I haven't been on the Freedom2Choose forums for ages. Real life takes up too much time. I must get back in there and see what's been happening.
In the meantime, here are two new smoky blogs. Nothing2Declare keeps us up to date with what you can and cannot bring in from the EU and should be required reading for HMRC because they obviously have no idea, even though it's their job to know.
Stand FAST is a well written smoky blog, worth a visit. This article is especially interesting. Apparently, all those small-shop owners are upset because we smokers buy our stuff from Man with a Van at cut-price, instead of paying tax in their shops. The small shop owners' solution? Get the government to force Man with a Van to stop selling to us, and fine us if we buy from him.
Okay. Most publicans were happy to have us leave their premises and are now bleating that we don't support their pubs. Small shop owners, who will soon be forced to hide the cigarettes behind expensive screens so we smokers won't realise they sell any, are likewise not going to support us.
So where are all the antismokers who can now rush to the small shops without fear of being tempted by shiny packets that exude fiftieth hand smoke? Where are they? I've no idea. They're not in the pub, that's for sure.
Pubs depended for a lot of their income on smokers. Small shops depend for a lot of their income on smokers. Small shops are going to go the same way as pubs and like pubs, they will blame the smokers because we aren't going there any more. That's right, they will accept the antismoker rules as inevitable and then blame the people they have excluded from their business for not spending money in their business.
Smokers are not closing pubs. We'd love to go back but we are not welcome. In any pub, anywhere. if anyone tries to make us welcome, the Smokefinder General will bankrupt them. We are not doing that to the pubs. We cannot stop it. Publicans, if they united, could. There is nothing smokers can do to save the pubs because we are not allowed inside.
Smokers will not close down the small shops. It's great to be able to buy your tobacco along with a newspaper, crisps, chocolate, bottle of fizzy pop and sometimes even whisky without having to go to separate counters for it all. Yes, it costs a bit more in there but it's convenient. You don't have to trek all the way across town to the supermarket. Yet now that their income from smokers is threatened,. what do they do? Do they say 'No, you must not boost the tax because the smokers won't pay any more'?
No, they say 'Fine the smokers who buy from Man with a Van, and then arrest Man with a Van. Smokers must be forced to pay the huge tax because we need the income to keep our shops alive. Customers must have no choice.'
Well thanks for your support, small shop people. You can count on exactly the same amount of support from me in future.
The government needs the billions it takes from smokers in tax. Pubs need smokers' business. Small shops need smokers' business. And yet they are all happy to spit on us and kick us around.
Man with a Van is our friend. Organised crime? It's the only bloody thing that is organised in this country. I don't care if Man with a Van is pure-blood Mafioso and has a sub-machine gun where other people keep a spare wheel. As far as I am concerned, he sells tobacco at reasonable prices and does not sneer at his customers while selling it. So the pubs close, the small shops close, and the government loses revenue. I can't really bring myself to care about any of them.
None of them show any sign of caring about me.