Thursday 30 September 2010

The Overweight Soon To Be Unemployable?

It wasn't long ago that VGIF reported on a shift in emphasis by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a prime mover (and financier) in transforming smokers into the societal pariahs they are today.

One wonders how much of that pharma money is already being put to work, because the attacks on fast food and the overweight would seem to be increasingly prevalent recently.

And boy! If governments follow the lead from Japan, you portly lads and lasses are in a for a hell of a time.

Yes, you heard that correctly. Hefty fines for businesses if their employees exceed a state-determined ideal size**. You know what? As a business owner, if forced to pay fines for overweight staff, I wouldn't see any other option but to not employ them at all.

It might be in the interest of porky Breckland Council employees - who this week voted for smokers to be singled out for punishment - to re-think their attitude towards overweening health bullies, doncha think?

After all, someone with an unfavourable BMI can't just clock out for a quick obese break, now can they?

Filed, yet again, under 'We did warn them'.

**And, of course, it's all the fault of McDonald's (whose Japanese arm have already shown a willingness to roll over when tickled).

Celebrate The Ryder Cup

Well done Wales for welcoming the US Ryder Cup team, and one player in particular, with a specially prepared brew to mark the occasion.

You can lay your hands on a couple of these beauties here, but best get your skates on as they're strictly rationed ... like Tiger nowadays, funny enough.

H/T Arfur at Brew Wales

The E-cig Makes Its Mainstream Debut

Yeah, I'd never heard of her before either, but I now count Katherine Heigl as one of my biggest fans (or did I get that the wrong way round?).

For those who may have read the articles over at Leg Iron's (and occasionally here) about 'electrofag', but have never seen one so don't have a frame of reference, this will be of interest. Here, in glorious technicolour on the David Letterman show, is the e-cig breaking into mainstream consciousness.

Note her assertion that Champix, the smoking cessation drug of choice for the NHS despite deep worries about its side effect of inducing suicidal urges, sent her "bananas", and that she wasn't too enamoured with patches and gum either. No, the device which helped her to quit the fragrant herb was the very product which ...

... both the USA and the UK are trying to ban.

Trebles all round in the tobacco industry, then.

Wednesday 29 September 2010

Ed Miliband Was Correct ... Briefly

Frankly, the political establishment too often conducts debate in a way that insults the intelligence of the public.

We must change this for the good of the country.
Yes, Ed said that yesterday. And he is spot on. He also said this:

Let's be honest, politics isn't working.

People have lost faith in politicians and politics.

And trust is gone.

Politics is basically broken.

Its practice, its reputation and its institutions.
Right again, Ed. Reward yourself with a garibaldi.

Earlier, unfortunately, he had said this:

[...] we must be on the side of those who are dismayed by the undermining of the local pub with cut-price alcohol from supermarkets.
OK, I'll wait a few seconds while you explete away.

Finished? Great. My turn, then.

Miliband, you hideous, self-promoting, shallow, hypocritical, business-hating, Marxist boggle-brained cunt, are you seriously insulting our intelligence (your words) by dismissing all other causes for the destruction of pubs in this country?

You accept that Labour were wrong to go into Iraq; you accept that Labour were wrong in closing post offices; you accept that Labour were wrong to make policy on the back of swivel-eyed focus groups; you even accept that your party fucked up by overspending.

Yet you are quite incapable of admitting that your party's policies - exclusively - have destroyed pubs in this country, so instead try to shift the blame onto companies which have been doing exactly what they have always done ... offer value to your working class voters.

Even the most pro-smoking ban advocate in the hospitality industry will admit that the Health Act 2006 - which you and your stroppy fuckwitted poor loser of a brother voted for - has had an impact on pub closures. But you ignore all of that and blame someone else?

YOU were part of the problem, sunshine. In fact, it was on your party's watch that it happened wholescale. You weren't just not on the side of pubs, you were actively placing barriers in front of them.

Now you want to be their friend? Now you claim that you are the pub champion? You jest, surely.

See, the thing is, Ed, that the reason 'politics is broken'; why we have 'lost faith in politicians and politics'; why 'the trust is gone' in 'its practice, its reputation and its institutions' is precisely because of disgusting, two-faced, irresponsible, righteous-entranced gobshites such as you.

Fuck you, Ed, and the disgusting, ungrateful, commie shit you were spawned from.

Happy Meal With Heroin Burger Please

If you thought the yanks were barking, you obviously haven't seen this insanity from Australia.

Because, you see, fast food is now 'child abuse'.

You were warned, you know.

From here

Surreal Comment Of The Day

They must be putting mercury in the drinking water in Medway. It's the only explanation for effete fruitcakery like this.

"There is nothing worse than driving along on a summers day with your window open only to be greeted by the second hand foul smoke coming from the inconsiderate driver in front"
Perhaps an addition to the highway code is required. Something like 'while driving on a road paid for by your taxes, it's the height of rudeness to smoke in your own car if there is another vehicle following you'.

I think I can now truly say that I've heard it all.

Tuesday 28 September 2010

A Councillor Writes

Off out volunteering my sports administration services again tonight, but before that here is a quick update to a previous article of mine ... which in turn was a quick update of an even earlier one.

The recent piece detailing how London Borough, Sutton Council, managed to waste £11 million in just under a year attracted a late comment from Paul Scully, the blogging Sutton councillor I mentioned. I'd be surprised if anyone spotted this, so it's worth reproducing it here.

It seems the Lib Dems in Sutton are still at it.

"It gets better. Sutton Council has just blown £100,000 'launching' the revamped High Street. 250 people turned up to watch some performance artists dangling from a crane. That's £400 for each member of the audience.

The Council hired Cafe Nero for a drinks do for the VIPs, oblivious to the fact that the only independent coffee shop on the High Street had closed the previous year.

A spokesman for TfL explained how they had created a welcoming space. Well, the space was there before, they've just changed the bricks and filled it with crap. Despite the launch over the weekend, they've started digging some of it up again to lay some cable to make the lights work.

(BTW, half of the £100k was from the Arts Council so any readers not from Sutton, you've put your hand in your pocket for this too I'm afraid.)"
Perhaps, if they have an hour or so free, someone might like to pop down to Sutton Town Hall and define words such as 'recession', 'deficit', 'economise', and 'council tax receipts don't come from a magic fucking tap, you know' to the majority Lib Dumbs.

Euro Dick!

I'm feeling rather continental today. Mainly because Wikio E-blogs have chosen this article to be translated into French, Spanish, German and Italian.

Although they studiously waited for a post devoid of references to fags or booze, it's still fun to learn how "You fucking what?" is expressed in four different languages.

You can see Dick in Euro-ese here, click on the flags at the top for translations into 'foreign'.

(subscribe to Wikio E-blogs' RSS feed here, or their Twitter here).

Monday 27 September 2010

Today's Victor Ludorum Is Banality

Anyone with kids will know that they (whoever they may be, LEAs, school philospohers, the NAHT pet cat, I dunno) have changed the way kids learn to write and do sums. There's no learning the letters in a simple font anymore, before joining them up once familiar with words, sentences etc. Instead the alphabet is taught with every letter being written with a tail at both ends even when it's lonely on the page - makes it easier for kids to employ joined up writing later on apparently.

