Wednesday, 9 July 2008

All Smoking Banned By 2035

I wonder how many smokers noticed this small article tucked away in the murkier depths of the Guardian's health pages the other day? Probably not all that many, if only because it's difficult to imagine many of the fiercely PC Guardianistas as smokers - or, indeed, as people.

For those of us still in the real world - or what passes for it in England today - the article, titled, "Health: Doctors urge film censors to give 'pro-smoking' films an 18 certificate" lets a particularly sinister cat out of the bag. For, according to Dr Vivienne Nathanson, the British Medical Association's head of science and ethics, the BMA is plotting - nay, campaigning - to make Britain smoke-free by 2035.

Yes, that's right, smoke-free. Smoke. Free. As in no smoke. At all. Currently, somewhere between 20% and 25% of the population enjoy a smoke, and many more - the majority, I feel - of non-smokers support a smoker's right to do so. The BMA's insane scheme means that a tiny group of meddling busybodies, with no democratic mandate to impose their views on anyone at all, is trying to do exactly that to almost 1 in 4 members of the public.

Roistering Viv and her Health Fascist colleagues over at the Barmy Moron's Association seem to have forgotten that they, as doctors, are public servants. We, the public, pay their wages, and WE tell THEM what to do. And, judging from the rest of their proposals, they are very, very badly in need of someone - ANYONE - to tell them what to do.

Amongst the proposals most in need of a reality check is the utterly pathetic demand that any movie depicting a "positive" image of smoking should automatically be rated 18. According to the Telegraph, that means that movies such as Independence Day, which shows Will Smith lighting up a cigar whenever he kills an alien invader, would be a no-no. And, where such scenes exist, it would be a legal requirement for anti-smoking ads to be shown before and after the movie. Oh, and if a screenplay just can't get along without a smoker, there most be story lines that detail the "consequences" of smoking.

As nuts as this seems, I can easily imagine the Health Fascists baying for this kind of crap, and getting it, too. But there is a problem: if images of folks enjoying a cigg on screen become an 18-only event, what about people who actually, in real life, light a cigg or cigar? Think about some of the other acts that rate a film as 18 - sex, violence etc. They're not generally things you're encouraged to do in public, and I can't help wondering how long it will be before daring to light a cigg on the street will be considered as bad as - or, probably, worse than - ripping your clothes off and banging your other half senseless there.

Of course, if the BMA has its way, we know exactly how long it will be - 2035 at the latest, before your freedom to smoke is gone, never to be seen again. And, even worse, the Department of Health is giving this tosh serious consideration, amongst its other pathetic schemes to stop people from smoking. Did you ever see such a staggeringly arrogant, overbearing example of the Nanny State in action? Come to that, did you ever imagine that such a tiny few over zealous Health Fascists would ever be allowed to exercise such massive influence over so many people in an allegedly free country like Britain?

Until fairly recently, I always thought - well, ok, hoped - that the democratic process kept dictatorship at bay in this country. It seems that I was sadly mistaken on that score. Still, all is not lost. Dr Vivienne Nathanson, of whose antics I have written before, is a doctor and is therefore subject to the ever-capricious regulation of the General Medical Council. I could easily imagine huge numbers of irate smokers venting their fury through complaints to Nathanson's regulator. For those inclined to give it a go, you can find the GMC's rules and regulations on the Legislation page of their web site.

For the rest of us, it looks like we're going to be faced with a fairly stark choice in the not-too-distant future: stand up for our rights and reverse the erosion of our freedoms, or get the hell out of this bloody awful country. Only a few months ago, the idea of simply getting on a plane and leaving was unacceptable to me; England is my home, and I don't see why a few Health Fascists should force me out. But, since then, there has been more of a nosedive than a downturn in the state of the nation.

Our economy is in free fall, the Government is clearly both bent - compare Gordon Brown-Trousers telling us not to waste food while he demolishes a banquet with Mugabe's lavish celebrations and starving people - and incompetent, and the real power seems to lie with unelected quangos and even less significant bodies like the BMA. Political correctness is rife, education is non-existent, healthcare is a lottery, crime isn't so much a risk as a promise, common sense has already emigrated and Crazy Cameron doesn't look to be all that much of an improvement on Gordon Brown-Trousers.

It's a no-brainer, really, isn't it? And but for a lingering attachment to our home, and a faint hope that maybe, just maybe, things might get a little better with a new Government, Mrs S and I would already be long gone - although, probably, not to Niue. I'm sure we can't be the only folks to have seriously considered a move - Canada looks like a promising possibility - and Gordon Brown-Trousers should be very, very worried. Does it not cross his mind that he, and his Government, must be doing something terribly wrong if so many of his citizens are eyeing up new lives just about anywhere but here?

Probably not. After all, that would be less people to vote against him at the next election, wouldn't it?

Billy Seggars.

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