Tuesday, 30 December 2008

Et Tu, Education?

I've mentioned before that the NHS is a festering mound of inefficiency and not fit for purpose.

It's not surprising seeing as it is 60 years old. Things move on, and the NHS simply hasn't. Technology has improved immensely and so you may well see quite a few new gadgets being utilised at NHS hospitals, but how many times do you also see the local paper advertising a fund-raising drive to buy a new scanner or some such? There is never a fund-raising drive to pay for a new Programme Development Manager or for an Outreach Worker. Nope, these are paid for fully from your NI contributions.

A reminder, it is 60 years old. In any other area, the NHS would have been pensioned off a long time ago in favour of something more in tune with the 21st Century. The NHS has about as much place in the modern day as Play School, Opportunity Knocks, and Grandstand.

The problem is that the NHS is controlled mostly by those that wish to perpetuate a failing system for their own gain, and backed by a public that haven't the imagination to see that there could be something better. When the aforementioned shows were losing viewers, they were replaced by something better to save the jobs of the execs that saw the failing viewing figures. With the NHS, the vast majority of users don't know that there is an alternative, simply because they have never been presented with one. It's akin to the BBC just spewing out Bagpuss and Pebble Mill, whether anyone watched or not, simply because there is no discernible competition.

The same can be said about our education system. It's great that every kid is given free schooling but why is it a necessity that the Government provides it (with conditions), especially when idiots like this guy, who has banned red ink for marking homework, are in charge of our childrens' learning.

Headmaster Richard Sammonds said: ‘Red pen can be quite demotivating for children. It has negative, old-school connotations of “See me” and “Not good enough”.

‘We are no longer producing clerks and bookkeepers. We are trying to provide an education for children coming into the workforce in the 21st century.

Another nutter, quite obviously, one might think. But no ...

At Hutton Cranswick Community Primary School in Driffield, East Yorkshire, the Marking and Feedback Policy reads: ‘Marking should be in a different colour or medium from the pupil’s writing but should not dominate. For this reason, red ink is inappropriate.’

Shirley Clarke, an associate of the Institute of Education, said: ‘Banning red ink is a reaction to years of children having nothing but red over their work and feeling demoralised. When children, especially young children, see every single spelling mistake covered in red, they can feel useless and give up.’

Sorry if I appear rude, but please. Fuck off.

This looks like another sacred cow that needs shaking up. I mean, seriously, what are these people saying to our kids? That it is OK to fail? That making mistakes is perfectly acceptable and shouldn't be highlighted in case it offends?

I have two kids myself and am in the fortunate position, having enjoyed a very good education myself, of being able to flesh out some pretty poor teaching from the comprehensive system. Not all will be so lucky. In fact, the education system as it is, encourages inequalities that punish kids born into less able households.

So what's the difference between that and private schooling? Not a lot as far as I can see. In fact, the system we have is far more disadvantageous than that proposed by Mark Wadsworth.

... if you give all school age children a voucher worth £5,000-plus, then as far as I can see, everybody wins. It would shave £20 billion off the schools budget (overheads and waste are enormous) so the taxpayer's happy; wealthy people with kids at private school are laughing because they no longer have to pay twice for education (once for the 'free' places they don't use and again in cold hard cash); the not-so-wealthy can now afford private education and children of poor families who can't afford much of a top-up to the vouchers still have a much wider choice of school - even if it's only a choice of state run schools without top-up fees.

In my business, I daily meet extremely genuine people who truly care for their kids' education. Their choices, however, are limited to what the state has decreed for them. Much like the NHS, they would never hark for a privatisation of schools as they are conditioned to fear it. Even though, like health, they would be put in charge.

The ones I know are assiduous in poring through league tables to choose a good school for their kids. But, they are firstly limited in their choice by location, and then further stymied as the final decision is not theirs but that of the local education authority. Yet they seem happy with this arrangement. Quite simply because the idea of free education is so persuasive that they would instantly vote against anyone who nay-sayed it, even though a voucher system would still be essentially free to the user, but give power of decision-making to the parent.

All the current system does is foster a bucket-load of parasitic 'red ink banners' and further destroys the intellect of our future.

Personally, I'm not that fussed. I know full well that my kids are going to be fine as I am able to fill in the gaps of their education, in fact, they will no doubt have a distinct advantage. I'm not that smug, though, to think that the failures of a very imperfect comprehensive system of schooling are not going to affect me personally in the future at some point.

If nothing else, can you imagine a kid who is easily offended by a bit of red pen being applied to his schoolwork being voted in as an MP? It can't be too far away at this rate. (Come to think of it, Ed Balls could be the one that proves my point)

There has to be a better way of doing things, surely.

Monday, 29 December 2008

Fooled Again?

Al-Jahom, on his excellent blog, has spotted that the Conservative James Brokenshire (pictured) seems to be making progress in the party hierarchy. Today he was wheeled out as spokesman on Home Affairs.

James Brokenshire, a Conservative home affairs spokesman who received the figures under freedom of information laws, said: “Knife crime is a scourge which claims too many lives and ruins countless others.

Yet under Labour it has soared. The Government’s only response is short-term, ad hoc police operations, the results of which they spin and manipulate anyway to try to get a good story.”

I make him right. Knee-jerk policy just doesn't cut it.

But is this the same James Brokenshire who was advocating short-term, ad hoc, and totally unnecessary, responses to combat binge-drinking? Which largely involved punishing the law-abiding for the excesses of just a few trouble-makers? I think it is you know.

"... the social and health costs linked to binge drinking mean that we just can’t ignore the pricing and promotion of alcohol. Drink being sold as a ‘loss leader’ at prices virtually cheaper than water isn’t right and it isn’t responsible. That’s why we would legislate to ban below-costs sales and target alcohol duty on those products most closely linked to binge boozing.

But we’ve also got to challenge attitudes on excessive alcohol consumption. We would encourage locally-based programmes which combine education with enforcement, prevention with punishment."

Note the words "ban", "enforcement" and "punishment", without any nod to the fact that laws already exist to deal with the exaggerated binge-drinking problem. All the Tories have to do is make sure these laws are enforced more rigorously. Not collectively punish all of us, like schoolkids, for the actions of a small minority.

Nanny is alive and well in the Conservatives, and has just been promoted, it would seem.

If they are all like Brokenshire, changing the Government could just prove to us that The Who were on the right lines.

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss

Friday, 26 December 2008

The Wrong Suppliers

Yes, this is a tenuous Christmas link, but did you see Wallace and Gromit on Christmas Day? The 'Wrong Trousers' guys? One pair (set?) of trousers fine, the others lead directly to a Hell on Earth?

The latest Wallace and Gromit instalment was rather disappointing I thought. Very predictable, and not of the same high standard as they have shown in the past. Not surprising though seeing as they set the bar so very high.

The same could be said about the 'Wrong Nicotine' lobby. You know, the ones who frown on the pleasurable way of taking it, and expend millions of pounds of pharmaceutical cash to make sure you use the 'righteous' supplier?

Their lies used to be so much more ingenious, almost awe-inspiring in fact. Now, they seem to be reaching a bit to hide the fact that their crusade is anything more than an extension of the marketing arm of Nicorette (Johnson & Johnson) or Niquitin (GlaxoSmithkline). Which it is, of course.

They have however, excelled themselves of late in showing that they don't really give a toss if people give up smoking, as long as they throw their cash, in doing so, in the right direction. That is, toward a compass point that leads to their pharmaceutical paymasters.

The blithe arrogance set in a couple of years ago, just after they conned an inept Labour Government (and the equally stupid, if not more so, Lib Dem 'opposition') into believing that they were voting on a health issue, instead of a massive lie intended to divert the huge market in nicotine, from the 'wrong' supplier, to the 'righteous' one.

Buoyed by the success of having circumvented democracy, ASH's liar-in-Chief Deborah Arnott, spat on the grave of respected quit smoking guru, Allen Carr, on the occasion of his death no less, via the BBC. She was rightly forced to apologise. It took the arrant, disrespectful bitch an entire fucking year though.

