Friday, 30 June 2017

The Tipping Point

That did not last long long did it ?
After stating in my last blog entry that I would not be writing anything again for the forseeable future, here I am writing another entry. Strange the things that can trigger off ideas for new entries.

There has been much talk in various blogs in recent days of the looming '10th Anniversary Of The Smoking Ban'. Many people have covered it and much chit and chat has ensued on Twitter and other social media platforms. However, something caught my attention this week which indicates to me the possibility that we may have reached (or at least be close to) the tipping point in Prohibition. That is, we may have reached the point where the public (and Government) have said enough is enough.

What has made me think this is the fact that ASH are starting to stamp their feet and have a serious tantrum over the 'lateness' (their words, not mine) of a new tobacco control strategy from the Government. Apparently such a plan is some 18 months overdue. I was not aware that Government is expected to have a new tobacco control plan every so many months (or years), but ASH seem to think that this is exactly what should be happening. However, there was no mention of any new tobacco control plan in the Queen's speech and this has apparently got ASH very alarmed. So much so that they have obviously been lobbying their pet sock-puppet - Andrew Blackman - to ask urgent questions on the matter in the Commons. The only answer they got was a vague promise that it is coming.

To be fair to Theresa May, following the disaster that was the last General Election when she failed to get the solid majority she was hoping for, she has far more pressing matters on her mind. To ensure Brexit, she needs a majority in the Commons and to get that she has had to go cap in hand to the DUP for an informal alliance.

The thing is that there is a great deal of uncertainty in the House Of Commons of late. The Tories are trying to fend off challenges to their authority from all of the opposition parties. This creates a great deal of flux in the day to day business at Westminster that makes all of the competing parties vulnerable to influence from all sides. Organisations like ASH will try to take advantage of the uncertainty by more forcibly pushing their own agenda. We have already seen them do so. But this also gives the persecuted the chance to push back and exploit those same opportunities.

For example, is it coincidence that UKIP's support fell away at the last election when their new manifesto (for the very first time) made no mention of repealing the smoking ban ?

Personally, I think there were a lot of other factors at play, but for many smokers up and down the country, UKIP's previous opposition to the smoking ban made them a very attractive party to vote for. After all they were the only party to openly state any support for the plight of smokers.

As I understand it, Theresa May herself is a former smoker. Indeed there are many other Conservative MP's who are also smokers, or at least known to be pro-smoking. So surely it would make sense for the Conservative party to move to occupy the space vacated by UKIP and take a more Libertarian and pro-choice stance. This would attract the vote of a great many of this country's disenfranchised smokers. There are still estimated to be (circa) 9-10 million smokers in the UK. If the Conservatives had captured even a proportion of those millions, their position in the House Of Commons would be far stronger than it is at present. Maybe that is what is driving their seeming reluctance to publish a new tobacco control plan ?  Who knows.

But, if no new tobacco control plan is published, where does that leave the likes of ASH ?
In truth, it puts them in a very awkward place and I think they know it. They have to be seen to be 'value for money' to be able to get the lucrative grants and donations they have received from the Government in previous years. Without those monies, their ability to lobby and coerce politicians becomes greatly reduced. Also, the megabucks paid to the likes of Deborah Arnott, let alone the millions they squander on travelling the UK, Europe and the world in attending conference after conference such the recent COP7, whilst staying in the best 5-star hotels, is seriously compromised.

In such a situation, ASH would have no choice but to do what other so-called Public Health 'charities' have done and that is to morph into an organisation more generalised than just one that deals with tobacco. They have done this once already when they expanded their portfolio once in an attempt to incorporate (and control) ecigs into their scope. A move that has been far more bumpy and uncomfortable that they expected. But if ASH expand their scope again, then they risk straying into prohibition areas already occupied by other Prohibitionist Public Health 'charities'.

They are not alone in this of course. There are a whole swathe of Public Health 'charities' and organisations that have sprung up in recent years. We have the likes of Alcohol Policy UK trying to introduce Minimum Unit Pricing, ban advertising and introduce tobacco control-style warnings on each and every alcoholic beverage. Then there is Action on Salt and Action on Sugar trying to coerce gullible companies (such as the makers of Lucozade) to reduce the salt and/or sugar content in their products and asking for tobacco control-style warnings on the packaging of any company that does not comply. Now we even have the BMA calling for graphic warnings of packets of sweets, as reported here by Chris Snowdon.

