Thursday, 16 November 2017

The Pursuit Of Happiness

Much can be seen in the world media these days about how violent and unhappy a place the world is becoming. We have a rise in hate-crime, we have a rise in world conflicts, we have a rise in violence on the streets, we have rise in violence against the police. The list goes on and on.

But ask yourself what is driving this rise in violence and general unhappiness ?

It is the fact that people are increasingly becoming more and more unhappy with the quality in their meagre lives. Much of that unhappiness is being driven by the rise of bodies like Public Health, who in turn lobby the Politicians into constantly interfering in the way people go about their lives.

Interference in our everyday lives really started picking up in the second half of the 20th century, culminating in the increasing authoritarian and restrictive society we are now all living within. We are moving inexorably closer to the Police State that George Orwell described so eloquently in his novel '1984'.

Examples of this are many and varied, but I will give you a few of the more obvious ones that are driving this.

What made Brexit a reality was the fact that the EU has increasingly interfered in people’s lives by passing laws made no sense whatsoever. Restrictions to the power of vacuum cleaners is one. Making it illegal to sell ‘bent’ bananas (yes, they really did do that) is another. The list is so endless it makes one wonder if there exists in Brussels a 'Department For Pointless Laws'. The fact that the EU is run by an unelected European Commission, nominally (and I say nominally because the MEPs have, in reality, very little influence on the EC) who pass such pointless laws has made many people in the UK wonder what the point of the EU is. But what really clinched the Brexit decision was the way the EC went behind closed doors to pass the Tobacco Products Directive after the European Parliament had vetoed it. To say that the decision pissed off the 3 Million vapers in the UK by going against the advice of the scientists is a massive understatement. I would be surprised to find many vapers who voted to remain in the EU. Ultimately, those 3 million vapers probably played a huge part in the success of the Brexit campaign.

Then we have Action On Sugar (and the odious prodnose Jamie Oliver) lobbying (successfully) to bring in a tax on sugar. The result is products like Lucozade going down the pan because the drink now actually tastes vile without the sugar. It also stops diabetics from finding an instant source of energy when their blood sugar levels fall below a certain threshold. 

It is responsible for the continual persecution of the Coca-Cola lorry which makes it way around the UK every year in the run-up to Christmas. It is a sight that has delighted generations of children up and down the country. But the modern-day Scrooges in Public Health seem to think that modern day adults cannot be trusted to bring up their children responsibly, so are actively trying to get it banned and denying the kids of today the pleasures we had in our yesterdays. So much for ‘Goodwill to all men’ at Christmas time eh ?   Bah, humbug !!

It is hard to believe that this could happen in a country that built an empire on the back of the sugar trade.

The sister organisation to Action on Sugar is Action On Salt (or have they merged ?  Hard to keep up with these ‘action’ groups these days as new ones spring up – on taxpayer money – on such a regular basis). The objective of Action On Salt mirrors that of its sister organisation but as the name suggests, its focus is on the removal of salt from our diets. Of course, it ignores the fact that before the days of refrigerators and freezers, salt was the only way we could preserve our food. The human body naturally contains large amounts of salt. Salt is relatively benign in the way we use it in our food. In fact, our bodies need salt. We will die if we don’t have salt in our diet. If it was dangerous then the human species would have gone extinct a long time ago.

So, between Action On Sugar trying to get rid of sugar from our diet, and Action On Salt trying to get rid of salt from our diet, we will ultimately end up eating tasteless sludge like kale and quinoa as our main diet. The irony is that if Action On Sugar and Action On Salt get their way, we will end up on diets that are less nutritional than our forefathers endured during wartime rationing. Then we probably really will go extinct.

Drive a car ? Well you will not get any joy from that either. Successive governments have made driving an expensive PITA too by first taxing the petrol we put in the cars, and then gradually ramping it up higher and higher, year-on-year, until the UK now has the most expensive fuel in the world – with over 80% of the price of fuel being tax. To add insult to injury, the Government introduced Vehicle Tax  in the 1920’s which was supposedly ring-fenced for road construction, and paid directly into a ‘road fund’ until 1937, after which it became known as Road Tax. Of course, in those days it was only the very rich that could afford a motor vehicle. When it was eventually realised that very little of this tax was actually being spent on the road network, the Government did their usual sleight of hand and changed the name to Vehicle Excise Duty.

