Thursday 18 September 2014

You're Daft Because You're Not Like Us

Social media has been abuzz in the past week as the public health cabal circles its wagons and makes excuses for John Ashton's recent Twitter train wreck (see here, here and here).

The general consensus seems to be that it's a storm in a teacup, and what has it to do with bloody vapers anyway?

Not quite how their regulator sees it ...
1. Make the health and protection of the public your prime concern 
1.1 The interests of the public are paramount: put them before your own interests and those of any colleague or organisation
... but then public health is about regulating others, isn't it? Regulations on their own behaviour can obviously be ignored at will.

Besides, e-cigs are a silly idea anyway.

Of course. You should either quit. Or die. Or "grow a backbone", in fact.

But doesn't this say quite a lot about the modern 'public health' industry and its arrogant abandonment of empathy, as I've referred to before?

Lots of things are daft ideas to people who don't do them. Recreational fell running and an obsession with cycling, for example. I think TV soaps are pretty daft, and knitting, and water features, and tattoos, and Premiership football, and voting Labour, and wasting a day playing golf amongst a long list of things. I also think placing health above absolutely everything else in life is pretty daft, and view those whose lives are taken over by it as daft in themselves.

The difference is whether you think they're daft but shrug your shoulders and put it down to the marvellous diversity of human behaviour, or whether you think what you don't like is daft and do everything in your power to stop someone else doing it.

I'm in the former category while 'public health' is firmly in the latter. But even if I carried a superiority complex and was antagonistic enough to want to impose my preferences on everyone else in society, I don't believe I could do so without at least investigating what pleasure others take from their chosen activities.

It seems, however, the modern public health movement doesn't even want to do that! It's their way or the prohibition way, and anyone who disagrees can righteously be ignored and/or dismissed as 'daft'.

This is the big disconnect we seem to face from these people. The ones who have never smoked can't understand the pleasure that smoking can bring, nor can they ever understand why smokers who want to quit would prefer to use something which recreates the same habitual action rather than a clinical patch or unnatural tasting gum. The ones who despise alcohol see people merry or drunk and don't understand why some move from childhood squash to enjoying the mood-altering properties of beer and spirits. The ones who enthuse about vegetable smoothies and qinoa salads don't understand - and often profess to feeling physically sick - that others enjoy a hefty piece of minced cow in a sesame seed bun topped with special sauce.

But instead of trying to understand, they pretend that the enjoyment of others isn't possible simply because they don't enjoy it themselves. The hatred thrown at smokers, and now vapers, has been fostered as a result of this total disconnect. I don't smoke so I don't think you should. I think e-cigs are a silly idea (not to mention a silly word), so I'm going to regulate e-cigs to stop you vaping. Fast food doesn't float my boat, so I think the destruction of vastly popular restaurants would be pretty neat. I don't include Coca-Cola in my shopping list, so a 100% tax on fizzy drinks is just fine and dandy.

Nor will the effects of their hatred register, and Ashton is most definitely guilty of that. I think the reaction of his public health buddies proves that his defence will likely be that he was provoked into being an arsehole on Twitter on the 6th September, because it would never occur to him that calling others "addicts" for enjoying something which he, personally, doesn't enjoy is a vindictive, inflammatory and ignorant insult.

