Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Discrimination.

I recall, but can't find, a comment about smoking control that went along the lines of "Of course we should force smokers to stop. If you saw a child walking in front of a bus, wouldn't you stop them?" (I think it was at Iain Dale's blog before he hung up his blogging hat but I'm not sure).

I was tempted to reply with "I'm a smoker. We throw children in front of buses" or with "No, because touching a child is paedophilia now. Can't help, sorry." In the end I didn't comment. I've banged my head on that wall enough.

The argument employed here takes a lifestyle choice (smoking) and compares it to a non-choice situation (road accident) but that's okay when it's used against smokers. It is not okay for smokers to use that argument. It's not a valid argument anyway.

So I don't use it.

In the last post, I put up a comment I'd left on a post by Jody MacIntyre - his post began thus:

Imagine if there were signs outside this station saying “NO DISABLED PEOPLE ALLOWED”. That would be denounced as outrageous, unfair, a policy of apartheid. But for anyone using a wheelchair, that is the reality of the situation.

He claims his inability to use tube trains is discriminatory. The fact of the matter, of course, is that tube trains are underground and installing disabled access on every station (there are a lot of them, and it's no use being able to get on a train at one station if you can't get off at another) would be astoundingly expensive. That doesn't matter. He must have access. Economically, the increased fares from occasional use of such facilities would not come close to paying for the facilities. Doesn't matter. It must be done. It would make Tube fares more expensive than taxis, but it must be done.

My reaction? Imagine if there were signs saying 'no smokers'. You don't need to imagine that. It's real. The no smoking is fast becoming no smokers. Jody claims he is discriminated against because hundred-year-old stations weren't built with him in mind. I claim I am discriminated against by people living in the here and now. By the same ones who demand equality, oddly enough.

Because Jody just happens to have a disability, this comes forward as his defence.

Gladyolis -

Hmmm. While not being able to comment upon his integrity, wisdom, or politics I have to say your argument is moronic in the extreme. He did not choose to have cerebral palsy. You have chosen to smoke.

Eckie -

Smoking is a personal choice that gives enjoyment to smokers . Being born with cerebral palsy isn't. It's a cruel fate that limits people's life choices.
To compare the two is ridiculous.

There is some inkling here that I attacked this guy because he's disabled. His disability is not part of my argument. His demand for 'equality' is my argument. He claims that his inability to easily access the Tube is discrimination. I contend that he has no idea what that word means.

I'm not exactly a perfect specimen, as long-time readers will know. I appreciate those buses that dip down to make it easier to get on and off, and the raised kerbs at bus stops to accommodate the buses that don't. Here, the kerbs at crossing points are lowered to road level. All done in the name of disability, to help out those who don't find it easy to get up and down steps and thanks for that.

Yes, smoking is my choice. No, I don't believe the addiction to nicotine story because if it were simple nicotine addiction, the patches and gum would work. Also, there would be people addicted to those patches and gum. I've never met one.

Disability is not a choice, that's true. However, 'disability' covers a wide range of things. One of my friends is registered disabled because of his back. Some days he's okay, others he's not. Some days he can walk perfectly well, other days he totters along with two walking sticks and has to stop frequently. He works, when work is available, as a storeman on building sites.

Another is going to lose fingers due to a hereditary condition that causes his fingers to curl in and stay there. They've been surgically straightened repeatedly but they curl in again over time. He used to work, despite this, but can't now.

Jody states that he walked up the stairs to the roof of Millbank. So while he is disabled he is not completely incapacitated.

So, is there any preferential treatment? Eckie claims it's all a sham. Yet the visible evidence is all around me in the buses, raised bus stops and lowered kerbs at crossings. Ramps into every building. Some years ago, a local disco was closed down, long before the smoking ban, because it was upstairs. I never went there and wasn't interested. Can't dance. It was closed because it could not provide disabled access.

There is - or was until the smoking ban closed it - a street-level nightclub just up the road from there. So if you want a disco with disabled access, there's one along the street. Not good enough. Why not?

Jody starts his post with 'Imagine there were signs saying 'no disabled''. I don't have to imagine it. Is the comparison then so wrong? He is claiming that he is discriminated against when he is not. He can demand a venue be closed down because he can't get to that one, even though there are others he can get to.

He can demand access ramps and lifts. And get them. Discriminated against?