There are surely so many of these prohibitionist fruitcakes interfering in our  lives that we must now be at the tipping point where there is a serious kickback against these people. Most rational people do not believe a word they say anyway. The internet (and social media in particular) has been a great way to see through their distorting of statistics, debunking of their 'science' and exposing their outright lies. More and more people are starting to view these drooling megalomaniacs with a great deal of suspicion.

I think the time has arrived to make that stand, to fight back in our quest for a true Libertarian world, where freedom of choice and personal responsibility is reclaimed from Government and Public Health, by the public. We can start by calling on the Government to stop funding such people. They provide no value for money and, in a climate where money is increasingly tight, it is money better spent of services we genuinely need.

The way politics is currently operating, we have never had a greater opportunity to influence the direction this country is heading. We can fight back against these authoritarians because our politics have never been in such a weak and parlous state. Whether you are on the left of the political spectrum, or the right, surely this is something worth fighting for ?

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Plague Of Public Health Part 3 – The Virtual World

In the last of this series, it is time to take a look at the business consequences of prohibition as the persecuted turn away from the real world, forced into the shadows.

This is the third and final instalment of a series of blog entries entitled 'The Plague Of Public Health'. Part 1 is called The Black Market whilst Part 2 is named Going Underground.

There used to be a time when pubs, clubs, snooker halls, bingo halls etc up and down the country would be full to flowing with customers on most days of the week – and there were lots of them around to sate the thirst of such consumers. Indeed, when I started frequenting pubs in the late 1970’s, it was very rare for me to enter my local and not find at least somebody drinking in the pub whom I did not know well enough to have a long conversation with over a pint. Pubs (and clubs) in those days were usually smoke-filled venues, with the fug of cigarette smoke usually most visibly illuminated in the lights over the pool table, or in the spot-lamps lighting up the dartboard. Indeed, it was the way it had always been and the way most of us thought it always would be. In those days you were not greeted with a disgusted (fake) cough everytime you lit up a cigarette. We were all adults, and adults could be trusted to make their own choices in life. Nobody batted an eyelid at all the smoking in bars. If you did not like it, then you knew not to go there (or to go in to the Lounge where you would be less likely to see such things).

Little did we know that the first signs of prohibition were already starting to make noises. Only a decade later, an ever growing army of public health busybodies and ‘charities’ were finding their voices and bending the ear of both politicians and the main stream media (MSM). The 90’s were the decade when also saw the first indications of things to come when many pubs across the land started allocating non-smoking areas. Some pubs went even further and became totally smoke-free, until the financial realities hit them in the bottom-line – their pockets. It quickly became apparent to such premises that making smokers unwelcome in their pubs had a big drop in trade as a result. The first mainstream pub-chain to try it was Wetherspoons (though they waited until 2005 to try it out). The resultant drop in profits soon saw them rescind the idea.

Yes, pubs were closing down throughout the 80’s and 90’s, but these tended to be pubs that did not offer much in the way of creature comforts for their customers (there were a lot of such pubs around at that time). It was not for lack of genuine custom as the majority of pubs would still be full to flowing on most days of the week. Friday & Saturday nights would find you 7-8 deep at the bar of the more popular venues that offered some sort of entertainment – be it a live band, a disco or even the ubiquitous karaoke. Sunday lunchtime was still a landmark occasion for most drinkers – the last chance for a decent few beers before the inevitable return to work on the Monday morning. Indeed, urban pubs also had weekday lunchtimes to look forward to as it was still common for many workers to enjoy a lunchtime pint during their workday - something that would be frowned upon now.

In 2006 however, things began to change. In Scotland, Government brought in legislation to make all workplaces smoke-free. As a pub or club was classed as a workplace, it meant that smoking was stubbed out inside such premises with immediate effect. In April 2007, Wales followed suit and finally in July 2007 so did England and Northern Ireland. This all happened in face of numerous polls available at the time which showed little public support for enacting such a ban. Indeed, most people were completely indifferent to whether smoking should be allowed. I was a smoker at the time and can still remember being caught out by the date differences in England and Wales. I worked away during the week in England and for three brief months I could still smoke in the pub there. However, when back in Wales, I could not smoke in a pub anymore as the ban was already in force. A fact I forgot about on several occasions.  

