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Frank Davis

Banging on about the Smoking Ban

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Nazi Era Britain
The War on Smoking has been running for a long, long time. But in the UK until 3 years ago, it relied almost entirely on persuasion. Now it's straight coercion. The law has been invoked to ban smoking almost everywhere. And that's coercion.

And the reason for this, I suspect, was simply that smokers had become a minority. And because they'd become a minority, they'd become easy to kick around. Particularly since they weren't organised. And because they were scattered evenly across the country.

After all, let's face it, it wouldn't have been possible to ban smoking in pubs in the Britain of the 1950s, when something like 80% of men smoked (87% of the doctors in the 1954 British Doctors study were smokers. And 98% of all the patients in the 1950 London Hospitals study were smokers). There would have been uproar if smoking in pubs had been banned then, much as doctors may have wanted it banned.

No, instead there was a long campaign of persuasion, gradually scaring people away from smoking. There was no other way.

Until, that is, the numbers of smokers had fallen from 80% or more of the male population to 25%. Then the velvet glove could come off, and the iron fist could come out.

And even then, it has to be said that the iron fist is being used with restraint. Tobacco is still something that can be legally bought and sold in Britain. And smokers aren't being sent to gas chambers.

But if the numbers of smokers were to fall to, say, 3% of the population, it's entirely possible - indeed likely - that exactly this would happen.

After all, given how smokers are now treated while they comprise 20 - 25% of the population, is it likely that they'll be treated any better when they comprise 3% of the population? No, it isn't. They'd be treated far, far worse. And by that I do mean gas chambers.

And the same will happen with alcohol. The only reason that beer and wine hasn't been banned is because a lot more people consume alcohol than smoke tobacco. And so it can't be banned. Not yet. But if the number of drinkers in the population can be somehow reduced to 25%, then the iron fist can come out for them too.

And then the meat eaters, and the tea and coffee drinkers, and the chocaholics.

In many ways [Ed: No, not 'in many ways'! In every way, and in all ways.], the 'science' behind which these various restrictions and bans advance is pure propaganda. It's not science at all, and never has been. It's simply that people are more ready to believe something when a scientist in a lab coat says it. Or a doctor with a name like Sir Richard Doll or Sir Liam Donaldson. These people are trusted. And so they are the people who make up the velvet glove concealing the iron fist beneath. They're there to persuade and cajole and "nudge" the mass of the population towards the critical 25% point where the velvet glove can be tossed aside, and the rack and thumbscrews brought out.

It's power politics, pure and simple. And if you ask them why they're doing it, the honest answer will be: Because We Can. Once we've got the numbers down to three against one, then we know we can win. It's how street gangs work. They won't attack anyone one to one. Nor even two to one. But when it's three to one or better, they come in with their fists swinging.

We now have street gangs in power in Britain.

Think that David Cameron isn't a gang leader? He was a member of the Bullingdon club. Like Boris Johnson too. Ever see A Clockwork Orange? That's David Cameron and his droogies. Yes, I know he listens to Bach or Sibelius or whatever.

If he isn't, explain to me why he hasn't just closed down ASH straight away. It's simply an organisation which lives off persecuting smokers. Why is it still in existence? Because David Cameron wants it to remain in existence. He could have closed it down yesterday, but he didn't. Instead, we've had a new flood of calls for further restrictions on smokers. Why? Because ASH and co know they're safe under the Coalition. And they know they'll get exactly what they want.

We have arrived at a Nazi era in Britain.

Can't happen here? Ask the Germans. They were, in the time of the Nazis, probably the most highly cultured nation in Europe. Lots of scientists and philosophers and artists and composers and writers. Squillions of them, in fact.

There are more of us than there are of you. In fact, chummy, there are three times as many of us as there are of you. Might is right, in modern Britain. And as all hell is being beaten out of Britain's smokers, nobody bats an eyelid. Just like nobody batted an eyelid over the Jews in Nazi Germany, against whom the odds were about 30:1. Which allowed far more draconian measures against them, of course. 30:1 is much better than 3:1. (Jews comprised 3% or less than the population of Germany.) But real Nazis are far more ambitious these days.

I'll probably be beaten to death in some cell somewhere one day. After all, I'm quite easy to find. I post under my real name. And I really do live in Devon.

I just hope that, when I'm lying there dying on the floor, having vomited up my entire intestinal tract under the rain of blows, that I'll have begun to match up to the courage of Francis Bernard Bassett, the Spitfire pilot from whom I take my name.

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'The law has been invoked to ban smoking almost everywhere. And that's coercion.'

no, that's more intimidation. as you know coercion implies persuasion and a ban is not persuasive but proscriptive. coercion and persuasion still leave a semblence of choice, proscription leaves no choice and hence is not coercive,you are not asked anymore, you are not presented with choice and you are told what you may or may not do. as an adult.

that might seem like nitfuggery but it isn't because coercion always implies at some level that an understanding is being reached by persuasion or persuasive methods and i cannot remember being asked about whether i would like smoking to be banned anywhere, as in i have not been asked or voted for, any smoke free areas,but i have been told where i may smoke or not.

and it is pure intimidation, for, should i chose to ignore the banning of smoking in certain areas i may be fined, or, more correctly, i am made aware that if i chose to ignore a smoking ban i will place myself in a position where another can chose to punish me for ignoring that ban. the perversity is if i am a tax payer, which to my mind includes the tax i pay on my tobacco goods, that tax may end up paying for the enforcer of the ban including court costs etc.

