Posts Tagged ‘fixing what isn’t broken’

Stolen from <a href="http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/2011/03/tomorrow-is-officially-double-up.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DickPuddlecote+%28Dick+Puddlecote%29">here</a>

Stolen from here

Ah yes it’s National Double or Quits Day today, and in a move designed to show that the Tories are even more reprehensible than Labour*, Andrew Landsley today confirms that further regressive, bullying, Soviet policies of Labour are being implemented. It will soon – within 5 years – be illegal to display tobacco products. Additionally “consultations” will be held about plain packaging.

In the introduction to the press release, there is the following gem:

The plan confirms action to end eye catching tobacco displays in shops which encourage young people to start smoking.

Have the collective ‘minds’ who drafted this turned to mush? They seriously think kids go “ooh, look, shiny stuff, I better start smoking” and die. It is indisputable that the more something is restricted, the more using it becomes an act of rebellion, and therefore the more likely it is to used as a part of youth rebellion. I would almost think that it was a brilliant double-bluff** to stimulate the market, but I find the thought of Labour dreaming up something that would make money as mind-boggling as Quantum Mechanics.

Anyway this set of targets came out in the DOH release:

  • stopping the promotion of tobacco;
  • making tobacco less affordable;
  • effective regulation of tobacco products;
  • helping tobacco users to quit;
  • reducing exposure to secondhand smoke; and
  • effective communications for tobacco control.

Right-e-o.

  • stopping the promotion of tobacco;

Advertising tobacco and tobacco products is illegal. Use of tobacco products on TV are increasingly restricted. Tobacco is (for now, at least) legal, so either ban it entirely and face the consequences, or stop interfering in a lawful commodity.

  • making tobacco less affordable;

Putting the duty on tobacco up is self-defeating. Already I know very few people that buy full-price fags or baccy. Especially up in Lewis, there is vast amounts of tobacco (legally purchased and illegally sold on) washing around the place from folk who work at sea. People are buying this and most importantly not paying tax on it. The more expensive it is the more likely we are to buy it from someone down the road, rather than from the shops.

  • effective regulation of tobacco products;

I have noticed that an ever-larger proportion of the stuff around these days is counterfeit, rather than just from abroad. Shops are aware that they are watched constantly by trading standards and associated prod-noses, and are too good at asking for ID when buying fags. I still occasionally get asked to prove my age. Me. I’m a fat, greying, bearded 25 year old, with the looks of a 35 year old. The guys selling baccy out of their car boots don’t worry about the provenance or the quality of their products, and don’t worry about the age their customers are. Increasing regulation will increase illicit trading, which again, will defeat the purpose of the regulation. Yet again.

  • helping tobacco users to quit;

Eh? Why they believe this is a legitimate area for Central Government, I’m not entirely sure. Anyway, it is up to individuals to stop, as and when they want. Nobody forced to stop ever really does. Patches and gum don’t work. Again, when bullied and harassed, hectored and vilified, the correct course of action is to dig one’s heels in and stick either one or two fingers up.

  • reducing exposure to secondhand smoke; and

SHS is a myth.

  • effective communications for tobacco control.

All the fake charities, prohibitionists and rent-seekers in tobacco control already have extremely effective lines of communications. Whichever half-baked, spurious and ludicrous claim is made on any particular day, is sent out as a press release, and is immediately reproduced verbatim by an ever-credulous BBC, Daily Mail, Guardian, etc, with absolutely no critical view on it.

Anyway, that’s my thoughts on this important day, when I will go out and try to persuade all ex-smoking acquaintances to restart their habit, and tell anyone who will listen that all the coolest people smoke.

*The Tories should be the party of individuals; the party of enterprise, free markets and laissez-faire. The party that removes petty bureaucracy; nanny and bully statism; and stands up for enterprise and civil liberties. The fact the Labour hate the individual, and especially success by any individuals should be well known to everybody. The Tories have fallen so far from their ideal, that that they are not the same party.

**I once considered that He With The Massive Forehead, might be doing something similar, and trying to bring around the downfall of the EU by pushing for Turkey’s membership. However, it just became apparent that our PM is a massive tool, as well as a traitor. Ah, well.

