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Current Mood: Angry

I went to the Chinese takeaway earlier on to get me dinner, and came back incandescent with rage. Not because of the food, but because the nice lady who runs it asked me if I wanted a newspaper to read while waiting, and I said yes. So, she gave me the Sunday Times (Northampton is one of the more highbrow chavtowns) and down at the bottom of page 1 was a little story with a headline something like, “Pssst, Can I Have Some You-Know-What Please?” about the fact that our glorious government has decided enforce plain tobacco packaging. Here it is in the Daily Mail.

There are times when I take some leave from the blogosphere and pretty much stop looking at the news, because it just makes me angry and I need a break from the stress. Because, for me, pretty much everything that happens at the social and political level is something I don’t want to happen. The tide is eternally flowing in the opposite direction to that in which I wish it were flowing. I cannot think of a single new law, or new initiative, or economic policy, which I have approved of in more years than I care to remember. I feel as if I am living in a nation of aliens; or rather, that I am alone alien teleported into 21st century Britain and trying to understand and survive it. I increasingly feel like I’ve nothing in common with everyone around me. How can I be so out of step with public opinion? Is everyone else mad, or is it me?

My anger at this latest announcement is beyond my ability to describe. The English language does not have sufficiently extreme adjectives. “Incandescent” seems far too mild. I feel like, if I met one of the Righteous, perhaps on the way back from the Chinese, I would be unable to restrain myself from violence against them. I feel that way because I know they hate me, and thus to hate them in turn is a normal reaction. They hate me with the same intensity that Nazis hated the Jews, Communists hated the kulaks, the Ku Klux Klan hated blacks. They want to do me harm; they lie awake nights figuring out how to do me harm.

I feel scared.

I wonder how far this puritan phase will run for before it runs out of steam, or there is a backlash. We know who the next targets are already, and the run-up against them is already underway; drinkers of course, and fat people. And meat eaters. Oh, and off-message Christians, caught in the crossfire of progressivist groups emulating the religious struggle in the USA. Maybe ten years from now, Bibles will have to be sold in a plain cover, like pornography.

So anyway. Why does this matter so much? Who cares about packaging anyway? Well, it matters because it is another step forward for the Enemy, in general terms. But it is a remarkable step forward. According to the Times and the Mail, tobacco will be sold “without branding”. No brands.

Think about that for a moment. If it is being reported correctly, they are taking a step never taken before in western economic history, which is to ban the identification of particular products. The reports say there will be nothing on the packets except a picture of a dead baby with its guts torn out and “a smoker did this” as a caption (or, a health warning as it is politely called).

How do you order a product when it has no name? Will it be like the pop singer Prince, and we’ll have to ask for “25g of the product formerly known as Golden Virginia”? And if the packet is blank, how can you know what the shopkeeper has given you? It could be anything. It probably will be. It seems that there will be nothing sold but generic “tobacco”. If this goes ahead, presumably a few years down the road you will only be able to buy blank bottles of generic “beer” and “wine”. No Bombardier or 6X or Spitfire, no Merlot or Beaujolais. Just generics. Probably just stamped “alcohol- deadly poison”.

To remove branding is to remove the possibility of choice, that most glorious consequence of free market capitalism. Branding is the most wonderful thing, because it is a manifestation of the reality that products are not fungible. We don’t just buy “bread”. We buy Warburtons Soft White Farmhouse or Hovis Brown or what have you. A brand identifies the manufacturer; it allows you to make market judgements like “that was good last time, I’ll have that type again”. Without it, you cannot exert your will in the marketplace.

Which of course is what those evil people, the Progressives, want.

They can often be found eulogising the good old days before brands, and advertising. When you went to a local shop for local people instead of a nasty supermarket, and got “eggs” and “flour” and “cheese” and there was one type of each and that was that, and it might be different each time. You had no idea. Branding changed all that. Once shops were selling different manufacturers’ products, and consumers had choice, brands appeared. It became, Macdougall’s Flour and Farmer Brown’s Eggs. So removing branding is an essential part of the Proggies’ desperate, stupid urge to fling us all back to the pre-industrial era; to end “consumerism”.

I feel scared.

I can see the world I grew up in being dismantled, bit by bit. There are times I wish they’d just get it over with. In a sense, it is the gradualism that is unbearable. There are times I wish they’d just ban everything- baccy and beer, burgers and bangers, and all the rest- once and for all. Instead, they creep forward one apparently tiny step at a time. It’s like being executed with a bacon slicer.