He wouldn't care one jot about Lorien Jollye's experience as a result of his previous 'work'.
I am 36 now. This means, that for 2/3rds of my life, I was a ‘dirty smoker’. Something that society was at pains to remind me about on a daily basis, with my freedom to smoke being restricted more and more. I am sure I was not the only smoker to feel utterly sickened to read news articles condemning adoptive parents for smoking, that they should be prevented from giving love and security to a vulnerable child, all because they enjoyed a cigarette. As a parent, this strikes a bit of fear into you. Will they condemn parents that smoke? Will they one day say my children should be taken away from me cos I go into the garden to have a ciggy? 
But it was nastier than that. They ran adverts about horrible tobacco guzzling parents, so that all of society could hate me a little bit more, as the adverts on the tellybox had told them what an appalling mother I was. 
The public at large already sneered at me, customers at my workplace would comment on my habit, tell me it would ruin my skin, age me or how it made me look ugly. Really personal stuff, and insulting too. I did not know these people, who were they to tell me that I was ugly because I smoked? I wish I were kidding, but I used to get these comments with relative frequency. If they could think of nothing particularly personal, they would settle with ‘Bad for you, that’ as though somehow I must just have missed the adverts, posters, flyers, billboards, comments etc and was happily thinking I was replacing one of my 5 a day with some tobacco leaves. So I was stupid, too. 
To recap – I was stupid, ugly, will  be ugly, a bad mother and society thought I stank. 
Then when the smoking ban came into affect, by which time I had switched to rollies, I would stand at work and roll myself a ciggy before going outside for a break. I remember catching a woman looking at me as I fashioned a perfectly cylindrical tube of ‘I am going outside so you lot can stop clicking your damn fingers at me for service’ to see such a look of disgust on her face that it really took me back for a moment. I had never had a stranger look at me like that before. Pure unadulterated loathing for me rolling a ciggie. I probably could have chopped out a line of coke, or rolled up my sleeve to tap for a vein and not been looked at like I was just then.
Post the 2007 ban, things just got worse in terms of how ppl treated me. The adverts got more aggressive, the second hand smoke messages got more aggressive. So now rather than just being ugly, smelly, stupid and a bad parent I was also dangerous. 
If you are not a vaper or smoker and are reading this, imagine for just one second, what that must be like? To spend 2/3rds of your life being treated like this, looked at in this way. Remember that poor woman who ignited her oxygen tube with a lighter? Seek it out – look at the comments and see what the public thinks of smokers. The vitriol and hatred is something to behold. A poor woman made a horrible mistake whilst still under the effects of a general anaesthetic and what did the public say? She deserved it. Why?  
Because she was a smoker.
In Ashton's world, this is perfectly acceptable. And in Ashton's world, when Lorien switched to e-cigs, she is still fair game, just as she is still fair game for all his public health colleagues with their equally closed minds.

They don't want to hear from Lorien, they actively move to ignore her. They think she's 'daft' and want her to just go away and leave them to their ivory tower, their inflated egos and their fat salaries derived from 'denormalising' others while purposely ignoring pleas to consider different viewpoints and insultingly dismissing all objections.

No, we've got it all wrong. Don't you see that Ashton is the victim here? He should be reinstated forthwith because people who enjoy nicotine should have no say; people who enjoy nicotine are just 'daft'. He's an innocent who was provoked by the temerity of people he quite clearly despises trying to challenge him.

There is a different way of looking at the role of a public health professional, of course ...
The public is highly diverse – including elements that are raucous, bawdy, profane, satirical, sarcastic, insulting and so on. To complain about them as a public health professional is like sailors complaining about the weather, or politicians complaining about the electorate. They are the subject of your profession – get used to them, and learn to engage without becoming pompous and aggressive. If you think you can defend your professional failings by finding examples of people being rude to you or about you, then you misunderstand your role.  So please don’t try this as a defence, it will only bring you more shame and further opprobrium ... Public health is a gritty business, not about the provision of happy-clappy advice to a peasantry grateful for wisdom and awed by your status. If that is how you think,  you’re in the wrong job.
... but you won't hear anyone in 'public health' taking heed of it.

This is why I'm pretty certain that Ashton will be returned to his post after a summary whitewash by the Faculty of Public Health, the coordinated efforts of his hypocritical colleagues will make sure of that. You see, he's not an outlier or a loose cannon, he's firmly in the centre ground and not anything particularly unusual in his profession. He holds us in the same contempt as his peers routinely do.