Today Action on Smoking and Health (ASH), the public health charity, has apologised to Allen Carr’s Easyway Organisation for unfounded comments made by its Director in November 2006.

In November of last year, Deborah Arnott, Director of ASH claimed that specific success rates quoted by Allen Carr Easyway were “plucked out of the air” and “basically made up.” She made these comments whilst on the BBC Radio 4 “PM” programme during a piece concerning the death of Allen Carr, founder of Allen Carr’s Easyway organisation.

Deborah Arnott’s comments referred to two independent studies conducted by eminent experts in the field of smoking cessation which had already been published in peer reviewed journals indicating a 53% success rate for Allen Carr’s Easyway to Stop Smoking Clinics after 12 months.

Yes, you read that right, one of the experts in 'plucking figures out of the air' was urinating on the memory of someone who was responsible for many thousands of people giving up smoking. I reckon the BBC were probably expecting a congratulation from ASH, not a vile and disrespectful condemnation.

It's easy to understand why though, if one considers that almost every ASH press release mentions the wonders of Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT). Allen Carr was, and still is, even in death, an inconvenient obstacle, seeing as his success rates dwarf those of the pharmaceutical industry's NRT products, and they probably always will.

GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, and others in the same industry, are fighting the tobacco industry for control of a multi-billion pound nicotine market. In the UK, this manifests itself in endless TV ads at peak times costing many thousands of pounds apiece. Allen Carr was getting people to quit, just not the right way as he wasn't peddling nicotine. Plus, he was outspoken about not only the lack of success of the alternative nicotine peddlers, but also the Government money they were harvesting to achieve that lack of success, as he mentioned to Tony Blair.

In spite of repeated formal approaches throughout 2004, 2005, & 2006, your Government, Department of Health, NHS, ASH, and QUIT have all refused to even meet me – let alone show an interest in my method.

It costs the taxpayer more than £400 to treat a smoker at the NHS Stop Smoking Clinics which use nicotine products, according to ASH they achieve a success rate of 20% after 12 months; i.e. a FAILURE rate of 80%. The fee at my clinics is £220 and if smokers don’t quit, it costs nothing.

I have not had the benefit of charitable donations, government funding or the vast wealth of the pharmaceutical industry to fund marketing campaigns. The success and fame of the method has been achieved through personal recommendations. I am now widely recognized as the world’s leading expert on helping smokers to quit for one reason alone:


Your government still refuses to provide my method on the NHS. Its refusal even to evaluate the method was made through the “National Institute for Clinical Excellence” (NICE) presumably under the influence of the pharmaceutical industry which sells nicotine via so-called Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT) – gums, patches, nasal sprays, inhalators, etc. NRT is a misnomer. Nicotine is not replaced, it is continued and there’s nothing therapeutic about that.


Wise words from the man. If a smoker wishes to give up, he will have more chance if he actually wants to, rather than being cajoled or bullied. Smoking bans don't work, as proved worldwide before England became the latest country to show an increase in smoker prevalence following legislation.

A sucker punch to ASH, one might think. But no, they really couldn't give two hoots. All they really wish for is that sales of nicotine products stay healthy for those who pay their wages.

Predictably, when a different method of delivery is proving successful in lessening the effect of the smoking ban, which ASH have admitted was designed to make people quit, the righteous get a bit tetchy.

NICOTINE refills which have been on sale could be deadly to young children, it emerged last night.

Around 100 “electronic cigarettes”, designed to help people quit smoking, were bought in two months in Inverness before trading standards officers put an immediate freeze on their sale.

It followed an investigation which revealed that the amount of nicotine in each refill was potentially lethal to a small child.

I await the shelves of Tesco being emptied of Whisky because the amount of alcohol within is 'potentially lethal to a small child'. I expect the bottles of bleach to be stuck under the counter too, instead of on the bottom shelf. And sales of Lynx body spray must be immediately banned.

(Keith Webster) said: “Nicotine is classed as a poison, which means the product must have some sort of child lock.”

Yep, all those nicotine patches on open displays in the supermarket are fully child locked-up aren't they. Being the poison that they are, of course.

Perhaps the key to this nonsense is contained in a couple of telling lines.

The product was supplied by the Lancashire-based Electronic Cigarette Store.

NOT a pharmaceutical supplier then.

And quoted as a 'Key Stakeholder' on page 6 of the Scottish Trading Standards document about tobacco? You guessed it, ASH Scotland.

The smoking debate should be about encouraging people to quit by whatever means, or not to start at all. Unfortunately, those proposing measures that discriminate against smokers don't seem to care much about how many smokers there are. The disgraceful treatment of Allen Carr proves that quite comprehensively.

All that really matters is that you get your nicotine from the right supplier. There are huge profits to be had. It's a straight fight between tobacco manufacturer and pharmaceutical industry, for control of the income.

It really doesn't help when a third party like Allen Carr or an e-cig manufacturer gets in the way. They are the 'Wrong Suppliers' as much as those selling fags.

The Royle Family was on Christmas Day too. It's equally tenuous but ... ASH primarily wish to stop smoking? My ARSE.

Thursday, 25 December 2008

Someone Knows Me Well

It looks like I'm on my way to joining Old Holborn's revolution.

I got a Clay Pigeon Shooting day for Christmas. Yes, that's right, they will be teaching me how to use a gun. I shall be a very eager student and my imagination will be in overdrive.

Pull ... Patricia Hewitt ... BANG! Pull ... Liam Donaldson ... BANG! Pull ... Jacqui Smith ... BANG! Pull ... Amanda Sandford ... BANG! I just hope they have enough clays.

Off to buy a cabinet and apply for a licence now.

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

Dear Santa ...

Dear Santa,

I'm turning in soon and will have my stocking at the end of the bed. I would have put it above the chimney but it could pose a fire risk which health & safety have told me is a no-no, I hope you understand.

It will mean that you have to climb the stairs to my bedroom. My partner is in the bed with me so I'd advise you to notify the police before your visit, in case an anonymous passer-by reports you as a sex pest.

It also means that you will have to deposit your kind gifts to the bedrooms of my two children. Obviously, this means that you will be left unattended with them, so could you please make sure that you have your enhanced CRB clearance with you before entry. If you do not yet have one, don't worry, it only takes about 3 months to come through once you have paid your £36 fee and filled in the necessary documentation.

The kids have both asked for Doctor Who stuff, but as you know, these are licenced products from the BBC so I hope you have their permission before your elves start running off thousands of Dalek voice-changing helmets. We are living in litigious times so it's best to make sure the paperwork is in order.

I understand that you may like to park your sleigh on the roof, but I'd advise against it as if you loosen a tile which falls off and hits someone, I will get sued and I will blame you to save my own finances. Best park it somewhere on the street but please remember that some areas are permit-holders only, so you could face a £50 fine if in the wrong bay (£30 if paid to the council within 14 days).

I have to remind you that the Government recently brought out rules on how to treat pets, so please make sure your reindeer don't appear distressed. The Government say that they won't levy a fine, but the RSPCA will use the guidelines to bring a prosecution against you. I wouldn't like you to go through that seeing as you are giving us loads of stuff for nothing. Just be careful, that's all.

I usually leave you some sherry and a couple of mince pies, but you seem to be a bit obese which we are told is very wrong, so it'll just be a couple of Ryvitas this year if that's OK. Oh yeah, and the sherry isn't happening either. Firstly, you're driving which means you will definitely kill someone and lose your job and vehicle according to the advert on the telly, and secondly, I'm sure other, less responsible, people will be leaving you all manner of alcoholic beverages which will put you over your limit of 21 units per week. I'll leave you a carrot smoothie instead.

Sorry, I digress. Once parked on the street, you can access the chimney by erecting your scaffolding to the side of the house. Sorry, you're not allowed to use a ladder to go above the first floor, health and safety has decreed it. It's scaffolding or you will be closed down. The scaffold and platforms will probably need to be inspected by a council employee so please make sure you give them a call first.