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In my current job I drive around in an an ancient van for the first half of the day. I have a functioning radio, so I’ve got something on in the background all the time. But as I have to get in and out constantly, I don’t want to have my phone or MP3 player broadcasting the entire time because that’s a waste of battery. This would be fine if I was anywhere, really, other than Lewis. Being up here means that I’m very, very limited in what radio station I can listen to. I’ve got Isles FM (aka The World’s Worst Radio Station), Radio Nan Gàidheal (I don’t understand Gaelic), Radio Scotland (just… naw), Radio 4 (daytime stuff is dire), Radio 3 (I can’t afford to crash because I’ve fallen asleep),  Radio 1 (I’m not constantly popping ecstasy, so it doesn’t appeal) and finally Radio 2 which is a decent compromise between inoffensive pop and slightly older stuff. It’s not perfect, but it will do.

The only blight on the 5 hours or so that I’m driving up to lunchtime, is the incomparable nincompoop that is Jeremy Vine. Terry Wogan and Ken Bruce beforehand are like having a bath in warm treacle. Then the lunchtime discussion comes on and it I want to crash  into the nearest wall. Every day, as soon as he comes on, I start changing channels to see if I can find anything, anywhere, worth listening to, and, every day when I get back to the show – having failed – some moron somewhere is making a point that is just mind-bogglingly stupid. Every day I think, I’ll remember that and write something about it when I get home for lunch, and every day I come home and look at pictures of kittens.

However, this morning I got up early enough to spend a little time on the laptop before work, and caught sight of the big apologies story going round, and later heard the first snatch of the debate or phone-in discussion on the radio, before, unfortunately, changing to radio one. My mind is still bleeding. Anyway, Kevin Rudd and Gordon Brown are apologising for the sins of the past. Not, in either case for their own sins or even their respective governments’ sins. They are apologising for previous government’s mistakes. It is therefore entirely futile, empty and meaningless. You cannot apologise for a mistake someone else made in the past. You can, however, express your sorrow and sympathy. In fact, many of the people affected and shipped off to Australia are still living and do deserve our sympathy for what was, undeniably, horrible treatment. I believe these people should gain some sort of compensation for their treatment, and should have all possible help in contacting any remaining relatives over here.

But, I say again: we cannot apologise. Brown – if indeed the man is capable of emotion – can say he is saddened and sorry that this happened, but as Longrider said in the first (but by no means only post) I read today:

This practise ended forty years ago. How old was Gordon Brown then? Was he in government? The answers being that he was a teenager when this finished and he was not in government. Therefore, he has no right to apologise and neither has Kevin Rudd as neither of them was involved in the offence. An apology, to mean anything at all, must be proffered by the person or people who caused the original harm. You cannot apologise by proxy. To do so is empty gesturing.

In the Telegraph, Ed “Dumpling-faced Gurning Moron” Balls says of Brown’s planned apology, that

the government was talking to the victims’ organisation to work out how to frame the apology

The whole thing is getting emptier and emptier as the whole saga unfolds. If, for example I stole someone’s car and then asked the owner to sit down with me and help me write out a sorry note to explain how sorry I was that I had stolen his car, I have no doubt he would think it a rather empty gesture. But it’s even hollower that. In a comparable hypothetical situation, my cousin stole someone’s car and then several years later, when my (hypothetical – don’t send any sympathy, all my cousins are fine) cousin had died, then I went and asked the owner to sit down and help me to write a note of apology on behalf of someone from whom no recompense is possibly forthcoming. That’s how useless this apology is.

Also, to ring true, an apology should be, at least in part, spontaneous. Not mumbled through in a monotone by a humourless, expressionless Cyclops.

Oh, and as a final aside, it turns out the Prime Minister thinks that

“the time is now right” for the UK government to apologise for the “misguided policies” of previous governments

nothing to do with wanting to look good just before a general election then? Of course not, that’s just me being cynical.

And no mention of apologising, even in the most hollow, empty way for the “misguided policies” of the current government, for the misguided handling of… well… nigh-on everything.

