Sunday 18 November 2018

A Decade

Yesterday was the tenth anniversary of this little corner of the internet.

As long-time readers will have noticed, the last year has been considerably lighter on content than previously, and in recent months very sparse indeed. This is because, sadly, a lot of real life has barged its way in - both business and personal - and has left me little time (and sometimes inclination) to write much here. I'm afraid to say that this will be continuing for the foreseeable future so it might be worth subscribing for email notifications of articles rather than checking back since they will be very infrequent.

As in previous years, I'd like to thank all fellow jewel robbers who have popped by since 2008 - over 300,000 of you have posted over 30,000 comments on more than 3,500 articles - creating nearly 6 million page visits. It's been a hell of a ride.

I have a couple of rather significant life changes coming up which could free up far more opportunity to write, but it won't be for some considerable time. In the meantime, thanks again for reading and engaging over the past 10 years with this "tabloid guff", as I am still proud it was described as many years ago by snooty twats.

À bientôt, mes amies.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Health Guidelines Are A Weapon Against Choice

Be afraid, be very afraid! 
On Friday evening, I went to Maxwell's in Covent Garden for a pre-theatre meal with a friend. The place has been in business for over 30 years that I know of and describes itself as "the home of the freakshake". I'd never heard of a freakshake before I booked a table and I didn't eat one, but plenty of healthy-looking young things around us did.

Today, a vast number of other people found out what a freakshake is for the first time thanks to those hideous health fascists at Action on Sugar. Via the BBC:
The campaign group Action on Sugar is demanding a ban on freakshakes and all milkshakes with more than 300 calories. 
It surveyed milkshakes sold in restaurants and fast food shops in the UK and found they contained "grotesque levels of sugar and calories". 
Freakshakes are milkshakes that also contain chocolates, sweets, cake, cream and sauce. 
The Toby Carvery Unicorn Freakshake came top of the survey with 39 teaspoons of sugar or 1,280 calories. 
That is more than half the daily recommended amount of calories for an adult and over six times the amount of sugar recommended for seven to 10-year-olds.
I'm late to the party as Snowdon has already pointed out that - as is obligatory with 'public health' lobbyists - Action on Sugar and its supporters are blatantly lying about these products in just about every claim that they make. I recommend you go read how jaw-droppingly shameless they are about it at his site.

I'd like to highlight, though, once again the naive and gullible fallacy of believing that health guidelines are nothing to be afraid of and are actually just giving us information. I wrote about it two years ago in response to this tweet from a 'public health' apologist on (mendacious, natch) alcohol advice.

I only need repeat what I said back then.
This idea that these are just recommendations, and that's all, is incredibly naive. Have these people been sleeping for the past 30 or 40 years? When have guidelines ever remained guidelines without leading to more and more coercion? 
With sugar, the guidelines had barely been altered downwards by the WHO before there were calls from 'public health' that the public isn't following them so we need a sugar tax and TV advertising bans on certain foods. 
There used to be guidelines about what food kids should be given by their parents to take to school, now we have packed lunch inspections and unapproved food being confiscated, while many openly talk about mandatory school dinners because the 'guidelines' are not being adhered to. 
These are just a few examples of many many others I could have chosen (add more in the comments as I'm sure you will know plenty of other examples). This is how health nags work, people, if you haven't noticed that where have you been? 
As a result of these 'guidelines' that we are apparently free not to follow - you know, they're just fuzzy-wuzzy friendly advice, that's all - a whole new door has been opened on alcohol nagging. 
Soon there will be campaigns by the usual suspects to say that the guidelines are not being adhered to. It will not be because the public have taken note of the advice and chosen to ignore it, instead the legions of public health parasites will say that the 'guidelines' are just not working and something must be done about it; that big industry is blinding drinkers to the harms; and that - how convenient - there are now so many more people drinking over the recommended guidelines that government must crack down hard!
And what have we seen today? 'Public health' parasites saying that the 'guidelines' on sugar are just not working and something must be done about it and that government must crack down hard.

By banning a dessert milkshake! We're well beyond the fucking looking glass here aren't we?

We are not free to ignore recommended guidance all the while vicious, draconian, career-puritans like Action on Sugar and their similarly arrogant, sneering elitist chums are indulged by government agencies instead of being recognised as the anti-social cunts that they really are.

