Monday, 8 August 2011

The Kray model of government.

In my younger days, the preferred holiday for we young lads was a railrover ticket. Two weeks free rein on the railways. Go anywhere in the country on a whim, see anywhere, if it's not appealing, get back on the train and go somewhere else. We'd save all year for the ticket.

I wouldn't even consider it now. I can't smoke anywhere on the trains, nor even on a windswept platform in the middle of nowhere. The same is true for any hotels, pubs or cafes I might visit on those travels. If I want two weeks of gloomy despondency, I can have that at home for free.

As with pubs, clubs, cafes and restaurants, it's my choice not to take that train holiday. I don't want to pay to be treated like a leper, so I don't pay. I'm not forced to buy a ticket, nor am I forced to visit pubs in the rain just to spend my time getting soaked on the outside as well as on the inside. So I save the money and visit Smoky-Drinky instead.

Nobody comes round demanding I pay 'my share' to support the railways, the pubs, any of those businesses that have declared they don't want my custom. My choice not to use them saves me money.

Parks are a different matter. Part of that council tax bill goes towards the upkeep of council-run parks. Now I am to be banned from those too. The smokophobes will drive their 4x4's to the park and complain about a picogram of smoke. They want to be surrounded by several hundred tons of plant material but object to the few milligrams of plant material in my cigarette. Oh, the old 'non-biodegradable butts' nonsense will be trotted out once more, but filters are cellulose, the wrapping is paper and the contents are leaves. It's entirely biodegradable and it's vegan too. I empty my ashtrays into the compost bin. Not one fag-end has ever reappeared.

This is different. All those pubs and restaurants are private businesses. If I object to their rules I simply don't go there and therefore don't contribute to their upkeep. A simple arrangement that suits both parties. They don't want me, I don't have to pay them. No problem.

With the parks, I am forced by law to contribute to their upkeep whether I want to or not.

I rarely visit the local parks because they are full of screaming kids by day and the Red Stripe brigade at night. However, the parks are there, they are pleasant when the kids are safely locked away in school and I have the option to use them if I want. So far I have been happy for part of that council tax bill to be used to maintain a facility I rarely use, but like to have available.

That will change if I am banned. I will not contribute to the maintenance of something I am not permitted to use. I will have to look at the council accounts, work out the proportion of spending on parks and gardens, and deduct that proportion from my bill.

With the privately-owned parks, the same arrangement applies as with the pubs. I just won't visit them. With the council ones, there's going to be a fight.

They will insist I have to pay 'my share' to maintain a facility I am banned from. I will describe this as extortion because it is no different to the criminal definition of the word. They are demanding money with menaces and offering nothing in return. That is not a service. That is a mugging.

The same applies to the NHS. They have been making noises for some time about banning smokers from using their services. Once they do, my national insurance payments stop. Pension? There is no money for future pensions anyway. That's just another mugging.

It has gone beyond any talk of compromise. There can be no compromise. I didn't want this war, all I ever wanted was to be left alone to live my life as I choose. That option has been denied to me in all private and public businesses. Now they want to deny me the open air. Private cars are already in the process of being owned by the State.

Then they will come for my own home. Can't happen? It's already begun. The 'take seven steps outside' campaign has been running for quite a while now. No, I will not shiver outside my own home.

Compromise? No. There is no compromise on offer and I ask for none. I don't want compromise.

I want these interfering, arrogant, self-important, vicious, spiteful, abhorrent people out of my life completely. No compromise. Get rid of them all.

They will not stop with smoking, you know. They will not stop unless they are stopped. The only thing they understand is money.

Stop paying them.


Anonymous said...

I've been pondering on this item as well. I will stop paying if my Council does this.
I feel like I'm being poked with a pointed stick to see how I react.

PT Barnum said...

While only one person has been fined for smoking in any New York park, a cameraman who kept goading the warden to fine him as he filmed it, we all know, here in the Home of Democratic Parliamentary Representation, how much fun the mini-Stasi (and how money the Councils will be mentally totting up on their abacus) will have persecuting those who might just be in possession of something you could set light to.

