Monday, 2 August 2010

A Niemöller Avalanche

As instances of 'we told you so' go, this is a bit of a biggie.

Many have put forward the idea that the assault on smokers is extremely dangerous for the precedent it sets. That other unapproved, or even exhiliarating, life choices could be curtailed once it was established that personal and property rights are open to being obliterated in the pursuit of a risk free society.

Of course, those who just don't like the smell of smoke - even in another building, in another town - were quite happy for this little freedom to be refused to others. The nutjobs would never come after them, would they?

We tried to point out that some similarly find perfume objectionable, so should there be a law on that? Should the cost to the NHS of extreme sports be similarly penalised? Beer drinkers may be next, how would you like that? How about the overweight?

"Preposterous!", they used to reply, "smoking is different". Hmmm, sure about that?

The perfume industry, you see, has its very own regulatory body called Ifra, based in Brussels. And its board of scientific experts is issuing ever more draconian regulations restricting the use of fragrance materials that might conceivably cause an allergic reaction in someone, somewhere.

A growing number of perfumers are getting tetchy at being bossed around by a panel of scientists that includes toxicologists and dermatologists.

What really annoys the perfumers is that some of the ingredients on the list includes stuff that we can actually eat, such as basil or lemon.
We told you so.

We also mentioned that the absurd exaggerations applied in the area of tobacco control are deeply sinister and bring out the very worst in people. And guess what? Looks like we were correct again.

NHS Grampian wants to extend the smoking ban in hospitals to all its grounds, car parks – and even to staff arriving for work in their uniforms.

Once the ban is fully implemented by the beginning of 2012, patients will face the threat of treatment being withdrawn if they ignore requests to stub out.

Papers going before the board reveal that the ban would even stop staff from smoking while wearing their uniforms – or even just an NHS badge – at any time.

Any staff found not complying with the ban will face disciplinary action and could be sacked. Even carrying tobacco will be deemed an offence.
Because nurses are salt of the earth; fulfilling a vocation; must be protected at all costs; angels of mercy ... unless they smoke of course, in which case, fuck 'em.

Still nodding in agreement? Perhaps you didn't see this comment to the article then.

This ban is absolutely right. Healthcare is a right, but it is not unconditional. It is incumbent on anyone wishing to benefit from the unlimited health care offered by the NHS at the common expense, not to participate in self-negligent activities. Likewise, in the current climate where economic rationing of healthcare is being imposed without reference to need or medical condition, those who put stress on the A&E service by indulging in high-risk activities at speed in cars, on mountains and crags or by imbibing known poisons should be required to contribute or their health benefit reduced to 'patchup and survive'.
We told you so.

OK, you don't wear perfume, smoke, or spend weekends hanging from mountains. Like a drink, do you? I do hope it's a healthy one.

The introduction of health as a licensing objective could give unelected health bodies a veto over licensing — the BII has warned.

“It is not fair to lay it all at the door of the on-trade. Whilst responsible licensees can and do take harm minimisation measures, and support health objectives, they are not and can not be expert health promoters, which requires specialist training,” [BII chief executive Neil Robertson] said.

“Secondly, who will be the judge of this? We can imagine a scenario where misguided and unelected — so unaccountable — health bodies, such as Primary Care Trusts, can influence the process unduly.
Hey, CAMRA, we told you so.

Still, that doesn't worry the modern pubgoer, eh? They're more interested in the sumptuous food now being served. Err, best plump for the green salad, I reckon.

The NHS will have no choice but to remove some free treatment currently available and to penalise unhealthy behaviour, Friends Provident believes.

A Friends Provident report, Visions of Britain 2020, condemns Government health campaigns as 'failing' and predicts similar legislation to the smoking ban will be imposed to curb obesity.

Dr Sarah Brewer, Visions of Britain 2020 expert consulted for the report, says; "Something has to give. One scenario is that people may well end up being charged for certain treatments or denied certain non-essential treatment, particularly if their unhealthy lifestyle was a contributory factor.
We told you so.

The floodgates are wide open now. Anti-smoking lunatics have picked the lock and every single issue fruitcake is queueing up to dictate the way you live your life. What's more, they are very confident that - with the denormalisation of smokers as a guide - government, badgered by the joyless health-obsessed, will be happy to accommodate them.

At least in Niemöller's observation each minority was targeted in sequence. The articles above span a mere couple of weeks, the last two were only published today. And there will be more in the next week, and the weeks after that, all becoming ever more shrill and urgent in their hyperbole.

The small matter of dictating to smokers has now become an avalanche of righteous ecstasy as every avenue of your life is now open to scrutiny and control.

Err, we did tell you so.

UPDATE: Hey, drinkers, it's worse than we thought. You're right up shit creek in London. Oh yeah, and Manchester, too.


Anonymous said...

Please forward this post, with links, to Andrew Lansley.