We had entered a new era, prohibition claimed its first major victory. There were a few places that decided to test the new law in the courts. Others tried to ignore the new law. All were clamped down on severely. Because the bans came in during the summer months, initially there were no noticeable differences in trade as smokers happily gathered outside to chat, drink & smoke. The real difference happened when the weather cooled and we moved into the winter months. By that time people were no longer prepared to freeze to death in the rain or snow just to have a cigarette. So they started going out to pubs much less (I know, I was one of them).

It is now a decade since the smoking ban came into force in England, Northern Ireland and Wales (11 years in Scotland). Many of the younger generation now drinking in pubs have never experienced what a pub was like before the smoking ban. 

Yesterday, FOREST published their paper – The Road To Ruin. The Impact Of The Smoking Ban On Pubs And Personal Choice – and what follows is a few of the facts and figures I gleaned from that publication and reproduced courtesy of the kind permission of FOREST.

I am not going to go through the whole paper here. You can read it for yourself in the link provided above, and I do recommend you read it as it is a very well written paper. However, I did want to pick out a few pertinent points from their report  for this blog entry.

  • The smoking ban has had a major impact on pub closures that increased significantly following bans in Scotland, England and Wales
  • Since the introduction of the smoking ban in England in July 2007 over 10,500 pubs have closed, almost 20% of the pub estate a decade ago. In Wales over 860 pubs have closed, approximately 21% of the pub estate in 2007
  • Pubs hardest hit by the smoking ban were in urban, inner-city or economically deprived communities
  • The smoking ban also came at the price of two important principles: freedom of choice and personal responsibility
  • Pubs play an important role in many communities and the loss of the local pub has arguably led to increased isolation and loneliness

The above is just a subset of all the points Forest make in their paper. But it is a pretty damning list. In every community up and down the country, people can see for themselves how many pubs have closed down. Many communities no longer have a pub at all. In my immediate locality, where once there was 7 pubs/clubs, now there are only 3. In the nearest large connurbation (outside of the centre of the City), where once there were 15 pubs or clubs, now only 4 remain. Every single pub or club in both localities are struggling severely and it is very rare to find a sizeable crowd in any of them. Also, the majority of the surviving pubs are now almost exclusively food places rather than bars. There is not a single wet-led pub to be found.

People who try to deny that the smoking ban had any effect on pub closures are living in la-la-land quite frankly. The evidence is there to be seen.

So where have all the drinkers gone ?

As alluded to in an earlier blog, the younger generation (18-24) show little interest in pub-going. Many of them choose to be alcohol-abstinent. Of the older generations, it has to be said that many of the biggest drinkers (and therefore biggest customers to pubs) were also smokers. It is ever growing numbers of those smokers who are now staying away in droves. They see little point in visiting premises where they are not made welcome and so they do not bother. They simply stay at home and drink the cheaper booze that can be purchased at the supermarkets and enjoy a stress-free cigarette with their drink in comfort and warmth.

As a Vaper, i find similar problems to smokers. Yes, there are a few pubs that are happy to allow me to Vape in their bars. But there are also a great many that do not allow vaping. I do not drink in a pub that does not allow vaping. I refuse to give them my custom. However, even where vaping is allowed, I often find that there is always someone who will complain about my vaping. I will often fight my corner against these people and show them how ignorant they are. But to be perfectly honest, it is more enjoyable to make like the smokers and simply stay at home in the warm with some beer and where I can vape to my hearts content.

But have we lost the social aspect of drinking due to all this prohibition. Well, the answer to that is Yes and No. Yes we have certainly lost physical aspect of going to an actual bricks & mortar pub for a drink. Most pubs are now so devoid of life that I see little point in visiting them – vaping allowed or not.

However, in the modern ‘connected’ world, it is entirely possible to remain in contact (in real time) with friends on different continents, let alone your own locality. If you have been reading Frank Davis’ blog over the last week or two, you will know that he has set up his own virtual pub which he has christened his ‘Smoky Drinky Bar’ and that he regularly hosts several of his friends for a chat, drink and smoke. His virtual bar even has its own ‘pub’ background that they all appear in. However, Frank does complain about occasional technical problems and that he cannot have more than 10 people in the bar at any one time as he won’t pay for the ‘professional’ version of the software/website he uses. What his bar is like I cannot answer as I am not part of Frank’s circle of friends and as a vaper, rather than a smoker, I doubt I would be welcomed anyway. But I believe that @Dick_Puddlecote has been known to drop in from time to time.