Having got the smallprint out of the way, here's what I want for Christmas, my porky friend.

Please, please, PLEASE can we have an end to this hysterical nannying nonsense next year?

On your way back to Lapland, could you please drop something big and heavy, and preferably explosive, on the Palace of Westminster? And if you do, I should be most grateful if you could shout "Ho, ho, bloody ho!" as you do it.


(Merry Christmas everyone)

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Health Minister Dick Speaks

Woo Hoo! I've been appointed to the Cabinet! Well, Mark Wadsworth's Cabinet anyway. I initially declared an interest (OK, you got me, begged on my knees) in the Health gig so I could abolish some regional DoH satellite Quangos whose sole purpose is to bully us into living life how we are told. However, I got something slightly different.

Public Services

Administering Health Vouchers & Denationalising the NHS - Dick Puddlecote

"Hold on", I hear some say in angst, "Denationalising the NHS? Steady on, Dick".

But why not? The country's biggest sacred cow is the NHS, the 'free at the point of delivery' aspect, it seems, is one of our biggest cares. It is also just about the biggest misdirection of the truth the Government currently throw at us. Even the hint that a political party aims to privatise any part of the NHS is met with widespread scaremongering by 'Health Professionals'. But then, they would. There are nearly 600,000 of them who don't ever see a patient. That's 1% of the total population.

The misdirection part is the ' ... at the point of delivery'. Sounds like it's free but it's quite plainly not, is it? It's far from free. The latest estimate of average earnings by the ONS is £24,888 as at April 2008. This means that the average wage earner is (by my fairly accurate calculation) paying £178.13 per month for their healthcare, whatever their risk of needing medical attention. That's over two grand a year. Quite an insurance premium, and if there is more than one wage earner in your family, you pay it twice or perhaps even more.

Mark's 'Prime Minister' is Obnoxio the Clown, who has set out this policy for his administration.

8. Sack every non-medical person in the NHS apart from the switchboard operators. Break up the NHS so that every hospital, dentist and GP practise is its own business. Restrict "free at point of delivery" to A&E and long-term illnesses only. Everyone can "go private". Voucher system for state contribution to the medical insurance of your choice which will be sufficient for basic health care at any insurance provider.

Sounds good to me. Still 'free at the point of delivery' for urgent or unavoidable long-term illness, and the state doesn't just leave anyone to rot (a common lie when deregulation of the NHS is mentioned), even if they sit on their arse watching Jeremy Kyle and eating Krispy Kremes all day.

The important, and personally most attractive, part of it though, is that YOU become the controller of your own healthcare. YOU become the boss again.

If your GP keeps nannying you, tell him to get stuffed, you're taking your business elsewhere. If the local GP receptionist won't let you pre-book an appointment as The Womble recently experienced, same response, plus they'll probably get the sack for being an obstructive moron and losing the business for the health provider, that is, they will have to improve their customer service. YOU will once again have a say in how you are treated. They will have to treat you with respect. You won't be just a few notes on a piece of card and a way of recharging the internal market.

Even those who don't earn but receive vouchers from the state will still benefit from this power. Vouchers, after all, will be redeemable from the Government for cash, and losing patients will adversely affect the health provider's business.

On a national scale (and I'm not sure we've fully thought this through now we're in charge), it means that us politicians, when short of funds for Health, CANNOT MAKE SAVINGS BY MAKING THE PUBLIC FIT THEIR LIFESTYLES AROUND US. Quite the opposite, we will either have to spend more as the public's freedom requires it, or have to make savings elsewhere to fit in with the way the public have chosen to live their life.

Not that much saving should be required anyway, most of those who enjoy 'risky' lifestyles will simply pay a bit more for their care. If cost-cutting is required though, 600,000 seminar-attending, blackberry-equipped, lifestyle-hectoring health professionals would be a start.

The way it SHOULD be. The health service reacting to demands from the public, rather than the public being forced to change their chosen way of life, to fit the funding that we choose to spend on the health service.

The new Health Bill will be presented to the Queen, by our esteemed PM, Obnoxio, in due course. In the meantime, in my capacity as Government Minister, I shall be writing to those affected by the changes. Smokefree North West, put your offices up for rent and find a paying job that serves a purpose which doesn't involve treating people as lepers. Alcohol Concern, that yearly grant ... not happening. ASH, do your future lobbying from the £11k you get from the pitiful number of people who give a toss, as you won't be getting any cash from us. Pharmaceutical companies, you can't take the piss anymore, charge a realistic price or BUPA will go elsewhere (may I suggest you save overhead by stopping giving ASH money). No job-for-lifers buying your products now, just private sector staff who will be at your throats for savings. 'Health Professional' parasites, take your chances in the private sector.

I hereby commend this motion to the House.

Beggaring Belief

How embarrassing is that? While looking for a link about Happy Hours being potentially banned by this Government, I came across articles from Japan, India and Ireland laughing at us.

Here's the Daily Mail story.

A Department for Health spokeswoman said research on the issue had been commissioned but was unable to comment on any planned announcements.

Perhaps the outrage was too big to allow the Government-funded Alcohol Concern to carry on with their crap. (Note: I am guessing they are Government-funded as it is usually the case - I am a betting man and reckon it's odds on that I'm correct).

Personally, I didn't see any research, nor was I asked for my input. Normal stuff.

But what have we HERE from Old Holborn?

So not only have the shits already excluded themselves from the Health Act legislation, they are now quite happy to discount heavily for themselves while talking about denying pubs (who they have decimated in the past 18 months) doing the same to save their businesses ... err ... which have been screwed by Government incompetence.

Have we ever been governed by anything worse than this lot?

Sunday, 21 December 2008

Nothing to Hide, Nothing to Fear?

By Jacqui Smith's logic, if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear. Perhaps someone should tell Gorbals Mick.

Up to 20 MPs are understood to have written to Mr Martin requesting that he authorise an investigation by The Standards and Privileges Committee into the controversial police search of Mr Green's Commons office last month.

But Mr Martin refused to sign off the inquiry, which means that it cannot go ahead.

Even Labour MPs, who have overwhelmingly supported Mr Martin throughout the Green debacle, expressed surprise at his decision to block a Standards and Privileges inquiry. One minister said: "I suppose the process is entirely up to the Speaker and the Speaker has said no and he doesn't have to provide any reasons why he said no."

He must have something to hide then, eh Jacqui?

Whatever Happened to Fun?

I have seen a vision of Hell, and I'm scared for my kids' future.

I visited a 'pub' tonight with Mrs Puddlecote and the parent Puddlecotes. For a meal, natch, seeing as the simple enjoyment of alcoholic beverages in such places is now frowned upon.

I don't visit pubs much these days, if at all, seeing as they don't seem to serve the purpose that they used to. Pubs used to be fun, a place to relax. Not so anymore it seems.

The restaurant ... err ... sorry, pub, in question is a well-established and historic building in a rural part of suburbia. Upon entering, one is greeted with a fantasy world of faux British pub paraphernalia. The mock Tudor beams inlaid on crusty exposed brickwork, the rustic-style brushed pine floors, all recently installed by some guy from Gdansk, the minimum wage teens behind the bar who look aghast as one asks for a whisky mac. The Manager who is called to help and also needs the drink explaining to him, being the consummate professional that he is.

Having ordered, finally, the drinks, and having successfully avoided being pole-axed by the 2 and 3 year olds that were torpedo-ing themselves around the bar area, we moved swiftly to the table.

I was salivating at the prospect of a quality menu from such a high quality establishment. Yes, 'Strictly Come Dancing' was being shown on a plasma TV in the other bar, tastefully surrounded by a Georgian style picture frame as if to hide the fact that it was actually shit, but hell, this lot surely must have some substance to accompany their pretension.

Actually no. The menu was the same or worse than Wetherspoons but priced incredibly more expensive. I was tempted by the Gammon Steak at £10.95, discounted the Steak & Kidney pud at £12.90 (seriously) and finally plumped for the Sausages and Mash in Yorkshire Pudding at £8.95. In hindsight, I wish I'd just stopped at the kebab shop on the way home.