Eckie - you're wrong about the interviews too. If there is even a whiff of a suggestion that anyone was turned down for a job because of disability, skin colour, gender, religion, etc, then there will be legal action.

Unless they smoke.

Yes, I can pretend not to smoke at interviews but since 'no smokers' is the rule, if it then came to light that I did smoke, I'd be fired on the spot. Even if I never smoked at work.

So far, yes, I can and do use public transport, even long distance trains, because I am not a gibbering wreck after a day or so without a smoke. It's a choice. For now. But look at where it's going.

Job ads can legitimately put 'no smokers' in the text. Not 'no smoking'. No smokers. Grampian health authority want to sack staff who smoke, even if they never smoke at work, and introduce disciplinary action for anyone found to have tobacco on them - not smoking it, just having it. Hotels can refuse to accommodate smokers even if they aren't smoking at the time. People are being thrown out of their rented homes for being smokers because there are enough idiots who believe that smoke can pass through solid walls using paranormal spooky-smoke powers. Smokers are claimed to be infused with deadly particles that will kill any who come in contact with them.

This is Third Hand Smoke. We are now pariahs even when we're not smoking. You cannot, so far, tell who we are unless we're actually smoking but that's going to change. We will be made identifiable. Third hand smoke will be the excuse. Then we will be barred from public transport too.

I do not equate Jody's disability with smoking. That would be ridiculous. My issue is with his claim that he is discriminated against. There are no signs saying 'no disabled'. If someone put one up they'd be prosecuted. The Tube is underground, in some parts a long way under, and putting in easy disabled access would be no small matter. Some of those stations have lifts, as I recall, but I have not extensively explored London and haven't been there for years so I don't know how many have lifts.

The stations were designed a long time ago. I don't for a moment believe that the designers had a meeting where they decided their trains would be unsullied by the sight of the less-than-perfect. They didn't even ban smoking back then. Older buildings have had disabled access retrofitted and now, places open to the public that don't have disabled access can be closed down. Putting in access to places far underground is asking too much. The lack of access is not discrimination, but practicality. The railway, and the government, simply can't afford to do it.

He calls this 'discrimination' and demands 'equality'.

I contend that discrimination means being refused a home or a job, or being excluded from public life, because you belong to a 'group' that is disapproved of. You cannot do that on the grounds of disability, religion, sexual orientation, gender, colour, jewellery, hairstyle, clothing preference, anything. You can only do it to smokers.

My obsession is not with smoking, but with the treatment of smokers. Oh, I could just stop smoking and it would all go away but then they'll come for the drink. And the salt. And the fat. And the doughnuts. Discrimination against the overweight is building now. I'm not overweight so why would I care? I care because it's not going to stop there.

It has to stop here.

I've heard all the arguments - 'if you stop smoking, you'll be healthier and you won't be discriminated against any more'. True. Almost. I wouldn't be discriminated against for being a smoker, but I like whisky and pies and pork scratchings and those are all going to disappear too, if they win this one.

So when I hear claims like Jody's, that his physical inability to access something is 'discrimination', I see red. I am not physically capable of getting a job as a steeplejack, I have never been and will never be A-1 for active service (I'm somewhere down among the 'J' mark there) unless they run short of sandbags. I accept that. I do not call it 'discrimination' because it's not. It's practical reality. Somethings I cannot do. Other things I can. So I concentrate on what I can do.

If there were no war on smokers, I'd never even mention it. If there were no daily claims based on, not just bad science, but outright lies, you wouldn't even know I smoked. There'd be no need to mention it. There are obsessives in this game but it's not the smokers. All we want is to be left alone. We'd quite like to be allowed to set up a pub or two, well away from the delicate noses of the antismokers, but we can't. It would be nice to have smoking shelters worthy of the name, but that's not going to happen either. There is no reasoning behind these things in terms of health or even inconvenience to non-smokers. It's pure spite. Their design and implementation is there purely to spite smokers.

Now, who wants to argue that the Tube stations were designed to spite Jody?

34 comments:

Anonymous said...

The Dutch have reversed the ban, albeit only slightly.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/11/03/dutch-smoking-ban-reverse_n_778296.html

Mr A said...

Unsurprisingly, I'm with you Leggy.

Yes, I could give up smoking and it would all end. But the trouble is it wouldn't go away. I couldn't live in a world where I let them get away with what they're doing based on fabricated science, bigotry and the ignorance of the ruling classes.