Likewise, the sums of yore have been replaced with number lines, chunks and grids, as explained here.

Which all makes it rather awkward for those attempting extra-curricular education. Teaching has moved so far from the experiences of parents that, for many, home teaching is almost impossible without a crash course from the school on their methods ... which I'm sure most don't provide.

Think of it like a kind of 'closed shop' for teachers.

But surely even modern schooling can't mess around with sports day, it's just a load of running around and jumping, isn't it? Yes, I believed that too until today, the annual sports day for one of the little Ps (the girl).

First event was Dodgeball, a yank game that I'd never heard of until I was about 30, but there it was being played on a suburban playing field, albeit with a British twist. You see, the balls were lightweight plastic (like in a ball pit) which barely reached the opposition due to wind resistance - the health and safety co-ordinator will have no doubt quietly approved.

Then came the old sports day stalwarts (?), football dribbling followed by what can only be described as collective football training, jumping left and right over a marker 20 times before running to a line and back like a 'beep test'.

Next was another steal from over the pond with the 'basketball-hoop-throw-relay', which was exactly as announced on the dayglo orange loudhailer. Three attempts to 'dunk' in a plastic stand-alone basket and then tag your team-mate to do the same.

Feeling quite bemused by this point, there was a certain relief to learn that the next event was the Javelin ... except it was a foam one with the range about 10 yards, and the goal was to hit one of the teaching assistants (a sentiment I could identify with at the time).

The pièce de résistance, though, was naturally left till last. And - even though fearing the worst - as the 'dance competition' was announced, I do believe I stifled a sob.

Each group was given 5 minutes to learn a dance routine and perform it (Saturday Night by Whigfield in this case), with two teacher judges deciding the winner and lesser placings. The criteria for their doing so wasn't clear, but considering the final team scores were 89, 90, 91 and 92, I expect a certain eye was being kept on points 'equality'.

In summation, it was an almost surreal 90 minutes without even a cursory glimpse of a finishing tape and no individual champions. There was, of course, a winning team, but in the same sentence we were reminded that all the kids were winners because they had 'tried hard'.

The kids cheered, the teachers fired contented smiles at each other, while I considered how to shake off the overwhelming feeling of numbness at watching a sports day so turgid, populist media-led, and devoid of all but the merest nod to true competition.

Still, mustn't grumble, at least it finally went ahead. It was postponed from last term because the ground was too dry, which is different from last year where it was cancelled entirely due to the grass being damp.

Good grief.

Sunday 26 September 2010

The New Politics: A Slightly Different Way Of Not Listening

I suppose it should be expected by now, but it still raises an eyebrow, when browsing parliamentary cockwaffle, to come across a Minister who claims to be unaware of something that has been placed right under their nose.

Mike Weatherley (Hove, Conservative)

To ask the Secretary of State for Health

(1) if he will estimate the level of revenue losses for local authorities arising from the closure of retail outlets as a result of a tobacco display ban;

Anne Milton (Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative)

We are not aware of any evidence that removing tobacco displays will affect the number of retail outlets. However, we will continue to consider any evidence that emerges about the effects of the legislation in other countries.
So, Anne, are you saying that you didn't see the report published by the Institute of Economic Affairs - helpfully entitled "Canada's ruinous tobacco display ban" - which highlighted the loss of 2,300 corner shops in Canada, around 15% of their total stock? I'm sure they would have sent you a copy.

Perhaps there was a communication problem. They are based a full 5 minutes walk from your office, after all ... it's like the other side of the world in 2010, isn't it?

But then, they were only reiterating their presentation of the paper in the House of Commons on June 15th**. You have researchers, do you not? Didn't you send one along?

You aren't aware of any of that?

Maybe I'm being harsh and it's not your fault for being so woefully ill-informed on such matters. Because it would seem that it's a lottery who will answer questions to the Secretary of State for Health. The other respondent being the sole Lib Dem MP who is stubbornly standing in the way of this nonsense being canned.

Meanwhile, the catalogue of quite astounding mendacity which led to the passing of such a ridiculous act still remains unchallenged by our new 'freedom-loving' coalition.

The 18,000 members of the National Federation of Retail Newsagents, and the 25,000 members of the Tobacco Retailers Alliance, whose views were deleted from the Government's consultation remember, were no doubt ecstatic on hearing that - yet again - they are being shafted.

Good old 'new politics', eh?

** Hosted by our esteemed blog mascot

Friday 24 September 2010

Disappearing Blogs: Would That I Could

Some good blogs/bloggers have gone by the wayside recently. The latest - and quite a surprise was this - is Obnoxio.

It's not just the blog either, but his Twitter feed too, which struck me as odd considering his mentioning in the past that he found Twitter not only a medium with the potential to outdo blogging, but also enjoyable, and if anyone has ever followed him they may agree that that is the impression he seemed to convey.

On expressing surprise about this on Twitter tonight though, Old Holborn tweeted thus:

I can fully understand that, to be honest, but the problem I have is what would I do if I did pack the thing up and dropped out of the blogosphere?

See, domestic arrangements at Puddlecote Towers would directly work against that probability - take last night, for example. Having divested myself of the mortar board ... and the gown, cane and false moustache (well, might as well go the whole hog, eh?) while discussing Newton, causes of the weather, Marie Curie and World In Union and its classical music roots (it was an eclectic, and kid-led, first class), I sat down in Mrs P territory ... in front of the TV.

After a few warnings to watch and not comment, I was finally given my marching orders when Chris fucking Choi popped up on ITV news with some top drawer gobshitery.

"I've spoken to a councillor who said 'if we were a private company, we'd be filing for bankruptcy' but of course, for councils that isn't an option"
Yes. He was talking about public sector cuts and how cash-strapped these poor councils are. His 'exclusive' report had regaled us with emotive (and no doubt sensationally cherry-picked) tales of 70% increased charges for burying the dead; pricier meals on wheels; and stinging the elderly with savings for more home care charges.

Nothing about the quite astounding levels of waste prevalent in every fucking council in the country. Not even a nod towards local authority meddling in areas with which they should not be concerned. No pointing out that these charges are going up not because of government cuts, but simply because self-important local fucksticks are addicted to spending our money on quite irrelevant schemes.

Every viewer watching Chris 'look at me' Choi last night will be able to point to waste perpetrated by his/her local council (or councils pural if afflicted with a County one too), yet he instead chose to paint them as small town heroes who are forced to punish the vulnerable as there is no other option.

Because diversity seminars are more important than the elderly apparently, LBGT initiatives are indispensable so the bereaved simply must be charged more, litter police are core council objectives so meals on wheels prices must rise to compensate.

What a cunt you are, Choi.

There was actually a clue to be had in his (unreferenced) comparison between public and private sector. Think about it, Chris, if a private company was faced with a reduction in income, the directors would be identifying parts of their business which are unnecessary, shedding staff who are irrelevant, and restructuring to cut out the daftest ideas. And if a private company wasn't imaginative enough themselves, or was reluctant to do so, the administrators would quickly sort that nonsense out.

The very last thing they would get away with is to ramp up prices to their customers while still carrying indefensible dead weight. Because, yes, that way bankruptcy definitely would lurk.

