Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Puritan mob is at the door

AND NOW, the end is near … after an illustrious career of over 40 years, I am about to give up my job as a professional smoker. It won’t be easy; it won’t be pleasant; but the ban on smoking in enclosed public places (yes, and even on railway station platforms) has finally achieved what millions of pounds and decades of advertising has failed to do – convinced me to stop.

It’s not that I’m worried about my health – if I had been I’d have packed it in years ago. It’s just that there’s no fun in it anymore. I’m not allowed to smoke at home and have to stand on the back doorstep. They’re going to ban me from smoking in my car. I can’t smoke in a pub or in a restaurant and I can’t smoke in the office. What’s left? Lurking in the drizzle on a street corner with one eye out for the council warden who’ll hit me with an £80 spot fine if I drop a dog end? No thanks.

So they’ve finally broken my will, which has come as something of a shock to the system. You see, selfish spoilt brats like me are used to doing whatever they want whenever they want. Another 15 pints? Bring it on. Glass of wine? Make it a bottle. Red meat, double cream, sugar, salt and lard? Sounds like the perfect diet. And the fags, oh the fags.

Gauloise, Gitanes and Park Drive Plain. Dunhill, Players and Capstan Full Strength. The more tar the better. Cigarettes so strong that you’d have to smoke the first of the day lying down just in case you fainted. That raucous rush of nicotine through the bloodstream, the warm poisonous smoke filling your lungs. Oh joy.

But no more. The Puritan mob is at the door. Another element of enjoyment has been stubbed out in the great ashtray of life. I shall just have to drink more before that’s banned as well.

I BET the poor people caught up in the horrendous floods of the past week could have done with a packet of waterproof Woodbines. Six dead, well over 5,000 homes flooded, the M1 motorway – the nation’s primary artery – closed for days and a £1 billion insurance bill … but don’t worry: Environment Secretary David Miliband says flood defence systems have “worked well”. Oh really?

I turned on the local BBC radio station – Valium 95.9FM – to work out a route into the office only to hear some incoherent youth confidently report that the four feet of sewage-infested water wreaking havoc down the High Street had been caused by “climate change”.

Oh really? How does he work that out then? The world’s greatest scientists can’t agree on the subject yet a snotty-nosed kid with a limited vocabulary and a dodgy degree in Media Studies thinks he’s got it sussed. Lazy journalism or inherent BBC bias? You decide.

I SUPPOSE we have to cast a backward glance at the departing Mr Blah, constant companion and often inspiration of this column for the past 10 years. I met him very early on in his Presidency. He was young, bright, full of energy and ideas and had the knack of convincing you that Things really were Going To Get Better.

Perhaps if he’d concentrated on the job in hand instead of becoming obsessed with personal popularity they would have done. As it is, his much-vaunted “legacy” consists of a National Health Service swamped with money, yet beggared by bureaucracy; an education system that promises universities for all yet can’t even teach kids to read and write; a street crime epidemic where 10-year-olds settle scores not with Chinese burns but with switchblades; and a disastrous immigration policy that threatens to create irreparable divisions in society. And we won’t even mention the war. Sorry, wars.

So farewell then, Tone. Enjoy the gravy train ride to the Middle East. As a “pretty straight kind of guy” I’m sure you’ll do a great job – even if that appointment does seem a bit like asking an arsonist to put out his own fire.

WITH THE return of Old Labour in the guise of the Fat Scotchman, the unions are doing their bit to give us a Life on Mars moment with the first national strike of Post Office workers for over a decade.

The dispute, supposedly in pursuit of a 27 per cent pay rise over five years, has a hidden agenda: the outright resistance to any kind of modernisation. Now it’s not for me to outline the stupidity of this action at a time when major companies – including internet giant Amazon – are already moving their deliveries to private firms, but if Postman Pat and his placard-waving pals aren’t careful, there’ll be precious few birthday cards for them to steal fivers from in a couple of year’s time.

WITH OUR jails overflowing, illegal smokers and thieving posties are having to be banged up in police cells until a rapist or murderer gets early release and frees up a space for them. This gives rise to one of my favourite newspaper stories, namely how much it costs to lock someone up overnight.

The latest version, courtesy of Suffolk police, manages to get the cost to a marvellous £385 a night. Now go on, explain that to me. The police station is already there. The cells are already there. The cops are already there. The only new item is the criminal, and what are his or her costs? Half a bog roll and a microwaved pizza? So how does that equate to a night in a suite in a Park Lane hotel? It’s enough to make a cat laugh.

YES, I’M still watching Big Brother, but only to see the hateful Charlie eventually evicted. What is wrong with her? Can it really be that she’s so thick that she can’t adapt to or understand what’s happening around her and therefore is doomed to forever shout and bitch at 90mph?