What about when their pet scientists announce that alcohol or meat should be banned, or driving should be rationed?

We've already seen ASH US proclaim that "smokers are toxic" and that even touching a smoker can "cause neurological problems". We've seen their white-coated drones proclaim that smoke can travel down electricity wires and through walls, and that just one wisp of smoke can kill you. No ifs, no buts, no "if you're on death's door it MIGHT kill you." No, one wisp can kill you. Outright. And I've seen the mainstream media and politicians lap it up and use such obvious nonsense to create legislation that curtails movement, encourages discrimination, tramples on private property rights and destroys livelihoods.

No, this isn't even about smoking for me any more. It's about scientific objectivity. It's about evidence-based policy-making. It's about democracy and civil liberties (why no-one other than the libertarians cannot see the problem with ASH having permanent members positioned in the Department of Health, the NHS, polling organisations, Select Committees etc baffles me).

But no more. If we don't stop them here I have no doubt that eventually they will use the same methods to measure the skulls or somesuch of some other minority and start producing "evidence" that "something needs to be done." I know I'm invoking Godwin but my God, these people really are the heirs of that blackest time of the Twentieth Century and I will fight them. I wish I din't have to as it can be soul destroying. But I just HAVE to....

Mr A said...

Of course the other problem we have (to get back to your post) is that of badly drafted legislation. Rather then having rights that are inalienable to us all, they have attempted to patch up past inequalities with bits of legislation that have created "protected groups." I actually work in the disability field implementing much of what the Disability Discrimation Act deems needs to be done. And in some ways it's a fine piece of legislation - it "levels the playing field" and has improved the lives of thousands of disabled people. It also has an element of common sense to it. If you have no arms and you turn up for an office job, then the employer has to pay for dictation software because with it, you can do the job. But you can't turn up in a wheelchair and expect to be a hod carrier because that is "unreasonable." The idea of being reasonable is built into it.

The problem comes with the fact that we now have "protected groups" which by definition means others are unprotected. I remember attending a Conference on "Discrimination" and I wanted to bring up outside smoking bans, smoking bans in Halls of Residence in Universities etc, all of which go way beyond the law and were implemented on my Uni campus without consultation. But was I allowed to? No. Because smokers are not a "protected group." We had sessions on race discrimation, gender discrimination, discrimination on sexual preference and even on gender identity. But nothing else, that did not affect those groups, could be discussed - there was simply no place for it, no time slots allocated. Sadly, the only way things will improve in the current climate is for smokers to become a "protected group" too, when of course really, what we SHOULD be doing, is just allowing everyone, regardless of disabiltity, race, lifestyle etc to be equal.

Rather than laws against "discrimination" we have laws against discriminating against certain people.

Frankly, it's all fucked up.

Mr A said...

One final thing that shows how odious these eugenecist scum are.... As I mentioned before I work with disabled people at University. But the Uni "Health Gestapo" have now started their latest anti-booze campaign. Their strategy? To plaster the campus with pictures of a 7 year old girl with fetal alcohol syndrome with a message below that says "This girl has fetal alcohol syndrome. If you drink when pregnant you can end up with this." Sadly, I'm not even paraphrasing. They are just Nazis. Impure, you see?

Of course they're right outside my office, where I spend all day counselling students with MS, chronic arthritis, cerebral palsy etc and trying to make sure they can do the best that they can. Yep, they come in to me and walk past pictures put up by the University of someone quite similar to themselves which basically proclaims that it would have been better if they had never been born.

God, these people sicken me. And then to have them proclaim the moral high ground because they are "concerned with health" whereas I am a biased smoker-addict in the employ of the Tobacco Industry makes me so angry that if I had access to weapons I would use them.

Sadly I don't. And even more sadly, they thus continue on....

Bucko said...

I read Jodys article from your earlier link and thought his rantings were complete rubbish. Disabled people cannot do certain things and no amount of legislation will make them possible.

It's not discrimination, although it may be frustrating for the disabled person. The current state of play for smokers is discrimination and its legal and encouraged.

Good post.

Zaphod said...

The sheer spite at the root of the smoking ban is exemplified by the legal restriction on smoking shelters. They must have no more than fifty percent walls. The smoking "shelter" is the monument to 21st century spite. we are reminded of our disgrace as we shiver in it.

Those who not actively against us, but approved the ban, have forgotten what you've done. Out of sight, out of mind. But we are reminded constantly. The signs are everywhere. We will never forget our exclusion. You could have let us have a few places of our own, but no.