Smoking stinks? Public health should look in the mirror someday and notice that their methods and attitude do too.


Erick said...

I think there is a cancer in a lot of the public health attitude (there are of course also a lot of good people) and it is not only in tobacco or vaping. It is starting to happen in other places also like obesity, alcohol or sugar etc... Maybe not as extreme as the tobacco or vaping but still there and getting worse. Everyone has seen how it worked with tobacco and are starting to copy it. I see it as the biggest consequence TC movement. it's a big disgrace.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Very true. It's the tobacco template I first wrote about 5 or 6 years ago. The arrogance of anti-smokers (who have now morphed into anti-nicotine) is seen as a quality rather than the fundamental societal disease it really is.

Erick said...

I could write it a lot harsher then I did but that is not me. I would like to take them out back ...... and comeback alone inside drink a beer and smoke a cig for a job wel done. Oh well I can dream can I :)
I have know it of course for a lot of years. But since I started vaping and started on twitter a year ago is has become more and more apparent.

Neal said...

Don't forget the suggestion that the Police have been called in to investigate the alleged abuse. A step too far.

Anja M ERF vaper said...

well said indeed!
As one vaper once said in a discourse with some arrogant, sneering and insulting Tobacco Control guy: "If the people whom you purport to help loathe you, you may wish to consider your attitude".

It always amazes me that many so-called "public health" self-proclaimed "experts" have complete disdain for the public and care nothing for health. Maybe they should be renamed? Several new names come to mind. None of them printable, unfortunately....

Anja M ERF vaper said...


I have just clicked the link on how their regulator sees it:

1. Make the health and protection of the public your prime concern

2. Maintain high standards of professional and personal conduct
3. Be honest and trustworthy
5. Respect the dignity of individuals and treat everyone fairly
6. Know the limits of your competence and act within them


Hm.... now these are the rules governing the conduct of John Ashton?
Well, if I defied the rules of my employer so blatantly, then my employer would not look kindly on that at all.

AlpineNewt said...

I almost want to give it all up it's so much effort, but my Irish great grandfather joined the British army so he could fight oppression despite the flak he would get back home in Dublin, because he did the right thing and I will too even if it's on such a smaller scale. Don't let the fascists win!

Dragonmum said...

I think we've all had the "is it worth it?" feeling from time to time - we've been fighting to raise awareness, then to share our knowledge for a very long time, and it's been all uphill. People like Ashton just stiffen my resolve because they let the mask slip - once that happens they've handed the momentum to us and shot themselves right royally in the foot! Bet he's not flavour of the month with his colleagues.

Mark B. said...

I honestly know that Smokin' Ashton will not be harmed at all by any of this. After all he was merely the head of his own guild. So the rot is well entrenched.

You know how pedophile priests get shuffled to one parish after another until they are finally caught by law enforcement? That's how I view Smokin' Ashton. But instead of raping kids he's raping the PUBLIC in the name of "public health".

He'll just get a cushy job in another parish. And another. And another. His cronies lack that important thing which makes a moral compass operational: A conscience.

But at least know we can fully see the rot as his apologists come to his aid. Now the targets are there and are just begging to be named and documented. Not for the sake of a petty vendetta but more along the line of a passenger list upon a sinking ship for the sake of documenting history.

My only question: How long will it take until they realize the futility in defending the indefensible?

Oh yeah. Very long. That lack of conscience thing.

-- Mark B.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

You mean this nurse?

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Perfectly understandable. The effort is worth it though, or we'd only be letting these rancid people have free reign.

Erick said...

Sick that is! Can I take her for a walk now :)

Mark B. said...

Four words:


It's the only message that EVIL "public health" liars, thieves, and scoundrels, should be countered with.


Not "we are the public, too". No qualifiers. No dilution of the message.


They have their gated and paywalled antisocial, if not outright sociopathic, "communities" of hypochondria and fear in general for one simple reason: To shield themselves from the outside world.

