Monday, 1 March 2010

It's war, and your side is shooting you in the back.

I know some of you out there are smokers, some are very much anti-smokers and some couldn't care less. I know some are groaning at another 'smoking' post, but hey, I'm at war here. There are people attacking me from all sides simply because I like a smoke. Simply 'giving in to them' is not an option. Even if I were to decide I wanted to quit now, I would not. I would persist with it out of sheer bloody-mindedness because I will not be a notch on ASH's score stick.

It's a war. I am not going to defect to the enemy camp. As long as the enemy is firing I will not stop smoking.

You see, it has gone far beyond mere 'smoking' now. The enemy have jailed a publican, not for smoking, but for allowing others to smoke. He is not a police officer. He has no authority to arrest anyone. Yet on his own, private, premises, he is expected to enforce a law that would drive his customers away. He refused and now he has been sentenced to jail - for a longer term than most violent criminals receive and for far longer than the Labour peer who flattened an innocent man with his car. Killing someone is now a less important crime than sitting back and letting someone else smoke.

Let that sink in for a moment. His crime was not 'smoking'. It was 'not stopping someone else smoking'.

The story of the injustice in this case and of Old Holborn's campaign has made it onto the Telegraph blogs. Not into the mainstream media. It's too much like real news for them to bother with, but a newspaper blog is a start.

Old Holborn still has that link up for donations to help pay the vicious fine imposed on this non-criminal. I have donated. Even if you hate smokers with every fibre of your being, can you sit back and let this government enforce a law that will make you a criminal not because of what you have done, but because you did not act as an unpaid policeman and stop someone else doing something?

How long before 'not taking a can of beer away from a gang of hoodies' is a crime? How long before 'not preventing a fat guy eating a pie' is a crime? Far easier to arrest you than to arrest those boozing hoodies, isn't it? They don't care about the drinking hoodies. In fact, the longer those hoodies keep drinking, the more people they can fine for not stopping them.

The more those fat people eat pies, the more people they can fine for not stopping them. Why do you think smoking has not simply been made illegal? If it was, then it would be a police matter and they couldn't fine you lot for not stopping us. We'd be hiding away like the currently-increasing numbers of cocaine users. Banning that worked really well, didn't it?

How about this one: - imagine you have a shop. Nobody has ever smoked in that shop. Ever. Not even before indoor smoking was banned. It has never happened. Not once. You have never had to ask anyone to stop smoking in the shop because nobody has ever tried. Now the ban is in force, everyone knows it is actually illegal to smoke in that shop. Nobody ever tried to anyway. Therefore the smoking ban has absolutely no impact on the shop, right?

Wrong. If you don't plaster the walls with 'no smoking' signs even though nobody ever has, and it's now well known to be illegal anyway, you will be prosecuted.

You will be prosecuted for not putting up signs to tell people to stop doing something nobody has ever done. As that shopkeeper has. Not for smoking. Not even for allowing others to smoke. For not putting up 'Thou Shalt Not' signs in a place where they were totally superfluous. Churches have to have the signs. Has anyone ever seen someone smoking in church? Ever? How about mosques? Kingdom Halls? Buddhist temples?They must be obliged to have the signs too even though they don't allow smoking among their congregations, whether they are in a place of worship or not. If they don't have the sign, they pay the fine.

You don't have to be a smoker to be fined and imprisoned by the smoking ban.

All you ASH footsoldiers, consider this. You are to act as unpaid smoke police. Soon you will act as unpaid drink police, fat police, salt police and more. If you fail to stop me salting my chips, dipping them in barley wine and eating them between puffs of smoke, YOU will be fined. If you refuse to pay the fine on the very sensible grounds that it was me, not you, that did all those things, YOU will be jailed.

They won't jail me. They will let me back onto the streets so that they can fine and jail more people for failing to stop me. Soon you will resort to violence to stop me but I'm the criminal here, remember? I have 'yooman rites'. You, as the innocent party driven to violence by the unfairness of the law, have none. They'll fine you again and jail you again. It's all been very carefully and painstakingly set up by the Righteous. They are not your friends any more than they are mine. They want control over all of us, not just the smokers.