You thought it was for own good? Go on, ask us how grateful we are.

I got a bit carried away there.

The point is, non-smokers and smokers could have co-existed. You could have taken your custom to the venues that sought your custom by being voluntarily non-smoking.
But you got the lot.

You think there was no cost to yourself? You're wrong.

I remember when they banned hunting with dogs. No way would I ever hunt, but I howled in protest.

We are not domestic livestock. We are free men. Just leave us alone, call us names if you like, but don't impose your values on us with state violence.

To get back to the point, that's discrimination. Deliberate and spiteful.

This isn't personal, Gladiolys. Just trying to let you know the anger which is the legacy of real discrimination.

Dioclese said...

Plus we do seem to be losing sight of the fact that Jody McIntyre is a cunt of the first order...In the interests of equality, I would be happy to turn him into a smoker by setting fire to him.

gladiolys said...

I'm not a smoker. Never have been. Parents were. Niece/nephew are. Partners have been. So, I have no problem with people smoking... and I haven't taken what you have said personally - just a little bit of heated debate, really. Who wants to talk to people who agree with you all the time? It's like shouting into an echo chamber.

But sometimes I feel the rhetoric is a little bit histrionic. We all have our pet peeves and ways in which we feel treated unfairly. I understand you feel the need to let off steam and this is a place to do it. The exaggerated language however puts me in mind of deranged middle eastern dictators, and obscures any valid points you are making. (And I hope I'm not being personal.)

eckie said...

I'm not anti smoker and think pubs should have smoking rooms but for decades smokers had carte blanche to smoke where they wanted and didn't care about non smokers so I suppose I'm not really bothered what smokers think about the new rules.
To stop going to pubs or hanging around outside in the freezing cold in order to have a cigarette does sound like an addiction to me. If it wasn't an addiction then why not just have a ciggie when you get home ?
Our local has stopped selling certain crisps that I used to enjoy with my pint. I wouldn't stop going to the pub because of this or go outside in the rain with a packet of crisps I brought with me. I don't understand why you would have to stand outside for a ciggie or stop going to pubs if it's non addictive and doesn't bother you leggy.

Zaphod said...

I was on a plane on Friday. When it landed the captain asked us to remain on board to witness the arrest of someone who had smoked.

I refused. We've progressed beyond public humiliation as punishment. So I got arrested and handcuffed, dragged off and detained for 90 mins.

In my absence, (my friend remained), it took ten minutes of stuggling to remove the accused from his distraught Polish family, while babies howled and women screamed. All very ugly and dangerous. It could only happen to a smoker. Or a witch, maybe?

My point is, we are very angry. It won't go away just because you didn't notice.

Thanks for coming back, Gladiolys.

Anonymous said...

Eckie

Our local has stopped selling certain crisps that I used to enjoy with my pint. I wouldn't stop going to the pub because of this or go outside in the rain with a packet of crisps I brought with me.

But if your pub stopped selling any alcohol at all, would you still go then? Honestly, would you? I think you and I both know the answer to that. Because the crisps are an add-on, not your main reason for going there. But does that automatically indicate that you are a raging alcoholic? Of course not – I’m sure you aren't. Just for a second, sidestep your automatic inner reaction of “oh, but that’s different” (why, precisely?) or “ah, but I’m not hurting anyone else” (that’s not the point you made), and let into your imagination the possible reasons why your local somehow wouldn’t seem so enticing without any intoxicating liquors of any kind on sale, and you’ll begin to understand why smokers, quite simply, just don’t enjoy going to pubs any more.

In fact, give it a few more years and you might not even need to use your imagination ……

Leg-iron said...

Gladyolis - yes, sometimes I do get a bit ranty but then I am of Italian descent. It's hard to type with all the gesturing.

Look at Zaphod's comment. It's not enough to arrest someone for smoking on a plane (there was a time when the 'no smoking' lights went out, and there were ashtrays in every armrest so it's nothing to do with plane safety). No, the arrest must be humiliating, and everyone else must watch to show them what happens if they step out of line.

With that sort of approach, it can't be too surprising that many smokers can slip into blind rage at times.

Nothing to worry about, we just have a smoke and a cuppa and calm down again.

Although now that there's no smoking on planes, there's no need to replace the cabin air quite so often. The germ-laden stuff can be recirculated a few more times because there's no deadly trace of smoke in it.

