Wednesday, 21 July 2010

A rant and an appeal.

There is an ashtray in my greenhouse. A proper glass one, not some makeshift thing fashioned from an old can. I am not a slovenly smoker. I like to relax and enjoy my cigarette. I will not be browbeaten into treating my smoking as something furtive and dirty, something akin to nosepicking or wetting one's trousers in public. I enjoy smoking and if you think that makes me filthy and evil, no problem. You're not the sort who'll be invited to my greenhouse, or even my house, so you need never experience it. Better yet, I need never experience you.

I have had visitors - smokers - who have automatically gone outside to light up. I have had to follow them out there and ask what they thought they were doing. Smoking is allowed inside my house. I have ashtrays in there too. Nonsmoking is also allowed but antismoking is not. If I offend you that much, don't visit me. You won't be welcome anyway.

Why do these smokers do it? They have been browbeaten to believe they are less than human. They have been conditioned to believe that they are inferior because of their smoking habit. Why have they accepted that if they are indoors and they want a smoke, they must go outside no matter the situation and no matter the weather? For many it has become an automatic response.

Why did the German Jews and homosexuals accept that they had to wear those yellow and pink badges respectively? Having to wear a badge to define yourself as something that is nobody else's business is humiliating. Why would anyone accept that? Why do smokers accept that they have to be out in the rain and that shelters cannot be enclosed - for no other reason than to enhance the suffering? Really. There is no other reason.

I have not been to a pub in a long time. It has been a particularly nasty winter and so far, a somewhat erratic summer. At the moment it is pouring with rain, cold and windy outside. Pubs won't be doing well tonight. Pubs, I have decided, will not see me again until I can smoke in there. This might not happen in my lifetime but I will no longer spend money in an institution that forces me to go outside for half of my evening's relaxation. It is not fun and if it is not fun, then it's not relaxing. I am not paying a premium for pain.

The publicans will argue that it is not their fault, that they are not allowed to allow me to smoke and they'll get fined if they do. Pubs demanded that the smoking ban be extended to private clubs for that 'level playing field' so pubs have ensured I have nowhere to go. I can't even set up a smokers' club for smokers only. Pubs made that happen. Many pubs also gleefully enacted the ban, thinking the non-smokers would turn up in droves. They didn't. Their existing nonsmoking customers drifted away too because their smoking friends weren't going.

Then there's the beer garden. Oh, we're allowed to have that in winter when the chairs and tables are piled with snow, or when the rain and wind make it difficult to stop shaking long enough to put a cigarette in your mouth. In fine weather, the antismokers whine and complain that we are smoking in the bit they now want for themselves. What do the publicans do? Not a damn thing. No publican, to my knowledge, has erected any sign along these lines in support of their smoking customers. Okay, it doesn't have to be worded quite so insultingly but the message would be clear.

We supported the pub with our money when we had to go out in the shitty weather to smoke. When it's nice outside, a little recognition would be nice but what do we get? More State-sanctioned abuse. Okay. You don't want my custom, fine. Don't bleat about falling profits and closing pubs when you won't even admit to yourselves what's causing it. Booze has always been cheaper in supermarkets. Before the ban I rarely bought any there. I'd rather go to the pub. Now the supermarkets are my only source. Not because it's cheaper. Not because it's better - it's not. Widgets produce fizzy beer, not draught beer. I won't go there because pubs don't want my business.

I am shocked by the number of smokers who have simply accepted that they must wear the yellow-fingers badge that denotes them as less than human. Don't accept it. The pubs refuse to support us, so refuse to support them. They will continue to close but what the hell - they don't want us in there so we lose nothing. Find or organise a smoky-drinky place. It's not hard. Ours is mobile, it is not fixed to anyone's house, it's just a bunch of mates who have a 'pub evening' with nobody having to get up and go outside to smoke. There are enough of us to guarantee one every weekend and in fact, most nights. We don't all have to turn up to every one. There is no membership. There is no business transaction occurring. It is not open to the general public. Antismokers will most definitely not be invited.