Your own side is shooting you in the back and you can't see it. Smokers, drinkers, fat people, salty people, drivers, ethnic divisions, religious divisions, a fragmented society is easy to control simply by pitting one fragment against another. The Righteous don't care about any of those fragments.

Not even the ones they pat on the head for doing what they are told.

Because you will fail to stop me smoking, time and time again. You will fail to stop the hoodies drinking, you will fail to stop the overweight eating and every time you fail, you will be punished.

Not by your opponents in this war. By those you imagine are on your side.

If ten thousand people donate one pound each to Old Holborn's appeal, an innocent man will be set free. I put in a tenner. If one thousand people did that, he will be free. That's not all. it will make a point. A very important point.

That we have noticed the tyranny of the law and that we are angered by it. That we are not going to sit back and just take it any more.

There will still be some thinking 'I don't care. He let someone smoke and he got what he deserved'. You are of course free to think that way, right up to the day when that gang of tanked-up hoodies decide to party in your garden and you are arrested for not preventing underage drinking on your property. You think such a thing cannot happen?


Update: Frank Davis has been crunching the numbers. Looks like Nick Hogan might not have much more porridge to suffer. I hope that's true.


Dick Puddlecote said...

And if/when £10,000 is donated, it puts to bed the lie that the ban is universally-acknowledged as the best thing since sliced bread.

No. The public have always wanted a choice. Just banning that choice doesn't change anything.

Gareth said...

If ten thousand people donate one pound each to Old Holborn's appeal, an innocent man will be set free. I put in a tenner. If one thousand people did that, he will be free. That's not all. it will make a point. A very important point.

Yes. That people on the internet are a revenue stream for HM Courts Service to milk. :(

Donated anyway.

If smoking and drinking are so bad and the State believes it knows best, why does it continue to pay the welfare class to drink and smoke when food vouchers would be a much more 'healthy' way of doing things? Why do they nanny us and not them?

Do they have a duty of care to prevent people on benefits from smoking and drinking? They could prevent this with vouchers but choose not to.(I'm not suggesting the Government should have such a duty but could ASH be turned on HM Government by suggesting it should?)

Anonymous said...

I’m just waiting for the day – and I warned about this a while back in a comment on an article in the Publican, but needless to say none of our blind, deaf and dumb pub landlords/ladies (Nick Hogan and a few others excepted, of course) even registered the point – when publicans themselves will be held liable for any crime/damage/injury caused by customers from their establishments leaving after having had a few too many drinks. Well, let’s be honest, it’s the “getting the landlord into trouble” bit which is ensuring the much-trumpeted “compliance” amongst smokers far more than the happy willingness which is constantly implied by ASH and their ilk, isn’t it?

And, as it’s worked so well against smokers, what’s to stop them from using the same tactic to prevent people from drinking too much? I’m amazed that publicans can’t see this coming, and I’m even more amazed that the prospect isn’t making them rise up in outraged, mass protest. Because, if one landlord can be put away for six months for letting people smoke in his pub, causing at the very most a negligible amount of irritation for a minority of people, how long do you think one would be put away for if someone drove home from their pub, off their face, and ran over and killed someone else?

Publicans throughout the country should get their heads out of the sand, and get them out fast.

Anonymous said...

They blame our lifestyles for our diseases then complain about us living too long.

Damn'd if you do, damn'd if you don't. No matter what you do, someone, somewhere, will scream murder.

I feel for the guy but if you're gona fight 'the man', you should at least be able to go the distance. Can't expect everyone to take time out to help dig em out.

Not enough people have lost enough yet. And until they do, we are in the minority. Well, I started with Jack, so even an ice-cream of my choice would be a win for me.

Death from a thousand cuts. By the time the B'tha'B get through with smoking and drinking, they will have whittled down the eco-crimes against humanity to farting and splashing puddles.

Probably only be a few hundred million of us left then. The rest driven to suicide or shot for eco-crimes against humanity!.