Healthy, yes?

Anonymous said...

Young Jody would do well to remember that times change and people’s attitudes can be changed. Quite rightly, attitudes towards disabled people have changed, at the moment, for the better. Their rights are recognised, their skills valued, authorities have taken steps to try and ensure a much more “level playing field” in both major and minor ways, and the public’s attitude is, generally speaking, far more enlightened and less patronising than it has ever been. But, as Leggy points out, Righteous thirst is unquenchable, and all the time the likes of Jody remain keen to highlight areas where they feel discriminated against, but who shrug aside the suggestion that anyone else is being discriminated against as well, the day when his group (again) becomes a persecuted one comes a step closer.

It is both arrogant and dangerous for anyone to believe that we as a society have “grown out of” any one form of discrimination or “consigned it to history” just because certain opinions and views have become temporarily unfashionable. All the time there are Righteous (and there will always be Righteous), they will find a way of manipulating persecution, division, fear, prejudice and – yes – discrimination. Any group which, purely numerically speaking, is in the minority should remain aware of this, because for all their rhetoric about caring and protecting people, the Righteous' only real concern is whether they can get the backing of the biggest gang to underpin their activities and thus ensure success.

And the scariest thing is that all those people out there today saying “Of course, we’ll never go back to behaving like that again,” with such confidence will be precisely the ones who will, when the time comes, sit back and say absolutely nothing.

Leg-iron said...

Eckie - as you're a non-smoker, I appreciate that you don't understand. You wouldn't understand why someone who enjoyed a game of darts might stop going to the pub if darts were banned (since they are sharp, it's only a matter of time). Nor if pool was banned (since pool balls were used in the student riots) so those who like a game of pool with their pint stopped going.

That's fair enough.

For me, a relaxing evening involves both smoking and drinking. Together. They are part of the overall experience, along with the chatter. Take one out and it's like going to the cinema blindfolded. I can still hear the film, so why do I need to see it? Am I addicted to colours and shapes?

For me, the enjoyment is a drink and a smoke. You don't want the smoking part, that's okay. I like it.

And, you know, smokers couldn't smoke anywhere they liked before the ban. Anyone lighting up in a shop would have been ejected. Before the ban, trains had one smoking carriage, some trains even then had none. Buses were already smoke-free. Many pubs had smoking and non-smoking areas or rooms. Restaurants had separate areas.

There were entirely non-smoking pubs too. They didn't do well.

The ban means we cannot even form a private club, with staffing and membership restricted to smokers. Private clubs cannot allow smoking either. Oh, and we couldn't even put 'smokers only' in the staff adverts. The discrimination only works one way.

Wet summers and cold winters mean that pubs and restaurants are not attractive places for smokers. Even if they have a shelter, it has to be at least 50% open to the elements. That does not make for an attractive evening out in my view.

Yes, I could go to the pub and not smoke. I could also go to the cinema and sit with my back to the screen.

But if it's not enjoyable, why would I?

Ashtrayhead said...

Jody may not be able to use every tube station but he does have adequate alternatives in buses, overground, taxis and dial-a-ride for example. Plus he gets to sit down all day.

Anonymous said...

If it is any consolation Zaphod: Anyone with a disability is not allowed to sit in seats (with the extra legroom) adjacent to an exit. If it is necessary to evacuate the aircraft these people will be the last to leave as they could block the exit for others or delay the evacuation. Not discrimination - just fact of life.

Angry Exile said...

Good post, L-I. Disability ≠ discrimination. One means you aren't able to do something, the other means someone else is taking steps to prevent you from doing something. Being a crap swimmer isn't discrimination that entitles you to demand that swimming pools are made shallow enough so that you never get out of your depth, but not being allowed in for a swim because you're the wrong religion and didn't follow the dress code is. Good thing that doesn't happen in enlightened modern Eur.. oh, bugger.

"You cannot, so far, tell who we are unless we're actually smoking but that's going to change. We will be made identifiable. Third hand smoke will be the excuse."

Perhaps some sort of yellow star motif? It'll make aiming easier when the time comes, especially since some of the Righteous might be a little myopic and it wouldn't do to discriminate against them, would it?.

JuliaM said...

"Plus we do seem to be losing sight of the fact that Jody McIntyre is a cunt of the first order..."

I'm not!

banned said...