Since then, the Government has played a constant game of cat and mouse with the beleaguered motorist by constantly moving the goalposts (at the behest of various ‘Green’ lobby groups). First we had the drive toward lead-free petrol (with leaded petrol being taxed more highly than unleaded). The VED was also made much higher for vehicles running on leaded petrol. The Government then pulled the same trick when they tried to get us to move to Diesel fuel (again at the behest of the ‘Green’ lobby groups). Now they are claiming that Diesel fuel is a danger to the environment and are moving the goalposts again. The point is that they are forcing citizens down ever narrower corridors on the basis of saving the environment, then punishing the motorist for following their advice. No matter how clean or environmentally friendly cars are made, the Government (at the behest of lobby groups) will always keep moving the goalposts

Smokers have gradually become more and more seen as social lepers since the 1950’s. The persecution was very subtle at first but has ramped up in ever greater intensity ever since. What was once one of life’s greatest pleasures (something you will never understand if you have not smoked) has been increasingly removed from the poorest in society. Using dubious science, which has been increasingly discredited over the years, lobby groups like ASH have succeeded in getting the most discriminatory laws in history passed against smokers. Taxes are been cranked up higher and higher on Tobacco, which has seen the rise of the black market in illicit tobacco – some of it lethal. The tighter that organisations like ASH are able to tighten the fist, the faster organised crime increases (the same thing has happened in the war on drugs).

Whilst it is (rightly) now illegal to discriminate against people based on religion, race, creed, gender etc, it is freely open season on smokers. They can be abused, slighted or shunned. Encouraged by Public Health ‘charities’ such as ASH, and abetted by clueless Governments, it is only a matter of time before such organisations are openly encouraging violence against smokers. They are only a hairs breadth away from that scenario already.

Of course, the knock-on effect of banning smoking from public places has been the absolute decimation of the pub industry. Many pubs survived on trade brought in by the factory workers, office worker, tradesmen etc at the end of their working day as they called into the pub for a pint and smoke whilst catching up on the chat with their friends. That culture disappeared with the advent of the smoking ban and many pubs up and down the country that were barely breaking even, went under. The result is fewer pubs and little or no atmosphere in the ones that remain. The smokers began to stay away in their droves and instead turned to buying their wine, spirits or beer from the local supermarket or off-licence.

Which brings us nicely on to what happened today ...

Today, the UK Supreme Court ruled that the Scottish Government CAN impose Minimum Unit Pricing on alcohol – a result which will have been watched closely by a Welsh Government looking to do the same. The argument for MUP being that it will tackle problem drinking. It will do nothing of the sort.

All MUP will achieve is to punish the poorest in society who will now be denied just about the only pleasure in life they can still afford. It will not affect those well-remunerated public health officials or the equally well-remunerated politicians. No, it will simply kick the poor. Those who already live unbearably poor lives, riven by debt, insecurity or the wonder of where the next meal is coming from.

Problem drinkers are, by nature, either alcoholics or those bordering on alcoholism. MUP will not stop such individuals from buying alcohol. They will simply move to the next cheapest alcohol on offer – whether from legitimate or illegitimate sources. An alcoholic is an addict. An addict HAS to feed their addiction – whatever the cost. Given the choice of putting food on the table for their children or buying alcohol to feed their addiction, they will choose alcohol every single time. It is simply going to exacerbate an already desperate situation for the families of such people. There will be a rise in crime as the alcoholic turns to stealing to feed their addiction. There will be a rise in crime as criminal gangs turn to bootlegging cheap alcohol. There will be a rise in violence associated with this alcohol problem. There will be a huge REAL Public Health crisis as more and more home-brewed bootleg alcohol of dubious quality finds its way on to the streets and into the homes of the poor - decimating their health. If Public Health think there is a problem with alcohol abuse now, they aint seen nothing compared to what will happen when MUP comes into play.

I could keep adding to this list of things that are making the general population unhappy, but this blog entry is long enough already. I am sure that you can think of many other instances for yourself. The lesson to be learnt here is that more control, more rules and regulation, more legislation, is not the answer to solving these problems. It merely makes society more unhappy and causes a greater kick-back from that society.

Gun-control was meant to take guns off the streets, yet gun-crime in the UK is soaring to record levels. Knife-control was meant to have the same effect, yet knife-crime is also soaring. Drug control was meant to take drugs off the streets, yet drugs are more available now than they have ever been. All of these things cause crime, violence and yes, DEBT.

The more that fussbuckets, prodnoses and busybodies like Public Health and ‘charities’ like ASH poke their noses into other people’s lives, the more they raise the level of unhappiness, discontent and anger. The more that Governments pay heed to the likes of Public Health and ‘charities’ like ASH, the bigger the future problems they are building for themselves and for the society they seek to govern.

The world is a very unhappy place. Perhaps more unhappy than it has ever been. It is also an increasingly violent place. That level of violence is only to going to increase as long as the unhappiness, hopelessness, discontent and anger continues to rise.

