Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Home is the Hogan.

If he had only murdered someone, he'd have been home sooner.

(Picture inhaled from here. I know, everyone else already has it but I'm not scared of passive posting).

Nick Hogan, landlord, allowed people to smoke on his private premises. He refused to act as unpaid Stasi in what is, in effect, his living room. For this, our legal system decided he must be burned at the stake, or as close to it as they could get.

So they fined him. For allowing people to smoke in a place where they were bothering nobody. No antismoker died in horrible pain, nobody's eyes were rubbed with ash, nobody was forced to eat the dog-ends, nobody was terrified, no delicate nostril was inconvenienced, nobody was forced to wash their hair against their will and no children were harmed in the smoking of this cigarette.

Some children were definitely harmed here, but that's fine because it's State-approved harm so they are allowed to suffer it. Nobody will be fined or imprisoned or even given a telling-off for that. It's perfectly okay to apply psychological torture to eleven-year-olds in a school but it's illegal for an adult to decide whether they can allow another adult to choose whether to smoke or not on their own premises.

Nick Hogan refused to tell adults to stop doing something he didn't mind them doing in his pub. the State took him to court and imposed fines and costs that they were perfectly well aware he could not pay. There have been rumours he refused to pay. He did not refuse, he paid part of the fine and asked for time to find the thousands more they wanted. The State imposed a six month jail sentence in one of the nastiest prisons they could find.

Eleven thousand, including the money he had already paid. Eleven thousand pounds for allowing someone to smoke in a pub.

The State must be so proud of its moral high ground. For example:

Two women who were repeatedly raped and abused by their father over a period of 35 years were given an apology today by local authorities in Lincolnshire and Sheffield for failing to protect them.

If you allow someone to smoke, the State will find out how much money you can raise, fine you ten times that amount then jail you for not paying it. If the State allows your father to rape you as often as he likes for 35 years, they will look into it and if they find they are at fault, they will say 'sorry' to you. Nobody will even be demoted.

These are the people asking for your vote in just a few short weeks. Remember that. These are the people you will face if you are accused of dropping litter. Remember that. These are the people you pay to protect you from this guy and this one . Remember that when you next sneer at a smoker. Remember that when posting 'Oh, he broke the law, he deserved it'. So did this guy. How many of New Labour's laws can you name? They have one with your name on it somewhere, no matter how well-behaved you think you are. In fact, if you have a small child, here's a new one just for you. But hey, your toddler won't have to worry about smokers when he goes down the pub and if he wants to injure the police and kill a police dog, the courts won't mind as long as he's not smoking at the time.

Hell, they don't even need to bother with a crime any more. What sentence will emerge from this trial, I wonder? Six months in Belmarsh? Somehow I doubt it.

Fortunately for Nick Hogan, Anna Raccoon took up his cause and with Old Holborn's help and an added touch from Guido Fawkes, raised all the money required within four days. Four days.

Look on their works, mighty ASH, and despair. ASH can't get near that amount of voluntary contribution in a year, even though they have all the might of the mainstream media at their fingertips and an army of delicate little flowers who will simply die because of an odour they happen not to like. Their smug stormtroopers won't fund them so they steal money from the tax take and cost everyone money. Nothing from the tax office came Anna and OH's way. No Big Pharma chipped in. The tobacco companies paid not a penny into the pot. All donations were from individuals. One blog, then two, then three, was all it took.

Well, not quite all. Anna and OH had to work like demons to get it all together, then grapple with PayPal to get the money out. Today, Old Holborn took the cash to the prison and Nick Hogan is home.

A victory? For Nick Hogan, certainly. For all those who contributed to fight a blatant injustice, certainly. But it will happen again. For all their 'lessons will be learned' rhetoric, those who think they own us are not capable of learning. They will not even try. You have to take a test to own a dog but it seems no qualification is required to own a population.

It's one victory but it won't be long before we have to do it again. And I will contribute again and again and again until I run out of cash.

Because it is not about smoking. Soon you will not be allowed on public transport if you've been drinking, which means you'll just have to drive home. Don't worry, nobody in government will have realised the consequence. Mothers with pushchairs are already branded 'antisocial' and will be banned from buses. Since those mothers already do most of their shopping in supermarkets and since supermarkets all have an entire aisle of baby products as well as all the other stuff those mothers buy, expect those supermarkets to sit up one day and say 'Hang on a minute'. Too late. By then they will be imprisoned for encouraging mothers to use the buses.

It is not a 'victory for smoking'. It is a victory for common sense. It is a victory for real justice, the kind we used to have.

Anna and OH have gone through so much in doing this that they have said they will not do it again. Unfortunately, it is almost certain that someone will have to. Who else could do so much in such a short time?

I hope they reconsider because the way things are going, any one of us could be next in line and it's not just the smokers who are the targets. Next time it could be six months for being drunk at a bus stop with intent to board.


Dick Puddlecote said...

Shock! Horror! Even the BBC have noticed.

It's that inspiring that one might almost believe a politician may take note of public views one day.

Not now, of course, but perhaps when the first one is strung up for not doing so.



For everyone in London who opposes the smoking ban, look at this :


Leg-iron said...

An event so momentous that even the BBC had to sit up and take notice.

They must have ground their teeth down to little stumps while typing.

Jimmy Freedom - I'm planning a 'website links' section and that one will be in there. You don't need to remind us every time.

Mr Freedom said...

Sorry. I'm getting overenthusiastic, I know. I won't post the link again.

Anonymous said...

"Shock! Horror! Even the BBC have noticed."

And The Register...

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