Is it as good as a real pub? No, but as smokers, it is all we have and it will develop into new pubs, with new landlords, when all this ridiculous and childish banning and whining has passed. If those pubs and landlords who spurn us now are all out of business by then, if CAMRA is reduced to five weirdie beardies drinking homebrew in a shed, it will be no loss to smokers at all. They didn't want us around, remember. They made it clear that they did not want our business. Their utter eradication should mean nothing to us, as our eradication means nothing to them.

Nick Hogan tried to stand up for his smoking customers and was roundly hammered by the State. If it hadn't been for Anna Raccoon and Old Holborn, he'd likely still be in jail now. Early release for murderers and rapists would not apply in the case of a smoking ban heretic. He was one. Where were the others? Tut-tutting over their hand pumps and shaking their heads at his impertinence. Where were CAMRA, those champions of the British pub? Hiding under the Dreadful Arnott's skirt and licking her nicotine-free backside. They are antismoking, even the smoking ones, unless you smoke 'the right sort' of tobacco.

So where is the support for smokers? There is none. None at all. The pubs won't help us in any way. The government hate us but still expect us to pay their inflated extra taxes on tobacco. There are other sources and if they are funding organised crime, why would you expect me to care? I am considered a criminal every time I light up. I am villified and despised by the Real People when I am in the pub and when I am smoking outside it. So if Man with a Van is funding some illegal activity that harms you Real People, why would you expect me to care? You hate me without reason anyway. I might as well give you something real to hate me for.

Nick Hogan was imprisoned because he let people smoke in premises he owned. Now you don't have to go that far to fall foul of the new Inquisition. Remember the lorry driver fined for smoking in his cab? He wasn't. He had an Electrofag but the word of a council Stasi who observed him from a distance was held to be of higher legal account than his proving, in court, that he used an Electrofag. Those who shriek about Sharia, in which a woman's testimony is worth less than that of a man's, were silent in this example of exactly the same thing.

The smoking ban was never about health. Now it is in place, that facade has dropped and we see the real control freakery underlying its inception. Passive smoking has never killed anyone. Third hand smoke is a sick joke. All we hear now is 'I don't like the smell' and the 'littering' arguments. Oh, and of course, that perennial favourite, 'for the cheeeeldren'.

That is it. That's all they have left now. Drop a cigarette butt, composed entirely of plant materials and completely biodegradable, and you will be hunted down like a dog. Drop a mattress over a hedge and there'll be 'tsk, someone's been fly tipping'. Throw your burger wrappings on the floor and people will roll their eyes. Drop a cigarette and they'll call the police. Proportionate? Fair? Really?

When smoking in the garden, I drop the butts in among the plants. You won't find any but the most recent. You also won't find many insect pests. They rot, they compost, they contain nicotine which is a natural insecticide. Don't come back with 'See? It's a poison'. Chocolate is a poison to many other mammals and in the case of insects, we are talking about creatures far more distantly related to me than a parrot. One man's smoke is another aphid's poison. Get it yet?

In the street, I do not simply drop butts on the ground. I put them out and put them in a bin. if I dropped them on the ground they would rot away but I have always been anti-litter, it's just the way I am. The antismoker perception is that we are all out there emptying our ashtrays over passers-by when we aren't knifing pensioners and desecrating churches and stubbing out cigarettes in kittens' eyes but the terrible reality is that we are just ordinary people. Some smokers are scummy buggers who never wash, some like to keep their lives unrealistically clean and tidy. Just like non-smokers. We are not a different species. We are not subhuman. I am not a monster. I am a human being. The only difference is that I like something that some other people don't like.

Who out there could say otherwise? Who can state that they only like what they are told to like, and hate what they are told to hate (Council employees, UAF and ASH drones excepted, of course).

It is acceptable to hunt down smokers, to persecute smokers, to despise smokers, for exactly the same reason that it was once acceptable to denounce witches. It takes your mind off what's really going on. It distracts you from what your government is doing. It stops you realising, and it stops you rioting because it gives you an outlet for your hate. Someone to blame for all your troubles, real and imagined.

There's no point explaining that to an antismoker. They are blinded by their hate. And that was the point of the exercise. It worked.

It has now reached the point where a council Stasi can stalk an individual smoker and prosecute them for littering while bragging about their stalking and presenting no evidence of any kind whatsoever... and win the case.