For "public health" practitioners they surely don't like being in public.

After all...


Say it loud! Say it proud!


Tweet it! Yell it! Copy it! Paste it! Know it! Four words:


-- Mark B.

Rubicon South Bank said...

In the fight for freedom.liberty,choice and common decency , I was hopefull of an evergrowing fortitude of spirit ,of action,of visible resistance.
Alas, the barricades are stacked with windbags rather than sandbags,the trenches overun with fibre optics,a full blown retreat into the cozy realms
of digital isolation.
How much longer do we endure the tyrannical follies of the few.

Switchtoecig said...

oh, well, ever since EU politicians started to complain about being abused by e-cigarette users and makers on Twitter last year, this trend seems to have caught on. Twitter abused poor, poor, things. How ridiculous this may sound, at least to 90% of people on this planet. Besides, I am ready admit my total lack of empathy towards all who publicly dismiss a thing they don't know anything about. I've never abused anyone on Twitter, but... it's tempting now.

Lollylulubes said...

I've posted two rather long comments on Clive's blog: Appalling Spin ~ a letter to a WHO spokesman. (last 2 comments).

I found some documents that detail the global plan 2013-2025 to sap the joy from our lives in order to sort noncommunicable diseases caused by tobacco, alcohol, obesity, lack of exercise; by punishing us all basically. There's also another huge plan to fix the world which, whilst laudable in many respects because many people need help, I can't help but think of the humungous profits to be made by the Big Money drivers and their stakeholders, given their huge investments in pharmaceuticals, etc. Kind of reminds me of something called insider trading. There's also a great deal of Big Money behind the war on ecigs, because a bottom line will always come before a few million peasants who insist on doing something they don't like. Sin taxes, fines, generally fleecing the public at every possible opportunity they can think of and making their lives a misery seems to be the action plan. I'd like to know .... as a direct result of their actions, is the aim of the black markets they create so well, in order to make their regularly shonky figures look better?

p.s. I believe that our opponents are simply doing what they're told by these very rich and powerful people who are hiding behind them ..... patsies! I'm sure Ashton lost it because it must be very stressful remembering lies in a lively debate for one-take big public broadcasts; particularly when you obviously don't know your subject. But, having turned in a very poor and clearly biased, fanatical performance both times, his biggest mistake was refocusing his anger by hunting down and attempting to belittle vapers. He only succeeded in making a t*t of himself for a third time in a week, bringing PH into disrepute and hugely embarrassing his poor wife, who now can't face her W.I. There is no room in PH for any of these behaviours, from patsy to t*t; I don't believe there's any such job description. As a direct result of his actions and those of his peers trying their clumsy, pompous hand at damage limitation, by smearing vapers and making things even worse, the sheer downright dishonesty against ecigs despite the overwhelming evidence for them, the complete disregard and total lack of empathy by so many for smokers' and vapers' lives ..... I have lost a huge amount of trust and they have done public health a great disservice.

godek said...

There is an even worse faction amount public health and politicians: Those who did enjoy nicotine and who did stop using it under extreme pain. These people really hate that vapeing is a nice and painless alternative to smoking. They despise vapers for not suffering the same as then did.

Everhard said...

Dick, no one cares about your thoughts, opinions or existence.

Dick_Puddlecote said...

Is that why you're not here reading it and not wasting your time commenting?

Ná lig don doras tú a bhualadh sa tóin ar do shlí amach. ;)

English_Woman said...

Its worse further down:

5.1 Treat everyone politely and with respect, recognising their dignity as individuals and their right to make choices and be involved in decisions which affect them

I do make a choice, I choose to smoke and nobody asked me if it was OK to ban smoking in my local pub.

Jax said...

”But instead of trying to understand, they pretend that the enjoyment of others isn't possible simply because they don't enjoy it themselves.”

