Victorian elitism is back. Let’s fight it.
The bald, seething contempt with which journalists, academics and politicians met the British people’s decision to leave the European Union has been remarkable. Though often dressed up in defences of representative, parliamentary democracy, against the alleged instability of direct democracy and plebiscites, the message has been clear: the masses are too stupid, too emotional, too morally ill-equipped to play a serious role in political life.
The necessity of having a cool-headed elite to temper the will of the masses, and insulate politics from the people, has been argued for plainly, even by those who would consider themselves radical and progressive. In an interview with Open Democracy, philosopher Slavoj Zizek slammed the referendum, arguing instead for the ‘appearance of a free decision, discretely guided’ by the elite – an ‘invisible state, whose mechanisms work in the background’. Elitism, technocracy, soft tyranny, even, are being presented as necessary correctives to the ignorance of the masses: ‘Perhaps’, opined a US academic, ‘the UK’s leaders owe it to the people to thwart their expressed will’.
The shamelessness with which arguments against democracy, against the people, have been put forward feels genuinely astonishing and new in an era in which those who rule feel, at the very least, obliged to tiptoe around us, rather than greet our arguments and passions head-on. But history shows us there is nothing surprising to the elite’s response to the Brexit vote.No, there isn't. And there is nowhere that it is more transparently seen than in the issues we talk about on these pages.
'Public health' tax-scroungers are past masters at ignoring the will of the people. How else does one describe a vast array of NGOs and fake charities which derive no funding whatsoever from the public but who employ thousands of highly-paid lobbyists to do nothing but scaremonger, produce junk science and petition parliaments for anti-social policies on popular products?
There was no call from the public for a sugar tax until a few state-funded nutters demanded it; no-one ever asked for minimum pricing to make their weekly grocery bill more expensive; no-one asked for plain packaging (because everyone except 'public health' troughers know it's laughable); and people quite like fast food and don't want outlets shut down; yet vast amounts of our taxes are hurled at repulsive prodnoses to shriek about how 'urgent' these things are.
ASH itself was only founded by government cash in 1972 because the government couldn't understand why the public weren't anti-smoking like politicians were, and Alcohol Concern was likewise set up by elitist politicians in the 1980s.
Similarly, the Godawful pact between elitist politicos and the rancid gravy train passengers they fling huge salaries at has become accustomed to using or ignoring public opinion however it sees fit, as I've written about before.
Yesterday Simon Clark reported that Swansea Council held a Consultation on Smoke-Free Public Spaces ... and promptly ignored it.This is just one example. There are many others I could mention which all share the same characteristic ... according to the 'public health' cult, we must never, on any account, be listened to unless our opinion agrees with what they - a circle jerk of vapid politicians and tax spongers who encourage them - have decided for us.
In other words, even though less than 15% of respondents were current smokers there was still a clear majority opposed or strongly opposed to extending smoking bans to public beaches.Ignoring that small detail, Swansea Council has gone ahead and introduced a 'voluntary' smoking ban at Caswell Bay with the support (naturally) of ASH Wales and other interfering busybodies.The Caswell Bay policy is described as a one-year pilot scheme. I imagine it's what they intended all along. The outcome of the consultation was a minor hiccup.Indeed, because anti-smoking is a pseudo-religious crusade. It is nothing to do with health and the tobacco control industry has never been remotely interested in the public good. Despite undoubtedly knowing the results of the Swansea Council consultation ASH Wales, for example, couldn't give a badger's tit what the public think.
“We support Swansea Council in implementing their first smokefree beach – only the second of its kind in Wales.But then the first, you may remember, was "fully" welcomed by 'vape-friendly' ASH Wales despite (or maybe because) it included vaping. Their logo now sits proudly on signs designed to 'denormalise' e-cigs in the minds of the public. It's pretty clear that the only people ASH Wales really care about are those who derive state-funded salaries from ASH Wales.
Well, actually it's not strictly true that tax-sponging anti-smoking sock puppets always ignore the public. If it suits them they are more than happy to use us as lobbying tools, as we saw in September last year.
Sheila Duffy, from anti-smoking group Ash Scotland, said in a 2014 survey, 73% of Scottish adults agreed smoking around hospitals should be outlawed.So, if the public want smoking banned, ASH will call for a ban; if the public doesn't want smoking banned, erm, ASH will still call for a ban.
This is, of course, not even close to being the first time all branches of ASH have completely ignored the wishes of the people whose taxes pay their salaries, the same was true with plain packaging and all UK smoking bans to name but two occasions of many.
In short, here is the tobacco control industry's policy towards the public, in full.
"If the public is useful for what we want, great; but if not, fuck 'em"
What's more, they are often even prepared to ride roughshod over their own kind if a policy they want to bully us with doesn't agree with the evidence. Here is an incredible example from Sheffield this past week. A smoking ban outdoors has been applied despite there being no evidence of harm whatsoever, it includes e-cigs. Just a couple of weeks ago Public Health England stated quite clearly that this should not happen, but who gives a shit if you're a Director of Public Health?
Screw those city slickers,eh @felly500, what do they know? #JoinedUpPublicHealth pic.twitter.com/A4tQMChnDt— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) July 30, 2016
Well whaddya know! After years of telling us otherwise, anecdotes *do* equal anecdata after all! @felly500 #Crooks pic.twitter.com/kuqbnfSA5W— Dick Puddlecote (@Dick_Puddlecote) July 30, 2016
Y'see - after ignoring the public; blocking dissent on social media; excluding all opposing views from being heard; and excluding independent voices from debates - even if elements of 'public health' itself agrees that prohibitionist policies are wrong, the moral panickers and bigotry-stokers will still navigate around it.
Tom Slater is correct, these hideous elitists must be fought all the way. Do go read his whole piece to see how top-down elitist snobbery is not even a new phenomenon, it's just that state-funded lobbyists have learned to harness it to selfishly stuff their trousers with your hard-earned in recent decades, and bugger the consequences.