There were cries during the Nick Hogan appeal of 'You can't pay his fine, it's giving them what they want'. They are going to get that money anyway, either by impounding property or by stealing it from bank accounts. We lose nothing by helping other smokers who are treated worse than rapists by the courts, but bit by bit we show that we are not going to sit back and be shat on any more. We stood together on the Nick Hogan case and yes, the government got their thirty pieces of silver but they were tainted with the knowledge that they lost. The smoking ban heretic was freed. Their example was not made. Ours was.

I have pledged cash to support the woman fined for allegedly, with no actual evidence, dropping a cigarette butt as observed by her self-confessed and proud to be a stooge stalker. Not much cash, not as much as I would like, but every little helps. Pat Nurse has not yet set up a fund receiving account but as soon as that happens, I'm in.

It's not the money. It's the injustice. We are now legally despised and the Cleggeron Coagulation intend to continue that State-sanctioned hatred. I will not support the pubs, the restaurants, the duty-collectors who have stated they hate me. Instead I will support other smokers wherever I can.

We are on our own, smokers. The only help we can expect is from each other.

If we don't have that then the gulags are waiting.


subrosa said...

Don't some politicians smoke? Of course they do but then they're 'protected' with the walls of Westminster. Barstewards all.

Leg-iron said...

Only the criminal are allowed to smoke indoors these days ;)

Smoking Hot said...

Nice Smoky-Drinky here by the sea on the East Coast. Not hard to find ... we have a 'Jolly Roger' flying in the front garden.

Call in sometime. :)

Leg-iron said...

Maybe we should design a smoking version of the Jolly Roger.

Every cause needs a flag. Stewart - are you out there? Any ideas?

Pavlov's Cat said...

Absolutely spot on you erudite and talented git.

Since July 2007 my pub going has dropped I would say 90%. those couple of pints to unwind reading the Evening Standard have gone for a start ( although so has the London Evening Standard, can't get it round my way anymnore since it went 'free')

Frank Davis also writes better than I could about becoming an outcast in a 1st world country which is supposed to be so inclusive we tolerate those that call for our destruction by any means and incite violence against the state.

Jimmy Freedom said...

Legiron :

Thanks for the plug. I'm not willing to go to pubs and spend 3 quid a pint for the privilege of standing outside. Likewise, I'm not prepared to pay a penny to maintain a website which until now was free, when hardly anyone joined, and no one organised any events. I'm going to make a note of the email addresses of those who did join, and as soon as I can find an alternative site which is free, I'll let them know and I'll start trying to get members again. What a disappointment. Anyone who tries to get around this stupid ban in any way fails in one way or another. I wish someone somewhere would try to do what I did, somehow. Or better still, someone should do what I did, but instead of organising "pub nights" at each others' houses, just orgainse some civil disobedience, which is what is now needed. Maybe it will wake everyone up. I'd do it myself but I think I'd be talking to myself as usual. I'm totally disillusioned with f2c aswell, all they do is moan. You've got an excuse, Legiron, this is your blog, but f2c is supposed to actively oppose the ban. All they do is talk about it. Bollocks to this ban.

banned said...

I'd happily support another smoking martyr L-I but the woman in Patnurses blog was 'observed' twice by one plastic plod chucking her fag ends out of her car which, if true, is anti-social (you don't do it and neither do I) and then she didn't bother to turn up in Court (or send reasons as to why not). Might I suggest finding a worthier example?

The case in point does though flag up another issue; the unsupported word of Civic Enforcement Officer/CPSO is deemed more worthy than that of a 'civilian' who must prove that what is claimed is not true. This is not the case with the sworn testimony of a proper Police Constable who has to prove the truth of what he/she says.

Smoking Hot said...

Yes Leggy l agree ... a flag. How about a skull and crossed cigarettes instead of bones or swords?

Stewart? :)

Anonymous said...

Take a look at this. The comment are a real surprise to me. You are not alone. So why does the great british public allow itself to be so trampled on?

Pat Nurse MA said...

I have given reasons why she didn't turn up and yes, there were two occasions but we are not talking about fly tipping. Cig litter wasn't even included in litter laws until 1990 when the pressure began to get turned up on us.