The UK is a powderkeg. The world as a whole is a powderkeg. It is only a matter of time before we see that powderkeg blow apart. Think it cannot happen in the UK ?

Governments need to take their jackboots off the throats of the people  because unless the levels of unhappiness, hopelessness, discontent and anger are eradicated or eased, then sooner or later it will all explode in their faces. 

Revolutions have happened in many countries (including the UK) through the centuries for a whole myriad of reasons. But the root cause of all those revolutions has been unhappiness, hopelessness, discontent and anger. The exact circumstances we have now.

Friday, 29 September 2017

When The Dam Burst - Lies, Damn Lies & the Inconvenient Truth

The results of an interesting survey conducted by the Tobacco Manufacturers Association were published yesterday. For those of us who have followed the prohibitionary antics of Tobacco Control, the results should be of no great surprise as they reveal that startling numbers of smokers do NOT buy their tobacco from legitimate sources (i.e. corner shop/petrol stations/supermarkets etc).

You can read the full press release by clicking the link above, but I would like to share with you the pertinent high-level bullet points.

The first bullet-point alone is enough to prove that old Tobacco Control adage that forcing the price of a pack of cigarettes continually upwards through tax will force people to quit is patently false.

72.5% of smokers buy tobacco from sources where UK taxes won't be paid

That is very nearly three-quarters of all the adult smoking population that refuses to pay any of the UK excise on Tobacco. Is it any surprise ?  As I understand it, a packet of 20 cigarettes (you cannot buy packs of 10 anymore) is hovering around the £9-£10 mark these days - the majority of it being tax that organisations like ASH have been insisting the government should enforce.

Of course, Tobacco Control will simply dismiss this survey as it has been produced by the TMA, and by connection the Tobacco Industry. But I would wager that that they understand the Tobacco Industry far better than any prod-nosing Tobacco Controller so am inclined to believe these figures.

I have not smoked for almost 7 years, but even I know where to buy illicit cigarettes that have not had UK excise paid on them. Furthermore, it has actually been harder to find discarded cigarette packets that actually have 'UK EXCISE DUTY PAID' written on them. Far more common has been the sight of foreign sourced cigarette packets. Also, since May of this year, it has been the law that ALL cigarettes must be sold in plain packets. Now be honest, how many of you have actually SEEN anyone holding such plain-packets ?   It is still common to find people smoking from NON-plain-packets. When you see discarded cigarette packets, they are very rarely of the 'plain-packet' variety.

The survey also very much calls into question the claims from Tobacco Controllers (such as ASH) that smoking is on the decline. Think about it, if almost three-quarters of smokers are buying their tobacco from sources that have not paid UK taxes, then it stands to reason that the Tobacco Control organisations have no real grasp on what the true numbers of smokers in the UK actually are. There is no possible way they can have a grasp of the true number of smokers in the UK as nobody is going to declare any cigarettes they mave bought/sold has come from an illicit source. The figures they are quoting from are legitimate sales of cigarettes, but the TMA survey shows that almost three-quarters of cigarettes are not bought from those sources.

So the next time ASH et al make a declaration that smoking rates have fallen. Take the news with a pinch of salt as they are obviously crucifying figures that bear no relation to the true numbers. They have no idea of what the rates of smoking are because of their own stupidity. It is ASH et al that have been responsible for the policy of forcing up the tax rates so that UK now has the highest price for a packet of cigarettes in Europe (other than Sweden).

Ironically, the survey has also revealed that as almost three-quarters of smokers buy their tobacco from sources that have to paid UK taxes, then Customs & Excise are also losing money hand-over-fist in declining tobacco revenues - and that is even before you take into account the costs of C&E's army of customs officers who are trying (unsuccessfully) to stop the tide of illicit tobacco.

It is not just happening here either. In Tobacco-Prohibition-Central-Land (i.e. Australia), their system is creaking so much that the dam cannot possibly hold for much longer. I will not go into the detail here as Chris Snowdon has already written a very good coverage of the issues on his Velvet Glove Iron Fist blog. That the Australians are desperately scrambling to cover it up from the general public is a given. Go have a read of it.

Have we reached the tipping point ?   Is the Tobacco Control dam about to come crashing down ?  Make up your own mind on that. Personally, I think the answer is YES.

Tobacco Control - Face facts. You have FAILED. You are yesterday's people. You have been uncovered for the charlatans you are. Your junk science is laid bare for all to see. The tax-payer funded trough which has kept you all fat (and getting fatter) for 40 years is coming to an end. Good riddance !!