And, as Choi says, that isn't an option for councils as their income will never dry up. Their charges will have to be paid by the public they are screwing because they have cleverly targeted those for whom there isn't a valid alternative supplier.

It was after saying much of the above to Mrs P that she patiently asked if I was quite finished, before telling me that she knew all that and would I just fuck off and let her chillax in front of the goggle box as is customary.

So there you have it, I'll be around for quite a while yet. In fact, until either one of the little Ps leaves home and I can convert their room and soundproof it, or Mrs P invests in effective gagging equipment.

Oi! I know what you're thinking. Don't go there, OK?

Stating The Bleeding Obvious

The initial cause of most tankard attacks often remains unclear, police spokesperson Peter Beck said.

“One of the reasons is an excess of alcohol consumption,” he added, explaining that this often leads to conflicts.
At Oktoberfest? Ya don't fucking say!

The Cotton Wool Statute

Sometimes, the most therapeutic way of tackling risk-averse authoritarians is to simply take the piss.

The meeting of the sub-committee IX (Rules and Procedures), after careful community consultation and using the latest in evidence based research, have released the following rules designed to make your lives safer and happier for you, your family, and our society.
•Starting Monday and Tuesday, you will be placed in cotton wool to avoid injury.
•The Department have conducted thorough safety checks and requires you to use government licensed cotton wool installers.
•Please proceed to any number of local Cotton Wool installation booths located near you.
•Ensure you have reported to your local Cotton Wool official at the start of the day, to ensure adherence to these new rules.
•If, as a last resort, you have to apply cotton wool yourself:
◦Please ensure you are well covered before assisting your children.
◦We recommend opening the packet before applying the cotton wool.
◦Sticky tape, placed directly on skin can cause irritation.
These rules are designed to protect you and your family. The Department estimates a saving of $4 billion a year in health care costs associated with scratches, grazes and hip replacements.
Yep, there are familiar themes there, right enough. Well played that man.

Wednesday 22 September 2010

Late Night Assembly

Nothing insightful here (Oi! We've done the 'there never is' quip before, OK?), just a few autumnal notices.

Firstly, for those who have been adding to the psychotic anti-smoker catalogue, my apologies for the delay in publishing, it probably appeared that they were being rejected. That doesn't actually happen here - never has done, never will - it's just that Blogger brought in a spam filter which snagged quite a few posts without my knowledge. I know where the little bugger is now, so it won't happen again.

Secondly, it's been quiet here today as I've been ... a) getting over a very rare cold, b) taking to task a little shit who wants full payment for a partly performed job, and c) reading something of a riot act to the little Ps. The first two are temporary, but c) could mean that posting will be lighter in future as there really does appear to be no other option than to spend my time teaching them the gaps which the education I'VE ALREADY FUCKING PAID FOR can't be arsed to cover.

Worry not. It's only the little things like, you know, lateral thinking, diligence, application, and knowledge of anything outside of the national curriculum. Mrs P called a post-bedtime summit where a resolution was passed that I don the mortar board tomorrow.

Lastly, it would be remiss of me if I didn't point out - for those who haven't already seen it - a timely spot by the Curmudgeon which highlights, again, the arrogant and absurd nature of those who our lethargic MPs seem to implicitly trust.

As I mention in the comments, it's increasingly common for 'experts' to claim that a complete vacuum of evidence is not a reason to resist laws which collectively punish the entire population.

My boot is seriously twitching tonight ... the cat has wisely hidden himself away.

Tuesday 21 September 2010

Paradise Lost By The Dashboard Light?

The BBC, reporting on road safety initiatives this morning, nearly caused an accident themselves when announcing a 'headline' thus:

"19 to 24 year olds could be banned from driving at night"
Initially taking this as meaning that government were actually planning such a law, I did that open-mouthed 'look-incredulously-at-the-radio-in-case-it-was-a-hallucination' thing, followed by the rather loud rhetorical question "you fucking what?"

First thoughts immediately jumped back to Clegg's speech yesterday afternoon where he spoke of "the job of government is not to run people's lives. It is to help people to run their own". So it was a relief to find out that this was merely the Beeb borrowing a Daily Mail headline writer for the morning. In reality, it's merely yet another example of public-funded, precautionary principle, rent-seeking.

Newly qualified young drivers should be banned from night-time motoring and carrying passengers of a similar age, Cardiff University researchers say.

They said such "graduated driver licensing" for those aged 17-19 could save more than 200 lives and result in 1,700 fewer serious injuries each year.
The customary scary numbers are rolled out, accompanied by the ubiquitous cautionary qualifier, 'could', but as usual they are not shown in context.

The last figures I can find for total driving licence holders by age are from 2007, where DVLA state that there are just over 2 million held by those 20 and under. This includes provisional licences so let's halve that to a million, and let's be conservative and say that these drivers only venture out one evening a week. It still adds up to over 50 million car journeys per year, or 100 million if you count outward and return trips.

So the study referenced is talking about cutting out every single one of these successful journeys because 0.0004% of them go horribly wrong - about the same chance as being struck by lightning.

On the pretext that "just one life lost is too many", these joyless researchers would collectively punish every young driver in the country, by depriving them of the overwhelming sense of freedom all of us felt when we first held that full licence in our hands. Not only that, but all the youthful romantic evenings facilitated by a car, all the friendships fostered, all the networking which doesn't involve slumping in front of Facebook, even the joy of just driving to McDonalds with a friend for a milk shake and a chat.

No other solution will do, it has to be a comprehensive ban on night driving and transporting friends. All teens to be legally grounded on the orders of the risk-averse.

One has to wonder if the grey-souled, hand-wringing nannies who dreamed up such a recommendation can remember being young themselves ... or if, indeed, they ever were.

Slartibartfast In Disguise?

So Jeeves has been having trouble with a few questions, eh?

Internet search engine Ask Jeeves has compiled what it called a top 10 of "unanswerables" in the past decade.


1. What is the meaning of life?
Jeeves' processors are obviously not powerful enough, so let's try the Magrathean supercomputer, Deep Thought, instead.

And thus does it become clear. Your jewel robbing host has been installed at number 42 in the Total Politics blog poll 2010.

QED. You may find the answer to life, the universe and everything ... here.

I always felt that there must be a point to all this waffle.

Monday 20 September 2010

Tears Of A Righteous Crocodile

Tobacco control advocate Dr Michael Siegel has today reported on an Oregon study which tracked the state's smoking prevalence since 1996. The main finding appears to be that statisticians are surprised when uncovering facts of which everyone else is already aware.

Although Oregon enacted a substantial cigarette tax increase in 1996, a new report shows that there has been no decrease in smoking prevalence among lower-income Oregonians, which remained steady at about 35% from 1996 through 2007.

"The report notes the economic impact of smoking hits lower-income families harder."Tobacco is so addictive that some Oregon families reduce the amount of money spent on food to buy cigarettes," it said."
Well, they can attempt to pin this down to addiction if they wish, but that's really not what's happening here.

As I've mentioned many times before, I have grown up with, socialise with, and work with working (and non-working) class people, and one thing you can reliably bank on is that the vast majority never change. Many are still working in the same job, meeting the same friends, going to the same places on nights out, to the same holiday venues, and with the same people, as they did 30 or more years ago. They still drink the same drinks, eat the same food, and sometimes even drive the same car as they have for decades too. If they smoke, merely raising the price is going to have very little effect - they will simply find the money from somewhere because smoking is what they and their friends have done, and will always do.