Sometimes I think, this cannot go on. There will be a reaction. There will be a great rebellion and they will be cast out of the high places, these evil priests of puritanism. But days like today, I feel totally hopeless. This law will pass without complaint and a year from now I will be buying a pack of something-or-other from an apologetic newsagent, and we’ll grumble and put up with it. We are excluded from the public discourse. We can blog, but ministers don’t read blogs. They have meetings with ASH and Alcohol Concern and Mothers Against This That And The Other, and blogger after blogger writes impressive articles and is ignored, while the guardianista front called Mumsnet decide to do a “campaign” on the first thing that enters their tiny chattering class minds, and it gets in the papers. I want to do something. I don’t know what to do. I don’t know if there is anything I even possibly can do.

I am a libertarian. I am as is well known more than happy to spend hours in intense arguments about anarcho-capitalism or the Land Value Tax or the value of a PPE degree. But the bottom line is, I just want to be left alone. That is my grand political ideology. Nothing more. I’d like to just be left alone to go about my life, quietly and peacefully. It does not seem like too much to ask; but my nation (and it seems, all others) is full of these hateful people who just will not leave me alone; whose sole purpose in life is to not leave me alone. I want to grab them by the lapels and shout, “Why are you doing this to me?!”

But I know what they would say, and it fills me with sadness, and with anger. They would just say, with a smug, patronising smile, “Because we can. Because you can’t stop us. Because it makes us feel good. That’s why.”

59 Comments

  1. Malcom says:

    Plain packaging genericizes tobacco producs and makes them that much easier to counterfeit. Counterfeit and smuggled product will reduce tax revenue to the sovereign UK government. Reduction in tax input will further burden the budget and aid in destabilizing the sovereign government sooner. The pressure to conform to those in power who are pressuring the smokers to give up their freedom and do as they are told, creates a momentum upon which the majority can use as their role model on how to likewise behave, thus setting up a less tolerant more dictatorial social setting, thus normalizing it. The increased velocity toward financial destruction and the resulting political destabilization of the sovereign state coupled with the increased acceptance of dictatorship as normal, then the sooner the state can collapse and the sooner those already planning this amongst themselves for a new universal one-world-government, probably under the disguise of the corrupt UN with its so-called good intentions, can step in and save everyone, since the former sovereign nations will have all been destroyed, in chaos and ripe for the picking. Tobacco denormalization plays a major role in this process and forcing it into plain packaging will further diminish sovereign tax takings, thus diminising the sovereign state, along with the former liberties and freedoms that state once upheld, now dashed to pieces and the dictator state will already be primed and set-up to take over. Tobacco control is international in scope, for a reason, and it’s not to save lives, for the children or to combat the falsehood of ETS/SHS. It’s to assist in bringing about the downfall of the sovereign free governments worldwide. Tobacco control is thus goes against the ideas of a sovereign state set up to uphold the sovereign constitutional guarantees for freedom and liberty. Those who agree with anti-smoking, even if they are non-smokers and never will be, are essentially cutting their children’s throats.

  2. JuliaM says:

    “There are times when I take some leave from the blogosphere and pretty much stop looking at the news, because it just makes me angry…”

    I know that feeling!

    And this one:

    “I can see the world I grew up in being dismantled, bit by bit.”

    I don’t think there’s any driven intelligence behind it though.

  3. Roue le Jour says:

    It’s a civil war, really, isn’t it? The government has engaged a puritan mercenary army to subdue the population, and now has to keep the mercenaries happy so they don’t withdraw their support.

    I can’t see that team Dave actually gives a flying fuck whether people smoke or not, but the puritans that seem to make up most of the bureaucracy want a ban and Dave can’t afford to tell them to piss off.

  4. Ian B says:

    Julia: it looks more like a driven unintelligence to me.

    Roue: my way of looking at it is that the government and infragovernment simply articulate the values of their particular class- the political class, ruling class, Islington chattering class, whatever you want to call it. The need to stop everyone smoking (and drinking, and being plump, and eating red meat, and going on holiday to the Costa Del Sol, and on and on) is just a given to them, a working assumption of daily life. They simply can’t comprehend that anyone might have a respectable reason for thinking any differently. Whatever they think they can get away with- and the last twelve years have taught them that that is pretty much anything[1]- they will do. And, without any real consideration of whether they should. Of course we must stop people smoking, that is all they think.