It isn’t just in Public Health, though, is it? That might be where it’s started, and, like Erick, I lay the blame squarely at the feet of Tobacco Control with all their “no-one really enjoys smoking, they’re just addicts getting a fix” rubbish, but there certainly seem to be a lot of non-Public Health people around who simply can’t get their heads around the fact that we are all different. I heard one radio presenter suggesting that keeping animals purely as pets should be banned, simply because he himself didn’t own a pet and couldn’t see the point in doing so; similarly, I’ve heard teetotallers openly questioning why people drink at all and coming to the conclusion (natch) that they must have a “drink problem;” for many years now, people who dislike boxing have demanded that the sport be banned, ostensibly because it “promotes violence” but in reality because they happen not to like it; even holding politically-incorrect opinions on anything from immigration to homosexuality to breast-feeding in public is seen as something that needs to be “educated” out of people – by force of law if necessary – rather than just an opinion held by one person which another person happens to disagree with.

And it works in reverse, too. If these “uncomprehending” people enjoy something – like cycling, or vegetarian food, or going to church – they simply cannot accept that others don’t enjoy those things, too. They must be in denial, they claim; surely everyone likes a nice bike ride, don’t they? (Well, no, actually. For me, the phrase “nice bike ride” is the perfect example of an oxymoron; the two just can’t go together in my life. I’ve never, ever been on any bike ride, at any time or under any circumstances which could be described as even remotely “nice.”)

There’s no doubt in my mind that once all these “be like me” types have done away with all the things that they dislike, next they’ll be demanding that we all do the things that they do like. Winston Smith’s compulsory morning “physical jerks” spring to mind, checked on and monitored by the ever-present telescreen. Only yesterday, there was a proposal that employers should take a more active role in “encouraging” their employees to get fit or lose weight. So, no pressure there, then. All totally voluntary, of course. (Yeh, right. Like employers wouldn’t use this as a means of bullying an overweight employee out of their job if they wanted to get rid of them or make them work a bit of extra unpaid overtime). These, of course, are the employers who have already been recruited to “help” their employees give up smoking via the smoking ban and who, in most instances, have embraced this extra authority over the private habits of their employees with great enthusiasm. Oh, the power!!

The step from prohibiting one type of activity and coercing people into doing another is a much shorter one than many people like to presume.

Bones said...

Rather like every child must be given the opportunity to learn a musical instrument at school. I am tone deaf and cannot strum a beat, it certainly would not have been an 'opportunity' for me. Can they not test out their bias' by just inserting another word? e.g. every child must be given the opportunity to learn to play snooker at school, or darts, or poker, these activities are just as good at helping a child's concentration, mathematical ability, socialisation etc, It seems to me it must be a one size fits all flavour of the month.

Mark B. said...

Here's a blast from the past from over three years ago:

"So let's set a squad of licesed snipers on the streets, with permission to pick off smokers whenever there's a clear shot."

I have a feeling "daft" is the new "DEAD".

Oh yeah, one other detail: These big ol' bowls of bloody bollocks believe vaping is the same as smoking so vapers are also considered smokers.

With what's been exposed since the last week through Smokin' Ashton and his cronies, what was considered cheeky is now confirmed as something clearly sociopathic and a danger to the public!

They are amoral sadists who get off on suffering and death of the public in public!

Their own moral compass is no longer operation: People who enjoy a puff or a chaw should be murdered on site in plain sight? Is this what "public heath" gets off on? Do these practitioners realize how EVIL that is?

Because WE ARE THE PUBLIC this should NEVER be tolerated. For now "public health" now means "PUBLIC MISERY".

WE ARE THE PUBLIC and we need to put them in their place to remind them of the people who they claim to serve,

I wouldn't be surprised if there are people out there who are actually taking "public heath"'s advice and actually employing physical violence against anyone who enjoys nicotine in its various forms.

WE ARE THE PUBLIC and they are confirmed PUBLIC ENEMIES.

-- Mark B.