Cig litter is minute and it's plant matter. It's like pulling a leaf from a tree and then dropping it. Worth a fine and prosecution? I don't think so.

Yes, we should all carry pocket ashtrays so the Stasis don't get us and I know this woman has learned her lesson about that. She wasn't aware they existed - why? Because the Stasis are happy to let innocent/ignorant smokers fall foul of their trivial laws.

Why inform them of these things when it's easier to wait and then fine them. That also helps towards the "denormalisation" of them as well.

I would set up a fund but don't know how to so any advice on that for a computer nearly illiterate, is welcome.

I thought I'd wait to see declarations of interest first and with me, LI and SH, we got a grand £30 promised so far. Maybe it would go up if there was a paypal link. Maybe we should just set it up as a fund for any smoker who falls foul of the law. Collecting in this way, at least, is a form of protest.

But we must stick together. Jimmy Freedom is so right. I can't remember if I joined your site. I thought I had.

After Cleggy let us down over his scam freedom shite, I asked for 50 people to stand with me in an act of protest/civil disobedience. I got offers from about 8 people.

If we can't do anything else, then the very least we should do is support The Nothing2Declare blog at Smoking Hot's place and stop buying UK baccy and fags.

Leg-iron said...

Jimmy - there are free hosting sites. You won't get the cool URL but you'd still have a site. If you do that, let me know so I can change the link.

Banned - no, I don't drop butts around the place but as Pat says, they are entirely biodegradable and so the penalty is out of proportion to the offence.

The worst of it is, as you say, that no proof of any kind is required for these people to win their case. Whether the defendant was there or not, a conviction on the word of someone who admits they were out to catch this smoker is plain wrong.

Whether she dropped the butts or not, there was no evidence presented other than one council officer's word. Not even a second witness.

I would be just as enraged if someone were convicted of any offence on that basis. At the moment it just targets smokers but... mission creep?

It's a dangerous precedent and it's not only about smoking this time.

Leg-iron said...

Smoking - someone sent a prototype. I'll put it up.

Leg-iron said...

Pat - Would it be worth getting Freedom2Choose involved? Anna Raccoon and Old Holborn have experience of fund collecting but after the trouble they went through last time, they've said they won't do it again.

Perhaps F2C could take on this one?

Anonymous said...

If I have learned anything in this life it is the right to discover you are an asshole.

Those liberals who deny this path to enlightenment are really your jailors.

Please feel free to smoke on my balcony as I'm just that not that dumb to have tar frescos on my lungs and walls.

Leg-iron said...

Anonymous - thanks for the offer. I will not be visiting. Why would I visit someone who despises me without even meeting me?

You do know you can now get cancer electronically, just as you can get high electronically over the internet, don't you?

Merely conversing with a smoker on the internet will make your teeth drop out, your lungs shrivel and your eyes explode. These things don't happen to smokers, only to those who are in conversation with smokers.

See, if smoke becomes a hundred times more deadly when exhaled, and a thousand times more deadly when it isn't smoke at all, only Electrofag steam, and a million times more deadly when the smoker isn't even smoking, then logically, the homeopathic death machine means that by commenting here, you are experiencing a billion times more damage from my smoking than I am.

This is just as likely as harm from second hand smoke, and has exactly the same amount of legitimate research behind it.

Have a nice day. Sorry I've shortened your life by responding.

Only joking. I'm not sorry at all.

Pat Nurse MA said...

LI - I have asked F2C. They were going to get back to me about that. I know they are currently trying to help a smoker who got prosecuted for "smoking" in his work van. He said it was an ecig - legal - the court believed the jobsworth - again, it would appear, without evidence. Poor bloke has since lost his job too.

That's why some sort of fund is needed. Yes, Anna and OH are brilliant but what is it about us smokers that we constantly turn our friends away or upset them when they have done grand things for us.

I'll get back to F2C and let you know what they say -unless TBY sees this. :)

Anonymous said...

Lost his job?

For smoking? In a van?

And it was an ecig, anyway?

Excuse my language but fuck me. We need to start making Molotov cocktails. This is getting serious - despite their hiding behind Godwin's Law, surely the Gulags are only 5 years away.

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