    I feel such an intense sense of frustration. All this is so unnecessary. They could just stop doing it, and nobody but a few zealots would mind. Dismantling economic socialism- that would be a big project. But stopping the nanny state, you could do that in an afternoon in parliament. One repeal bill. No social disruption, no economic chaos. They could just say, “the State isn’t going to interfere any more” and that would be that.

    So easy. I think that’s why I feel so angry. It would just be so fucking easy.

    [1] It came out later that even New Labour were astonished at the ease with which the smoking ban was implemented. They were expecting more opposition, apparently.

  5. JohnRS says:

    There is another spin off from this packaging imposition that the will be used against us….if you go to France/Belgium, load up with perfectly legal ciggies for your personal use, bring them back here and actually have the temerity to open a colourfully labeled packet in a public place, how long do you think it will be before members of our overstretched police farce roll up (arf arf) and accuse you of smuggling?

    Or maybe you’ll just be banned from opening one of these evil foreign packets outside the privacy of your own home?

  6. mike says:

    I recall a few years ago in a bar trying to explain to a Leftist exactly the leave me alone attitude. I never once allowed myself to sink to his level of catchphrases and childish presumptions, but kept explaining, objecting, qualifying and parrying arguments like a saint. In the end he tried to glass me in the face…

    I recently had a masters student for poli-sci (yeah yeah I know) ask me for my opinions on the arguments of a Korean academic in Cambridge University. He sent me a paper and asked me to read it, so I did and spent some hours writing up three blog posts in response. He deliberately didn’t even fucking read them.

    I argued last year with the leaders of a protest group against a petrochemical plant and tried to explain to them that though their tactic of buying the land first to stop the development was correct, it was useless because they hadn’t engaged in direct action earlier in the year to stop a local government elsewhere from confiscating some farmers’ land; the correct principle for them to stand on was private property, not protection of the environment and some rare species of dolphin. But the dolphin-fondlers told me straight up they had nothing to say to someone like me.

    I just try to imagine what the corporals from the Durham Light Infantry would have said to themselves during all the wars that came before me. Whatever it was, they kept going.

  7. Alan says:

    So in a years time I’ll be asking for a packet of 5043-4640 at the checkout. Oh joy.

    Who the hell do I vote for in the future? I’ve got a choice between dumbass, stupid or feckless. I smoke, I’m overweight, I drink and I love my roast beef. I’m fucked. I’d be tempted to vote BNP, except I’m pro-Israel so even the BNP hates me.

    ARRRGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH

  8. Lynne says:

    Our worst nightmares are being distilled right before our very eyes and the arrogant pricks that call themselves politicians don’t even try to hide it anymore

    We’re approaching the point where we’re going to have to rise up and slaughter the bastards to bring this fuckwittery to an end.

  9. freedom says:

    But… won’t regulations get in the way of plain packets of fags? Shouldn’t they have a list of contents on the packaging, with ‘recommendations’ and helplines?

    In small type maybe, but there has to be something there, surely.

    Also, pictures of diseased lungs… can’t I be offended when I see a discarded packet of ciggies on the street?

    But yes, in the end it will drive it all underground, strip the guvmint of much needed revenue and encourage a further division between people and ‘authority.’ It will ultimately be another reason not to vote, for after all what good will it do? There are us and them, but them having far too much say.

    I was glad when Liebour lost power but this coo-lition lot are growing daily more appalling. Time for a change, methinks.

    And as much as I despise smoking I hate smirking more.

  10. Comnenus says:

    You talk about the country you knew being dismantled but at least you have the memories. I am young, though historically inclined, and feel the exact same thing every day.

    I was watching Question Time recently and the whole prisoner votes issue came up, and I remember seeing some of the things said by people my age. It used to be that we were supremely self confident as a nation, everything was not perfect very far from it but at least we believed in ourselves. But these people seemed broken, all of them clamouring for us to obey and listen to whatever these foreign judges demand of us. It makes me wonder, how and why we stopped believing in our own capacity to govern ourselves. It made me especially sad because that is all I have ever known and I am the crazy wild eyed one.

  11. stedmancinques says:

    Ian, I feel your pain.

    I have only smoked once in my life: over fifty years ago, I shared a packet of Player’s ‘Navy Cut’ with a friend, and the resulting nausea and vertigo was so intense that I was put off smoking for life.