The Americans get Jo Stacks and Co.

We get Fathers4Justice and 'smoking-ban martyrs'.

C'est le vie

Leg-iron said...

Lunatic arms - it was so long ago I've forgotten the link, but there was a case of someone prosecuted for driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian. There is no level of pettiness they won't sink to. Never has been.

Nick Hogan is just the start, Next up, in the links in the article, is a shopkeeper who won't put up 'no smoking' signs because nobody has ever smoked in his shop.

I'd say we need to show that the Hogans of the country are not one-offs and are not unsupported mavericks, as Dreadful Arnott would like everyone to think.

Leg-iron said...

Anon 23:48 - the day you speak of is already here.

Via the UK Libertarian, this post on the personal experiences of Katabasis makes clear that the police are no longer the police. They are council enforcement bullies.

There is nobody protecting us now.

Leg-iron said...

I wonder, if OH gets all the money (and he's well on the way), will the courts accept it?

It will mess up their 'make an example of' strategy.

Frank Davis said...

Looking at the amazing rate money has been coming in, I estimate that Nick Hogan will be free by 2.45pm today. Or at least the money will be there to pay the £10,000 fine.

I suggest that we all make damn sure that those cunts in parliament hear about this as loudly as we possibly can.

Spartan said...

Good post Leg-iron ... with you all the way even down to the not giving up smoking. lt's not an addiction anymore, it's a principle.

Spartan said...

Oh yeah ... and l donated!

Mrs Rigby said...

Aaargh! I've just lost my comment, it was a thoughtful thing too, about the rules explaining that "premises" include tents, and the area covered by the legislation includes territorial waters.

Oh, there was a plug too.

TheFatBigot said...

First, a little lawyerly pedantry. He was not imprisoned for failing to stop people smoking but for not paying the fine. Like or hate the law, the fine was imposed in accordance with it, just as if he'd been fined for any other offence. He failed to pay it and was treated as other "martyrs" have been treated.

Having got that out of the way, there is one aspect of this which is not given sufficient prominence.

Why are landlords subject to higher fines than customers? I'd suggest the answer is three-fold. First, it's easier to identify the "offender". That saves investigative costs. Secondly, the landlord has more to lose so he can be milked for more. Thirdly, he is, by definition, a businessman and therefore (in the eyes of the simple socialists) he must have lots of money.

I'm astonished by this chap being fined £10,000 when burglars receive cautions and hitting someone with a brick might get you 60 hours of community service. This imbalance is bad law.

PJH said...

Leg-Iron, you do realise that you're potentially encouraging the non-smokers to accost more and more smokers because of all this, rather than point out the idiocy of the whole situtation to begin with?

"You'll get fined if you don't stop smokers smoking" will be seen as a call to arms to stop smokers smoking, not as a pointing out of a stupid idea.

Letters From A Tory said...

"How long before 'not preventing a fat guy eating a pie' is a crime?"

That should always be a crime, so long as my taxes pay for their bloody obesity surgery on the NHS when they've had too many pies!!!!

Gareth said...

Leg-Iron said: "Lunatic arms - it was so long ago I've forgotten the link, but there was a case of someone prosecuted for driving through a puddle and splashing a pedestrian. There is no level of pettiness they won't sink to. Never has been."

That would likely have been for driving without due care and attention. Ample enough law to cover driving while using a mobile phone too but the Police wanted a new law for that and the Government obliged (and got good PR in the process).

On the one hand if your standard of driving is poor, or you're a prat, and it adversely affects other people you should be held responsible.

On the other hand pedestrians would be wise to avoid walking past puddles in the road.

At what point should the law intervene?