Remember he has a big folder on his desk with "SAVE BILLIONS!" written on it. He needs to know where to start cutting. He might also be interested in Frank Davis' recent post which collected a number of "smoking ban" deaths, including the nurse who was killed while being forced to smoke outside.

Curmudgeon said...

"those who put stress on the A&E service by indulging in high-risk activities at speed in cars, on mountains and crags"

Hmm, most forms of serious sport beyond gentle jogging carry an increased injury risk. But sport is supposed to be healthy, right? So are we going to end up with "Niemöller poker" to go alongside "Victimhood poker"?

As a total aside, on the latter point, I thought the recent story of the site for a Gay Pride festival having been occupied by gypsies was utterly hilarious ;-)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Glad you commented, PC, as I was torn between the BII link and your one to illustrate the health aspect being brought into licensing. The BII got the nod as it was most recent, but now got yours in too. :)

Niemöller poker does have potential, doesn't it?

Frank Davis said...

I suppose you've read Michael Fumento:

"Excuse me, dear," she says. "Are you aware that this hospital is a fragrance-free environment?"

"Pardon?" I say.

timbone said...

"Squeaky is dead"
"No! How old was he?"
"Well he had a good innings. What did he die of?"
"Good health".

"Cleano has died as well"
"Not Cleano the health addict"
"Yep, only 60 as well"
"What did he die of?"
"Muesli overdose"

Anonymous said...

Sounds a bit of allright ,all this
Third Reich stuff about picking
on someone you dont like, it could
form the basis for an evenings
fullfillment. Plenty of hatred,
and sheer mayhem.
Carrying a white stick and dragging a underfed Staffie into
a posers coven ,now that is what I call class allthough emptying a
500 ML bottle of stink bomb essence in a warm saloon can have a similar effect.
Anything for a bit of fun,as long
as its obnoxious and offensive.

Muck Spreader

Anonymous said...

Well and truly out of control..... bloody scary.

Mark Wadsworth said...

One of my rather more feeble claims to fame is that I was once married to Niemöller's granddaughter. Never met the chap though as he had died two years previously.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Old Niemöller used to smoke cigars. He reckoned that God wouldn't have created tobacco if he hadn't wanted us to roll it up and smoke it.

Anonymous said...


"The cost of sloth, gluttony, alcoholic intemperance, reckless driving, sexual frenzy, and smoking have now become a national, not an individual, responsibility, all justified as individual freedom," asserts Dr. John Knowles, the influential president of the Rockefeller Foundation.

"But one man's or woman's freedom in health is now another man's shackle in taxes and insurance premiums."

Knowles sternly warns that "the cost of individual irresponsibility in health has become prohibitive"


Anonymous said...

Fear of political embarrassment led to government cover up of link between air pollution and lung cancer

"Professor Virginia Berridge of the London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine's History Unit has researched papers relating to cabinet committee meetings in the late '50s looking into smoking, air pollution and lung cancer.

She asserts that although there were clear political reasons for obscuring the link between air pollution and lung cancer, other factors, including a shifting public health agenda, which focused on an individual¹s responsibility for their health rather then environmental influences, were also key in ensuring that the issue of air pollution was 'damped down'.

'It was pointed out that individuals could avoid the dangers of smoking but not those of pollution"


Leg-iron said...

Fraser has another one for the list -

There is also a frenzy on those who like a bit of a tan at the moment. Sunbeds and suntans are in there with smoking and drinking.

We're all going to feel very silly indeed in a few decades when we're lying in a hospital bed, dying of nothing.

And reflecting on how much more fun our one and only chance at life could have been.

DaveA said...

The cat maybe out of the bag now. The Environment Audit Committee wrote this 22/3/10.

"Air pollution probably causes more deaths than passive smoking, traffic accidents or obesity.."

"According to evidence presented to the inquiry, air pollution could be contributing to as many as 50,000 deaths per year – as it makes asthma worse and exacerbates heart disease and respiratory illness. Averaged across the whole UK population it is estimated that poor air quality is shortening lives by 7-8 months. In pollution hotspots it could be cutting the most vulnerable people’s lives short by as much as nine years, the report says."

I take it ASH walk to work.

Dick Puddlecote said...

LI: I've already written something on the lap dancing thing, it's going up in the morning once I think of a bloody title. ;)

Dick Puddlecote said...

Further evidence of the precedent being played out across the Atlantic.

DaveA said...

There is some evidence that "urban living" ergo air pollution may have some effect, but it is weak. For example the 2006 Neuberger paper into lung cancer in Iowa women came up with these results. BTW passive smoking was PROTECTIVE to lung cancer.

"Urban Residence

Inside City limits 1.84 (1.35-2.51)

Large County vs. Small 1.25 (0.90-1.73)

Medium County vs. Small 0.68 (0.50-0.92)

The urban living is vaguely statistically significant but as it is <2.0 would require extensive research and other papers to back it up. Again the country dwellers have a small statistically significant decrease, but again the numbers are so small as not to be decisive. It could easily be explained in different diets and/or exposure to other virues, or even sexually transmitted diseases. The later being more prevelent on cities.