In the meantime, I think it’s safe to say that the “psychopathic” twins really, really deserve to win. At the very least the £100,000 prize will mean a boost for the takings of pink mini-skirt shops nationwide. VOTE SAMANDA!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scotch is a very good alchoholic beverage Baz.
Although I wouldn't like to drink anything that came out of him! I'm maybe missing the point that, having decided to use this particular phrase, you've maybe already tried doing so, and found it to be an agreeable flavour!!
Maybe you'd be better sticking to the tried and trusted "Porridge Wog" collective noun for we of the ruling classes.

8:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon:'Maybe you'd be better sticking to the tried and trusted "Porridge Wog" collective noun for we of the ruling classes.'

He daren't anon, the PC brigade would haul his arse over the coals for using the term 'Porridge' skydog :o)

10:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why do we still tolerate these Neo-Puritans? The bastards are hellbent on promoting nice "healthy" activities such as bugger thy neighbour, lesbianism etc, whilst jetting off to distant climes, driving a 4 litre Range Rover Vogue and destroying the planet via buying everything Chinese you can get your paws on is seen as an Englishman's natural right.

But no, not smoking. Typically slavishly Californian style, smoking is seen as being akin to paedophilia.

Someone should explain that whilst cigarette smoke is just basically woodsmoke, yer average 4 cylinder car of 1.6 Litres (running on a 4 stroke cycle, at an average of, say, 3,000 rpm, hence spewing out carbon monoxide, water, co2, formaldehyde etc on average once every 2 strokes) is really filthy by comparison. Catalytic converters? Don't work until the engine is good and warm (20 + minutes), and a cold engine is a polluting engine. And most "cats" are knackered within 3 years due to being bumped and banged all over the lumpy tarmac we call roads. The element inside a "cat" is extremely delicate. Mr nobody with his 20 Marlboros looks like Mr Spotless by comparison.

Giving up? I did so 14 weeks ago. I reckon I've done it this time, but do I find any joy in it? No, do I hell, because I enjoyed smoking in the first place, and that some miserable, small minded rat faced ciabatta munching twat should decree that I'm persona non grata because I smoke is really rankling me.

This really is the thin end of the wedge. If we'd have banned women from alehouses to start with, we'd have none of this health and safety crap. And less fighting in pubs. And you can get to the damned bar without running the gauntlet of 15 women having a "girl's night out" for the 20th time that month (whilst their fool husbands mind the brats), each rooting through their handbags for exactly the right money each and sod who's waiting.

It'll be drinking next. We obviously can't be trusted to control ourselves, and on the grounds that some morons beat up their wives, or each other, or drink themselves into an early trip to the renal unit, the Neo Puritans will restrict us to 1/2 shandy, one glass of. Although those down south wouldn't really notice......

Then what? Government approved meals? Compulsory exercise?

I'm sure there's more bad ideas where this came from but here's the best bit: you can bet your arse they'll have to increase taxes somehow to pay for killing off a major source of revenue, one, furthermore, which has the decency to croak before retirement. The (not so common) smoker. Here's to a bloody joyless future......

12:37 PM  
Anonymous assegai mike said...

Woah, whoah! Rewind!

You don't smoke in your own house!? Now, I'm sorry but you're hardly in a position to criticise the smoking ban when you have a self-imposed one already in your own home. You, sir, are a softcock and a fraud.

12:36 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

About Tony going to the Middle East...

What better place to send him than somewhere where everybody around the table want to personally disembowel him for what the barsteward did to their mates?

1:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Assegai Mike: "You don't smoke in your own house!?"

I don't smoke anywhere anymore.

FACT: smoking is bad for your health. It's also damned expensive.

That does NOT alter the fact that smokers more than pay their way, die nice and conveniently before "becoming a burden", that smoking is a tiny fraction of the threat caused by, for example, motor car usage, that there is no conclusive link between "passive smoking" and serious illness, nor- and most importantly- the right to choose. Be that whether to smoke or to avoid smoky environments. It is not right nor necessary to impose smoking bans on everywhere any more than doing the exact opposite.

No, I don't smoke any more. That's my choice, and I don't have to justify it to arseholes like you. But I'm NOT opposed to others smoking around me. There's nothing worse than a hypocritical ex-smoker going to great lengths to convince others and himself that "smoking is a disgusting habit".

I fail to see how me not smoking but defending the rights of others to smoke is fraudulent. "Either/or" is true "softcock" territory. It shows the lack of ability to think other than in black and white, and is a reflection of the Nazified way things are going, where a generation of weak men pretend to be strong by having strong opinions.

They're kidding no-one with any sense.

Oh yes: visitors are perfectly free to smoke in my home.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scottish fannybaws - try to stick in and learn a bit. Maybe if you took a leaf from the book of John Smeaton you would learn something.

11:57 AM  

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