There is an ashtray in my greenhouse. A proper glass one, not some makeshift thing fashioned from an old can. I am not a slovenly smoker. I like to relax and enjoy my cigarette. I will not be browbeaten into treating my smoking as something furtive and dirty, something akin to nosepicking or wetting one's trousers in public. I enjoy smoking and if you think that makes me filthy and evil, no problem. You're not the sort who'll be invited to my greenhouse, or even my house, so you need never experience it. Better yet, I need never experience you.
I have had visitors - smokers - who have automatically gone outside to light up. I have had to follow them out there and ask what they thought they were doing. Smoking is allowed inside my house. I have ashtrays in there too. Nonsmoking is also allowed but antismoking is not. If I offend you that much, don't visit me. You won't be welcome anyway.
Why do these smokers do it? They have been browbeaten to believe they are less than human. They have been conditioned to believe that they are inferior because of their smoking habit. Why have they accepted that if they are indoors and they want a smoke, they must go outside no matter the situation and no matter the weather? For many it has become an automatic response.
Why did the German Jews and homosexuals accept that they had to wear those yellow and pink badges respectively? Having to wear a badge to define yourself as something that is nobody else's business is humiliating. Why would anyone accept that? Why do smokers accept that they have to be out in the rain and that shelters cannot be enclosed - for no other reason than to enhance the suffering? Really. There is no other reason.
I have not been to a pub in a long time. It has been a particularly nasty winter and so far, a somewhat erratic summer. At the moment it is pouring with rain, cold and windy outside. Pubs won't be doing well tonight. Pubs, I have decided, will not see me again until I can smoke in there. This might not happen in my lifetime but I will no longer spend money in an institution that forces me to go outside for half of my evening's relaxation. It is not fun and if it is not fun, then it's not relaxing. I am not paying a premium for pain.
The publicans will argue that it is not their fault, that they are not allowed to allow me to smoke and they'll get fined if they do. Pubs demanded that the smoking ban be extended to private clubs for that 'level playing field' so pubs have ensured I have nowhere to go. I can't even set up a smokers' club for smokers only. Pubs made that happen. Many pubs also gleefully enacted the ban, thinking the non-smokers would turn up in droves. They didn't. Their existing nonsmoking customers drifted away too because their smoking friends weren't going.
Then there's the beer garden. Oh, we're allowed to have that in winter when the chairs and tables are piled with snow, or when the rain and wind make it difficult to stop shaking long enough to put a cigarette in your mouth. In fine weather, the antismokers whine and complain that we are smoking in the bit they now want for themselves. What do the publicans do? Not a damn thing. No publican, to my knowledge, has erected any sign along these lines in support of their smoking customers. Okay, it doesn't have to be worded quite so insultingly but the message would be clear.
We supported the pub with our money when we had to go out in the shitty weather to smoke. When it's nice outside, a little recognition would be nice but what do we get? More State-sanctioned abuse. Okay. You don't want my custom, fine. Don't bleat about falling profits and closing pubs when you won't even admit to yourselves what's causing it. Booze has always been cheaper in supermarkets. Before the ban I rarely bought any there. I'd rather go to the pub. Now the supermarkets are my only source. Not because it's cheaper. Not because it's better - it's not. Widgets produce fizzy beer, not draught beer. I won't go there because pubs don't want my business.
I am shocked by the number of smokers who have simply accepted that they must wear the yellow-fingers badge that denotes them as less than human. Don't accept it. The pubs refuse to support us, so refuse to support them. They will continue to close but what the hell - they don't want us in there so we lose nothing. Find or organise a smoky-drinky place. It's not hard. Ours is mobile, it is not fixed to anyone's house, it's just a bunch of mates who have a 'pub evening' with nobody having to get up and go outside to smoke. There are enough of us to guarantee one every weekend and in fact, most nights. We don't all have to turn up to every one. There is no membership. There is no business transaction occurring. It is not open to the general public. Antismokers will most definitely not be invited.
Is it as good as a real pub? No, but as smokers, it is all we have and it will develop into new pubs, with new landlords, when all this ridiculous and childish banning and whining has passed. If those pubs and landlords who spurn us now are all out of business by then, if CAMRA is reduced to five weirdie beardies drinking homebrew in a shed, it will be no loss to smokers at all. They didn't want us around, remember. They made it clear that they did not want our business. Their utter eradication should mean nothing to us, as our eradication means nothing to them.
Nick Hogan tried to stand up for his smoking customers and was roundly hammered by the State. If it hadn't been for Anna Raccoon and Old Holborn, he'd likely still be in jail now. Early release for murderers and rapists would not apply in the case of a smoking ban heretic. He was one. Where were the others? Tut-tutting over their hand pumps and shaking their heads at his impertinence. Where were CAMRA, those champions of the British pub? Hiding under the Dreadful Arnott's skirt and licking her nicotine-free backside. They are antismoking, even the smoking ones, unless you smoke 'the right sort' of tobacco.
