Monday, 19 July 2010

Veils and paper.

In the Grauniad today (whoops, yesterday), Damian 'The Beast' Green declared that we would never ban the Islamic veil because it would be un-British to do so.

Where has this man been? Banning random things with no real reason is now entirely British. The only way it would be un-British in today's world would be because it would look like we were copying the French and that would never do. Declaring war on countries that don't threaten us, demonising whole swathes of our own people for a bit of a laugh, adding layer upon layer of worthless people in pointless jobs just to give the proles the run-around, fine. But doing something the French have done? Unthinkable!

I don't think the veil should be banned. Wear what you like, dress as a banana with a cherry on the top if you want but you can't then object when people snigger because you look odd. And don't come to me for sympathy if you get sniggered at. I look odd all the time.

There is a case for insisting that people have uncovered faces in certain situations - banks spring to mind. And dentists would find their job somewhat difficult if you insist on having a sheet over your face the whole time. In the street, I really don't care whether I can see your face or not. Like most men, I'm not looking above chest height anyway (we all secretly yearn for bottle-end glasses and a dirty mac, you know). People could go around with a Dalek head on and I won't care at all.

Mark Wadsworth put up a spoof of this, and an anonymous commenter didn't get it. More on that later. MW's spoof changed it to 'banning smoking would be un-British' and you know, not so long ago, it would have been. Now, banning anything on a whim is the British way. Look at the comments section on any newspaper site. One incident is all it takes and the calls for 'Ban it!' are out in force. No matter what it is. If someone chokes on a pickled onion, the calls for banning all pickles will start at once.

As if to counterpoint Damian '666' Green's words, the same extrusion of the Grauniad also carries a story from the lovechild of the Dreadful Arnott, that organisation dedicated to the Annihilation of Smokers Horribly. This time they are bleating that people will take up smoking cigarettes because the eeevil tobacco companies are advertising little bits of paper with glue on one end.

Hint to ASH: at music concerts, they aren't all rolling tobacco in those bits of paper. Many are using a totally tobacco-free product instead. They'll be using the packs with the extra long papers in, too.

Tobacco giants 'target' music festivals by... sponsoring them. That's right, in order to advertise little bits of paper with glue on one end, they are handing over much larger bits of paper with Mrs. Queen's face on them. Paper that the music festival needs if it is to exist at all.

This weekend's Lovebox festival in east London's Victoria Park, headlined by Roxy Music, is co-sponsored by Imperial Tobacco's Rizla rolling paper, which is exempt from the ban on tobacco advertising.

It's exempt from the ban on tobacco advertising because... it's not tobacco. The same reason that toothpaste and chicken and cup-a-soup are exempt. It's not really that hard to grasp.

There are no tobacco adverts. As Smoking Hot points out, it's just paper. With glue on one end. We don't need the glue, you know. We can roll tobacco in any old bit of paper. It doesn't need to be posh paper, we're just going to burn it anyway. We can even roll tobacco in tobacco leaves and make a cigar.

Really, ASH are scraping the barrel here. Rolling papers won't even be excluded from display if they succeed in banning tobacco counters. Neither will filters, matches or lighters because they are not tobacco. You cannot ban the advertising of paper, ASH. I wonder what their stance is on the veil? They won't want a ban on that for sure. It's impossible to smoke with a comfort blanket over your mouth. ASH would be more likely to insist we all wear them. Mine might develop a little hole.

At last year's Latitude festival in Suffolk, only Marlboro cigarettes could be sold. The cigarettes were available in black-and-red kiosks that lit up at night and were sold by young, attractive staff wearing "Marlboro Red" T-shirts and sunglasses.

At this year's Latitude festival there have so far been two rapes. I would say that worrying about people in illuminated kiosks is a pretty low priority there no matter what they are selling. As for 'attractive staff', is there any sales business anywhere that would prefer to staff their kiosks with people who look like John Prescott? Be honest - if there was a stall selling dirt cheap computers and it was staffed by someone with a Brown Gorgon scowl, would you rush over?

