Britain's emotional state. Every day. Pictured recently
Following on from that atrocious debacle on the M6, The Sun carried a feature on e-cigs which takes a deeply depressing snapshot of 21st century Britain.
Reporter Nick Francis took one out and noted reactions on a bus, in the supermarket, a cafe and a pub. To facepalm reactions.
"It would annoy me if you sat next to me though (on a bus). There’s quite a lot of fake smoke.”With the exception of the bus passenger - who merely expressed annoyance - there seems to be a sense of tangible fear over something as innocuous as an e-cig producing odourless water vapour.
Before long the [supermarket] manager asked us to leave.
AT the Turk’s Head café, in Wapping, the manager barked: “Get out, I won’t allow it.” She added: “We have kids in here and they shouldn’t see smoking.”
[Landlord Pete Biddle] said: “The minute someone uses one I get endless customers complaining someone is smoking. I tell anyone using one to go outside like any other smoker. It’s only fair.”
Talking anecdotally, last year I was at a pub in London where someone (not me) was using an e-cig which glowed blue at the end. The landlord stiffened and bristled as if the guy had pulled the pin from a hand grenade. Seeing this, I thought it useful to allay any fears he had and went to explain what it was to him, and to assure him that it was perfectly legal.
He relaxed a little and admitted he had heard of them but added that he "doesn't agree with them. I think they should be banned too". Asking him to expand, he replied - and I quote - "that sort of thing doesn't belong in a pub".
Now, this isn't one of your gastro-crèches we're talking here. In fact, it is a 'landlocked' premises which has won accolades for its real ale selection and still has a comforting fireplace at one end of the room. Small, friendly, and with pictures all over the walls celebrating its own history.
Exactly the type of place you could imagine seeing an old geezer in the corner, on a wizened leather chair, reading the Telegraph and puffing on a Briar. In fact, I've been in there before 2007 with the same landlord in charge and there was, indeed, a guy doing just that. Ashtrays on the tables too for whomsoever wished to use them.
How has such a guy been brainwashed that a perfectly harmless e-cig doesn't belong in a pub? The same pub which welcomed smokers for the previous hundred years at least.
We know the answer, of course. He is scared witless of the penalties (difficult to invoke and mostly unapplied) he imagines he might be liable for if anyone lit up an 'analogue'.
Likewise, the Sun's café owner is terrified by either the same threat or the incessant - and false - propaganda from anti-smokers saying that if a kid sees something that appears to be smoking, that they will instantly pop down the road and buy 20 Embassy. The supermarket? Well, they're just spooked to the point of denying custom by fear of the unknown.
It's hard to imagine that this is the same public which proudly boasts of winning two world wars, isn't it? Limp, effete, and cowering like timid rabbits at a small cloud of water particles which float for a second before disappearing into history.
I've drawn this picture before, but it's worth re-stating. Y'see, this is the country I grew up in.
And this is the insipid, spineless, trembling, feeble, life-drained, petrified, submissive, gutless, yellow-bellied, vanquished and whipped one we see today.
A nation of jittery and easily malleable pansies.
Churchill would weep, so he would.