I know some of you out there are smokers, some are very much anti-smokers and some couldn't care less. I know some are groaning at another 'smoking' post, but hey, I'm at war here. There are people attacking me from all sides simply because I like a smoke. Simply 'giving in to them' is not an option. Even if I were to decide I wanted to quit now, I would not. I would persist with it out of sheer bloody-mindedness because I will not be a notch on ASH's score stick.
It's a war. I am not going to defect to the enemy camp. As long as the enemy is firing I will not stop smoking.
You see, it has gone far beyond mere 'smoking' now. The enemy have jailed a publican, not for smoking, but for allowing others to smoke. He is not a police officer. He has no authority to arrest anyone. Yet on his own, private, premises, he is expected to enforce a law that would drive his customers away. He refused and now he has been sentenced to jail - for a longer term than most violent criminals receive and for far longer than the Labour peer who flattened an innocent man with his car. Killing someone is now a less important crime than sitting back and letting someone else smoke.
Let that sink in for a moment. His crime was not 'smoking'. It was 'not stopping someone else smoking'.
The story of the injustice in this case and of Old Holborn's campaign has made it onto the Telegraph blogs. Not into the mainstream media. It's too much like real news for them to bother with, but a newspaper blog is a start.
Old Holborn still has that link up for donations to help pay the vicious fine imposed on this non-criminal. I have donated. Even if you hate smokers with every fibre of your being, can you sit back and let this government enforce a law that will make you a criminal not because of what you have done, but because you did not act as an unpaid policeman and stop someone else doing something?
How long before 'not taking a can of beer away from a gang of hoodies' is a crime? How long before 'not preventing a fat guy eating a pie' is a crime? Far easier to arrest you than to arrest those boozing hoodies, isn't it? They don't care about the drinking hoodies. In fact, the longer those hoodies keep drinking, the more people they can fine for not stopping them.
The more those fat people eat pies, the more people they can fine for not stopping them. Why do you think smoking has not simply been made illegal? If it was, then it would be a police matter and they couldn't fine you lot for not stopping us. We'd be hiding away like the currently-increasing numbers of cocaine users. Banning that worked really well, didn't it?
How about this one: - imagine you have a shop. Nobody has ever smoked in that shop. Ever. Not even before indoor smoking was banned. It has never happened. Not once. You have never had to ask anyone to stop smoking in the shop because nobody has ever tried. Now the ban is in force, everyone knows it is actually illegal to smoke in that shop. Nobody ever tried to anyway. Therefore the smoking ban has absolutely no impact on the shop, right?
Wrong. If you don't plaster the walls with 'no smoking' signs even though nobody ever has, and it's now well known to be illegal anyway, you will be prosecuted.
You will be prosecuted for not putting up signs to tell people to stop doing something nobody has ever done. As that shopkeeper has. Not for smoking. Not even for allowing others to smoke. For not putting up 'Thou Shalt Not' signs in a place where they were totally superfluous. Churches have to have the signs. Has anyone ever seen someone smoking in church? Ever? How about mosques? Kingdom Halls? Buddhist temples?They must be obliged to have the signs too even though they don't allow smoking among their congregations, whether they are in a place of worship or not. If they don't have the sign, they pay the fine.
You don't have to be a smoker to be fined and imprisoned by the smoking ban.
All you ASH footsoldiers, consider this. You are to act as unpaid smoke police. Soon you will act as unpaid drink police, fat police, salt police and more. If you fail to stop me salting my chips, dipping them in barley wine and eating them between puffs of smoke, YOU will be fined. If you refuse to pay the fine on the very sensible grounds that it was me, not you, that did all those things, YOU will be jailed.
They won't jail me. They will let me back onto the streets so that they can fine and jail more people for failing to stop me. Soon you will resort to violence to stop me but I'm the criminal here, remember? I have 'yooman rites'. You, as the innocent party driven to violence by the unfairness of the law, have none. They'll fine you again and jail you again. It's all been very carefully and painstakingly set up by the Righteous. They are not your friends any more than they are mine. They want control over all of us, not just the smokers.
Your own side is shooting you in the back and you can't see it. Smokers, drinkers, fat people, salty people, drivers, ethnic divisions, religious divisions, a fragmented society is easy to control simply by pitting one fragment against another. The Righteous don't care about any of those fragments.
Not even the ones they pat on the head for doing what they are told.
Because you will fail to stop me smoking, time and time again. You will fail to stop the hoodies drinking, you will fail to stop the overweight eating and every time you fail, you will be punished.
Not by your opponents in this war. By those you imagine are on your side.
If ten thousand people donate one pound each to Old Holborn's appeal, an innocent man will be set free. I put in a tenner. If one thousand people did that, he will be free. That's not all. it will make a point. A very important point.
That we have noticed the tyranny of the law and that we are angered by it. That we are not going to sit back and just take it any more.
There will still be some thinking 'I don't care. He let someone smoke and he got what he deserved'. You are of course free to think that way, right up to the day when that gang of tanked-up hoodies decide to party in your garden and you are arrested for not preventing underage drinking on your property. You think such a thing cannot happen?
Update: Frank Davis has been crunching the numbers. Looks like Nick Hogan might not have much more porridge to suffer. I hope that's true.