    However, Freedom is what makes me tick. Freedom of choice, freedom of opportunity, freedom to determine one’s life choices, freedom of religion, freedom of atheism, freedom of speech, freedom to travel, or to stay at home, freedom, in fact, from state dictatorship in every area that previous generations thought were matters of individual choice and liberty of conscience.

    Ronald Reagan defined the worst phrase in the English language as, ‘We’re from the government and we’re here to help you’.

    The health fascists will not stop at tobacco, that’s for sure. Alcohol is next. Being a fat drinker who enjoys a decent steak washed down with a respectable burgundy, and who drives a 3 litre classic car, I’ll be off to the gulag in fairly short order. See you there.

  12. View from the Solent says:

    You could brighten up your packs with these
    http://www.roll-ups.co.uk/ishop/879/shopscr1918.html

  13. permanentexpat says:

    At present there’s little one can do but weep….not so much because of what we are losing or being denied, but the sheer powerless apathy into which we have been ‘educated’.
    We have forged our own shackles & built our own gulag….the British!
    This ongoing nightmare will only end when (if) the population wakes up but, as the years of voluntary drifting blindfold into the worst form of slavery go by, I am sure that things will get much, much worse.
    Some day, I suppose, it will, as did the USSR, collapse under its own weight of stupidity….but it may well be a very long wait.

  14. bloke in spain says:

    “But the bottom line is, I just want to be left alone. That is my grand political ideology. Nothing more. I’d like to just be left alone to go about my life, quietly and peacefully.”@Ian B
    “I recall a few years ago in a bar trying to explain to a Leftist exactly the leave me alone attitude. ……… In the end he tried to glass me in the face…”
    @ Mike

    In those two quotes lies the fundamental reason why things are headed like this. Behind the chattering Guardianistas is the violent leftish mob hyped up on their sense of entitlement & grievance. Economic policy is subject not to rational discussion but the oafs of UKUncut. Energy policy to the enviroprotestors. And so on. Name one prescriptive cause that can’t get a sympathetic rabble onto the streets clamouring for its introduction?

    There is no ‘right’ to be left alone any more than Poland had a ‘right’ to be in 1939. You want to be left alone to get on with your life? Fight for it. Find others of like mind & work together. Conspire to fuck the system.

    The papers carried the story about Essex Council anti-smoking inspectors, aided by the police, searching vehicles at roadblocks for illegal cigarette use. They can do this because they know there will be no consequences. A couple of lads getting out of a van & braining them with baseball bats would alter their keenness. How many tobacco-phobes are willing to lay down their lives for their beliefs?

    If you want a libertarian society you need to take the gloves off & get down & dirty fighting for it. Your adversaries certainly have no compunction.

  15. NickM says:

    Blinding post Ian. Just one point my understanding is they will be allowed to name the “brand” in uniform lettering so you, er… “know” what you’re getting. Also this is a smuggler’s charter. In two ways. Following on from JohnRS of course there will be “brown paper” smugglers selling dried grass (if you’re lucky) but there will also be a premium market bling factor to smoking branded ciggies brought in from abroad. If they think this “de-glamourises” smoking…

    Anyway, I almost posted on this and I’m glad I didn’t because you did it better and I found something in the Sunday Times that unleashed even more blood-dimmed tide in me. Coming right up!

  16. Bod says:

    The good news is that in the not-too-distant-future your ration of Victory Cigarettes will be increased to 30 a month.

  17. mike says:

    bloke in spain:

    Say I knack a few mini-Hitler types and get away with it for the time being – maybe I do it a few times and get away with it, but sooner or later the public are going to notice and I’m going to come a cropper and when I do my only chance is explaining the rightousness of my cause to a jury. If I’m lucky enough to even get that chance, then I have to be able to make a moral appeal strong enough to impress the conscience even of people who don’t agree with my libertarian cause. That isn’t going to be helped by pictures of a few toerags lying in hospital beds with broken legs and head injuries is it?

    The route you’re talking about is the Martin Luther King one. I can’t see something like that taking its’ spark from complaints about what a pack of baccy looks like – even if I fully appreciate, agree with, and celebrate Ian’s point with a golden virginia tambourine above my head.

  18. bloke in spain says:

    Mike
    Take your point, but strange it never seems to work the other way round. Remember the lorry driver got a lump of concrete come through the window during the Miner’s Strike? Or the head hacked off a copper at Broadwater Farm? Didn’t stop our wonderful miners being working class heroes or the Met being branded as institutionally racist. Remember the ‘Poll Tax Riots’. Who won?

    Sorry but this is reality.