@Gladyolis At this late stage in the game I would be satisfied with a dew smokers only private clubs to which you were not invited, your lot deny me even that which IS discrimination.

Disability access legislation recognises that some buildings simply cannot be made easily accesable, the Tower Of London springs to mind whose very construction was meant to make access difficult, to everyone without discrimination.

My favorite story along these lines was in a small seaside town that figured out what to do with the empty Victorian primary school building. After many years pondering and fund raising the Town Council turned it into a Youth Club to the great satisfaction of young and old alike.

The redevelopment occured just as disability access provisions were slowly being rolled out. The School/Youth Club was on a steep hill and, while I have never seen a wheelchair-bound child in that town, someone like Jody McIntyre must have noticed that the upper playground behind the school could not be reached except via stairs within the building and complained.

The town councillors may have been personally liable since they voted through the plans when Disability Access was coming round the corner. Strapped for cash they closed it down and flogged it off for housing development and didn't even ring-fence the funding for a skatepark that the youngsters also needed, that had to wait another four years.

So how did that benefit the disabled?

gladiolys said...

@ banned: I think I have demonstrated from my previous post that I do not discriminate against smokers. How you can say that "my lot" did this is puzzling. Am I now the enemy because I myself do not smoke? I have never in this or the previous post argued in favour of the anti-smoking legislation; I have argued about the (non-)existence of parallels between the choices facing smokers and those with a disability. Please do not associate me with politicians I hold in contempt. Thank you.

eckie said...

anon 00.02..

"But if your pub stopped selling any alcohol at all, would you still go then?"
It wouldn't be a pub so no I wouldn't go. I do enjoy coffee shops though so would maybe pop in during the day for a cuppa.

leggy..
" You wouldn't understand why someone who enjoyed a game of darts might stop going to the pub if darts were banned "

I play in a pool team but have never been any good at darts.
If we're all truthful darts etc are just excuses to go to the pub and get drunk with our mates. They're just props to the main event - drinking.
I wouldn't stop going if the pool team is disbanded ( our new landlord wants a 'bistro' like pub with less sweary oiks ) because playing pool isn't addictive. There's one pub round here so we're pretty much stuck with what the new landlord wants.

gladiolys said...

Zaphod - thanks for your kindness.

Anonymous said...

I'm not a smoker, but when the ban was first proposed a friend who is said that it was the thin end of the wedge. He was ridiculed whenever he brought it up.

Not not any longer though - what once would have provoked outrage now generates resignation - except for the proponents of banning/outlawing activities x/y/z/etc 'for the greater good', who parade daily across our broadcast media calling for IMMEDIATE action on x, involving enhanced taxation/restriction/banning.

Zaphod said...

Gladiolys,
(and probably many others who read, but don't comment). You ask, why "my lot"?

It's a good question, and I'm gonna try to elaborate. Cos we do actually need you on our side, when we remember our manners.

Assume for the moment that smokers are an oppressed minority, and the oppression is increasing. That's how we feel, so to understand us you'll need to view it that way for now.

Those who are actively squeezing us are not listening, of course. They are also a minority.

But there are many disinterested people like yourself who are not part of that. You are the majority. To actually stop the increasing oppression, rather than just shout angrily about it, we need you onside.

Why should you? It's not your problem, and you have benefited from smoke-free public places. (Those which haven't closed through lack of trade).

Well, for one thing, it's not good for society to have a large group with a chip on its shoulder. (Apart from teenagers, they grow out of it).

Also, "They came for the smokers, but I was not a smoker, so I said nothing," (sub-editor, actual quote, please!) And, "For evil to triumph, it is sufficient for good men to do nothing" (Or something like that.) In the sixties it got condensed to an aggressive sound-bite, "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem."

The enemy are doing this to us in your name. They are not the majority, you are. It may seem harmless to your interests, and somewhat beneficial, but there is serious damage being done to the whole group by this vendetta.

Vendetta? Look at the spiteful legal limitations on smoking "shelters". Look at the patients standing right off the hospital grounds, in the street. My aunt Elsie, standing in the rain and wind outside her old-folks "home".

I fight, or at least argue, for many freedom issues that don't affect me. I'm a veggie, I don't drink much, I'm anglo-saxon, I'm not gay, I'm not overweight. Hell, even as a smoker I personally have few problems.

But I hate to see people being demonised. For accidents of birth or for lifestyle choices. I don't care if they inconvenience me quite a bit either. As long as they don't deliberately set out to get me.