I know Professor James Enstrom of Enstrom/Kabat fame is now working on diesel, proving it is not the cause of lung cancer. However the late Dr. Kitty Little did produce a paper saying that diesel was a source of lung cancer.

As usual vested interests get in the way of the truth.

timbone said...

Yes Leg-iron, as Jason Kane, the 66 year old scouse comedian in Benidorm says, "We all die, and when I die I want to die of something. I want to die of having had a f.....g good life"

JuliaM said...

"The floodgates are wide open now. Anti-smoking lunatics have picked the lock and every single issue fruitcake is queueing up to dictate the way you live your life."

Aaaaaand right on cue:

"I think there should be a worldwide law, in my opinion, that mothers should breastfeed their babies for six months."


Mark Wadsworth said...

@ JM, if Gisele passes a law that you have to breast feed, then I will pass a law saying she has to get her tits out more often as well, fair's fair.

Anonymous said...

Toxicologic and Epidemiologic Clues from the Characterization of the 1952 London Smog Fine Particulate Matter in Archival Autopsy Lung Tissues

"During the catastrophic PM exposure episode in London in December 1952, some 4,000 excess deaths occurred at the height of the event. The extreme mortality during that episode and the preservation of archival autopsy tissues allow us the unique opportunity to report on the form and composition of December 1952 London PM in situ in tissues from persons known to have died from the smog exposure."

Apparently the air had the ph of lemon juice, but this is a snapshot of what they were breathing every day, in Doll's London.

They lied about the true death rate.

"The fog did not lift until 10 December. The government's interim report on the episode showed that there had been some 12,000 deaths as a result of the severe conditions. Then the 'spin doctors' of the day moved in. A cut-off date of 20 December was imposed, and at a stroke, the death toll was slashed to 4,000 in the final report issued nearly a year after the event."

"To cover up the true extent of the smog disaster the government invented an influenza epidemic.
In fact research has shown there was no epidemic and that the thousands more people who continued to die for the next four months did so because of the air pollution.",3604,850909,00.html

And both accepted and had altered the MRC report on smoking to save their own necks.


Anonymous said...

I forgot to mention that the "reckless driving, sexual frenzy" bit came from the book Rockefeller Medicine Men.

Which by strange coincidence both Doll and Godber were.

Rockefeller Foundation = Standard Oil, Petrochemical drugs.

The DRUG STORY - 1949

"The new School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine was opened in its present building in Keppel Street, a gift from the Rockefeller Foundation.

At that time, the term 'hygiene' was not restricted to its current meaning of 'cleanliness' or 'sanitary science', but was used in the wider sense of the establishment and maintenance of health - now more usually described as 'public health'"

The British Medical Journal

Medical Research Council
Rockefeller Medical Fellowships


Anonymous said...

Here comes the own goals I reckon.
Smokers ,roughly 25% of the population.
Easy target for the puritans now.
Drinkers 90% + .
The overweight ,nowadays as less people smoke 40-50%.
Not such an easy target are they .
Bring it on ,it will be the last straw for the ritcheous as they will then have pissed off everybody.
Then everybody will start to KICK BACK.

Anonymous said...

Leading scientists leap to the defence of 'corrupt' Doll

"Some of Britain's most senior scientists have angrily denounced suggestions that Sir Richard Doll, who proved the link between smoking and lung cancer, had deliberately failed to disclose financial dealings with the chemicals industry.

Sir George Godber: Government's Chief Medical Officer who helped to establish the fledgling National Health Service

"From New College, Godber undertook his medical training at the London Hospital and the London School of Hygiene."

"Godber recollected that he had said in 1962 to Keith Joseph,
"we really have to do something about abolishing smoking"

"Joseph looked quite shocked and said: "You really can't expect to abolish smoking."

Godber replied: "No, but I want to see it reduced to an activity of consenting adults in private."

NHS Grampian is right on track.


Private Widdle said...

You know what? I'd love to see them try and make this stick. I don't think they've got power to do this. Withholding treatment/sacking someone on the basis of an over-exaggerated fear of second-hand or third-hand smoke, a necessary corollary of a lawful activity, would be ultra-vires. Like those silly sods in Manchester, I reckon they haven't got the power to make those rules and not be susceptible to judicial review or being sued for breaching HR or emplyment legislation. "Proportionality" is the big thing these days- this is unproportional in the extreme.

Anonymous said...

Eventually this is going to end up in Court. You would hope it would be someone in the hospitality trade but maybe someone who has had the medical service that they have paid into for decades and then had treatment refused will end up doing it.

These lunatics have the PR and Media sewn up. Whereas I would love to assert all these things in a court of law and try and see anti-tobacco disprove it.