    The people who want to stuff their statist shit down our throats rely on the use of force both official & unofficial. It won’t be long before they’ll be riots over the ‘Cuts’ & the Graun will be printing pictures of bleeding bodies & blaming the Government, the bankers, Uncle Tom Cobbley, but certainly not the Lefty mouthpieces stirring the shit. The ratchet keeps clicking & the left get their way because they can always turn ‘non-violent’ protest into violent when it suits them. The whole bloody thing’s orchestrated & has been for years. The principles were in revolutionary literature in the 60′s.

    You object to the country being covered in windmills? Blog about it, write letters to your paper & MP & you’ll still be doing it as the lights flicker & fade. Dynamite the bastards faster than they can put them up & the whole project would collapse.

    “The route you’re talking about is the Martin Luther King one. I can’t see something like that taking its’ spark from complaints about what a pack of baccy looks like -”

    Wasn’t King’s the country that started a war of independence over tax on tea?

  19. bloke in spain says:

    Just to add:
    I see Heinlein seems popular opposite.
    Quote from one of his books. Probably he’s quoting someon else. Decades since I read it.

    “Freedom is not a right, it is a privilege that must be regularly redeemed in the blood of martyrs.”

  20. Bod says:

    Bod’s edit:

    s/martyrs/tyrants/g

    There. FTFY.

  21. stedmancinques says:

    Comnenus,
    Take heart; the audience for Question Time is carefully picked to represent only the BBC’s left-liberal world view, pro-statist, pro EU, pro AGW, pro eco-fascist, pro-multiculturalist to the virtual exclusion of any normal person, except to provide someone to jeer and catcall at.

    Consider this from Richard Littlejohn, in the ‘Mail’;

    ‘Last time I was on the programme, it came from Stevenage, Herts, where 93 per cent of the population is white, and which elected a Conservative MP in 2010 with 41.4 per cent of the vote.

    Yet the audience looked as if it had been bussed in from central casting, carefully selected to reflect the BBC’s view of what Britain should look like. If 41.4 per cent of that audience were Conservative voters, they did a damn good job of disguising it.

    I took one look at them and thought to myself: if this is a true representation of the people of Stevenage, then we really are all going to hell in a handcart.’

    Enough said, I think.

  22. EndivioR says:

    I left the UK in 1986 and haven’t been back except on flying visits (and for the last 6 years, not at all).

    I have also never voted for anyone in my whole life.

    Just idle curiosity, but is there a party in the UK, no matter how small and ineffectual, that someone who shares IanB’s reasonable wish to be left alone could realistically vote for? I understand there is a so-called Libertarian Party but I also understand it has a very non-libertarian, statist stance on immigration (i.e. that there should be “controls”). Ditto UKIP, of course. I guess that means there is no one, right?

    I have a friend in Hastings who was once a Monster Raving Loony candidate, but I never got around to asking about their political platform.

  23. Kevin B says:

    “The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
    — Thomas Jefferson

    bod and bis both nearly get it right.

    Unfortunately our revolution, when it happens, will be brought about by late eighteenth century Parisian conditions, rather than Bostonian, and will bring about chaos followed by fascism rather than war followed by liberty. At least that’s my guess. YMMV

    Still, I hope to be around to watch the tumbrils roll by. Maybe I’ll take up knitting.

  24. RAB says:

    Excellent piece again Ian. My head nearly exploded when I heard about this first. But then I thought, Nah! they will never get this through, it is bordering on the insane to think that people start smoking, especially children, because of the design of the packet.

    Cor! what are them little oblong boxes behind the counter mister?

    They’re cigarettes sonny, and you must have been told by now how bad they are for your health…

    Well yeah, they’ve been banging on about it since Infants School, but I really fancy wrecking my lungs, especially with those gold packet ones, So Cool looking and all! Giss a packet mister?

    Sorry, but it is illegal to sell tobacco to a person under the age of 18…

    Bugger! 6 years to go. Can’t wait!

    Does anyone in their right mind think like this? No, but Politicians do don’t they? ;-)

    Anyway, excellent comments already, so I won’t bang on. Just look at what the Tobacco industry has to say here…

    http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm200809/cmpublic/health/memos/ucm1002.htm

    And how long the Banstibators have been beavering away here…

    http://www.tobaccolabels.ca/legislat/plainpackaging/physiciansforasmokefreecanadapackagingphoneyintell

  25. mike says:

    bloke in spain:

    Low profile direct interference – you might be right…

  26. Comnenus says:

    stedmancinques:

    I thank you for the consolation, and I was aware of the … unique, nature of the Question Time audience. What depresses me is that I find their is surprisingly little difference between the general run of people I meet in my generation and the BBC’s ‘well balanced’ audiences.