Get em in while you still can

Get 'em in while you still can

A Bill has gone through Parliament, prompting this:

Briefly, as we seem to have had a round of congratulations on the Bill, I want to say that this is a very sad day for the House, which once again shows that the Government are one of the most intolerant, authoritarian and illiberal Governments that we have ever seen. It is yet another triumph for the nanny state. It will not make any difference at all to smoking rates…

This is just another authoritarian victory for a Government who want to thrash around looking as if they have done something. It will have a devastating effect on many, many small retailers, small newsagents and pubs. I hope that we will not see crocodile tears from Ministers when many more small shops and pubs go to the wall as a result of the Government’s policies.

So said Philip Davies in Parliament yesterday. Well the day before, it’s gone midnight. Later in the same debate, he also said,

If Labour Members want to ban tobacco altogether—that seems to have been the basis of their argument—they should at least have the courage to come to this House to argue for what they really believe in and face the consequences.

Tobacco is undeniably bad for my health. I have been smoking for over a decade and I know my health has suffered. It is probably bad for other peoples’ health – if I decided to smoke a pouch of baccy in an enclosed, unventilated room, forcing someone else to breathe the smoke too, for years on end.

However when you have scumballs, who have no other claim to our ears than that are stinking rich and appear on an abominably rude TV show, wanting to have cigarettes “banned altogether“, then things have gone too far. The title and tagline of the article linked are “I’ll only be happy if smoking is banned” and “we should no longer tolerate the minority threatening the lives of the majority”.

First off,

I’ll only be happy if smoking is banned

well, Dunc, many of the rest of us, smokers and non-smokers alike will only be happy when twelve years of interference and nannying – that you helped fund – are repealed and the authors are as jobless and struggling as the rest of us.

we should no longer tolerate the minority threatening the lives of the majority

May I suggest a slight tweak to that?

we should no longer tolerate the minority prying into and interfering in the lives of the majority.

Leg Iron has put up a blog on this as I was typing – illustrating the potentially far-reaching consequences of what has already gone through. I know several of the people who will access this blog are against alcohol/pubs/drinking to excess, but it is undeniable that pubs are an integral part of the economy, and that the infrastructure and systems that they support, and/or are an essential part of, support thousands throughout the country. Anti-smoking legislation has unintended (but not unforeseen) consequences, not unlike other knee-jerk, ill-planned legislation.

Another spectacular bit of idiocy is “The Case for The Plain Packaging of Tobacco Products” (.pdf link). All in an attempt to

reduce smoking by stopping people having brand attachment

Really and truly, what kind of a mind thinks up this insanity? I’m a smoker who has spent most of his smoking life without the evils of cigarette advertising. I have an extremely strong attachment to Golden Virginia. This is not because of the image it portrays of, nor of the image that was presented to me. It’s cheaper less extortionate  to smoke than ready-made cigarettes, but more expensive than many other rolling tobaccos, although not the most expensive. The simple reason that I smoke it is because I enjoy the taste of it more than any other that I’ve found. Believe me, I’ve exhaustively tested nearly all the commonly available brands.It’s the same reason I use Rizla blue papers to smoke it in. the same reason I drink certain whiskies rather than others, why I buy that seedy and oaty Hovis rather than many others. I enjoy it! It doesn’t matter what group comes up with whatever bit of nonsense, patronising crap from anyone is still patronising crap.

The bit I cut out of the opening quote by Philip Davies goes as follows:

Cigarettes are not an impulse purchase. As someone who worked in retail for many years before coming to the House, I can assure people that they are not an impulse purchase like cream cakes. People walk past cream cakes, think that they look nice, and decide to buy them, but they do not buy cigarettes on the same premise.

Which very nicely highlights how far from the point these plans are. To put it in my words, I go into a shop knowing that I’m out of smokes, and that I need to stock up. Anything else I buy is incidental.

I’m finding it really hard to not to go all Incredible Hulk whenever I turn on the news, read a blog or look at anything  these days, but I’ve come to the realisation that it’s all really a good thing: the more and more Government interfere and push through petty, nannying, authoritarian, illiberal, fascist bits of paper, the deeper and deeper the graves of the majority of Labour politicians’ careers will be, come the next election.

And that can only be a good thing.