However, there are other ways of having a virtual bar using the internet. Google Hangouts are an obvious choice and I believe Skype also has certain video conferencing abilities. But if you are not too bothered about being able to actually see the person you are talking to, then there are plenty of other ways that this virtual world can be exploited. I do this and so do many of my online friends.

Indeed, most evenings I can be found at my computer having a drink and a vape whilst chatting happily to friends all around the world simply through using Twitter. Those that are on Facebook (not me) can also have a conversation in a similar way through this virtual world.

The virtual world, via the internet, has enabled whole new communities to spring up involving people from all parts of the planet chatting, socialising, drinking, smoking, vaping to their heart’s content from the comfort of their own home, away from the glare and persecution of the nannying class. THAT is where all the drinkers have gone and why pubs are struggling and closing in droves.

Public Health drove the smokers (and the vapers in many cases) out of the public spaces we all used to socialise in (i.e. pubs & clubs) through discrimination, oppresion and spite. They bear a big responsibility for the number of pub businesses that have closed down across the country, taking much needed employment opportunities away from the masses. So those of us who are fed up of being oppressed  have all said a big ‘fuck you’ to public health and created our own virtual community where they cannot touch or control us. Ultimately, Public Health have killed off the pub trade through their spiteful policies such as the smoking ban which removes personal choice and responsibility, and replaced them with 'restaurants that have an alcohol licence'. In a few years time they will be bemoaning the fact that they have nowhere to go other than a restaurant for a night out as there will not be enough genuine pubs left surviving. The irony will be lost on Public Health that when that happens it is all their fault.

Public Health – The two words are an oxymoron when used together. They neither understand the public nor care about its health. They certainly do not care or understand how businesses work.

We can defeat the Puritans by ignoring them.

Thank-you for sticking with me on this three-parter. I am not as eloquent at writing as many of my fellow bloggers are, but I hope  this series of blogs about Public Health have given you cause to think and that you enjoyed reading it.

Monday, 26 June 2017

The Plague Of Public Health Part 2 – Going Underground

Yesterday saw the publication of the first of three parts to this current blog entry investigating some of the major consequences of Prohibition. ‘The Black Market’ followed one of the first effects that Prohibition causes – that of promoting illicit/illegal activity.

Today’s blog entry – ‘Going Underground’ – follows what happens when people are forced to enjoy their habit out of the glare of the public spotlight.

Time allowing, tomorrow’s entry – ‘The Virtual World’ – will conclude the series.

Going Underground

In yesterday’s blog entry, I discussed the Black Market and how it grows and thrives in a Prohibitionist world. Now comes the opportunity to discuss the ways in how that Black Market is used.

We already have a clear indication of what happens when something is prohibited in society. It can found in the world of illicit drugs.

Drugs, of various types, have been around for as long as the human race has evolved. Early man quickly discovered that using certain plants in certain ways had beneficial and enjoyable benefits to the user. Some drugs developed that eased pain or cured disease, whilst others developed that simply provided pleasure. I am not going to discuss ‘ The Pleasure Principal’ in this blog. That subject has been covered frequently and far more eloquently in other blogs to be found around the internet (including on the NNA Website). Suffice to say, that drugs of pleasure have been around for a very long time.

Two of the most common (legal) drugs in today’s society are obviously caffeine and nicotine. But even the so-called illicit drugs were perfectly legal until relatively recent times. In fact, cannabis/marijuana and even drugs such as LSD (acid) were legal in my lifetime as they were not finally made illegal until the late 1960’s. The Victorians were voracious and ubiquitous drug users and the term ‘The Opium Den’ really came into the English language as a phrase during the Victorian era, though the phrase was probably coined long before that. Many prominent Victorians are reputed to have been heavy drugs users (including Royalty) and indeed many fictional Victorian characters (such as Sherlock Holmes) were regularly depicted as drug users, such was the commonplace occurrence of those times.

Then, in the late 1960’s, various Governments started Legislating against recreational drugs as they realised how popular they were becoming amongst the populace. There is little doubt that some drugs are far more insidious and dangerous than others. Cannabis is a good example of a relatively benign drug. It has a great many qualities as a source of pain relief (a fact not unnoticed by many MS sufferers), but also provides a huge amount of pleasure. I will admit to having sampled cannabis joints in my younger years and found the effect to be not only pleasurable, but akin to getting drunk on alcohol – but without the inevitable hangover the following morning. On the other end of the scale, we have the highly addictive and destructive heroin, which causes much damage and crime in society.