As Snowdon describes today, there is not likely to be a ban on Freakshakes, politicians aren't that stupid ... yet (even though we did once see two parties fighting over which was more determined to declare war on a fucking chocolate orange). But it opens an Overton Window which Public Health England will likely exploit.
Public Health England, in its madness, wants to cap calories in milkshakes to 300 per serving. It is Action on Sugar's job to make Public Health England seem relatively reasonable. To that end, they are calling for it to be a crime to sell a milkshake with more calories than this.
Quite. There may not ultimately be a ban, but there will definitely be coercion, and that is because the guidelines or recommended daily amounts are not produced to give us information and then to be left alone - as Suzi childishly tweeted two years ago - they are intentionally produced in order to be a weapon with which to beat us into submission.

We should all be appalled at the very suggestion that any dessert - not drink as Action on Sugar claim - should be subject to a ban, yet this kind of story appeals to the most repellent in society who succumb to the powerful urge to dictate what other people choose to do with their lives. If we want to live in a free country we shouldn't be pandering to such obnoxious and nauseating people, we should be treating them with contempt, yet Action on Sugar - and any number of 'public health' activists in other areas - do precisely the opposite.

If government wants to educate the public with recommendations and guidelines, that's fair enough, but anyone who believes - with the 'public health' industry wildly out-of-control as today proves very much that they are - that those guidelines are just advisory and we are perfectly free to ignore that advice is, quite frankly, a cretin.

Prior to 2007, the very idea that government should be in the business of dictating what businesses can or can't allow their customers to enjoy in their private premises would have been anathema to the country as a whole, but once tobacco control legitimised prodnosery with the smoking ban, it opened the floodgates. Now you just have to harbour some sneering contempt towards what other people are doing that you disapprove of and a 'public health' lobby group - somewhere - has got your back. It doesn't even matter anymore that the only possible harm can be to yourself, the sugar tax proved that. It now also doesn't matter that you are given information to make those choices for yourself, because 'public health' doesn't want you to have those choices available at all.

People who work in 'public health' often bristle when they are referred to as health fascists, but can you think of anything more fascist than dictating how big your pizza is, how much bacon you are allowed to consume, or whether or not you should be permitted to eat a milk-based dessert? After today, the debate is over. It's well past time government stopped listening to these horrendous organisations and starved them of funding; that or drown the miserable bastards in a butt of Marmsey for glorious ironic effect. 

If nothing else, politicians should take away the weapon of 'guidelines' if they want to say we are a liberal country with a straight face. Make it clear that the recommended levels are exactly that, recommended, and that if we choose to ignore them we should be left the fuck alone. 

Thursday 8 November 2018


A curious piece turned up on the BBC the other day from their 'reality check' team.
Health Secretary Matt Hancock wants to encourage people in England to make "better choices" around their alcohol, sugar, salt and fat intake, while getting more exercise. 
He is promising to spend more on public awareness initiatives to prevent obesity in the latest in a long line of of public health campaigns over the years. 
Three of the best-known health messages are eating five portions a day of fruit and vegetables, getting 150 minutes of exercise a week and quitting smoking. 
But what evidence is there that these have worked?
Being a tax-funded organisation, the BBC team were of the opinion that gentle messages from the government - based on education of the public - are not effective. The fact this is exactly the message that tax spongers in 'public health' were screaming about when Hancock made his policy announcement is surely a coincidence.

There was one area, though, where the 'reality check' team had a different view.
The Labour government banned smoking in enclosed public places and workplaces in England in 2007. 
The result is a marked decrease in the number of smokers.
Yep, when vile coercion is used instead of messages intended to change personal choices without a big stick, the BBC was hinting that this was a huge success.

Except, erm, it was nothing to do with the smoking ban, as the graph they publish with the article shows very well.

The result of the smoking ban was not a "marked decrease in the number of smokers". The marked decrease in the number of smokers came from 2012 when e-cigs went mainstream. As you can see from the BBC's graph above, all that the smoking ban did was halt a previously massive "marked decrease" of smokers prior to 2007.

The 'reality check' team did mention something around this at the very end of the article - how could they not considering it's so fucking obvious - but only in faint terms (emphasis mine).
Changes in law, habits and tastes may all contribute to changes in attitude which may affect lifestyle choices. For example, some of the decline in smoking could be attributed as much to the rise of the e-cigarette as anything else.
Some?!? Look at the figures for crying out loud.

It's a pretty rum definition of reality and an odd understanding of the word check if the BBC refuse to face up to what reality actually is and fail to check it properly.

Looks more like a supportive puff piece for their comrades in the tax-leeching game to me. 

