub in the hope the cops want to breathalyse me.* It's an irrelevant point to make now anyway - your nanny state mates have stopped it in the pubs, and since their next target seems to be the grog the fact that pub closures are up by more than an order of magnitude is presumably a bonus for the nannying bastards who control Britain.
You see, an ex-smoker will never be a never-smoker. Ask anyone who has ever quit if they would, deep down, want to smoke just one more fag and they will tell you that the urge never leaves.

The brave will just accept this as a fact of life and get on with being a part of the rich diversity of modern living. Selfish cunts like Bannatyne, however, will demand that the rest of society comply with their personal wish to be free of temptation. Even being 176th on the rich list can't take that nagging desire away when a wisp of smoke errs, like a naughty schoolkid, close to their cowardly nostrils.
And here I must disagree with Dick Puddlecote. Read the rest of his rant because it is a thing of beauty, but as I mentioned in the comments on both his and Mummy's blogs not all ex-smokers are like Duncan Bananatime. I gave up a while back and like many smokers it wasn't for the first time, but it's been long enough now that I just don't feel the urge normally. Very rarely I might experience a passing moment where whatever bit of my brain that got the nicotine effect kind of mentions in passing that smoking was really quite nice, but then the money enjoying part says that it's not as nice as having an extra 90 bucks a week and the smelling part - that's my nose, by the way, not my arse - says that actually the smell of tobacco smoke doesn't seem particularly nice anymore, and why don't we just forget about it, eh? And since I started this I've been trying and failing to recall the last time even that happened. So in short I'm as certain as I can be that I've stopped smoking for good.

Yeah, yeah, I know, hoorah for me. The thing is I haven't just given up smoking, I'm over it. As in I just don't care about it. I may not like the smell of tobacco smoke very much but I've lived near a mushroom farm, a landfill and a marsh and on a hot day with the wind from the right direction they all fucking stank. Even the bay here can be a bit niffy from time to time depending on winds and tides. And then there are the arse biscuits of the cats and the dog... what I'm saying here is that on the league table of unappealing smells ciggie smoke really isn't anything special. If smoking wasn't already banned here not allowed in privately owned business premises such as restaurants and pubs I certainly wouldn't avoid ones where the owners still let customers light up. Good food or a good time would get me in the door and a bit of smoke wouldn't drive me out again. Equally if it was shit it wouldn't matter if it was non-smoking. The smoke free air wouldn't make up for a crap meal or whatever. It would be the food and/or the craic, Duncs, not the smoke that decided it for me because I'm over it, see?

I. Just. Don't. Care.

I realise that Duncan Ban-it-now and many other ex-smokers become the worst kind of anti-smoking zealots after they give up the bastard baccy...
Bannatyne has bought into the anti-tobacco movement with every part of his being. So much so, that he is now President of No Smoking Day and a co-opted rep for fake charity, QUIT.
... cheers DP. See? There is a worse thing than an ex-smoker who got converted into an anti-smoking crusader: a filthy rich ex-smoker with a famous face who converted into an anti-smoking crusader. I quit smoking for selfish reasons (i.e. money) and I say smoke or don't smoke, sell tobacco in plain sight or stick it under the counter or don't stock it at all - it's all up to you. I also say that governments who ban smoking in public places make smokers stand outdoors should be told to fuck off and catch a terrorist or something useful, and just leave it up to the business owners. I'll tell you now that there'll be no smoking in my house, but if I was a restaurant owner I'd damn well have a smoking section if I got a lot of custom from people who like a fag after a nice meal.

Oh, oh, oh, but, but, but what about the other customers? Well, you can be certain that there'd be no shortage of all non-smoking places to go if the demand for them was there. If the demand grew large enough that the smoking made too many non-smokers stay away I'd change it to non smoking. That's what happens in a free market when you just let it be and don't fuck with it - supply alters to meet demand and people get a free choice. Did you think I'd go out in the street and drive non smokers in at gun point?

Oh, oh, oh, but, but, but what about your poor staff? Funnily enough, fucknuts, they'd apply for the job of their own volition and hired if they were happy with the terms - including the fact that the place allowed smoking. I wouldn't be dragging them in at gunpoint either.