And yet, the Fail illustrates their article with a lovely smoking nymph and all the comments I read, bar one, are fuming with indignation. The disjunct between TPTB and the rest of us cannot hold in this uneasy equilibrium for ever.

wv = forit (or not)

Anonymous said...

I think they'd simply argue that you are not banned. Only the smoke from your fag, which does not pay the council (although every ciggy does in fact raise about 25p in duty and vat for the benefit of all, including the EU).

petem130 said...

I'm sure that a BBC reporter stated on TV last week that cigarette butts do not degrade for years. I'm sure he saud it was 100 years that it took. This was on the One Show. that is One view of the world according to BBC obviously.

The guest was Michael Crawford who reacted by asking how anyone new this. The reports face was something to behold. Astonishment that anyone would say something like that and annoyance that they had.

I think carrier bags which last 1000 years apparently, come into the same category as fag butts. Maybe we should be building houses from fag butts and used carrier bags given their inherent longevity?

Just a suggestion.

I should also say that I don't watch the One Show it just happened to be on. Honest.

View from the Solent said...

From samizdata

Writing in today's Times behind a paywall, Natascha Engel, Labour MP for North East Derbyshire, relates how she stood in the rain outside a miner's welfare hall smoking with a angry but partially mollified constituent.
...he told me about his father in law who used to come to the welfare every night and spent all evening drinking one pint of Guinness. He was a chain smoker. Since the smoking ban he's never been back.
"He's can't stand outside in the rain like this. He's an old man." He told me about how his father-in-law never goes out any more. "He's lonely and miserable. And he still chain smokes."
Natascha Engel now says that, given the chance again, she would not vote for the ban.

Too late now, luv. Or is she just getting worried about her 2,445 majority in the 2010 election?

kitler said...

'Private cars are already in the process of being owned by the State.'

In the process? The state already owns every car in the UK. We are simply the registered 'keepers' of the vehicles.

And if you tick 'yes' to being an organ donor on the new driving licence applications, the state will then become the legal owner of all your valuable spare parts, I mean internal organs, whenever you are contained within a stae-owned vehicle.

kitler said...

Imagine if someone who was involved in the illegal trafficing of human organs to wealthy sociopaths, managed to get a job that granted access to the DNA database. Imagine they had contacts in the DVLA.

Maybe if the money to be made were so great, gangs could be funded, people placed in the ambulance service, doctors and surgeons bought off etc. Its not like any of these people are incoruptable.

Strobes and laser pointers are easy to obtain.

But of course, its unlikely. You'd need to live in a corrupt and valuless society for such things to happen.

Anonymous said...

I think that One show idiot spat out "1000" years for a fag butt to degrade, just a tiny casual remark but still on the same smokers are scum agenda.

No wonder Crawford asked "how do they know"!

DerekP said...

Electro-fag Relay Race

1 - Tell Park Inspector there is a smoker (EF1) on a bench over there.

2 - Bench-sitter EF1 shows electro-fag and says "No, the smoker is on that bench over there" (EF2 in the distance).

3 - As Park Keeper goes towards EF2, EF3 shows up in the distance. EF1 moves to different bench for next lap.

Leg-iron said...

The 100-year fag-end (cough) might have been one of mine. I drop ridiculous ideas in their laps once in a while, using another identity.

The real reason there are always fag-ends is that smokers are all banned from indoors. New ones appear every day. If they really lasted 100 years (which is, I think, longer than filter tips have existed) we'd all be up to our necks in them by now.

They don't need facts, these people. Playing with them is cruel but so much fun.

I'm a little disappointed to see that the 'they decay into radioactive isotopes after ten years' part didn't take though. Maybe they're saving that one.

I wonder how the old 'ash gets into the paws of pets on walks' line is progressing? No sign of the doggie footbaths yet.

Wait until they have to bleach the cat...

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