The problem was that when the Governments, egged on by Public Health, decided to act on drugs, they chose to come down with a ‘hammer to crack an egg’ approach. That is, they came out with a blanket ban on a whole range of drugs rather than treat each on its merits. The result was to drive the entire drugs market underground and a continual war against this has been fought ever since, costing an absolute fortune in law enforcement and crime prevention.  It is a mistake they continue to make as more and more drugs are added to that list. 

Has drug use gone down since legislation was brought in during the 60's ?    

Absolutely not. Drug use continues to skyrocket and thus proves that prohibition of drugs has simply not worked. The more enlightened countries that are slowly lifting such restrictions are now seeing the benefit.

But is tobacco next ?  How about nicotine ? Alcohol ? Sugar ? Salt ?

True, you will tell me that all of those substances are legal to be consumed, and you would be right. But it is also true that the only reason they are all still legal is because the Governments around the world make so much money from them, and we all know that money is a Government’s main addiction (power is the other one).

However, let’s take tobacco as an example. Whilst it may still be a legal product, it is being increasingly marginalised. Already smoking has been pushed out of pubs, clubs and other public spaces. You have not been able to smoke on public transport for a very long time and all work premises are now also smoke-free. In the latest twist even our own cars have become targets for becoming smoke-free as a new (unenforceable) law was brought in to ban smoking in any vehicle carrying children. The latest pushes are to ban smoking in public parks and beaches. Some in public health would even like to see smoking banned outside of pubs, especially in beer gardens. The places a person can actually enjoy a legal product such as tobacco, are becoming so restricted that smokers have no choice but to retreat to the sanctity of their own homes or private social gatherings to enjoy and indulge their habit (I refuse to call it an addiction as I do not believe it to be so).

Aah, but what about the Vapers you ask ?  Vapers can still enjoy their product where smokers cannot. That may be true in many instances, but as a Vaper I can assert that even the places where one can vape are slowly being eroded. Whilst there is currently no legislation banning the use of vape-products in public enclosed spaces, some Governmental bodies have tried to go down that route (Yes, I am looking at you Welsh Government) – unsuccessfully. Indeed some countries in the world have actually gone as far as banning vape-products altogether. So Vapers, do not make the mistake of believing we are immune to such bans. More and more places are banning the use of vape products in the mistaken belief that there is actually some harm to be had from them – despite no credible evidence to prove so. It is only a matter of time before another Public Health ‘charity’ tries again to persuade Government that they should be banning their use.

And it will not stop there. Alcohol is on their list, as are fizzy drinks. Soon there will be calls for complete bans on sugary products or those high in salt content. The list is neverending as each Public Health ‘charity’ or organisation will seek to reinvent themselves to ensure that the gravy train keeps on rolling in the money.

The net effect is that bans will drive such behaviour underground, just like it has with the drugs ‘problem’. Just like drugs, people will start buying products on the Black Market (discussed yesterday) which will be products that have no guarantee of content or safety. They will be forced to smoking/vaping/drinking ‘underground’ by retreating to the sanctity of their homes to enjoy the product. Once such products reach the level of being sold on the black market and consumed behind closed doors, then that is when Public Health will completely lose the battle, whether they realise it or not. Because when such products are consumed behind closed doors, there is no limit on how much can be consumed. There is no control on how it is consumed. There is no control over who might be present when it is consumed. Most importantly, they will lose the ability to know how many people are consuming those products. So their skewed ‘reports’ on consumption will truly hit complete fantasy-land as they will have no way to measure consumption and, as with drugs, people will simply deny they use them when asked.

If Public Health think they have a major health problem on their hands now, then it is nothing compared to the problems they are going to encounter once all of these habits have gone underground. Once underground, the whole sphere becomes an unregulated, uncontrolled badlands and the consequences could be horrendous.

Will Public Health learn from their mistakes in the war on drugs ?

I doubt it. I seriously doubt it. There is far too much money at stake for them to learn from their experiences.

And as we are all well aware, it is not about health with these people is it ?

Sunday, 25 June 2017

The Plague Of Public Health Part 1 - The Black Market

Following on from yesterday’s blog entry, I have decided to look deeper into the consequences  of the Prohibition Era that we are entering.