Friday 2 November 2018

Cretinous @DundeeCouncil, An Abusive Employer

If you live in Dundee, I'd be very afraid if I were you, because your council is run by weapons grade idiots.

Now, I run a business and have to ensure that my staff are as competent as they can be or else the business fails, but it appears that you don't require even the slightest semblance of intelligence or awareness of what is going on around you to run Dundee Council. You also don't need to have any empathy with any of the nearly 8,000 employees that have to pitifully work for the vile bunch of cretins who govern the city. Via The Courier:
A new policy that bans council workers from smoking during working hours has been branded “tantamount to bullying”. 
Trade unions have also hit out at the Dundee City Council rules, which will mean workers are not allowed to smoke or vape on tea breaks, while travelling between offices or when outside, even if they are not identifiable as council staff. 
Anyone caught flouting the new rules could face disciplinary action.
This is a quite astonishingly tyrannical policy. It effectively says that the council - as an employer - has the right to dictate what employees do in their spare time. It says that they have a right to demand employees do the council's bidding even when they are not being paid.

Dundee Council, as a result, have catapulted themselves to the top of the UK league table of abusive employers. What next? Considering the ridiculous demonising of sugar, will Dundee's vacant councillors soon ban their staff from buying a Coca-Cola while on a lunch break? A McDonald's?

Oh, and they are liars too. According to Simon Clark, their justification is this.
The policy has been created in response to the Scottish Government report ‘Creating a tobacco-free generation: A Tobacco Control Strategy for Scotland’, with guidance from COSLA, and explicitly bans council workers from smoking whilst outdoors, even while walking from one premises to another or during tea breaks. The ban also includes e-cigarettes, which the council does not consider different from cigarettes.
In consultation with COSLA? Well that seems very strange considering Health Scotland "in partnership with the Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (COSLA)" had this to say on e-cigs just last year.
Terminology – the use of smoking terminology should be avoided when referring to ecigarettes. E-cigarette use is often known as ‘vaping’ and e-cigarettes users are often known as ‘vapers’. Make clear the distinction between vaping and smoking, and the evidence on the relative risks for users and bystanders.
Erm, Dundee City Council may be distinguishing between between smoking and vaping by mentioning them separately, but they are treating them exactly the same. It takes a monumental collection of fucksticks to think this is somehow acceptable. I have an idea that the Dundee dickheads didn't have any engagement with COSLA whatsoever. If they did, COSLA have questions to answer too because there must be some hideously lazy public sector staff flicking rubber bands around the office and failing to check what Dundee were saying and comparing it with THEIR OWN FUCKING ADVICE!

More cuts required, obviously.

Sooner or later, I expect the champions of vaping, ASH and ASH Scotland, will ride in and chastise these backward Scottish burghers and save the day. Well, maybe not just right now.
Anti-smoking charity ASH Scotland’s chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “Policies like this aim to care for employees and the communities they serve."
Yep. Sheila believes it's perfectly acceptable for workers to be bullied by their employer as to what they do in their spare time because she really wants them to quit smoking. Sheila also believes it's fine that they can be sacked for using a device - again, in their spare time - to quit smoking.

Where the fuck does the lucrative tobacco control industry find these incredibly repulsive people? Do they have anti-interviews where the most hideous are given the job?

As for the ASH mothership.

Once again, ASH seem pretty keen to endorse draconian bans on smokers and are more than willing to disregard the fact that vapers are being thrown under the bus along with them. I often hear about how ASH are the new guardians of vaping and how sincere they are about safer alternatives - mostly from ASH -  but they keep doing shit like this.

ASH Wales, remember, "fully welcomed" a ban on vaping on a Welsh beach, while ASH London absolutely loved a ban on smoking and vaping in hospital grounds. Now we have Duffy of ASH Scotland clapping her tiny hands in excitement about vapers being threatened with dismissal and her London counterparts remaining silent as Scottish vapers are being bullied by an ignorant and hypocritical council.

Put simply. Employers should have absolutely no say about what their workers do - legally - when they are not being paid. I understand the unions are on the case and, for once, I hope they make a massive scene and cripple the city until the pathetic and incompetent people running Dundee Council take their heads out of their arses and think outside their tiny, prejudicial and vapid minds.

I would, however, like to thank them for yet again proving that none of this has ever been about health and that ASH has never been a friend of vapers.

Dundee Council, you are utter morons and abusive employers. In an ideal world your entire executive would be fired on the spot for harassment of your employees and barred from public office for a lifetime.