That's why it's always rather amusing to read the middle class coffee table poppycock pumped out by ASH extolling the virtues of raising tobacco taxes as a means of making smokers quit. You see, ASH are continually shedding crocodile tears about 'health inequalities'; their hearts bleeding as they explain how their main concern is helping those poor, err, poor people.

Yet, as this study proves - as if it required proving - imposing across the board tax rises on consumer goods naturally harms the working class more than others. It's the most regressive tax (along with VAT) that any government can apply. The better off, on the other hand, are not only more able to shrug off the extra cost, they are also more able to avoid it altogether by travelling abroad and stocking up.

Far from promoting equality as they emptily claim, ASH only serve to widen the gap in equality of disposable income ... or, to put it another way, they make the poor poorer.

The righteous never learn though, so we are no doubt soon to go through this whole charade once again with minimum alcohol pricing. It's being held off for the moment, but these tedious cretins are paid to carry on being tedious cretins so won't stop whining until they get it.

Again, the middle classes won't give a stuff as it won't affect them, while the working class will pay extra and, if that leaves them short, will economise by buying value brands at Tesco instead of the slightly more expensive version. The 69 year old guy I know who has been getting up at 5:30am, six days a week, to labour at a building site as he has done since he was 15, is not going to change the amont of cans he buys at the supermarket every week. He'll just buy cheaper sausages.

Of course, the people the tedious cretins claim they are targeting - 'hazardous' drinkers - will possibly stop eating altogether (or their kids will) - rather than give up their alcohol. Not a very wise move, is it?

Same goes for the ever more regularly mooted soda tax and new kid on the block, the junk food tax. In fact, every interfering righteous initiative is a cert to take a larger proportion of working class household budgets than it will those of the well-paid fucktards who propose it.

Nanny does so love to bash the poor, doesn't she?

Sunday 19 September 2010

Boris Boosted By New York Nutter

"The science is clear: Prolonged exposure to secondhand smoke - whether you're indoors or out - hurts your health. Today, we're doing something about it."
And with this astoundingly ill-informed statement did Mayor Bloomberg shame his city in announcing a ban on smoking in places like Central Park - an unenclosed space 70 times larger than Wembley Stadium.

One wonders if Bloomberg has ever looked out across New York harbour and spotted the verdigris-coated reminder of his country's statement (now empty) to the rest of the world concerning the principle of liberty.

In rebutting, renowned US libertarian, John Stossel, points out what all but the most ridiculous in society - and Bloomberg falls squarely into that category - know already.

But the science isn’t clear. Studies have shown that secondhand smoke may be dangerous for people who are stuck with chain smokers for years in claustrophobic situations like homes and cars. Even then, the evidence was thin. Some studies found no effect. Being on the same sidewalk as someone puffing away may be unpleasant, but isn’t going to hurt pedestrians.
I presume he used so many words because simply stating "Bloomberg is a cunt who talks bollocks" is frowned upon these days.

But then, Bloomberg seems to have an inconsistent understanding of all kinds of freedoms and rights, as Cato explains here.

A front-page story in today’s New York Times begins:

Michael R. Bloomberg is a former Wall Street mogul with a passion for the rights of a private property owner.
The story is about the not-really-at-Ground-Zero mosque, of course.

Bloomberg has a passion for property rights — except when the property owner wants to allow smoking on his own property or just wants to keep the property he owns even if a richer person wants it.
Yep, Bloomberg is a defender of property rights ... unless he doesn't feel property rights are important anymore. And he is proud to be Mayor of the home of Lady Liberty ... except when he doesn't think liberty should be allowed on the back of scientific evidence which doesn't exist.

By comparison, Boris doesn't come across as quite that bonkers anymore, does he?

ADDENDUM: I nearly forgot, there is a classic of its genre in the comments to Stossel's article.


Smokers are idiots. They know that smoking will kill them and they are a drag on our health care system. We should do them a favor and give them a quick clean bullet through the head.

September 16, 2010 at 3:26 pm
Into the catalogue it goes.

Saturday 18 September 2010

The Nicotine Market Is Getting Away - Quick, Someone Call The Government!

It's been two weeks now since I became a part-time vaper, and I've been having a lot of fun with it. I've expanded from the office and Sainsbury's and have now 'vaped' in Waitrose, WH Smiths, the T-Mobile shop (Mrs P just had to get an iPhone FFS!), a bus, a working mens club, and - the ultimate test - a severely-packed music pub at a gig by a late 70s/early 80s punk/new wave icon (no, not telling who, though there is a very subtle clue lying around for the Sherlocks amongst you).

If there were anti-smokers around, they would have been none the wiser, but if they had realised what was going on, the fake coughing and hand-waving would have commenced in earnest. It's a part of their very being. And that, you may remember, is one of the reasons - in fact, the only reason - for my taking up with e-cigs ... because their very existence sends anti-smokers (whether they've actually seen one or not) into a state of confusion and irrational panic. Simply because their purpose in life is severely compromised as a result of this new entrant to the ongoing nicotine war.

One minute, they're a righteously indignant (albeit mentally unbalanced) arbiter of the health choices of others, armed to the teeth with junk stats, hyperbole and clichés to throw at anyone who dares object to their personal preference. The next, they are faced with something which isn't dangerous, but still allows others pleasure. Their eyes boggle on stalks at the very thought of such a thing - how dare anyone try to wrestle their perceived superiority away from them!

In all their years of curtain-twitching, finger-wagging and self-aggrandisement, they've never been put into such a position. There are no health angles to attack, no smelly clothes or hair to resort to once the science is challenged. No chiiildren - for whom they couldn't give a stuff if truth be known - to think of.

Bereft of ideas, they still pump out the old standards, but they just don't work anymore. For example, the 'pissing in the swimming pool' one (© ASH USA c.1994) is obsolete, as is the 'no safe exposure' claim (© ASH USA 2002) - after all, if there is no safe exposure to water vapour, saunas and steam rooms would be in a right old mess - and even stepping outside during a rain shower on a summer's evening would be classed as carcinogenic. Third hand water vapour? Ha! That'll be your bathroom, then.

In fact, all the billions spent over decades on constructing soundbites and lies is being rendered irrelevant for many by a battery, a heating element, and a few drops of e-liquid. Far from being bullied into the arms of pharmaceutical companies, some are buying their nicotine from the wrong suppliers. Worse still, some aren't even buying liquid which contains any nicotine at all, merely inhaling instead of using 'approved' (but useless) sticking plasters, while still smiling and enjoying.

And that fucking upsets anti-smokers. Real bad.

Obviously {sigh}, something must be done. We can't have the natural successors to arch-prodnose Mary Whitehouse being circumvented, now can we? So they've been hard at work, desperately trying to ban this small, unobtrusive pleasure.

The MHRA are trying their level best to protect the rights of British busybodies to interfere in the lives of others, while their yank counterparts have launched a similar assault but with a heavier hand. I could point to incompetence by the MHRA, or a series of criticisms of the stance by the FDA in America, but for those who really can't be arsed (tl:dr) the whole issue is explained in layman's terms quite succinctly in this video.