At last year's Big Chill in Herefordshire, five large cigarette stands that were illuminated at night sold only brands produced by JTI, which include Camel, Benson and Hedges and Amber Leaf. The stands, which sold limited edition packs and cigarettes at a reduced price, were staffed by "promotion girls" dressed in white uniforms. Festival "packages" were also available, containing two packs of cigarettes in a box that came with a lighter and glow stick and could be worn around the neck. Cigarette "stub tidys" bearing the JTI and Gallaher tobacco company brands were given away, while customised camper vans sold rolling tobacco.

You'd think they were talking about heroin, wouldn't you?

Tobacco is legal and if you're at a festival, there is little to no enclosed public space so smoking it is legal too. All of this is scaremongering hype. It is the ranting of someone who thinks reality must conform to what they say it is - more on that later too.

As to all this 'only certain brands can be bought' well that is why the festival is getting sponsorship money. It is exactly the same as what is happening with the Olympics but that's all right because tobacco isn't involved there. In fact it's going to be banned within a hundred mile radius in case one of those super healthy athletes gets a molecule of smoke and drops dead on the spot. Great muscles, no immune system, you see? I prefer to be the other way round.

Finally, remember that po-faced commenter over at MW's place? Remember that remark a couple of paragraphs back about these people defining their own reality?

Here, quite possibly, is the reason for those people and the reason that the world seems to make no sense these days. The psychotherapist quoted calls them 'humanoids'.

I call them 'Righteous'.


subrosa said...

Auch sorry about links LI. Goodness knows what happened. Very strange. Sorted now - a bit late I know.

Leg-iron said...

I've done the same thing. Thinking I've copied a link, I hit 'paste' and it's the previous link again.

I don't usually have that many to contend with though!

Snakey said...

"is co-sponsored by Imperial Tobacco's Rizla rolling paper"

Ash are co-sponsored by Big Pharma aren't they? All that crappy NRT just waiting to be bought by the NHS with our money.

"as their existing customers either quit or die," said Deborah Arnott"

They die after about 50 or 60 years but that won't stop Arnott from putting over the idea that the only choice for a smoker is to "quit or die". That kind of ignores those smokers who neither quit smoking, nor die from it.

"so the industry plays a clever game staying at the edge of the law"

I think a prohibition movement that calls itself a 'charity' is staying at the edge of Charity law and so can be charged with the same accusation.

"According to a survey of more than 10,000 adults in England, commissioned by Ash, six out of 10 parents want to ban tobacco marketing at festivals."

No link to the survey. Funny how they "magically" come up with these surveys to fit any situation.

I'd like to see a survey regarding what the public think about an organisation like ASH. I bet it wouldn't be flattering.

"The article claimed the belief that displays affect smoking initiation by children"

A belief.

"and may affect smoking behaviour"

May affect smoking behaviour. Not definite then.

"is supported by evidence"

There's never any link to this "evidence".

A belief supported by evidence lol. A lot of people believe in fairies at the bottom of the garden and I am sure there is plenty of evidence to show that the belief exists. However, it doesn't make fairies at the bottom of the garden real, just the belief in them.

These people are off their heads and are in need of serious psychiatric help.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Leg-iron

A bit of free advertising from The Guardian for Marlboro and JTI and their tobacco brands. Perhaps those nice people at ASH will turn on newspapers for daring to report anything involving the word ‘tobacco’ or cigarette brands.

“According to a survey of more than 10,000 adults in England, commissioned by Ash, six out of 10 parents want to ban tobacco marketing at festivals.”

Hmm “10,000 adults’; ‘six out of 10 parents’: what did the non-parental adults have to say about it?


Smoking Hot said...

The banning of the veil is a short step from the banning of the hoodie, keffiyeh, shemagh etc as all hide the face. One has to think that this is because of CCTV. As useless as it is, it's rendered to the point of being virtually obsolete if it can't see faces.

How did ASH find 6,000 out of 10,000 parents whose prime concern for their offspring at festivals was tobacco advertising?????

All the parents l know that worry about festivals are concerned about drugs, alcohol, spiking of drinks, rape and STD's. That's the parents that are worried but there are others, like myself, who brought up their offspring to think and look after themselves. l would worry about the 6,000 parents!