'And the reason for this, I suspect, was simply that smokers had become a minority. And because they'd become a minority, they'd become easy to kick around. Particularly since they weren't organised. And because they were scattered evenly across the country.'

to be honest, for me it was that i didn't think they would go so far as what they did, they've gone to stupidoclock. no smoking in schools, hospitals etc, made sense, work too and enclosed spaces in general fine, but bus stops, train stations, pubs and clubs, cars and homes, no, that is simply controlling and quite quite spiteful. you do not want to go to a club or pub or restaurant where people smoke, fine, go to another one instead.

Nice and Nazi

There are very strong connections between the progressive movement and the Nazi movement. The links are explored in many places, but this is a good start: The American roots of facsism (http://ray-dox.blogspot.com/2006/05/american-roots-of-fascism-american.html)

The parallel to the Nazi regime becomes even stronger if you look at the beginnings of the extermination machine they developed.

The first group to be systematically killed were those with learning disabilities (or the retarded if you prefer the term). Except they called it euthanasia and defended it as an act of kindness, of humanity, putting them out of their misery.

I've been wondering how far away we are from smoking being classified as a mental illness, on the grounds that it is clearly, according to their 'science', both self-destructive and destructive of others. If that were to happen then we are a hair's-breadth away from compulsory detention. And forcible treatment.

PT Barnum

I don't think the proportion of smokers will go much below 20% in the next few years. California and Australia both claim 16% but a paper from NZ showed that people start to lie about their smoking habits when a lot of pressure is placed upon them. In the USA, thousands of companies will not employ smokers and smoking is an issue for health insurance. I imagine people habitually lie when surveyed about smoking. Smoking appears to be on the increase in Ireland and is not decreasing in England. I thought fewer young people would take it up because of the inconvenience of bans.
The attempts at decreasing alcohol consumption haven't a prayer. The reason is simply homebrew.

Anon 10.20,

For sure, they’ve got a way to go on alcohol, but don’t be too sure that they won’t get there in the end. They certainly will if we the public (drinkers and non-drinkers alike) rest on our laurels and say “they’ll never be able to do that” – exactly like smokers did all those years ago. Back in the 1970’s or 80’s, the idea that the number of people smoking would be so diminished, and that pressure groups like ASH would have seemingly unfettered influence to persuade our elected representatives to legislate against us would have been unthinkable, but look where we are now.

The first step, as Frank points out, is to reduce the numbers to a “bully-able” proportion and, given the public’s immense capacity to believe unquestioningly anything they read which is purported to be “scientifically proven,” this might be an easier task than the small minority of us who view such stories with scepticism might realise.

It took around half a century for the anti-smoking movement to get from its early roots to where it is now. Along the way, they discovered which tactics were successful and which were not; which campaigns the public responded to and which they didn’t; and – perhaps most importantly – they discovered how to wheedle their way into the hearts and minds of the rich and powerful to garner increasing funds and support to further their agenda. As a result they’ve left a wonderful, tried-and-tested template for other prohibitionist movements to follow which will enable them to move much more swiftly and efficiently than the anti-smoking movement was able to. Without strong and active objection from the public (for this is the only thing which will stop them), I would anticipate the anti-alcohol movement experiencing the same “rise to greatness” in about a quarter of the time it took the anti-smoking movement.

And homebrew? Simple. Once they’ve persuaded enough people that “alcohol kills” they’ll just make it illegal.

Nazi era all over. Here too (Canada). Totally concur with the rationale of your article. Well put!

Ranty Reports

Off topic Frank, but I wanted you to know.

Your site is banned in Libya.

Odd really, as everyone smokes. Everywhere. All the time.

Still, I felt compelled to inform you.


How interesting! Are you quite sure? Like, when you typed in the address, did a message come up saying, "Libyans are not allowed to read this filthy garbage!"

I feel rather proud. I'm banned in Libya! Yay!!!


Great comments by everybody. I'm too sleepy to reply.

I sometimes wonder why I get such great, well-thought-out, literate comments. They're often better than the piece under which they appear.

Sometimes it almost gives me hope in the human race.



You may or may not be aware of the speech made by Andrew Lansley at the BMA meeting. Simon Clark has a reference. Worth looking at.

Anon 05.57. I agree with your analysis of strategy yet I do maintain alcohol is different. Every harmful consequence of drinking has now shown up and the risk is low apart from with very high alcohol consumption. By using the joker card of passive smoking, anti-smoking has prevented its subsequent use. Everyone involved has admitted that passive smoking was never a real issue, but a ruse to try and decrease active smoking. With the advent of the www, people have got wise to Government-backed scientific fraud. Passive drinking won't gain a foothold. Drinking doesn't make your clothes smell. Nobody stands outside his office smoking. Without searching people's homes, home-brewing cannot be prevented. You need only 3 lbs of sugar for a gallon of wine or plain alcohol liquor. Sugar is used in cooking in large quantities. Could cigarettes be banned if they were made of hay?

Sorry, should be "office drinking".

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