Fortunately, the righteous can all sleep soundly in their beds tonight, safe in the knowledge that governments on both sides of the Atlantic are on the case. After all, imagine the devastation if Pfizer's NHS-led income dried up, for example, or if people carried on enjoying nicotine without allowing the most violently intolerant and anti-social bastards in society to inflict their prejudices on others.

Doesn't bear thinking about, does it?

Belinda (bookmark recommended) provides a customarily well-articulated read on the same subject

Link Tank 18/09

"They make me glad, they make me sad ..."

Reverse racism: Study shows left-leaning 'liberals' exhibit a race bias against whites

What the future may look like for younger adult British drinkers

New York's new smoke police ... citizens

Sex Pistols track used in advertising for the first time

Heart attack time for Don Shenker - the French have invented self-service wine pumps

Leave. It. Alone.

Middlesbrough Mayor urges kids to nag their parents

Marijuana Cuts Lung Cancer Tumor Growth In Half

More sense from formerly communist Czech Republic: Prague considers legalising prostitution

Rat's tail hair cuts banned at Sydney nightclub

A veteran debunker of risk averse junk stats is doing a spring clean (I bought one)

Friday 17 September 2010

Thursday 16 September 2010

Recession? What Recession? Revisited

You may remember reading here last year of a Liberal Democrat Council's scheme to spend £8.5m - 10% of its council tax receipts, in a recession - on what I described as the world's first nannying theme park. The council's promotional video is featured here if you'd care to refresh your memory.

Despite the Conservative opposition warning that this publicly-funded, vainglorious nonsense was quite probably going to end up as an expensive white elephant, the Liberals pushed on and commissioned it anyway ... without a public consultation.

By way of update, an eagle-eyed fellow jewel robber has pointed me to this article which shows that the Tories were wrong ... it's an even bigger disaster than they had originally warned.

Schools have delivered a resounding snub to Sutton’s controversial Life Centre, leaving taxpayers faced with a hefty bill to support the project.

The life skills centre, which should cost Sutton residents nothing, needs at least 48,000 pupils – about 450 schools – to turn a meagre £9,500 profit.

But with the opening just weeks away, dismal early booking figures reveal the council has only booked 42 schools – just 2,780 pupils – leaving a £190,000 bill to finance its first seven months.

Coun [Graham] Tope said: “The take-up by the schools is disappointing so far. One reason for this is that it is actually a difficult concept to explain."
Graham, dear, if a concept is 'difficult to explain', didn't it occur to you that it is something that people had never even considered, so therefore have absolutely no need for, and thus will likely not use? And that's quite apart from the fact that it's extreme arrogance for a council to believe it should be spending taxpayer funds on such a folly.

After reading this, I popped over to the blog of Paul Scully, a local councillor who slated the idea at the time. He doesn't appear to have mentioned this latest development yet but, at time of writing, his last article shows that the barmy Lib Dems in Sutton still haven't stopped spending huge amounts of money on hare-brained schemes.

The wooden menagerie** pictured opposite (below, actually) has been concreted into the pavement on Sutton High Street where there was previously an open space. The metal globe sculpture has been relocated so that people avoiding the wooden fish to go to All Bar One and the Civic Office crash straight into it.

Lest we forget within the apparent benefits for this £3million splurge of your cash was the statement "Wider footways, better road crossings and less clutter will create a people-friendly zone."

I'm not sure that mocking laughter was the reaction first envisaged by the Lib Dem Council cabinet who approved this project, but that is what appears to be the first reaction of those walking by.

We are still waiting for the 'green wall' to be installed on the face of Wilkinsons, which involves a lawn to be laid vertically up the front of the shop. When challenged over such expenditure, the Lib Dem administration claim that the £3million would have just be spent in another borough.
That last sentence really jumps out of the page, doesn't it? The idea that a council should be spending money for the hell of it, merely so that it doesn't get spent elsewhere, is as staggering as it is irresponsible.

All in all, this adds up to over £11m spent, in less than 12 months, on schemes which a local authority should arguably not even be contemplating. Tell us again, Mark Serwotka, about how public sector spending cuts aren't necessary.

Finally, as a cherry on the disastrous and wasteful cake, whilst looking around for more information on Sutton's town centre 'improvements' highlighted by Scully, it would appear that a launch party is being organised featuring an outfit called 'The Bureau of Silly Ideas' ... how generous of the Lib Dem councillors to entertain in the High Street on their days off, eh?

** They've only gone and named them too - Ninja the duck; Nemo the dolphin; Sephi the cat; Sparkles the swan; Olivia the pony; Terri the snail; Sonic the frog; Charlie the chicken; Mieow the cat; Sona the fish; Tommy the horse and Freddie the duck.

Dying For A Big Mac?

To prove that Yank medics still lead in the 'barking' category. This.

Exaggeration much?

Wednesday 15 September 2010

If I Had A Hammer ... I'd Need A Van

During my childhood, one always knew when Mr Puddlecote Senior was to spend the day decorating, gardening or fixing something, as he would tend to sing crucify this song over breakfast.

At the time, my only experience of a hammer was a small wooden one I used for knocking cylindrical painted wooden pegs through a variety of different sized holes while watching Champion the Wonder Horse, so I just believed it to be a jolly ditty. It wasn't until much later that I discovered its political intent.

When Seeger and Hays wrote the song, it was a bit of anthemic support for the emerging progressive movement, which was focused heavily on labor rights, among other things. The lyrics allude to the labor movement, taking symbols from the work place and turning them into calls for action toward equality.
I was reminded of the tune again this week while having more work done at Puddlecote Towers. The garden was in urgent need of a wholescale gutting, so Mrs P suggested throwing some cash the way of her 22 year old cousin. He works like a Trojan and for the past couple of days has been hacking away in the undergrowth, pulling up stubborn roots and fighting long undisturbed spiders the size of small rats, filling a six yard skip in the process.

He asked to stow his tools in our garage for the first night, and that's how we got talking about his many run-ins with public transport. You see, he doesn't drive which causes problems when getting to jobs with his tools.

I must firstly point out that we're not talking a shaven-headed chav complete with disdainful sneer here, the guy is well spoken and incredibly polite (even to the point of asking permission to use the loo at the house of a family member). However, bus drivers routinely refuse to let him board and he has had his tools 'confiscated' many a time when travelling on trains, despite carrying them in a professional canvas carrier, the last time being when leaving the train on his way back home. They were very nice about it, he said, and confessed to being quite aware that he was a builder with a perfectly valid reason for carrying them but, you know, 'rules is rules and it's more than our job's worth' yadda yadda.

So he waited 20 minutes until the police turned up, officially confiscated them, before walking with him back to the station, where he was asked to sign a form to 'claim' his bag before finally walking home.

Seeing as it is expected that self-employed working men arrive at the job with their own tools, the message here seems to be that they must do so in their own vehicle and not on public transport. In fact, better make sure that vehicle is quite obviously a working one (white van, for example) in case the police get the wrong end of the stick and land the driver with a criminal record.

Quite silly considering that, when working in London especially, it is far easier (and less costly) to get there on a train, and that for many labourers on daily rates, the expense of a van is either out of the question - just the road tax is equivalent to three days' pay - or cuts down on their income.