  27. GW says:

    George Will, in a piece a few weeks ago, wrote that it is a central belief of the left that, “[g]iven clever social engineering, society and people can be perfected.” And of course, the collary of that is that the individual leftie, given their belief in their own superior intelligence, knows better than we the unswashed masses how we should run our lives. It is, as Thomas Sowell pointed out in a short 2007 essay, a bedrock assumption of the left.
    http://www.nypost.com/p/news/opinion/opedcolumnists/item_QwRVWLMgKRUWbD9UtqnosO;jsessionid=95EC073721013DBF1F5FBF1AF57FD49D

    The fact that they can get away with that today shows a systemic failure of our supposedly “democracy” based politics on both sides of the pond. On this side of the pond, it is because our legislature has ceded their law-making power to regulatory bodies. On your side of the pond, the problem is worse, what with the ruling party policy makers and hierarchy, from PM on down, being chosen outside of popular democratic process, all overlaid by an unelected EU bureaucracy. How this gets fixed short of insurrection, I don’t know.

  28. EndivioR: “I understand there is a so-called Libertarian Party but I also understand it has a very non-libertarian, statist stance on immigration (i.e. that there should be “controls”).”

    That’s a trifle harsh, really. The LPUK stance would ideally be free movement of peoples, but while we have the welfare system as over-compensatory as it is at present, that’s just financial suicide. The LPUK manifesto on immigration makes this quite clear.

    http://lpuk.org/pages/manifesto/immigration.php

    Sort out the mess of our incredibly over-protective welfare system, bring it into line with comparable states, and with a level playing field (or better) the borders could be officially open to those who wish to come here and work rather than take the piss. ;)

    Brilliant article, Ian, I’ve linked. :)

    http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011/03/lansley-plain-packages-conservative.html

  29. will says:

    i feel your pain ian. i have to avoid any form of ‘news’ for the sake of anyone within earshot. i just caught a few seconds of C4′s ‘selling off britain’ (the title itself unashamedly polemic) – it made me want to scream. nanny knows best.
    demanding libertopia now is, as you once said to me, like calling for a secular society in the 14th century. both the elite and the masses KNOW that the earth is flat.
    i understand what youre saying here – you arent demanding libertopia – just to be left alone to smoke a fag from a dangerously colourful packet. that is maddening.

  30. namria says:

    It is as if the population is so subdued by endless tv and tabloid nonsense that this latest pile of is even on the agenda. If there is a tipping point. I personally think we are pretty much on it now. It then gives us the question.- What are we going to do about it?- I think it is going to get pretty rough here on in. What use this comment is, I know not except that at least it shows I am awake.
    N P J

  31. 6079SmithW says:

    Hope you didn’t watch Panorama on Monday night.

    1 July is National Smoking Day

    And stop paying taxes.

    Winston

    “We are at war with Oceania, we have always been at war with Oceania.’

  32. 6079SmithW says:

    Hope you didn’t watch Panorama last night (Monday).

    1 July is National Smoking Day

    And stop paying taxes.

    Winston

    “We are at war with Oceania, we have always been at war with Oceania.’

  33. Junican says:

    I have just been to the Daily Mail site and noticed that ‘Comments’ are ‘currently unavailable’ on that article.

    Obviously, the DM has decided that the whole idea would be trashed in the comments, not only by smokers, but also by non-smokers (sod the antis).

    Actually, I think that this is a good sign. If the DM too ashamed of its article to allow comments, I suspect that the DM (and presumably the MSM as a whole) is becoming embarrassed for reporting this stuff. I noticed also that this news was reported by the DT in a small para on page 10 (‘In Brief’). Also, the DT did not report at all the ‘smoking and breast cancer’ scare, or the ‘alcohol and liver disease’ scare.

    As a possible glimmer of hope (although I do not hold out much), both the ‘packaging’ and the ‘hiding’ ideas were passed through Parliament in the dying days of the last Gov, when MPs were getting all excited about the coming election (ie. Couldn’t give a fuck about anything else). I rather suspect that Lansley is totally committed, whether he likes it or not. After all, how can he, politically, be seen to endorse wicked, filthy, stinking, murdering smokers? He will make the announcement and wait to see what happens. Hopefully (and this may be part of the political thinking), these ideas will receive so much flack and derision that they will be withdrawn and that will be the end of previous commitments. With a bit of luck, the consequence will be the wholesale clearing out of the Health Dept of ASH and Tobacco Control and Alcohol Control.