Why can't the world's Duncan Bansturbates see things that way? Worse still, as Dick Puddlecote points out, even what they've done already isn't enough.
So, has the self-indulgent drivel come to a close yet? Like hell it has.
Smoking should be banned in cars, and particularly any vehicle with children in it.
Duncan. Again, can you please keep to the subject at hand. That's for next week, you caledonian berk.
On a school visit I met a 12-year-boy who wanted to be an athlete who told me that every morning his mother lit up when she was driving to school, even though he'd begged her to stop. He should be able to report her to the police.
Because that was quite effective in 1930s Germany, so it's a proven winner, huh?
This anecdotal 12 year old boy who wants to be an athlete but is being smoked out by his own mother - how very fucking Strength Through Joy that it is, by the way, how very correct it was of him to denounce her to you - but are his legs fucking painted on or something? Shouldn't he be cycling as part of the athlete thing? Then not only would he be improving his fitness but his mother's cigs wouldn't be an issue as he wouldn't be in the car when she's stopped by the brownshirts, dragged from the car, her cigarette extinguished by a boot heel while it's still in her mouth, and carted off to be re-educated er, smoking.

Sadly that has already reached these shores, and while it doesn't affect me the whole illiberal attitude just gets up my hole. As I explained to Dick Puddlecote, at least four states here have or are about to ban smoking in cars. I made a couple of remarks about it putting off DP and other smokers from maybe visiting Oz and spending some much needed dosh in the tourist industry because they'd want to enjoy the holiday, not sit around wondering if the fucking Smoke Police are going to appear and fine them, but it occurs to me that most would be in rental cars and not allowed to smoke by the hire company (fair enough since it's their car). What really hacks me off about it is that it wouldn't be too bad if it was just one or two states. I always thought that living in a country that was a federation of competing states would mean that if you didn't like the law where you were you could bugger off to where it's different without actually having to leave the country**, but if they're all doing the same thing where's the competition bit?

Still, while Mummylonglegs and Dick Puddlecote and others might not want to visit Oz I'm sure Duncan Ballantyne would be tumescent at how much of a pain in the arse it is to be a smoker here. So if he'd like to come over I'd recommend a nice long trip through Australia's marvellous Outback pubs where things are just waiting to sink their teeth into your bell end. Still, as long as it's a no smoking snake, eh? And while you're trying to squeeze it down from the size, shape and colour of a bagpipe reservoir perhaps you'll think about the irony of someone now telling people how to live their lives having once been dishonourably discharged from the Royal Navy... for threatening to throw an officer off a jetty for abusing his authority. What happened, Duncan? Can't beat 'em so joined 'em instead.

* True about the drink, but not about driving like a twat. The cops here have guns and I'm not sure about their sense of humour.
** Federal laws are another matter of course, but you can at least fine tune the legal environment by moving interstate. Yes, you can do it by moving from England or Wales to Scotland and vice versa, but where the choice in the UK is between two options here there are six states and two territories to pick from. Why the fuck can't one of them be fairly liberal?


Dick Puddlecote said...

Inspired piece, AE. And thanks for the link.

I hate you, though, for spotting this.

"This anecdotal 12 year old boy who wants to be an athlete but is being smoked out by his own mother - how very fucking Strength Through Joy that it is, by the way, how very correct it was of him to denounce her to you - but are his legs fucking painted on or something? Shouldn't he be cycling as part of the athlete thing? Then not only would he be improving his fitness but his mother's cigs wouldn't be an issue as he wouldn't be in the car"

After applauding (seriously) as I read it, I then beat myself about the head for not nailing the irony.

We really must have a beer sometime ... but as you pointed out, I wouldn't like Oz. ;-)

Angry Exile said...

Argh, the link [face/palm] Named you but forgot the actual link. Buggery, but fixed now.

Thanks for the comments. There might be bits of Oz you'd like, bits where the pub is 95% corrugated steel sheets and the ash trays were never moved outside because (a) it's too fucking hot out there to stand around with something on fire in your mouth and (b) the nearest cop is based 500 miles away and only comes through once a month. From personal experience I can tell you that these bush pubs are excellent places to enjoy a beer. Shame I gave up drinking as well as smoking really :-D

Dick Puddlecote said...

If they are the type I saw on Croc Dundee all those years ago, I think I'd like them lots.

(and I wasn't having a dig about the link, or lack of, I'm so tired I didn't even notice lol)

Angry Exile said...

...I wasn't having a dig about the link, or lack of, I'm so tired I didn't even notice lol

S'okay, I realise that it was meant literally not sarcastically... and I noticed later that I did put one in in the first place [double face/palm].

The Croc Dundee type pubs, yeah. Can be interesting. Some that really aren't that far off the beaten track can be a bit tourist trap-ish, but the more remote ones where you probably spent several hours off road to get there are much more the thing. The big downside is that you often need to refuel to get home or on to where you're going next, and the price is eye-wateringly expensive in these outback places. Overall I'm looking forward to the next time I go bush.

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