All of which makes efforts, lyricised in the song, to "hammer .. all over this land" rather difficult. Not very progressive, is it? And certainly unsympathetic to practicalities faced by many a working class labourer.

And when one considers that such control freakery has materialised under an administration which claimed to be progressive; to be acting in the interests of the working man and his family; and with a keen eye on equality, it's all rather amusing.

Perhaps the song should be updated to "If I had a van, fully taxed and insured, run on LPG if possible, liveried so the police know I'm not a terrorist, smokefree, parked in a marked bay and, when moving, driven within the speed limit, and at all times with both hands on the wheel ... I could then hammer all over this land".

Though, as a protest song, it's not quite as catchy, is it?

Tuesday 14 September 2010

Hate Minds Think Alike

A little short of time this evening as I've selflessly volunteered my services in helping a local sports team get their season off to a smooth start. Well, I say selflessly, but I'm sure there will be a couple of beers in it for me - I'm notoriously cheap like that.

In the meantime though, the Angry Exile has found this rather grimy video on YouTube - click through for his thoughts on the matter.

Now, it's not clear whether this ad has ever been aired, but that's not to excuse the kind of sick mind which made the film.

Having said that, they're not alone, as I've mentioned previously. The two offerings below are by ASH New Zealand, and their equally ill counterparts in Dubai (who, astoundingly, chose to publish their ad on the sixth anniversary of the Twin Towers collapsing).

To finger-waggers the world over, 9/11 wasn't so much an unspeakable act of evil, more a handy occurrence on which to exercise their mentally disturbed fantasies.

Monday 13 September 2010

Horse On The Horizon, But Stable Door Now Secure

Look at Europe Minster David Lidington's face in this Telegraph article. It's that satisfied 'job well done' face. And so should he be happy, as - lumbered with the hot potato of EU membership post Lisbon - Lidington reckons he may have placated Tory Eurosceptics with this masterful wheeze.

The Government will announce plans for a “referendum lock” on any future surrendering of British powers to the European Union.

The amendment, which could be law by next year, will allow for a vote if there is “any transfer of powers away from the UK and towards the centre”, according to a Whitehall source.

It would cover any future treaty – successors to the previous Maastricht, Nice and Lisbon treaties – or any large scale transfer of power outside those treaties.

British legal advisers in Brussels would determine whether a transfer of power had taken place. MPs would then be given the chance to vote on holding a referendum. If they vote in favour, a referendum would be held.

“This doesn’t apply to Accession Treaties [when a new country joins the EU], or to other minor changes which do not transfer power.”
Very good, David, have a biscuit.

However, as you may have spotted, the operative word above is 'future', when placed before 'treaty'. Because, as Gawain has mentioned today, there is very little of our sovereignty left after Lisbon.

A promise to offer a referendum on any future Treaty, you say. But not treaties that involve enlargement.

The thing is that only Treaties to come are the ones involving the enlargement. The UK government formally supports the entry of Croatia and Turkey (the only two on the horizon) also Liddington is specifically excluding enlargement Treaties from the scope of his act.
Gawain further points to article 48.7 of the Lisbon Treaty (page 51). This is entitled 'Simplified Revision Procedure' or, to put it in layman's terms, the clause which allows the EU to change just about whatever they feel like, whenever they bastard well choose.

Where the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union provides for legislative acts to be adopted by the Council in accordance with a special legislative procedure, the European Council may adopt a decision allowing for the adoption of such acts in accordance with the ordinary legislative procedure.

Any initiative taken by the European Council on the basis of the first or the second subparagraph shall be notified to the national Parliaments. If a national Parliament makes known its opposition within six months of the date of such notification, the decision referred to in the first or the second subparagraph shall not be adopted. In the absence of opposition, the European Council may adopt the decision.

For the adoption of the decisions referred to in the first and second subparagraphs, the European Council shall act by unanimity after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, which shall be given by a majority of its component members.
So, Lisbon is quite adequate for the needs of the EU, ta very much. If it doesn't cover everything they have envisaged, it can be easily amended. Any nation which objects - which Britain wouldn't as Lisbon isn't included in this 'referendum lock' - would have just six months to do so.

Now, even if Lisbon was included in Lidington's act of defiance, which it is not, the timescale suggests a referendum would be extremely difficult to implement, and why would parliament want to do something like that anyway when there is no need to do so under Lisbon, and even an objection is just one among 27 nations. In a collective where there are always more than 13 states willing to sign anything to keep their net profitable membership, it would be just a bow and arrow against the lightning storm.

There's just one more clue in the Telegraph piece as to the sleight of hand being employed here.

Officials suggested that referendums could be triggered if the UK was asked to give up its veto over sensitive areas such as foreign policy or security.
Which, oddly enough, is the only part of our sovereignty that Lisbon doesn't seek to control ... yet.

This subparagraph shall not apply to decisions with military implications or those in the area of defence.
He's a clever chappie is David.

He has promised a referendum on any treaty the EU puts forward in the future - except ones that the government have already committed to - while simultaneously excluding the treaty which has eradicated the need for any future treaties.

Inspired stuff. No wonder he looks such a happy and contented fella.

Now, if he was truly serious about defending our sovereignty against the inexorable march of the EU, there is a clue here as to how it could have been done.

Ministers will introduce the right to hold a referendum by amending the original 1972 European Communities Act under which Britain joined the Common Market.
Hmm. Call me cynical, and all that, but if the 1972 Act can be amended, could it not also be repealed pending ... I dunno, a referendum of the British people?

That horse won't be seen round these parts again, but doesn't Cameron's newly-varnished stable door look nice?

Sunday 12 September 2010

Cataloguing Psychosis (2)

I really must get round to sorting out a sidebar image link for the anti-smoker psychosis catalogue. The reason this has sprung to mind on a Sunday evening is that I just stumbled across a right cracker.

Jason Grant says:

@ Brittney - You are second-class citizens. If you don't like it, move. I don't want you here anyway.

Posted On: Friday, Sep. 10 2010 @ 1:51PM
Dovetails nicely into a previous theme, doesn't it? It's from Yankland though, and I'm not sure if that counts considering the high prevalence of asshat crazies over there.

Oh yeah, I nearly forgot to provide the link. It's from an article describing Santa Monica's new law banning smoking on residential patios and balconies.

Don't worry, it didn't pass without objection. Oh no. One councillor stood his ground and voted against ... because the legislation wasn't strict enough!

Saturday 11 September 2010

There's a Blog Tag For That

Hey, at least with Labour you know what you're getting - bans or restrictions on everything which doesn't fit with their ethos (or which their privileged top table don't care for), plus more bans and restrictions thrown in for good measure.

The problem occurs when you have a party with 'Liberal' in the name. You see, some people may actually believe that they are truly liberal, when the reality is that they have long since given up on their classic liberal history and now just cannot resist the delicious prospect of inflicting their personal intolerances on the whole of the country.

Like this, for example, and the further ludicrous bans proposed in the comments (barbecues, I kid you not).

Shouldn't the Lib Dems just come clean now and admit that they're plain, old-fashioned Social Democrats, and not in any way qualified to carry the torch of liberalism?

Anything else is just electoral fraud.