    But don’t hold your breath.

  34. Wynton says:

    I won’t hold my breath on it, thought it’s a nice hope. Hoping for change doesn’t result in any, historically. Freedom only comes in buckets of blood, there’s no other way about it, it’s that or else none.

  35. smokervoter says:

    Another commenter mentioned Martin Luther King. Blacks voted 95% for Obama. Latinos voted 67% for Obama. Together they amounted to less than 20% of the voting population.

    Smokers in the UK are 25%, Over BMI are what 35%? Drinkers 85%+ and can’t seem to get someone in there to stop this puritanical nightmare.

    I share your anger, frustration and mostly I am just plain bewildered.

  36. smokervoter says:

    Another commenter mentioned Martin Luther King. Blacks voted 95% for Obama. Latinos voted 67% for Obama. Together they amounted to less than 20% of the voting population.

    Smokers in the UK are 25%, Over BMI are what 35%? Drinkers 85%+ and yet can’t seem to get someone in there to stop this puritanical nightmare.

    I share your anger, frustration and mostly I am just plain bewildered.

  37. DavidNcl says:

    But, as you hint, next to economic socialism the nanny state is nothing, froth on the lips of the lunatic of the Methodist state. Yes, there is a war on the tabs and digestive biscuits but they mean to save our souls (or the planet) by destroying wealth creation, putting out the electric lights, digging up the roads, blowing up the dams, rolling back the industrial revolution together with the enlightenment. They’ll create the “kingdom” on earth and millions or billions will die in the attempt to return to an imagined pre-industrial paradise (which actually consists of mud and hunger).

    What means should we use to fight such a movement?

  38. Lynne says:

    Here’s an item of news that made me smile.

  39. Sam Duncan says:

    The LPUK blog has five reasons to be cheerful:

    5) Income tax threshold being raised to £10k;
    4) ID cards scrapped;
    3) Health reforms;
    2) Free Schools;
    and Numero Uno, Gordon Brown is no longer PM.

    Well, I suppose. Of course, as a Jock, #3 and #2 don’t apply to me (and appear from where I’m sitting to be Titanic-deckchair-rearranging excercises anyway). And since my fellow haggis-munchers are about to return a Labour Executive in the upcoming Numptorium elections, Broon might as well still be PM for us too. (Christ, that scares me shitless. Twat though he may be, I never thought I’d be sad to see the back of Alec Salmond.)

    It’s not much, stacked up against destroying the military, “denormalizing” legitimate behaviour, failing to do anything serious about the national debt, reneging on a cast-iron-guarantee of a referendum on the EU, pissing taxpayers’ money up the wall tilting at windmills, and generally being a crowd of useless authoritarian socialist pricks who should be ashamed to call themselves either Conservative or Liberal, is it?

  40. Tarka the Rotter says:

    A fine article – thanks Ian, I too share your concerns. As to what we can do about it…therein lies the rub. I joined the Libertarian Party as a first step, but it seems to me we are, as a country, sleepwalking into the abyss. Am hoping that when petrol hits £2 per litre folk will start waking up, but as someone else said, I won’t hold my breath.

  41. EndivioR says:

    Lynne:

    interesting article indeed. What I take away from that is that the bottom line justification for “Council Tax” is that it pays for Public Libraries and something called Sure Start, whatever that is. Just think! You could abolish a whole tier of government and the only difference would be you’d have to buy (or write) your own books, and use a different deodorant in the morning!

  42. RAB says:

    That’s the Freeman on the land lot again Lynne. Entertaining, but bonkers.

    For a real laugh, see what this Working Class Hero is up to these days…

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zWpW_5X2EYE

    Ah wont ‘ave no truck wee tha ‘Ouse oh Lords… Arise Lord Prestcott.

    And I hear he’s going to read the Shipping Forcast for Comic Relief, can’t wait for that!

    Rock on Tommy, Cromiteh, IRA Sea…

  43. Paul Marks says:

    “But cigs poison people” say the left.

    Yes they do – but people know they do.

    And they have known for ages – after all the slang name for them was “coffin nails”.