While eating we were asked three times by staff if everything was OK. On each occasion, the lively conversation we were enjoying was stilted by the interference.

Us Puddlecotes tend to be passionate people and post-meal we were debating the world as we do, and as pub customers have done for decades. The daggers we got for it. I'm not kidding but one woman actually dropped her ice cream and her jaw at the same time when "Cancer Research UK" and "tossers" was mentioned in the same sentence. If there weren't signs all around the place advising that 'swearing will not be tolerated', I'd have told her to fuck off.

I'm only just past the age where life is proverbially supposed to begin, but even I can remember when pubs were places of lively abandonment. What the hell happened?

There was a plus side though. Although there was no music in the bar itself, the gents was wired for sound and my two visits greeted me with "Are Friends Electric" by Gary Numan, and "Where Did Our Love Go" by the Supremes. I'll pass on the food and just stay in the loo next time.

Friday, 19 December 2008

A Bad Week for the Righteous

If you agree with the smoking ban, you may be tempted to stop reading this, but give me a second while I explain why, you too, should be very happy with the events of this week, a very bad week indeed for the Righteous in the anti-smoking lobby, and the Labour/Puritan movement as a whole.

There are four main scares that the Righteous use to shape your lives against your better judgement. Terrorism, Paedophilia, Climate Change and Cancer/Death.

The Righteous at ASH, Cancer Research UK etc., aided and abetted by your tax receipts, have been in the vanguard of illustrating how a template based on misdirection, irrational fears, and unfounded (but well-funded by themselves) 'science', can be used again and again in different areas to bully you into agreeing with measures against your freedom about which you would normally bristle. A perfect example is the clinically obese Liam Donaldson using the cancer scare tactic this week to talk about the obese ... of which he is one.

This is him, does he appear svelte to you?

I thought not. One must surely ask why the fat man wants to be a fat controller? (H/T Rev W V Awdry). Your guess is as good as mine, but I reckon it's a money thing to do with the NHS, seeing as every scare is accompanied by an estimate of how much the thing that you like to do costs money to an organisation that you pay for. I mean, how fucking dare you? You're supposed to pay the money, without choice in the matter, and then change your life to make sure you use the service as little as possible, you idiots. Doesn't matter if you pay more in duty for your lifestyle choice than expended by the clinically-obese Donaldson's department either, you have to stop. Full stop.

If you agree with the smoking ban as you don't like smokers (despite the fact there are a multitude of better options than a blanket ban on all privately-owned establishments, which was NOT democratically voted upon), I hope you are also going to be happy with restrictions to your drinking, consumption of anything that isn't 5 a day, and other substances or practices that the Government object to by way of cost.

Those who hunt were the recipients of the prototype banning scare from this Government, it had to be forced through by way of the Parliament Act. Lessons were learned and the lies were beefed up to marginalise smokers more effectively (using the same endemic prejudice as a tool). The legislation since the smoking ban has been incessant and the same methods are increasingly being used in other areas (drinking, unhealthy foods, motoring etc.). The clinically-obese Liam Donaldson, for example ... again, has used the term 'Passive Drinking' quite regularly. He first started using that particular sound-bite at the end of 2007 and last used it on the Simon Mayo show on Five Live a few weeks ago. Well, if a lie works with one substance, why not use the same lie again, eh?

Unfortunately, this week is seeing a right kick in the teeth for ASH and their ilk. Lies are being exposed quite ruthlessly. First we had the revelation a couple of days ago that the smoking ban in England had actually reversed a long trend and managed to increase smoker prevelance. Today, ASH have been beaten by an even bigger stick as it was revealed that the Scottish smoking ban, allied with a banning of the sale of packs of 10, and the raising of the age for buying cigarettes has resulted in a 5% increase in young adults smoking in Scotland.

The number of young people smoking in Scotland has returned to a level last seen nearly 10 years ago, according to a report by health officials.

The survey revealed nearly a third of people between 16-24 are smokers.

In 2004 the number of young smokers in Scotland had fallen to just 25% but by 2007 that figure was 31%.

Note the dates. Smoking cessation initiatives have been an abject failure and have massively increased smoker prevalence in the 16-25 age group. So what does Shona Robertson suggest to halt this slide? Yep, you guessed it. More of the same failed policy.

Significant progress has been made in recent years to shift cultural attitudes to smoking, but this report clearly demonstrates that firm action needs to continue if we are to succeed in our desire to make Scotland smoke-free.

Significant progress? Yes, you have significantly progressed from a reduction in smoking to a big increase. Good job Shona. When will your pea-brain work out that people don't react well to dictatorial wankers like you?

Considering the past week's news, perhaps it is time to revisit the ASH handbook on the myths of anti-smoking legislation.

1) Myth: It will be bad for pubs

I think that has been answered emphatically by the British Beer & Pubs Association

The British Beer and Pub Association (BBPA) has said closures across the UK are running at 5 a day, up a third on last year, with close to 1,900 of the country's 57,000 pubs set to shut this year if the current rate continues.

The industry is angry with the government for pressing ahead with tax rises when it is facing the toughest trading conditions for years with pressure on household budgets, last year's smoking ban, cheap alcohol offers in supermarkets, and the miserable summer weather encouraging drinkers to stay at home.

2) Myth: It will be bad for bingo

Yes it was.

Carmen Media has highlighted that over a year into the smoking ban in the UK, more than 53 land based bingo halls have closed, bringing the number of clubs still open to about 550.

The company said if one considers the impact of the smoking ban in Scotland (in effect since March 2006) where all reports showed that it has been an absolute disaster for all the top bingo clubs, the history has only repeated itself in the UK.

Odd that ASH didn't spot this repeating of history, don't you think?

3) Myth: There will be large scale non-compliance

That's answering a myth with a fabricated myth. Take away the £2,500 fines and see how much compliance you get.

4) Myth: There will be heavy handed enforcement with undercover officers and covert filming

Never gonna happen ... is it?

Westminster City Council brought a prosecution against him after environmental health officers twice visited his bar last August and reported he was permitting customers to smoke.

They didn't reveal themselves and ran up a bill for hundreds of pounds after a slap-up three-course meal with expensive wine, payable from taxpayers' money of course.

Nope, no undercover officers. Not at all.

5) Myth: Working men's clubs and shisha bars will close

Like the myth of Britain's oldest Working mens club closing perhaps? Amongst many many others? Or how about the myth of shisha bars closing?

When the ban on smoking in public places kicks in on July 1st hundreds of shisha bars across the UK will have to close their doors.

... and doesn't this one morph into so-called myth 4 about undercover officers ... at nearly 1am?

Katherine Jamieson, for the council, said environmental health officer Steve Joyce stopped outside the bar, in Evington Road, at 12.50am. He saw a member of the public enter and a number of people sitting at tables smoking shisha pipes.

A bit of myth 3 confirmed there too.

5) Myth: People won't really quit

*Cough* People really haven't. Increase in England reported this week and an increase in youth smoking in Scotland. See above.

Plus, wasn't the legislation brought in to 'protect bar workers'? Patricia Hewitt's department said, only this week, that ...

'The legislation was never intended to be a measure to reduce smoking prevalence.'

You and ASH should get together sometime and agree on the lies you are telling, Hewitt.

6) Myth: Smoking is a victimless crime/ Claims about the health impact are flawed

Firstly, the claims ARE flawed, but the misdirection is the real issue. It should be up to the individual to make decisions based on educated risks. Smoking is very definitely a victimless crime if the victims are quite happy to be where they are happy. What the fuck has it to do with you?

7) Myth: House fires will increase as people will stay at home to smoke

This is a cracker of a lie. It's one group with a stated purpose quoting another with a business interest. The myth was apparently from Direct Line insurance. They were using ASH's very own scare tactic model to increase their business.

8) Myth: There will be an increase in exposure of secondhand smoke in the home, affecting children

This one is quite amazing even by the standards of these inveterate liars. ASH themselves confirmed a truth that they said was a myth. As lies go, this is a stunner.