The dismissal of factions like Liberal Vision as somehow being entryist cranks is particularly startling too.

Greens Hit The Jackpot

And here is the list to which Peter Wanless, Chief Executive of the Big Lottery Fund, refers.

Green heroes working for the right kind of environmental change

Posted by Christine Ottery and George Monbiot
Yes. These are exactly the type of 'good causes' we were told the lottery was set up to fund.

Err ...

Link Tank 11/09

A dozen of the usual subjects

"Only the state rewards negative behaviour"

High cigarette taxes have led to a rise in New York crime

Introducing the Islington English Dictionary and Liberal Phrasebook

Jesus loves porn stars: The pastor and Ron Jeremy

'Helicopter' parents are teaching their kids to be helpless

Toying with ignorance

Global warming is bullshit, says Ryanair boss

Ontario proposes $3,000 fine for dropping a cigarette butt

The 'atomic cake' controversy of 1946

Using e-cigs to quit is bad because, unlike other methods, err ... it's fun?

Adultery is damned expensive in North Carolina

Ancient Nubians brewed antibiotic beer

Friday 10 September 2010

What Could Possibly Go Wrong?

Having worked for two years at a council in the 80s, my over-riding memory of the time spent there is meetings. Lots of 'em. Then, when a decision had finally been reached, a recommendation was kicked upstairs to the councillors ... who would hold further meetings.

Now, assuming that local authorities worldwide are probably still run along similar lines, one has to wonder how something like this managed to get through all that without someone raising a few possible unintended consequences.

Preventable, BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation, and the District of West Vancouver have launched a 3D illusion geared to make drivers slow down at high-risk intersections.

If you’ve read the Vancouver Sun, Province, or National Post articles or heard interviews on Vancouver radio and TV programs about the illusion, you’d know that drivers near 22nd street in West Vancouver will be confronted with what seems like a young girl running after a ball in front of their vehicle. In reality, it’s a decal on the pavement that looks like a real person. Signage near the 3D image reads “You’re probably not expecting kids to run out on the road.”
What could possibly go wrong? Apart from the scenarios quickly spotted by commenters to the article, of course.

Good grief.

Another Dream Dying?

Cuban eyes are fast shedding their scales, it would seem.

Jeffrey Goldberg, a national correspondent for The Atlantic magazine, asked if Cuba's economic system was still worth exporting to other countries, and [Fidel] Castro replied: "The Cuban model doesn't even work for us anymore" Goldberg wrote Wednesday in a post on his Atlantic blog.
It's the same old story. Comprehensive egalitarianism is never too far away from inevitable collapse, which is quite understandable seeing as it's an utterly negative way of looking at human existence. Shorn of our natural aspirations, and the restriction of potential beyond that prescribed by the state, there is nothing to look forward to except stagnation and eternal subservience. Rather like a 1970s Butlins holiday, really - great for a week, but you wouldn't want to eat the ever-murkier leftover soup forever.

An unmotivated public can be placated for a longer period of time by gift of the state's soma, of course.

The state controls well over 90 percent of the economy, paying workers salaries of about $20 a month in return for free health care and education, and nearly free transportation and housing. At least a portion of every citizen's food needs are sold to them through ration books at heavily subsidized prices.
But as other nations grow and prosper, only an entirely self-sufficient economy will be able to survive. Otherwise, sooner or later the money starts to dry up.

Cuba is eliminating cigarette subsidies to the elderly to save money. All Cubans 55 or older are allocated four packs of cigarettes a month for about 25% the normal price, but the government has announced that this privilege will end in September.

The measure is President Raul Castro's latest attempt to cut the country's spending.

Cigarettes are the latest item to be removed from ration books. Subsidised peas and potatoes were eliminated in November.
We're not just talking cuts here, either. Castro Junior has realised - as the more clever have always known - that the only thing that can truly rescue certain sections of Cuban society is the free market.

The Cuban government has issued two free-market reforms aimed at boosting its struggling economy, including allowing foreign investors to lease state-owned land for up to 99 years.

The moves, announced in the official Gazette newspaper on Thursday and Friday, are considered a significant shift for the country as Raul Castro, the country's president, promises to scale back government control of businesses.

The government has said it was modifying its property laws "with the aim of amplifying and facilitating" foreign investment in tourism, and that doing so would
provide "better security and guarantees to the foreign investor".

Another decree put forward allows the expanded sale of farm products, and could have far greater impact on ordinary Cubans.

It authorises them to produce their own agricultural goods - from melons to milk - and sell them from home or in kiosks.
It's only a start, but congratulations should be in order for Raul. What could be better for Cuba's future than the encouragement of his people to better themselves?

Unfortunately, we in the UK still harbour ideological kurd-slurpers and unreconstructed Wolfie Smiths who idolise the busted policies that Cuba is starting to rectify. For example, cast your eyes down this list of elected lefty morons highlighted by the irrepressible Goddard.

Also, never forget that even right of centre Cameron (it's rude to snigger, you know) is apparently an admirer of books written by dreamers who consider Cuba's discredited system a benchmark for 21st century living.

No matter the historical evidence that the more free the market, the more prosperous the country, still lefties queue up to experience for themselves a dreary and all-consuming economic wilderness which is doomed to failure at its inception.

Next up for the silly experiment? Well, the EU is heading in the right direction ... perhaps someone should re-release that Scorpions hit as a reminder that parts of Europe have been down the path of ideological lunacy before.

Thursday 9 September 2010

They're Loving It

Shhh. Listen very carefully. Can you hear the sound of UK health lobbyists preparing parliamentary briefings after reading this?

A WORLD-FIRST study has called for the introduction of a 10 per cent tax on junk food

As well, it called for increased alcohol and tobacco taxes and mandatory limits on salt levels in bread and cereal in a package that would cut costs and save thousands of lives.
It's from some koala-worriers in the sand pit at the arse end of the world, but they're deadly serious in their 122 page report.

Drone-voiced tax buck suckler Tam Fry will be climaxing on hearing such news, as will his National Obesity Forum colleague, Jane DeVille-Almond (remember her?). The next level of sin tax is almost here - soon, the price of just about everything you consume, of which the righteous don't approve, will be under their control. All they have to do is convince a few lackwit MPs. From past experience, that shouldn't be too difficult, someone claiming to be a doctor merely has to sling some one-sided study their way and our dozy politicos will be queueing up to run their tongues over the shoes of whoever presents it.

The future beckons. One where the Chancellor stands up on budget day to quaff his time-honoured wheatgrass smoothie, before raising tax on Big Macs by a further 2.4% from midnight because the public won't stop buying them.

Oh yeah, and while he is on the subject, he has noticed that other foods aren't as good for you as qinoa and butternut squash, so the tax will be extended to minced beef, sunflower oil, frozen croquettes and mushy peas. The minimum price plans for supermarket value ranges will be announced in the government's white paper later in the year, as it's worrying that the public can buy them for 'pocket money prices' ... sometimes even cheaper than a head of lettuce.

And with the budget delivered, the Home Secretary rises to make a statement on the progress of the EU's war on illegal salt smuggling cartels.

Fear And Loathing In Orlando

If you enjoy tobacco, here's some holiday travel advice ... don't bother with Florida this, or any other, year.