"Diversity" is a damaged word now, but it still means something special to me.

If you're a reader of Leggy, you must a degree of sympathy with our cause, or you wouldn't still be here! He's not one for moderate discourse and compromise. His function is to remind us not to accept being de-normalised. He's a revolutionary, not a diplomat.

gladiolys said...

Zaphod: I get what you're saying. This is good - we've deviated from our initial confrontations to the point where I can understand your frustration. But a) to compare your situation to that of disabled people is both disingenuous and ultimately self-defeating (people will only see self-adopted victimisation) and b) what are you all actually doing about it? and c) how would I be able to help?

gladiolys said...

And while I'm still under the influence of a cheeky Snowball... although the smoking ban may have brought some benefits to me it still wasn't "my lot". I am not a New Labour stooge. Thank you.

Zaphod said...

Gladiolys,
There are many groups who have long suffered discrimination in this country. Most of them find their situation improving now, on balance. It's going in the right direction.

I didn't personally see the post as having a go at the disabled, or comparing our conditions. It was just one person who was criticised for exaggeration. I imagine that many disabled people were embarrassed by him too.

The new subjects of discrimination are smokers, drinkers, salt and fat eaters, drivers, the "obese", etc. Their plight may not compare to some disabilities, but this discrimination is deliberate, state-sponsored and "righteous". And increasing.

What are we doing? I think we're still at the "Gay Pride" stage. Encouraging each other, refusing to accept our disgrace. It's an important step. And me personally? Well, I've got a campaign going against Customs stealing peoples cigs.

http://nothing-2-declare.blogspot.com/search?updated-max=2010-11-28T13%3A16%3A00Z&max

Click the audio link at the bottom of the page. That irritating loudmouth is me. Er...

There's an even better one getting posted soon, from last weekends trip.

How can you help? You listened, and engaged, criticised, gave us feedback. (Unlike eckie.)
Defend us a little in conversations with other open minded people. That's worth a lot. And make allowances for occasional hyperbole, especially in here!

Occasionally you'll meet either a smoker or someone in a wheelchair, who is also being an asshole. They should both be criticised enthusiastically.

x :-)

Angry Exile said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Angry Exile said...

'"They came for the smokers, but I was not a smoker, so I said nothing," (sub-editor, actual quote, please!)'

Zaphod, it's Martin Niem├Âller" poem, First they came...

They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.

Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.

Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.

Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up.


Highly applicable when discussing smoking so I reference it a lot. The lesson is clear: although I don't smoke or drink if I don't stand with the smokers and drinkers now I'll be a target myself sooner or later, and by that time I'll probably be on my own.

Found A Voice said...

Mr. Leg-Iron,

I see you have deleted my comment. I wasn't 'whoring myself' to an article. It was a genuine link that I thought you'd might be interested especially as YOU (along with Mr. Puddlecoat and Mr. Velvet Glove) helped me acheive; yes you helped convert an Anti-Smoker!

Anyway, I shall leave you in peace and you're always more than welcome to drop in over at mine.

Cheers
FAV

BTW, the level and quality of your output is top notch!

Leg-iron said...

FAV- I haven't deleted any comments. You're not in Blogger's somewhat random 'spam' section either.

A glitch perhaps?

Angry Exile said...

FAV, my comment subscriptions had it on the "Hey Jode" post, and I can still see it there.

HTH

Found A Voice said...

Leg-Iron - thanks (and apologies) - I obviously had an ID-10-T error! I'm still new to all this blogging lark...!

Angry Exile - thanks for pointing that out.

Cheers
FAV

Anonymous said...

I recall, but can't find, a comment about smoking control that went along the lines of "Of course we should force smokers to stop. If you saw a child walking in front of a bus, wouldn't you stop them?" (I think it was at Iain Dale's blog before he hung up his blogging hat but I'm not sure).

It was "Trevorsden", here:
http://iaindale.blogspot.com/2010/12/freedom-for-smokers-sign-petition.html#c2718002404655974720

"If you saw a child making its mind up to walk in front of a bus - would you leave it to its own devices?"

[Ha ha! He can see a child making its mind up!]

Name occurs a couple more times in comments down the page.
_

"We do not fear being called meticulous, inclining as we do to the view that only the exhaustive can be truly interesting." ~ Thomas Mann, 'The Magic Mountain'

opinions powered by SendLove.to