Last night anti-smoking pressure group ASH told The People that the Government's public smoking ban had made the problem WORSE for children - because it encouraged parents to light up at home instead of in pubs.

ASH campaigner Hannah Sandford said the smoking ban had put kids at greater risk. She said: 'We now have a situation where adults are protected from second hand smoke but young children are not.'

Well, if you cared about the kids, why did you shift smoking from an adult environment like a pub, into other places where kids might be present, you pricks?

9) Myth: The public do not want a smoking ban or any further tobacco control measures

The public have voted with their feet about your smoking ban. Further tobacco control measures have been proved to be motivated by rigged consultations and even this idiot Government have started to realise they are not too popular amongst voters. I think they may have finally worked out that ASH have conned them. Took them a while seeing as ASH have been boasting for a while now about how democracy was circumvented.

Objective: To examine how a Government committed to a voluntary approach was forced by effective advocacy to introduce comprehensive smokefree legislation.

Smokers have suffered all of this nonsense on your behalf, we are the guinea pigs. You may enjoy the smoking ban, but sooner or later these people are going to come after YOU. It might be the wine/beer you enjoy (ever more likely), it could be your Friday night curry. Perhaps they don't like you wife-swapping with your equally eager partner, or even that they don't agree with what you like to view on the internet. How about if they use their template to dictate which car you drive (they're getting there)? Or refuse you the services of the NHS for an arbitrary reason that fits their agenda?

All of the above can be banned by the utilisation of scares about Terrorism, Paedophilia, Climate Change or Cancer/Death ... if you let them.

If you value your own way of life without interference, then you must value the choices of others who choose a different lifestyle to you. One can't pick and choose freedoms that are acceptable without, at some point, having someone else telling you how to live your own life. If you are happy with the Governmant telling others what to do in a free society, knock yourself out, just don't start whinging when these lying arseholes start on you. Or, as it says in the good book, "He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her."

This is a good week for those who agree that our lives should be our own under a democracy. The Righteous got a good spanking. Their rubbish rules have just made things worse, which we can all agree is a bad state of affairs.

Long may their idealistic nonsense be exposed as unworkable.

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

YOU are Incompetent

A few more public sector parasites have gotten bored with flicking rubber bands at one another for £30k+ pa, and instead have come up with new guidelines for tackling chip pan fires. The advice is ... err ... not to tackle chip pan fires. You're too stupid, get someone else to do it.

For decades the public has been advised to run a tea towel under a tap, wring it out and then place it over the rim of the burning chip pan.

The new advice, contained in a leaflet, is "don't take any risks. Turn off the heat if it's safe to do so. Never throw water over it. Don't tackle the fire yourself. GET OUT STAY OUT AND CALL 999".

Yes, there's a leaflet. And a public information film with some expensive looking special effects too. You must adhere to Labour's 11th commandment, thou shalt not take any risks, ever, let Labour spend your taxes instead.

Oh, come on. How risky is it really? You see a chip pan fire, you are therefore in a kitchen. Unless you're Elton John or the Duke of bloody Westminster there is likely to be a tap and a tea towel almost within touching distance. Combine the contents of the tap with the tea towel and you have an effective weapon to swiftly and easily combat said threat, without recourse to ten tons of shiny red emergency equipment thundering up your street (by which time kitchen, tea towel and tap would probably not exist anymore).

Labour and their minions, however, obviously view you as too incompetent to understand the tea towel and tap water interface. It's elf 'n' safety again innit.

householders are not trained to deal properly with fires

One must wonder at which demographic this advice is aimed. School leavers of Labour's "educashun, edukashon, edoocajun" generation, perhaps?

A Day Off For The Press?

Do you remember the screaming headlines on the anniversary of the smoking ban? Almost all of the dailies carried, in huge letters, the news that 40,000 lives had been saved. This was an estimate of course, based on another estimate, that 400,000 smokers had quit following the ban.

Strange then, isn't it, that yesterday's reported increase in smoking prevalence has raised barely a murmur, and nothing at all on any front page that I could see this morning.

So, in the absence of some anti-tobacco funded pseudo-scientist with a calculator to give us some figures, I shall attempt to myself. I've got a calculator too, it's a good one, it does square roots and everything.

According to the UK Statistics Authority, there were 19,861,000 adult males in the UK in 1997. Taking the highly-sophisticated mathematical formula used for the June 30th estimates, I calculate that an increase in male smokers from 23% to 24%, means that an extra 198,610 men are now smoking since the ban came into force, that's nearly 20,000 that will die in gruesome and excruciating agony. Hey, don't shoot the messenger.

And just as the previously reported 'saving' of lives was purely and simply as a result of the smoking ban and nothing else whatsoever at all, so must these 20,000 deaths be wholly as a result of the smoking ban. HMG, ASH, Cancer Research, British Heart Foundation - you murdering bastards!

As an aside, I did laugh at this quote from the Times article:

Liberal Democrat health spokesman Norman Lamb said: 'These are pretty stark figures which demonstrate forcefully that the Government's strategy on smoking has not been successful.

'It's yet another case of the Government pursuing tough eye-catching initiatives which in the end don't succeed in tackling the real problem.'

Well sunshine, you voted in favour, as did 95% of your (il)Liberal Democrat chums, so it's a bit hypocritical to criticise now, is it not?

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Lies: Labour's Modus Operandi

I've been away this weekend. I visited a couple of friends in the Midlands, we had a great time but I'm afraid we indulged in some very un-Labour practices. For example, I would venture to suggest that we didn't drink responsibly. It shouldn't be surprising seeing as two of us run our own business which is a tough task in the current financial climate, the other of our trio is an IT professional with a not unsubstantial number of staff to manage. As you can imagine, she is worried that she may have to let people go if the current climate persists.

This was a weekend so I'm sure our Labour dictators will be OK with a little steam-letting under the circumstances.

So we went to the pub ... oh hold on, no we didn't, all three of us smoke so a night out wouldn't have been that relaxing after a week of business pressures, it was very cold and wet outside. So we stayed in, enjoyed our Sainsburys-bought beverages and ordered takeaway.

That's about £30 per head that the local pub lost from the three of us. I feel for them, I really do, but if they can't offer the relaxation (not their fault, they were doing fine before), what chance have they got to make any money? That is the point of pubs, they are exclusively in the relaxation business.

I feel no guilt whatsoever though, seeing as the Labour Government was there well before me. The pub shut six months ago, one of the 2,500+ that have closed since Labour started their puritan crusade. There were others nearby but we similarly didn't feel the need to go to those either. One way or another, the hospitality industry lost the distribution of our income, and it's no fault of the owners. The blame lies, in this case, with 646 idiots in a building over 120 miles away.

... and as The Daily Mash has touched upon, the whole lot of the fuckers lie as a matter of course. Lying has become a national pastime. Most especially by those who like to tell us what is good for us.

We've already seen over at the Devil's Kitchen how lies are being used to formulate Government policy,

The extraordinary support for the Department of Health (DOH)'s recommendations can only be explained by looking at the "stakeholders" who got involved. Of the 96,000 responses, only a handful came from private individuals. The rest came from block-voting by state-funded pressure groups and charities.

It's not a first, in fact it isn't even a two-hundred-and-fifty-first, these liars have been taking the piss for quite a while. Look at this load of crap from Patricia Hewitt in 2005.

Ms Hewitt said the ban would protect everyone from second-hand smoke, while making it easier for smokers to quit.

"The scientific and medical evidence is clear - second-hand smoke kills, causing a range of serious medical conditions including lung cancer, heart disease, and sudden infant death syndrome," she said.

"This legislation will help to prevent the unnecessary deaths caused every year from second-hand smoke, and recognises that there is absolutely no safe level of exposure."