An erudite Orlando cigar store owner explains recently installed policies in Orange County, including the criminalisation of tobacco products (lit or chewed) on state owned outdoor properties - which includes parks and pavements - and a four cigar per year limit on state employees in their private lives, at pain of a $650 deduction of salary.

Needless to say, there is no valid health reasoning behind any of it.

God bless the 'Land of the Free', eh?


Wednesday 8 September 2010

The Girl Can't Help It

Day one of the new session at Westminster and bansturbator extraordinaire Caroline Flint was out of the traps like some jet pack assisted Mick the Miller.

- To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment he has made of the effectiveness of his Department's Change4Life campaign.
- To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of the voluntary industry agreement to place health warnings on the labels of alcoholic drinks.
- To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations his Department has received in support of a minimum unit price for alcoholic products.
- To ask the Secretary of State for Health what recent representations his Department has received on the prohibition of smoking in cars carrying children; and if he will make a statement.
- To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport if he will bring forward proposals to prohibit the advertising on television of foods high in salt, sugar or fat before 9.00 pm.
Flint, you may remember, was one of the chief architects of the smoking ban, and is remembered for banning biscuits when at the Foreign Office.

Some women have an addiction to chocolate, shopping, shoes etc - Caroline's naughty vice is interfering in every aspect of your life. She just has to have that latest illiberal ban ... it's 'to die for', didn't you know?

I'm sure there are many who enjoy watching her sashay around parliament but, personally, I think she's already been back for a day too long. What she needs is another nice relaxing holiday - five years trussed up in a basement in Cornwall should suffice.

Tuesday 7 September 2010

Yakety Shapps, Don't Talk Crap

While tidying up dusty corners of the RSS reader after my little break, I find this ostrich posturing from Grant Shapps.

3500 pubs closed under Labour

Ministers today called for Labour to apologise for all the community pubs that closed their doors thanks to the Labour Government’s policies.
Well, it would be start, I suppose, though I suspect Labour's militant puritan wing would rather shove conker husks up their sphincters than do anything for pubs.

Official figures show there was a net closure of 3,530 pubs across England under Labour from 1997 to 2010.

[Grant Shapps, Minister for Local Government said] "Labour must apologise for the harm they did to community pubs across the country."

In contrast, the new Government is doing its best to defend local pubs:
Sounds great! How you doing that then, fella?

- [...] the Government will allow communities to bid to take on [...] community pubs, where they are up for sale.
- More help will be given to firms to help them with business rates
- There will be a ban the sale of alcohol below cost price, helping protect local pubs from unfair ‘loss leading’ by some supermarkets.
- The Government is reforming licensing rules to make it easier to play live music in local pubs.
- The new Government has already scrapped the planned 10% rise in cider duties - the so-called "cider tax".
Nice one, that'll save a couple of hundred. Sorry to interrupt, do carry on.

Oh, I see. You've finished.

And then it becomes clear why Shapps uses the 3,000 odd closures since 1997 instead of the scarier figure of 6,500 since the Licensing Act 2003, more than 5,700 of those since 2007 (pub stocks were rising until 2003). It's so he doesn't have to mention that law - highly relevant to pubs, oddly enough - which mustn't be mentioned in Westminster.

Two out of three Tory MPs voted against a blanket ban in the Health Act 2006, but now, with the ban happy EU lapdog Lib Dems ball-and-chained to all of their ankles, the elephant must be left to stomp around the hospitality industry unfettered.

So that's the coalition's miracle plan for pubs laid out, following hot on the heels of David Miliband's hospitality wonder cure, with not even a passing mention, in all their self-aggrandising hot air, of the issue which has caused as much - if not more - damage than all of the others combined.

These arrogant, self-serving, mendacious tax gobblers take the biscuit, the cake, and the whole fucking bakery, they really do. They have little regard for anyone but their clique of Westminster bubble lobbyists, civil servants and quangoes, and deserve nothing but our utter and eternal contempt in return.

Change? What fucking change?

Ancestral Dick

Some have enquired in the past, so should anyone ever have been curious as to the original jewel-robbing Dick Puddlecote, there's a particularly good summary of his 14th century shenanigans here.

He was a right bastard, that Longshanks.

Monday 6 September 2010

Vaping, We're Vaping

Regular readers may remember reading here of plans by our oh-so-benevolent nannies to ban e-cigs.

Naturally, as a contrarian bastard when it comes to state interference, this somewhat tweaked my interest in such gadgets. Especially on finding out that they raise the hackles of readily-gulled, pompous, egomaniacal, borderline psychotic anti-smoking fuckweeds.

So, despite there being a degree of uneasiness between smokers and vapers (those who use e-cigs), I made enquiries about getting hold of one.

It was a surprise how complicated (for a newbie) they appeared to be at first glance, but I was fortunate that an uncommonly generous person - and a vaping expert to boot - offered to send a full kit complete with instructions and individually hand-labelled parts and potions.

A little fiddling around with atties, batteries, 510s, mouthpieces and fluid later, and I had my first taste of an e-cig since visiting a benevolent 'witch's' house** in Birmingham last year.

Since then I've been having quite a bit of fun with it, taking a puff while surveying magazines in Sainsbury's was the best so far - no-one cared as I may as well have been using an asthma inhaler for all they knew. Nothing to see (or smell, or wash clothes, hair etc) here.

Apart from regular cartridges, there are a variety of exotic flavours as Leg Iron has explained before. The only one I have so far is mint choc chip ice cream, which I smoked vaped in the office today while sorting out a new lease purchase agreement. Tasted like a mild Mayfair menthol to me.

A couple of days after the package arrived, I think I can now understand why they boil anti-smoker piss so much. After nearly three decades of fabricating a scare story to eliminate others enjoying a substance (nicotine) of which they personally disapprove, the righteous have next to nothing on the e-cig, and it must really - no, I mean really - grate.

Having dreamed for years of that orgasmic final boot in the face of those they jealously hated for enjoying a benign pleasure, they can see a few wriggling free, still putting hand to mouth, and with the two fingers still defiantly up.

No chance of ever reining these people in with incredible tales of widescale death and disaster to others. No chance of classifying water vapour emissions as a class A carcinogen. Nothing but a limp bleating about how e-cigs may be mildly dangerous to the user, as if anyone cares. Nothing, really, except a future of exposing themselves as even more mentally unbalanced than the public is increasingly discovering them to be.

Some have found that vaping is a way of ditching tobacco for good; anti-smokers would prefer to ban e-cigs to force them back to being smokers where they are easier to hit. As Bannatyne shows above, they're not really bothered about health, or the chiildren, or harm reduction - they just enjoy the hunt, the superiority, and the self-righteousness.

E-cigs threaten to deprive them of that, all of it - after 30 years of intense obsessive effort - and the psychos don't like it one bit.

My motive for taking up vaping isn't altruistic or self-preservatory, I don't intend to give up smoking (that vague notion evaporated on July 1st 2007). I just want to be firmly in the opposition trench when the righteous come gunning for vapers. Anti-smokers (or anything that looks like smoking) get their jollies from ordering people around, I derive mine from telling them to fuck off.

I'm vaping now. The game's afoot, bring it on!

** Long story. She will hopefully turn up in the comments, if she's in the country.