Frank Davis said...

Erm... , about that 'po-faced commenter over at MW's place.' That was me.

For some reason I couldn't sign it myself, and so it had to be anonymous.

Now let me try and explain a bit better what I was driving at.

What happened was that I read MW's piece, and this particular paragraph,

Last week French MPs voted to ban smoking in public. The bill, which was overwhelmingly approved by France's lower house of parliament, must now be ratified by the Senate in September to become law. If it is passed, it will be illegal to smoke anywhere in public.

and thought Oh Shit, Whatever Next! I noted that the link was to the BBC, so unless the BBC had got hold of the wrong end of the stick, it was probably true. In these insane times, this new ban is exactly the sort of thing that happens. The antis would love it.

For the next few hours, the belief that the French were going to ban smoking in public everywhere slowly sank in. It was awful news.

Eventually, after a few hours, I decided I'd have to have a closer look, and finally got round to reading the BBC article.

And it turned out to be about hijabs. It was only then that I realised that MW's piece had been a spoof. I'd been totally taken in by it.

So I had to start unlearning what I'd learned over the previous few hours. And that's quite difficult to do. Even a day later, I still half think that the French are going to ban smoking everywhere in public.

I've read lots of spoofs before (and written one or two myself). Usually I cotton on straight away. But this spoof read like a straight news report. And, in our mad world, an entirely plausible one.

And I felt that MW had stepped slightly out of line by writing what he did, and attributing it to the BBC. Because for the most part when I see a link to something quoted, I expect to find the original quoted text there. It's a matter of blogging ethics. It's about not putting words in other people's mouths.

Either people will agree with me about that or they won't.

No harm done. In future, I'll just read MW rather more sceptically than I have been. Perhaps I should have all along.

Shame about the French though... I mean, to not be able to light a cigarette on a street or in a field or in a car. What complete, utter, and absolute tyranny.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Ta for link.

As to advertising for Rizlas, interestingly, they banned cigarette advertising in Austria decades ago, so cigarette manufacturers just brough out non-tobacco products with the same name (Milde Sorte coffee springs to mind) and advertised that instead.

Ditto France, where they advertised Camel or Marlboro brand clothes or cigarette lighters or whatever.

Anonymous said...

How long before the Dreadful Arnott finds a way to twist this picture from the weekend's MotoGP into a "Fag papers cause motorbike crash" statement?

Anonymous said...


" ..... but that won't stop Arnott from putting over the idea that the only choice for a smoker is to "quit or die". That kind of ignores those smokers who neither quit smoking, nor die from it."

Or indeed those smokers who do quit and still die; or all those people who never smoke and - er - still die, too. How very inconsiderate of them!

Anonymous said...

Just out of interest, Leggy, as a scientific type, what’s your take on the “humanoid” theory?

Leg-iron said...

The 'humanoid' suggests he considers them a different species but that's not the case. They can spring from perfectly reasonable parents, and 'humanoid' parents can give rise to perfectly reasonable children.

They are human but damaged, either by genetics or disposition or just being spoilt little bastards.

I call them 'Righteous' because they have always been around, right from the start. They are not to be underestimated because they are persuasive and dangerous. Look at how well the Nazis did, or the Inquisition. Or New Labour.

In our favour, their methods are limited and always the same so they can be spotted easily. They are more cunning than intelligent, but they are smart enough to know what works and to keep using it over and over.

Getting rid of them is another matter. Like a fungal infection, they just keep coming back.

Leg-iron said...

Frank - it never occurred to me you'd be the one caught out. For me, it;s a pity the french aren't banning smoking entirely, because then our government would never do it.

Recovery lies in the layer of smoke in still air. I really enjoy watching that layer form.

It stills the mind wonderfully.

Frank Davis said...

I'm very easy to catch out.

I take a not-inconsiderable pride in how easy I am to get fooled.

You can more or less count on it.

Anonymous said...

Does breathing under a Hijab cause a clustering of CO2? If so, does constant re-use of the fetid depleted oxygen affect the brain?
Is the end result a good or a bad for global warming?

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