Really? The smoking ban in pubs would lead to a decrease in cot death? (swearblogger on) What a fucking cunt you are, Hewitt!(/off)

The "no safe level of exposure" one is also dead easy to stuff into the lie box, it has quite simply not been studied. If it had, there would be a safe exposure limit like every other substance known to man, including radioactive materials. The anti-smoking jihadists backed off quick when that was mooted and now claim there is no safe exposure limit. Simple misdirection. If you believe that, you're probably a moron who plays 'Find the Lady' and wonders why you keep losing your cash.

Lung cancer? Full-time smokers have less than a 1% chance of contracting that. Seriously, look it up. Even with shonky stats (which have been rubbished in a US Court) conducted by highly-funded single-issue fanatics, they still can't find anything more than a 19% increase in risk for non-smokers who are surrounded by it every waking day of their lives. 19% of almost fuck all is still fuck all. It's even more fuck all when applied to pubs where you go for maybe an hour or two of your week. Hewitt has been spewing the same laughable lie for three years. Either she is woefully stupid, or she knows she is lying. Your choice.

The heart disease lie has been thoroughly debunked many times, in many countries, most recently with this.

So, not one iota of truth in anything the stupid cow had to say on the matter.

It now seems that the so-called 'public' consultation on hiding tobacco from those who wish to buy it, which The Filthy Smoker rightly exposed as being rigged, was rigged even more than we first thought. These are lies upon lies we are talking about.

In a report on the Future of Tobacco Control consultation published on Tuesday 9th December 2008, the Department of Health appears to have deliberately omitted evidence offered by the Tobacco Retailers Alliance.

Ken Patel, Leicester retailer and National Spokesman for the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, said: "First the Minister refused to meet with retailers, now they have censored our formal response to a public consultation."

Campaign Manager Katherine Graham said; "We are not listed as one of the respondents although our response was submitted by email and also sent by post, so we can be certain it was received. For some reason the views of 25,000 shopkeepers just seem to have been air-brushed out of the consultation report."

So let's get this straight. The Government pays its own bodies to provide the stats that they want, and then ignores anyone who dares to object, to the point of effectively destroying the evidence?

That's democracy is it?

And how about these lies too. It seems the reasoning behind the hiding of tobacco, that is, the fact it was really successful in Canada and Iceland (?!?). Yep, that was a load of garbage as well.


The Icelandic ban, introduced in 2001, has failed to achieve its aim of reducing smoking rates in the country’s under 18s.
In fact smoking prevalence among 15-19-year-olds actually increased from 14.4% to 17.5% in the year that the ban was introduced, official figures from Statistics Iceland reveal.

In 2002, smoking prevalence among this age group was the highest it had been for five years at 17.%. Today at 15.2% it still remains higher than it had been before the ban.

... and Canada

Since only four of Canada's thirteen territories had enacted any sort of a tobacco display ban prior to 2007, it makes it extremely unlikely that the decline in teen smoking between 2002 and 2007 could have been due to such legislation. It should be noted that the rate did not drop at all between 2006 and 2007, thereby ruling out a possible effect from the two territories who brought in a ban during 2007.

There is one Labour MP who has decided to cease lying about it though. Enter stage left, Alistair Darling (the one who denied the VAT cut to smokers, natch)

Mr Darling told journalists at Westminster "there is no doubt the smoking ban made a difference" in killing off boozers after the British Beer and Pub Association told MPs the number of failing pubs is now "accelerating rapidly."

Ahem ... the only people that hadn't worked that out by now were either in a coma, or dead. Still, I suppose we should congratulate Mr Darling for finally stating something as obvious as grass being green. We can only hope that his fellow Labour MPs will one day also start to understand the country that they purport to govern.

OK, perhaps I'm ranting, so I shall calm down by reading again the Times article that has succinctly presented a stark summary of the devastating damage that Labour's shit law has caused. Get this, all the pub closures, all the damage to the social lives of hard-working people, all the job losses, all the anger and division of the public over a disgusting law, and the net result is ... smoking prevalence has increased.

The smoking ban was introduced in England on July 1, 2007, to improve the health of those working in bars, restaurants and other workplaces through passive smoking. However, ministers also hoped it would help them meet targets to reduce smoking rates, particularly among those from more deprived backgrounds.

When she introduced the ban, the then health secretary Patricia Hewitt said: 'This is an enormous step forward for public health. It is going to make it easier for people who want to give up smoking to do so. Over time it will save thousands of lives.'

But polls carried out before and after the ban show it has not had that impact.
The number of cigarettes smoked by men aged 16 to 34 has increased by one and a half cigarettes a day, from an average of 10.9 to 12.5 a day. The percentage of females who smoke remained constant at 21 per cent, while male smokers rose from 23 per cent to 24 per cent. One in three smokers said the ban had encouraged them to stay at home, where they could still smoke. The numbers saying the ban would encourage them to quit dramatically fell after it came into force.

It's the same in France and it was the same in Ireland, all documented. When will these people learn?

Of course, there is still a great big porkie in there, the Government can't resist it.

'The legislation was never intended to be a measure to reduce smoking prevalence.'

One need only to quote the Government spokesman when the Health Act was proposed,

The government predicts about 600,000 people will give up smoking as a result of the law change.

Oooh, you fucking lying bastards.

Friday, 12 December 2008

Up Yours, Hoon

It looks like Geoff Hoon's attempt to bully the drivers of Manchester has failed after they told him to stick his £1.5bn up his arse.

Road pricing, the Government’s favoured policy for dealing with congestion, has been overwhelmingly rejected in a referendum in Manchester.

Manchester’s proposal for peak-time tolls of up to £5 a day was defeated by a majority of 4 to 1, with 79 per cent voting against.

Hoon had offered £1.5bn of Government cash to improve public transport, but only if the referendum went his way. This was a change in approach from that prior to the Edinburgh referendum where the funding was not dependent on the public agreeing with Labour policy. However, far from scaring the people of Manchester into voting yes, the result was a bigger no vote than seen in Edinburgh.

So the softly softly canvassing failed, and now the bullying has too. Well done Manchester for standing up to Labour's scare tactics.

And what will happen to all this taxpayer funding now?

Mr Hoon said the money earmarked for Manchester would be given to other cities: “There will be plenty of other cities looking to take up the opportunity if Manchester doesn’t.”

Not if you give the voters in those cities a vote on the matter, there won't ... Oh, I think I see what might be coming next.

Quote of the Day

Jerry Springer, on hosting 'Have I Got News For You'

"When you do a political show, you don't need writers. Just run the politicians' quotes and there's the comedy."


Wednesday, 10 December 2008

It's Worse Than We Thought

Another retailer is suffering in the financial climate

Shares in JJB Sports have fallen by 14% after the retailer reported a big drop in sales for the past few months.

The recession must be biting hard ... the chavs have cut back spending on evening wear!

The Walls Have Ears

It's not really surprising these days to hear of councils like this one in Southampton who have banned a lollipop man's tinsel,

A lollipop man has been ordered to remove tinsel from his STOP sign in case it distracts drivers and puts children in danger.

but what is very disturbing is this part of the story.

An anonymous passer-by had complained the decoration might obscure the sign.

What kind of petty-minded, miserable, interfering pukebag must one be to put in a complaint like that? Anonymously, of course. No point letting on who they are in case someone decides to, quite rightly, post the contents of the local park's doggie bins through their letterbox.

It's Harry Enfield's 'old gits' personified, or at least one hopes so. The alternative is that the constant drip of wanky health and safety directives to combat irrelevant or negligible risk, has been so utterly absorbed by the weak-minded that they see danger and disaster at every turn. Or perhaps it's the ability to be able to mess up another human's life, and the resultant feeling of superiority, which is the motivation.

Whatever the reason, they're just being given more and more opportunities by council thumb-twiddlers like those in Preston, who have authorised the police to issue £80 fines for swearing.

The rats will be bouncing with glee at laws like this, especially after a Preston Council spokesperson on Five Live this morning, when asked if the police would have to hear the swearing or would it be enough for a passer-by to tell the police they had heard a cuss word, replied:

It would be enough for someone to inform the police that they heard language that they found offensive.