This blog entry is the first of (probably) three entries that will look at different aspects and consequences of Prohibition over the course of the next 3 days. We start today with 'The Black Market'.

The Black Market

One of the first things to happen when we enter in to a Prohibitionist world is that the amount of illicit activity greatly ramps up. It was most obvious during the American Prohibition Experiment during the early 20th Century. In America, there suddenly emerged huge swathes of bootleggers feeding the hunger for alcohol both directly to the masses and indeed to the numerous speakeasy premises that sprung up all over the country. Of course, the people who controlled all this illicit booze was the criminal element, often the organised crime syndicates popularised as Gangsters. Huge amounts of money was simply waiting to be made and these people filled the void that was opened up by the Government and made absolute fortunes from the illicit trade. The other people that made large amounts of money were the corrupt politicians who were paid off to turn a blind eye to the criminal enterprises, or indeed may actually have been directly involved themselves.

The point is that what the American experiment proved is that prohibition fails. The free market and the very citizens that public health are trying to protect,  rebel against such nanny-state policies. Human beings are not programmed to simply accept such subjugation. Indeed, human beings are actually programmed to resist. But of course, the prohibitionists cannot see this. They believe that their conditioning and brainwashing can overcome human nature. It cannot. The whole principle of Darwin’s theory of evolution is that the human race shall overcome. That all animals adapt to overcome any barrier that is put up before their evolution. The human race only evolved to the current state because of this. Those that cannot adapt become extinct. Those that can adapt survive .... and the human race has proved time and time again that it is built to survive.

Something strange is now happening in the UK. The very same circumstances we saw from our colonial cousins back at the start of the 20th century,  are starting to appear in this country as Tobacco Control spreads its tentacles in an ever wider in search of funding. It is as if the powers that be cannot learn the lessons of history and are determined to repeat them.

Who is benefitting from this prohibition ? Who is making oodles of money from the illicit black market trade ?

Granted, there is a criminal element making money from such an enterprise. But given that the prohibitionists have driven the current situation, I would be staggered to find out that they also are not making something from this situation. They certainly make money from the excessive taxes exerted upon anyone who dares to enjoy the benefits of such pleasures as smoking or drinking through the taxes exerted. It maybe that Government get the main benefit, but that same Government then ‘spread the wealth’ by investing those taxes in the Prohibitionist agenda. But I have to be honest and admit that I have often wondered if the alcohol temperance or tobacco control bodies that have been instrumental in exerting such pressures cannot also be benefitting financially in some more direct way. After all, we all realise that they certainly do not have our best interests in mind and are more interested in what it can do for them.

We have already seen what the prohibitionists can do through their ever excessive penalties on the simple crime of smoking. The premise of Government should not be that of controlling what habits the general population may or may not indulge in. The purpose of Government is to protect its citizens, not coerce it. When a Government is in the business of coercion, then it ceases to be a Government and becomes a dictatorship. But this is exactly what we are seeing in our current Governments, aided, abetted and encouraged by the prohibitionists in our society. More and more, we are seeing the vision of George Orwell’s 1984 coming to fruition. It would seem that George was not wrong about what lies in our future, he just got the dates wrong.

Already we are seeing restrictions on where you can and cannot smoke – a scope that is broadening all the time. We also see the slow march of prohibitionism slowly passing its tentacles out to envelop alcohol. Even now we are seeing those tentacles trying to spread outwards to restrict how we might enjoy sugar, salt and any number of other things that may be involved in providing pleasure to the masses.

It is not so much that we are seeing Orwell’s dystopian future coming to fruition, it is that we are witnessing it’s very evolution into society. Over the last 50 years we have already seen the persecution against drug use reach its nadir and then fall back as the authorities realised they are fighting a losing battle. But does this mean that they admit that their methods are wrong ? Does it hell. They have continued to repeat the exact same mistakes in their so-called 'war' against tobacco.

Just imagine this future Britain:

The pub has ceased to exist as we currently know it. Pubs are now more akin to restaurants in that they mainly cater to serving food, but have a sideline of alcohol. The problem is that the pubs have been nationalised in the name of public health. Where you can buy booze, you find that the pubs can only sell state-approved alcohol. That alcohol will be limited to a certain strength and will also only be allowed to be brewed in a particular way and with state-approved ingredients (to ensure that nothing harmful enters our bodies). Of course, all such alcohol will be served in glasses/packaging that clearly states and warns against the potential health threats contained within. The glasses/packaging must be plain – and that includes any pump from which the alcohol in dispensed. That results in a very bland taste and sense of enjoyment. If you do not like it then you are out of luck as all differing brands/brews/ingredients/brewing processes have been outlawed. The same will be true of the any liquors and spirits. Everything can and will taste exactly the same.