Cute and Cuddly

Cute and Cuddly

First off, a list of apologies. I’m writing this on the train so circumstances are conspiring against me. I’ve been up all night, I’m jittery from a cup of sugar with coffee in it and I can’t smoke on a train any more, so I’m irritated and shaky. Another thing, my mobile modem isn’t quite mobile enough, so I have to piece this together with extremely sporadic access to online sources. On the plus side of things, my ticket from Glasgow to Inverness cost a mere eleven quid and there’s a handy power socket by my seat.

Anyway, I’ll soldier on like the trooper I am, and get on with a post that I’ve been promising several people for a week or so now.

It may come as a shock to some people, but hold onto your hats.

Deep breath.

The UK is a theocracy.

A theocracy is by definition:

a form of government in which a god or deity is recognized as the state’s supreme civil ruler.

(It’s incredibly lazy, but I’m linking Wikipedia because I get rare flashes of internet connectivity, so I have to make do with any old tat). Anyway, ploughing ahead with wholesale plagiarism from the afore-linked article,

…denying the gods of the state was a crime.

I am pleased horrified to announce that we have reached that very point. Since I first saw this story, a week ago yesterday, I’ve been itching to get all rage-y and annoyed about it, not least because it highlights yet another blatantly foreseeable misappropriation of rushed and forced-through abortions of legislation that have been a hallmark of NuLabour. According to the Guardian (sorry) article

…under the new law “philosophical belief” is protected by the law alongside religious belief if it passes a legal test requiring it to be cogent, serious and “worthy of respect in a democratic society.

I particularly like that last phrase “worthy of respect in a democratic society”. Worthy of respect? Worthy of respect? Since when has the theory anthropogenic global warming (AGW) been worthy of respect? It is championed by a hypocritical failed American politician, Al Gore. His film was one of the main recent catalysts for the popularity of public self abuse and hair shirt-wearing in the name of saving the planet. However the Oscar winning title has been proven to be riddled with mistakes, misleading inaccuracies and downright lies. The whole AGW brigade are a galloping shower of lying, conniving, lying, unscientific, lying, militant vegan, lying, interfering, lying, authoritarian, lying, meddling, bandwagon-jumping, lying imbeciles.

I suppose what I’ve been trying to say in my sleep deprived state is that, if – as is implied by the article linked – belief in AGW and in the dangers of carbon* can be considered as legally religious in nature, then it becomes clear that the government of this country is run on a religious basis. Everything is linked back to these so-called dangers. Every meddlesome, totalitarian, invasive step towards a police state is justified by shouting: polar bears! sea levels! icecaps! your children’s generation! Doom! Destruction! DEATH!** All this results in  compulsory crap light bulbs, bin Nazis, smoking ban, high fuel prices, etc, etc, etc, etc, ad infinitum.

The most worrying development of the minute/recent couple of days is another misbegotten scheme to (further) penalise evil drivers. Because we are evil, killing those cute polar bears. Those cute, cute polar bears. Those delightful, playful cuddly polar bears***. The cunning plan is to make the more powerful vehicle involved in any accident automatically responsible. To protect cyclists – that law-abiding section of society (of which I am part) known for our general safe, rule-keeping ways. When I’m cycling, I see myself as a pedestrian-motorist cross, as do many other cyclists. I feel I can go through red lights and use the pavement if I want, illegal I know, but I am fully aware that if I get hit doing something wrong, it is my fault. These plans are at an early stage at the moment, but they are so obviously laughably unenforceable, that it’s a certainty that they will become law in short order and go on to clog up courts for the rest of the century.

Imagine the, not unforeseeable, case of a car, a G-Widdle, or whatever its’ name is, hitting a cyclist running a red light. The “car” skids to a halt across the carriageway and the cyclist is turned to strawberry jam paste against the bumper by a lorry coming the opposite direction. To follow the guidelines, the lorry driver would have to take all the blame – he has the most powerful vehicle. But it’s not his fault, it’s the cyclist’s. Therefore weeks in court.

Interestingly, just to bolster my (admittedly rather weak so far) argument about the UK theocracy, here’s a little “proof” for you conspiracy nuts around. Not only is the green movement a religion, but it is evil. According to a major wind turbine group, an average wind turbine produces 1.5 kW. The average coal power station produces 1000 kW. Now a wee bit of simple arithmetic  1000÷1.5 = 666 (ish).Yes that’s right! Not only are wind turbines a dangerous waste of money, it takes the Beast’s Number of them to compete with the opposition.