Can't you just see the old gits by their fire, cackling hysterically at the mischievous and malicious possibilities now presented to them by this? And judging by the past record of various council appeals processes, there will be fuck all chance of protesting one's innocence, as long as the council's procedures have been followed correctly, as this guy found out recently.

The Preston spokesperson had me spewing out £560 worth of expletives myself though, when she naively burbled

One would hope that the police will use discretion.

Yes, of course they will, dear. Now, what is the colour of the sky where you live, again?

Monday, 8 December 2008

Ay Caramba!

The Righteous are over-active Down Under too.

A Supreme Court judge has ruled that an internet cartoon, in which child characters resembling those from The Simpsons engage in sexual acts, is child pornography.


In a landmark finding, Justice Michael Adams today upheld a magistrate's decision convicting a man of possessing child pornography after the cartoons - depicting characters modelled on Bart, Lisa and Maggie engaging in sex acts - were found on his computer.

... Justice Adams ... found that, while The Simpsons characters had hands with four fingers and their faces were "markedly and deliberately different to those of any possible human being", the mere fact that they were not realistic representations of human beings did not mean that they could not be considered people.

Is this just so the Aussies can ban the London Olympic logo in 4 years time?

Sunday, 7 December 2008

Number 10 ePetitions: What's the Point?

I don't know how much of our cash Labour threw around on setting up the Number 10 ePetitions charade (I'd be interested though, if anyone has a link), but however many millions it is likely to be, it's money well spent for whomever is in Government. The ability to be able to lie to the population in a new, funky, medium, whilst simultaneously giving the impression to the masses that their democratic voice is being listened to, is pure political gold.

Of course, with 1.8m signing the ePetition to abolish the idea of road charging, only to be fobbed off with an explanation of Tony Blair's reasoning for it, confidence in the process suffered a bit. But the futile submissions still come flooding in, somehow expecting to be rewarded, if not with a change of policy, then at least with a signal that their views have been listened to.

Not a chance.

By way of example, the response to a perfectly reasonable request to "allow a limited number of smoking licenses to be obtained by owners of pubs, restaurants and clubs from their local council" is an object lesson in how much contempt Labour view valid concerns. In short, some civil service filing clerk is tasked with regurgitating a series of lies to back up the Government's line. In this case, with faux statistics gleaned from a plethora of banshee-like alarmist nut-jobs.

Let's take it apart piece by piece before addressing how it ... err ... didn't address the question.

On 14 February 2006, the House of Commons voted by a majority of 200 for comprehensive smokefree legislation which then came into force in England on 1 July 2007. Its implementation has been hailed as a huge step forward in public health.

By whom has it been hailed exactly? That'll be Alan Johnson perhaps, the Labour Health numpty, who quite incredibly said, ironically, in response to a different petition:

Johnson said the smoking ban had been "highly successful" and "heralded by many as the most significant public health intervention for a generation".

He said: "We have seen no significant evidence to suggest that smoke-free legislation either in this country, or in others where similar legislation has been in place for some years, will create any long-term economic problems for pubs or for the hospitality trade in general."

Over 2,500 pub closures (so far) and this pratt sees no 'economic problems for ... the hospitality trade'? Is he serious? It is the same in every country that has enacted comprehensive bans, without fail.

The clinically-obese 'health guru' Liam Donaldson also hailed it as such, claiming,

"The significance of the smoke-free laws cannot be overestimated. We expect many lives have been saved."

I love that 'lives have been saved' bit. You can be damn sure that if Labour and their anti-smoking Nazi friends could prove just one death, just one, he/she would be plastered all over TV and internet with monotonous regularity. But they can't as one doesn't exist. Never has. Never will.

OK, back to the big bag of No. 10 ePetition lies

The scientific and medical evidence is very clear that secondhand smoke kills and that there is no safe level of exposure.

No, it's not clear at all. The 'no safe level of exposure' guff is a lie that has been banging around for nearly a decade. It's an American lie, promulgated by the same idiot (Stanton Glantz, who isn't a Doctor or a Scientist, just a bigot) who claimed that ventilation doesn't work because it would take "a hurricane to clear second hand smoke" and "30 minutes of exposure to smoke can cause a heart attack". Even ASH have distanced themselves from that crap. Yet Labour take it as gospel.

The HSE and corresponding OSHA in the US have given safe exposure limits on all noxious substances known to man. Radioactive materials are included. Yet according to this nonsense, tobacco smoke trumps all of them and is more deadly? Oh come on, can they not see how silly that is? The truth is that the OSHA wanted to study safe exposure levels after being sued by the anti-smoking lobby for rubbishing their hysteria. Once threatened with such, the lunatics backed off quickly before their scam was quantified and documented. Hence the 'no safe level' claim. Quite simply, it hasn't been studied.

The response then goes on to quote more statistics with no source, such as

98 per cent of all premises compliant and smokefree;

Well, that would be because they are scared of £2,500 fines, wouldn't it? See the compliance rate plummet dramatically if you remove that threat.

76 per cent of people in support (and even 55 per cent of
smokers in support);

Read the question, filing clerk. The petition is to allow licences for those 22% of the population that like to smoke. By your figures, 24% don't support smoking bans. That should mean a balance is struck shouldn't it?

87 per cent of businesses said implementation had gone well or very well.

87 per cent of which businesses? Public places is a wide term. I notice the filing clerk didn't specifically state that it was pubs and clubs that were surveyed, as in the question (I'm not sure even the politicians know, they've spun so many lies they are probably confused themselves). It could have been 100 branches of M&S as far as we know, you don't give a source. Even if you did survey pubs/clubs (not likely as the BBPA and other trade surveys disagree vehemently), those that have gone to the wall because of you, wouldn't be included either, would they?

Then more stat porn

Bar workers’ exposure to hazardous secondhand smoke has been reduced by 76 per cent.

Well, that shouldn't be hard to surmise seeing as no-one can smoke near one anymore, whether the staff agree with the legislation, or not. And why not 98%? Surely if the compliance the filing clerk talks about is such, then the reduction should correlate. Are the other 22% the ones that have lost their jobs since July 1st 2007?

The key to the whole steaming, corrosive, virulent heap of lies and spin is in the final, insulting, paragraph

The law was introduced to protect workers and public from secondhand smoke. It has also provided a supportive environment for those trying to give up smoking, and according to a report by Professor Robert West of University College London, an additional 400,000 people have given up smoking since 1st July 2007 as a result of smokefree legislation.

That's right, mention a Professor and we'll all just bow down to his superior expertise. Except ... Prof West was extrapolating his virtual (not real) figures from a different study, one which was conducted by an organisation with a stated interest in one outcome, and one outcome only.

Cancer Research UK, which funded the research, said that the momentum now needed to be maintained.

Is this the same Cancer Research UK which has a Tobacco Advisory Group? who state on their web-site that

TAG particularly funds research and activities that support:

Smokefree workplaces across the UK and internationally, and other measures to protect against second hand smoke exposure;

I think it is, you know.

So, let's get this correct. The ePetition rebuttal gives just one source to any of their shonky statistics. The one they do deign to reveal has come to scientific conclusions (he got his calculator out), based on data garnered from a survey by a body that boasts about only funding research that agrees with what they want to prove.

So that is, apparently, how Labour define science.

The point of the ePetition above was that there are a significant (see what I did there?) minority in the country that believe a better balance could have been struck in the Health Act 2006. No part of the response negated their argument, it just reiterated mendacious dogma without addressing the problem. Some of the stats the filing clerk quoted actually emphasized the argument of the petition author rather than contradicting it. That is immaterial though as the result is the same.

It doesn't matter which ePetition you sign up to on the Number 10 site, you will only receive a favourable reply if it agrees with Labour's particular policy at the time. It isn't an exercise in democracy, it's just an IT-based extension of Labour propaganda.

There is no point whatsoever to any Number 10 ePetition. The suggestion that any good will come out of signing one should be listed on snopes.com as an urban myth.

Thursday, 4 December 2008

Stitch That!