Even the food you eat at these places will be strictly regulated. You will not be able to order any meal that is not on the approved list for ingredients. For example, anything fried is banned. Salt and sugar will be banned from any table, as will any sauces such as mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, brown sauce, mustard, tartare sauce etc – all because they might contain hidden dangers of salt and sugar.

Of course, smoking and vaping is banned completely and utterly. People who indulge in such habits will be forced to deal on street corners with shady characters and then indulge in their habit by gathering together in illicit ‘parties’ – much like people who enjoy recreational drugs have to now. Obviously, there will be no control over the contents of such products as they have long since passed away from the control of the authorities and consequently you will have no idea what you are inhaling. The same will be true of any illicit ‘proper’ alcoholic beverages you may be successful in acquiring through the flourishing black market.

But what of the latest ‘threats’ to public health, that of the fast food and fizzy drinks industry ?
Well, for one thing, when you meet a shifty character on a darkened street corner or alleyway, he/she will still offer you a ‘shot of coke’. The difference this time is that you will NOT be buying cocaine, but instead you will be buying a genuine sugar-loaded bottle of Coca-Cola – putting your life at severe risk of obesity and heart disease.

Want A Big Mac Meal ?
That will likely also be available through shifty characters hiding in darkened street corners. Perhaps they will exploit the irony and sell it to you dressed in a dirty ‘Columbo’ outsized Mac. Nothing would surprise me in this future dystopia.

So you fancy a pizza ?
Well, you will need to flag down a dodgy looking moped rider on a darkened back-street where you can indulge yourself by ordering  the full-works pizza containing every topping imaginable, all prepared in a non-descript back-street kitchen. All you need to know is the phone number to call and you can only get that number by talking to a friend of a friend of a friend who happens to know how such illicit material can be acquired.

Think this is all pie-in-the-sky and that it cannot happen ?

Time to wake up sheeple. It is already happening. Our current society is sleepwalking into such a dystopian vision. Of course it will not affect those in authority, nor will it affect the prohibitionist charities and public health bodies. They will still have their access to duty-free products from around the world because of their ‘special’ status and because unlike the general public, they can be trusted to handle and be responsible with such products. It is only us 'proles' who cannot be trusted to9 make the correct choices in our lifestyle.

If such a scary dystopian future scares the shit out of you (as it should), then the time to act is now. There is little point in declaring that you do not drink/smoke/vape and therefore it will not affect you. The point is, they are coming for us. ALL OF US. Let’s assume they actually manage to eliminate drinking/smoking/vaping. Who do you think they are going to be coming for next ?  Can you be sure it is not you ?

Saturday, 24 June 2017

The Consequences Of Prohibition

I have been rather quiet on the blogging front for a number of months due to various 'issues' going on in my personal life. However, that does not mean that I have not been reading other people's blogs. A number of those blogs have got me thinking about the consequences of the 'Prohibition Era' that we seem to be descending ever deeper into due to the tax-sponging so-called Public Health Charities and bodies.

For example, today I read a blog by Chris Snowdon (which you can find here) which discussed the recent alarmist (and totally false claims) by various 'alcohol-concern' bodies that alcohol consumption in Scotland has been steadily rising. As is usual, Chris does an excellent job in debunking such claims using the official facts and figures against these people.

But what started my line of thought was the following quote that Chris had picked up on

Even the Public Health Minister admits that drinkers are being forced from the pubs to drinking in the home. But her suggestion of minimum pricing will NOT deter 'problem' drinkers. If you have an alcohol problem, you will literally pay ANY price to get your booze. All Minimum Pricing will do is punish the moderate drinker.

Meanwhile, Mudgie celebrated his 58th Birthday (Happy Birthday Mudgie), by reflecting on how the pub trade/business has changed over the 40 years since he first started frequenting his local (and not-so-local) hostelries which you can read here.