Well, as I’m sure you are, I am falling asleep, and if I want a kip before getting to Inverness I better try and post this now. It will have to do; I’ll either update it later when I’m not asleep, or alternatively repost it.

Apologies for the rambling nature of this, I’m having brain farts every time we pull into a station, which is pretty regularly, and each time I’m inspired compelled to put down whatever’s in there.

*How many times does it have to be said? Carbon is the fundamental building block of all life. Carbon Dioxide is what makes Irn Bru and cider fizzy and makes plants grow nice and healthy. The two names are not interchangeable. One is an element, the other a compound. It’s as stupid as calling water “Oxygen” (Co2,  H2O).  But then, of course, the government and all its’ quangos (quangoes?) (link is .pdf) and fake charities and pet BBroadCaster has never been comfortable with being rigorously scientific.

**Either the aforementioned mantra, or alternatively BINGE DRINKING! CHILDREN! PAEDOS! TERRORISTS! YOUR OWN SAFETY!

***Those cute polar bears that would like nothing more than to rip your head off and eat your delicious, warm innards. Oh, yes those same cuddly polar bears that are more numerous than ever previously recorded, despite repeated lies to the contrary.

Me

Me

Couldn’t be bothered doing anything much today, so I just changed the background-y thing. I’ll get round to sorting out spacings and suchlike soon. Tomorrow is going to be a ROADTRIP with doctor Norm. So no insightful chatter form me. Behave while I’m gone.

Equality rules

Equality rules

It’s hardly original to equate our obsession with being politically correct with Nineteen Eighty-Four Big-Brother-ish IngSoc NewSpeak. But because I’ve recently picked up New Labour’s Operating Manual George Orwell’s “masterpiece of political speculation” and started re-reading it, things are jumping to the front of my conscious again. When Syme says:

“Don’t you see that the whole aim of Newspeak is to …  make thoughtcrime literally impossible, because there will be no words in which to express it”,

what jumped to my mind was this.

The idea that the words “black” or “white” somehow subliminally bring out the racist is us is insulting to anyone who has a spare braincell or two to rub together. When I worked in the Pizza Shop I first came across the “fact” that it wasn’t the done thing to offer black or white tea and coffee. Even then I thought that it was utterly ludicrous. In fact, what seems to be the case is that, whenever another of these self-righteous jackasses clamber above the wall and tell us, in ringing tones, that to say that it was a black day for X when Y happened, when you should be saying that it was a miserable day, brings out a vicious, properly racist streak in many people commenting on the story online – and a grinding of the teeth of normal people.

Possibly even worse is the way that “-man” and “-men” is being replaced with gender-neutral words instead. My line of work is at sea and there is a quiet but insistent movement to have the word seaman replaced with “seafarer” because women work at sea too. Again, from the story linked twice above already, replacing “mastering a subject” with “perfecting a subject” is pointless and plain confusing. If people were actually taught how to read properly and actually understood any of the language they are supposed to be talking, the difference between a Master (as in a man in charge) and mastery of an art should be relatively clear.

Another thing: the word “man” is gender-neutral when used in examples such as seaman and chairman. Our species is Man. A quick jump across to a dictionary comes up with

2. a member of the species Homo Sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man

3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; mankind: man hopes for peace, but prepares for war

4. a human being; person: to give man a chance; when the audience smelled smoke, it was every man for himself

To say anything different is to corrupt our language and make thoughtcriminals out of normal people.

Oh, and don’t get me started on that horrible little ginger sexist witch Harriet Harman, who seems to believe that (to paraphrase Orwell’s (yes, him again) FREEDOM IS SLAVERY) EQUALITY REQUIRES DISCRIMINATION.

2. a member of the species Homo sapiens or all the members of this species collectively, without regard to sex: prehistoric man.
3. the human individual as representing the species, without reference to sex; the human race; humankind: Man hopes for peace, but prepares for war.
4. a human being; person: to give a man a chance; When the audience smelled the smoke, it was every man for himself.