Two guys from Yorkshire have just given Jacqui Smith and Labour a right bloody nose with help from the European Court.

The judges ruled the retention of the men's DNA "failed to strike a fair balance between the competing public and private interests," and that the UK government "had overstepped any acceptable margin of appreciation in this regard".

The court also ruled "the retention in question constituted a disproportionate interference with the applicants' right to respect for private life and could not be regarded as necessary in a democratic society".

Great work, lads.

UPDATE: I suppose we should have expected it from the psychotically deluded Jacqui Smith, she's just going to ignore the EU on this one.

Home secretary Jacqui Smith said: "The existing law will remain in place while we carefully consider the judgement." In April the Home Office committed itself to a consultation on DNA and fingerprint retention powers following today's ruling, regardless of the outcome.

Labour have enthusiastically toadied to every ludicrous anti-freedom measure that emanates from the EU, in many cases going far further than the guidelines advise. Yet in this case, fingers in the ears and a loud chorus of 'lalalala'. They really are horrendous human beings aren't they?

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Degrees of Unemployed

With all the gloom around at the moment, the BBC web magazine has started a series on Britain's jobless. Today they published an article entitled, Britain's jobless: who cares?

Within are some very interesting viewpoints ... and some pretty suspect ones, such as this remark in condemnation of welfare reforms designed to aim a big boot up the backsides of certain piss-takers.

"If you have four million or so people chasing a few hundred thousand jobs, it goes without saying that putting pressure on the unemployed to look harder is not going to work," says psychologist Dr David Fryer, of Stirling University.

"In general the media has not done unemployment a service. The unemployed are portrayed as social outcasts who don't share the moral and ethical values of the rest of us."

That is a worthy comment in the case of Harry Blackwood, who wrote in the Telegraph last month of not only his struggle to find a job after 35 years of perpetual employment, but also his despair at the incompetence and lack of care he encountered from those charged with matching workers with work. I recommmend reading all of that article as it fully proves the problem to which Dr David Fryer refers.

Unfortunately, there is a big difference between Harry Blackwood and those that really cannot be arsed. Instead of pointing the finger at the media for doing down the unemployed, Dr Fryer should instead direct his condemnation at those who give the media damn good reason to shoot at targets that don't move a muscle to disprove their theory, such as the excuse-filled woman the BBC reported on yesterday who hasn't worked a single day in her 28 days of eligibility in the job market.

Elizabeth Malcolm, 43, has never had a job. She lives in a two-bedroom council flat in Glasgow with her three children, one grandchild, two cats and a hamster.

Neither of her two working-age children has a job.

The family is what the statistics gatherers call a "workless household" - one of three million in the country. In reality it's not quite so easy to put every jobless person into a neat little box.

Well, actually, it's very easy to put this one in a box. One labelled "useless".

"... she concedes that she doesn't really know why she didn't get a job, and that there was an element of just "not getting round" to it.

She doesn't think school wanted her to stay on because she "wasn't too bright" and used to bunk off a lot.

Without any qualifications she assumed she wasn't able to follow her chosen path and join the Army. She never actually made it to the recruitment office to ask."

So, she doesn't know why she didn't get a job? Perhaps it's because she didn't bother lifting a finger, despite the exhortations of her hard-working parents.

The good thing is that she has made damn sure that her offspring don't fall into the same lethargic ways as she. Oh, hold on ...

The family survives on a combination of Income Support and Child Tax Credits, claimed by both Elizabeth and Danielle. Both also receive the universal Child Benefit for one child each. It all amounts to about £270 a week for the five of them.

As no-one in the house is actively seeking work, they don't count as "unemployed" and none claims Jobseeker's Allowance.

Yes, daughter Danielle, who became a state-funded Mum at 16, has also never worked. And it's not going to change either seeing as there are such incredibly tough obstacles in the way.

"All my pals are looking for work as well. But it's not that easy to get a job straight away, you've got to write out your CV and everything and then hand it in to places."

Good Lord! The inhumanity of writing a CV and handing it in 'to places'!

Elizabeth, who has been lazily sucking up other people's money for almost as long as Harry Blackwood has been paying for her keep, is apologetic about ripping us off for £14k a year though.

"I'm sorry they have to pay tax money to me. If I could get a job... give me a job then and I'll work, and then they won't have to pay me."

So which gold-leaf gilded plate would you like this job to be placed upon? There's a joke about someone praying for a lottery win and a voice from above hollering "Do me a favour, buy a ticket!". If this family find it too much effort to put themselves out and apply, how on earth can any employer in their right mind think they will last a day? That's if they even know they exist at all, it's not like their names keep cropping up on application forms, is it?

Those new welfare reforms are a bugger too.

"They said I'd be better off if I was out working because Jon's at an age now where the money I'm getting will stop soon. I'd need to sign on [for unemployment benefit] again and I don't want that because I think I'm too old to sign on."

Just bring the money to me, I can't be bovvered to go and get it.

It will be interesting to see where the BBC are going with their series on the jobless. If they continue in attempting to procure sympathy for households such as Elizabeth's (there are 3 million of them), then they are insulting to those like Harry Blackwood who truly deserve sympathy, and also insulting to everyone who got off their backsides this morning, amongst the frost, to do a day's work or seriously try to find such.

Start with the Corners ...

I want a jigsaw puzzle like this for Christmas.

H/T Chas @ F2C

Justice? For Whom?

There's a BBC video here (1m 46s) that shows the Labour administration at its most spiteful.

Blackpool Council tried to take away a publican's licence for ignoring the smoking ban. They were rightly told they were acting beyond their powers by local magistrates so, financed by council taxpayers' cash, they took the case to the High Court in London ... backed by the Government.

Yesterday afternoon, Hamish Howitt's licence was cancelled on the strange reasoning that he failed to prevent "crime and disorder" in his pub.

Watch the video and see if you can spot the crime or the disorder. All I could see was a business willingly providing a service, customers happily and contentedly enjoying the service, and long-serving staff who are happy to be part of it.

Surely for a crime to exist there needs to be a victim? Before this judgement, there were no victims. There are now though, as staff who the Government said they were 'protecting' have lost their livelihood, customers are denied a service they wish to enjoy, plus taxpayers in Blackpool have also lost out as the Court ruled that costs would be borne by the jobsworths at the council.

How ironic that a Government that has disastrously failed to prevent crime and disorder should be taking this approach. Commit real crime and you get counselling and a hi-viz 'payback' jacket. Be hard-working, hurt no-one, and provide a service with which all parties are happy, and you lose your business.

I know who should have been in the dock yesterday, and it ain't Hamish Howitt.

UPDATE: More detail here.

Monday, 1 December 2008

The Health Danger of Passive Incompetence

Considering we are all Government-bound to think, in every waking moment, about our imminent death if we don't do as we are told, I thought it wise to warn you of those dangerous lifestyle choices again.

Smoking, Drinking, Poor Diet ... the NHS.

I've always found it effective (and amusing) once a GP starts hectoring about lifestyle choices, to reply, "OK, I'll give them up if you lot stop killing people". I used to quote the figure of 30,000 (though I can't remember where I read it). It now seems that the taxpayer-funded death toll is increasing.

Professor Richard Thomson, from Newcastle University's institute of health and society, said the most reliable evidence showed around 10 per cent of patients admitted to hospital suffered "harm" because of treatment.

He told the committee that the number of overall deaths caused by medical care going wrong was far from clear but that some estimates put it at up to 40,000 a year.

40,000? Hmmm ... that figure sounds familiar.

At least 400,000 people in England have quit smoking because of the ban on lighting up in public places.

The smokefree legislation could prevent 40,000 people dying over the next decade, a new survey has also claimed.

"Could". Over the next decade, eh? So, even according to the wild exaggerations of healthist lunatics and their pretend, computer-modelled lives, the smoking ban has only 'saved' (made immortal, presumably) 10% of the real lives that are snuffed out by the medical profession over the same period of time.

Perhaps it's time for the NHS to go SanctimoniousGPfree.

H/T The Ranting Penguin