The smoking law itself is not really the problem. How the law came to be via lobby groups, what little choices we have, how the law invades into private property, the creeping nature of the legislation, the undue responsibility placed on landlords,is.

mort said...

so in effect debtors gaol still exists even tho they promised to get rid of it, i will be donating today however it irks me that our so call gaols are full of people who actually have not committed a crime that can be justified these days. do we get paid for enforcement of of the nutters rules ? nope so why be gaoled for not getting paid to provide the state a service?

mort said...

ok let me get this right?

he got fined for not upholding the law/statute (as defined by numpties and lobbyists), he was not paid to provide the state with a service which they invoked, he was fined for not invoking the state clause and therefore he chose not to pay the unlawful fine/tax because in effect it is unlawful? they revoked his right to earn income in his chosen career/profession/trade or skill..? human rights comes into play here i think but i am just a simple layman.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Leg-Iron

“He is not a police officer. He has no authority to arrest anyone.”

Peel’s seventh principle of policing is – the police are the public and the public are the police. The police are paid to do full time that which every British citizen is duty bound to do voluntarily part time, namely police crime. And we are all endowed with the power of arrest for any arrestable offence. We can arrest police officers who are committing criminal offences. Their power of arrest is only slightly greater than ours, but does not include arrest for every minor transgression as is happening now. That is an abuse of the law, seemingly for the sole purpose of harvesting our DNA. Indeed the police no longer appear to be doing the job for which they are employed.

The reason we have had trial by jury for the last 400 years until this year is to prevent the state from abusing the law. A jury can return a ‘perverse’ verdict of not guilty even where the defendant is patently guilty: a judge may not direct a jury to find a defendant guilty.

The law comes in two parts: real law and lawmongered law - law which is manufactured for the purposes of creating revenue streams, satisfying obsessions or interests of lobbyists, giving parliament something to do or creating a new client of the state or adding another brick in the wall of Prison UK. Almost all real law was created a long time ago, most of it is common law.

Much of our law is now ‘derivative’ law, which, like its financial equivalent, is not real. Much of it also contravenes our constitutional law. Second order offences such as failing to stop someone else doing something have no place in free society. That we fail to stop our ‘public servants’ from doing this to us, financed by monies we permit them to rob from us entitles us to suffer.

The time has come for everyone to get off their fat arses and rescue our country: we have seen the enemy and they is us.


Chief_Sceptic said...

Anonymous - as I undestand it, the smokers weren't committing any offence whatsoever, as the law \ regulations solely address the obligation of the premises' owner \ controller to stop the smokers ... So, neither Nick Hogan nor any Police Officer can arrest the smokers for smoking, as it's not an offence (arestable or otherwise) ! - leaving only one person exposed to legal santion - i.e. Nick Hogan himself ...

Leg Iron - my £10 is already given - let's hope the Court actually accept the payment, when it hits the mark ...

Leg-iron said...

PJH - yes, I am deliberately provoking them.

I hear too many smokers meekly accepting that they are to stand out in the snow and the rain and while there, they can be sneered at by the Righteous. So I am deliberately provoking the antismokers to take physical action to break that complacency.

If the worms won't turn, I'll bloody well make them turn.

TheFatBigot said...

Your understanding is incorrect, Mr Sceptic. Smokers commit an offence by smoking in pubs and landlords commit an offence by not stopping them.

Leg-iron said...

The signs in Scotland say 'It is an offence to smoke, or to allow others to smoke, on these premises'.

I was never sure if it was the same in England. Seems it is.

The wording of the Scottish signs suggest that if I'm not smoking, and someone else is, I am obliged to stop them even if it's not my premises. By not stopping them I am effectively 'allowing' them. There is no chance at all of me ever doing that.

I wonder, is that the next stage? Prosecuting someone at a bus stop for not stopping someone else smoking beside them?

I wouldn't put it past this government, not at all.

TheFatBigot said...

The signs say the same down here in soft southerner land.

As a customer you cannot be done for "allowing" because you have no right or legal power to allow or disallow activities on others premises. That offence can only be committed by someone with control of the premises.

Old Holborn said...

You know the funniest thing?

I have to turn up, in person, at the Prison.

and pay CASH

I am SO looking forward to this.

Now, Wednesday next week is National no smoking day. What fun it would be if the papers were full of my ugly mug handing over £10K in fivers to a prison guard.

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