What struck me from Mudgie's blog was his assertion that "back in the 70's, the total amount of beer sold in British pubs was almost three times as much as today. Since then, huge numbers of pubs have closed, many have gone over so much to food that they offer little welcome to drinkers, and many of those that remain are so quiet for much of the time that it’s like intruding on private grief".

Lastly, another blog I read regularly which has been talking along the themes of Prohibition and how it is possible to get around it and still have an enjoyable time is the blog of Frank Davis. His latest entry can be found here. However, Frank has been discussing his 'virtual bar' over the last couple of entries in his blog which I would recommend reading.

What all of these blogs have in common is that they reinforce 'why' the Prohibition Era I mention above is causing all manner of consequences and kick-backs that the Prohibitionists just never saw coming, and which they still refuse to acknowledge as fact.

It is a common fact that alcohol consumption has been on a downward spiral for the last couple of decades, despite what you may read from the scaremongering click-bait published in the MSM and many so-called scientific publications. It is a fact borne out from the number of pubs that have closed down since the 1970's, and then accelerated since the 2007 introduction of the smoking ban. In fact, it is often said that a growing number of the current generation of youngsters (18-24 age bracket) are alcohol abstinent. I have three 'kids' of 26, 24 and 20 years old and TWO out of the three never touch a drop of alcohol. They are just not interested in it, and they are far from rare in that age-group. It then follows that if that generation is not interested in drinking alcohol, then a pub is not somewhere that is going to interest them.

When I grew up in the 60's/70's, most of us couldn't wait to get our arses in the pub (often underage) and get shit-faced every day of the week that our meagre money allowed. That was still the trend in the 80's.

If the young are not injterested in visiting pubs, then it follows that the pub trade is going to suffer because the next generation are not moving in to make up for the older generation as it slowly dies off.

Another reason for the declining pub trade (as alluded to above) has to be the smoking ban. The Smoking Ban accelerated the closures of wet-led pubs when it was introduced in 2007. Regardless of what any Public Health official will try to spin to you, it cannot be down to pure coincidence that pub closures accelerated once the smoking ban was introduced.

But where did all those drinkers go ?

Well, for one, the smokers stop going to the pub once the weather turns foul. Who wants to be stood out in the cold and the rain whenever you fancy a cigarette ?  This is especially true of the older generation who are much more susceptible to illness caused by having to stand out in the cold. As a result, many smokers stopped going to the pub, preferring instead to buy cheaper booze from the supermarket and being able to consume it in the warmth and comfort of their own homes whilst still being able to enjoy a cigarette in complete comfort. Indeed, this is where Frank Davis' latest blog musings begin to make sense because due to the internet it is very easy to organise a Google Hangout where you chat to all your friends online whilst all of you are enjoying your booze, fags, vapes etc just as if you were bin an actual pub.

Furthermore, because you are drinking your booze, and smoking your cigarettes, or vaping, at home then none of the so-called Public Health can have any control on how much you consume. In a pub, the landlord can refuse to serve anyone who has obviously had too much booze, but such controls do not exist in the home. Therefore, by pushing the drinkers (by price), the smokers (by legislation) or the Vapers (through ignorance) out of the pubs, Public Health are actually potentially creating the very health 'problem' they claim to be trying to stop.

I do not smoke anymore. I switched from smoking to vaping just over 6 years ago, but I do remember the annoyance I felt at the introduction of the smoking ban in 2007. However, even as a Vaper I find that many pubs do not welcome me and force me to vape outside with the smokers, despite vaping NOT being illegal in enclosed public spaces. As it happens, my local pub IS vaper-friendly. However, I found myself visiting that local pub less and less as time went on because one could always find at least one (usually the gobbiest person in the pub) who would whinge and moan about my vaping and displaying their complete and utter ignorance about how dangerous ecigarettes are (hint: There are no known issues with vaping and it is said to be at LEAST 95% safer than smoking).

As it currently stands, the last time I actually visited a pub for a drink was over 8 months ago. I simply find it far easier to sit at home, drink what I want when I want it, and vaping to my heart's content whilst chatting to friends online. It is effectively Frank Davis' 'Virtual Pub', and more and more of us are doing it.

So it is a big 'Fuck You' to Public Health. You are not beating us into submission, you are merely driving us underground, just like you have done with the drug 'problem'. We are not going away, we are just finding more inventive ways to piss in your face and exercising our right to live our lives how we want, the way we want.

Prohibitionists - You are sad fucking losers !!