    I HATE this Cas Susteen totalitarianism-by-the-installment-plan regulations – “Nudge” (beloved by Mr Cameron as well as by Mr Obama, although I suspect call-me-Dave does not know what the plan is designed to lead to).

    As for poisoning people

    What about recycling?

    Swiss scientists have proved that the stuff that comes out of cardboard made from recycled newspapers causes “chronic inflamation of the internal organs – and an increased risk of cancer”.

    Yes, you wonderful Greens, you have been KILLING PEOPLE.

    Poisoning them – without any choice on their own part.

    People CHOOSE to smoke – they do not choose to have your Green ideology give them cancer.

  44. NickM says:

    Paul,
    You have seen Penn & Teller’s “Bullshit!” on recycling I hope. It should be on Youtube.

    But the cat was really let out of the bag on ciggies over the electrofag. It’s almost like smoking and does no harm to anyone. The ASH lot hate it. Legislation is in course against in many countries. See Leg-Iron’s blog. The hate these things for they are the Righteous and the Righteous must hate.

  45. Dan says:

    Looking at all of this, and considering the previous governments’ love of goldplating EU regulations, and considering the way the EU was been lovingly fostered and encouraged to grow like a weed on a muck-heap, I think I’m starting to see an ulterior motive in this lot.

    Encouraging Socialists always ends in tears; they spend, and spend, and spend and regulate on pretty much everything and without fail plant the seeds of their own destruction right from day one. The current situation in Europe seems to be calculated to favour Socialist views and to deliberately repress Libertarian ones; repression of smokers is but one facet of this.

    What will inevitably happen is that the vast Socialist edifice thus created will crash and burn, and there will be a hell of a backlash against all the gibberingly stupid rules which will be assisted by most of the Governments of Europe being bankrupt and unable to fund a fightback even if they wanted. So, who benefits from crashing the Euro, crushing Socialism for the forseeable future and sweeping away huge amounts of regulation (including asmoking ban)?

    Easy answer: Big Business.

    Crush the Socialists and their overweening regulations and business booms. Allow people to smoke freely and they will, especially working classes, which since long-term smokers die young gives big business another little benefit: lower pension costs.

    Folks, Big Business is Libertarian and on our side!

  46. Curmudgeon says:

    AIUI the name of the brand of cigarettes will still be permitted in plain type. In general, of course, your analysis is spot on.

  47. Mr Ecks says:

    The cig companies need to produce cheap, colourful labels showing their brands and sell them very, very cheap so smokers can buy ‘em and stick them on the plain packets. That will be a very effective gesture of contempt that should help undermine the whole farce.

  48. Curmudgeon says:

    “The cig companies need to produce cheap, colourful labels showing their brands and sell them very, very cheap so smokers can buy ‘em and stick them on the plain packets. That will be a very effective gesture of contempt that should help undermine the whole farce.”

    Almost certainly illegal under the law prohibiting tobacco advertising. AIUI you can’t sell any promotional goods bearing tobacco brand logos or imagery.

  49. Bod says:

    Well, an advertizment that you buy, is called a ‘product’.

    Obviously, stick on labels are thrown away, and could then be considered to be of negligible value.

    I think the better option is to sell away a plastic ‘sleeve’ with all the branding on it that provides a level of waterproofing and crush-protection. Sell it before the brand goes ‘brown paper’ with a new logo and no name.

    It’s just a pattern, see?

    if the ‘pattern’ is relatively generic and the colors are always adhered to, you maintain a marquee without ‘advertizing’. When you see red, white and blue concentric circles, in the right order, the mind evokes RAF roundels, regardless of how closely the dimensions match the original.

    Done right, and you could do the 2011 version of the Gilbey’s “Sex” subliminal ad.

  50. Ian B says:

    I feel kind of overwhelmed by the number of comments here and the kind words by Dick Puddlecote and Christopher Snowdon on their blogs, about a post that was really just a desperate, futile scream of impotent rage. I feel like I ought to reply to everybody :)

    But just one thing about DavidNCL’s point about the methodist state being secondary to the economic collapse of liberty; I think they go hand in glove. Each legitimises the other, and they work together. So, for instance narratives about “Big Tobacco” vs the little guy, like Big Oil vs the little guy and so on- the old (American) Progressive Era “trust-buster” narrative- serve to legitimise economic interventions. You isolate an industry as harmful to society- the very term “Big” is used as a perjorative- and then you can intervene in the economy to “correct” it. Thus Leviathan grows.

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