So where is the support for smokers? There is none. None at all. The pubs won't help us in any way. The government hate us but still expect us to pay their inflated extra taxes on tobacco. There are other sources and if they are funding organised crime, why would you expect me to care? I am considered a criminal every time I light up. I am villified and despised by the Real People when I am in the pub and when I am smoking outside it. So if Man with a Van is funding some illegal activity that harms you Real People, why would you expect me to care? You hate me without reason anyway. I might as well give you something real to hate me for.
Nick Hogan was imprisoned because he let people smoke in premises he owned. Now you don't have to go that far to fall foul of the new Inquisition. Remember the lorry driver fined for smoking in his cab? He wasn't. He had an Electrofag but the word of a council Stasi who observed him from a distance was held to be of higher legal account than his proving, in court, that he used an Electrofag. Those who shriek about Sharia, in which a woman's testimony is worth less than that of a man's, were silent in this example of exactly the same thing.
The smoking ban was never about health. Now it is in place, that facade has dropped and we see the real control freakery underlying its inception. Passive smoking has never killed anyone. Third hand smoke is a sick joke. All we hear now is 'I don't like the smell' and the 'littering' arguments. Oh, and of course, that perennial favourite, 'for the cheeeeldren'.
That is it. That's all they have left now. Drop a cigarette butt, composed entirely of plant materials and completely biodegradable, and you will be hunted down like a dog. Drop a mattress over a hedge and there'll be 'tsk, someone's been fly tipping'. Throw your burger wrappings on the floor and people will roll their eyes. Drop a cigarette and they'll call the police. Proportionate? Fair? Really?
When smoking in the garden, I drop the butts in among the plants. You won't find any but the most recent. You also won't find many insect pests. They rot, they compost, they contain nicotine which is a natural insecticide. Don't come back with 'See? It's a poison'. Chocolate is a poison to many other mammals and in the case of insects, we are talking about creatures far more distantly related to me than a parrot. One man's smoke is another aphid's poison. Get it yet?
In the street, I do not simply drop butts on the ground. I put them out and put them in a bin. if I dropped them on the ground they would rot away but I have always been anti-litter, it's just the way I am. The antismoker perception is that we are all out there emptying our ashtrays over passers-by when we aren't knifing pensioners and desecrating churches and stubbing out cigarettes in kittens' eyes but the terrible reality is that we are just ordinary people. Some smokers are scummy buggers who never wash, some like to keep their lives unrealistically clean and tidy. Just like non-smokers. We are not a different species. We are not subhuman. I am not a monster. I am a human being. The only difference is that I like something that some other people don't like.
Who out there could say otherwise? Who can state that they only like what they are told to like, and hate what they are told to hate (Council employees, UAF and ASH drones excepted, of course).
It is acceptable to hunt down smokers, to persecute smokers, to despise smokers, for exactly the same reason that it was once acceptable to denounce witches. It takes your mind off what's really going on. It distracts you from what your government is doing. It stops you realising, and it stops you rioting because it gives you an outlet for your hate. Someone to blame for all your troubles, real and imagined.
There's no point explaining that to an antismoker. They are blinded by their hate. And that was the point of the exercise. It worked.
It has now reached the point where a council Stasi can stalk an individual smoker and prosecute them for littering while bragging about their stalking and presenting no evidence of any kind whatsoever... and win the case.
There were cries during the Nick Hogan appeal of 'You can't pay his fine, it's giving them what they want'. They are going to get that money anyway, either by impounding property or by stealing it from bank accounts. We lose nothing by helping other smokers who are treated worse than rapists by the courts, but bit by bit we show that we are not going to sit back and be shat on any more. We stood together on the Nick Hogan case and yes, the government got their thirty pieces of silver but they were tainted with the knowledge that they lost. The smoking ban heretic was freed. Their example was not made. Ours was.
I have pledged cash to support the woman fined for allegedly, with no actual evidence, dropping a cigarette butt as observed by her self-confessed and proud to be a stooge stalker. Not much cash, not as much as I would like, but every little helps. Pat Nurse has not yet set up a fund receiving account but as soon as that happens, I'm in.
It's not the money. It's the injustice. We are now legally despised and the Cleggeron Coagulation intend to continue that State-sanctioned hatred. I will not support the pubs, the restaurants, the duty-collectors who have stated they hate me. Instead I will support other smokers wherever I can.
We are on our own, smokers. The only help we can expect is from each other.
If we don't have that then the gulags are waiting.