Thursday, 17 July 2008

Idiot wind

As in 'someone's got it in for me....'

Someone has emailed me a few choice extracts from the freedom2choose website. (You'll have to register if you want to see more - they're worried about 'spammers and other dodgy posting spoiling your enjoyment' - aren't we all).

What is so bizarre is that they really believe they're winning the argument because the 'antis' aren't posting; no, it's not that at all - they just have far more productive things to do, like convincing people that the earth isn't really flat and that pigs generally speaking don't have wings.

Here's a selection....

"Final thing I've noticed on the media comments/blogs is that we're winning... easily. The anti-smokers fire off a few posts on the blogs but the clarity and solidity of our arguments are winning through and the antis dry up very quickly. Even MP Kerry McCarthy is really subdued within 24 hours of argument. She's really in a tizz after her initial puff, bluster and side-swipes her arguments fizzled out quicker than a Party popper. Hope we can do that with the rest of her colleagues."

I've posted too on the Losers, sorry Labour MP's blog. She's come back twice to titter like a twit about how bizzy she is and is waiting for the tidal wave to abate before she replies (ie. gets researchers to respond). We all know the generalised, bland opaque answers we're going to get! Which will certainly kick me off into a red mist again as her original disgustingly one-sided comment did."

"Kerry McCarthy is getting hammered (smiley face icon)"

Also some stuff about how I'm going to delete all the comments - no, unlike freedom2choose I don't only accept comments from people who agree with me - and why the Nazi references are entirely appropriate and not at all distasteful. Nice people.


Jay said...

You just aren't willing to entertain the idea that the tobacco control lobby is not high-minded and altruistic, are you, Kerry?

I've no doubt that they are busily engaged in deciding where next to introduce further restrictions and how they can fabricate a case. That is their MO.

Actually, they quite some time ago stopped even bothering to cover their backs. They no longer need to because people in power, like yourself, are only too willing to take their assertions at face value.

I don't expect the man in the street to approach the issue by critically examining the arguments on both sides with a clear mind, but I believe that I have every right to expect it of elected representatives. I think that other voters do, too.

My hope is that the anti brigade's assertions will become so outrageous that even the prejudiced can no longer be seen to accept them. I believe that one of their leading lights, Stanton Glantz, has recently announced that the breath of smokers is toxic.

I have no doubt that there are those who will accept this statement as sensible. Just who are the idiots......?

Jay said...

By the way, I apologise if I'm mistaken, but it seems clear that the 'someone' who emailed the comments which you've included in your post, has done so in order to create mischief.

This is another feature of the anti smoking brigade: the ad hominem attack. It occurs from the highest echelons of the movement to the lowest. Anyone who dares to criticise is set upon and accused of being tobacco stooges, dirty, filthy addicts who will go to any lengths to justify their addiction or 'flat earthers'. There are some scientists who have had the integrity and courage to speak out against the disgracefully shoddy studies on which the tobacco control lobby has fabricated its 'passive smoking' case who have found that the tobacco control lobby has absolutely no qualms about smearing their reputations and ostracising them professionally.

Simon Clark, Director of Forest, reported quite recently that representatives of the tobacco control lobby refused to allow him to participate in a meeting that he attended in Brussels, but that's probably small potatoes to a man who's received death threats because he campaigns for choice and for the right of smokers to be treated with the respect that we accord to other members of society.

Nice people.

DaveA said...

Kerry have you learnt nothing in the last 2 weeks about how upset smokers are about the ban. I am a member of F2C and like any democrat we welcome all comments. Many emails and comments we get are along the lines of " I hope you disgusting smokers all die of lung cancer". I have missed out on some of the more choice adjectives that begin with F.

I am afraid that Gordon Brown et al have put the final nails in Labour's coffin at the next election by lauding the smoking ban in Parliament this week.

Reading what the blogger said, maybe the triumphalist tone maybe not be everyone's cup of tea, but I cannot see any fundamental errors in what the person has written. Amanda Sandford of ASH described their campain, leading to the smoking ban as being a "Confidence trick", I trust you will equally condemnatory of her choice of language.

You have my respect for taking time out to reply to us smokers, and of course you being a politician you can't be seen to be disagreeing with party policy. But your total lack of empathy I am afraid detracts from an obviously talented and intelligent person.

DaveA said...

As a final word, I do not think I am betraying any confidences here but here is an email that I wrote to my MP Harry Cohen, after I met at the HoC. He is a charming man. It is the votes that Labour are losing because of the smoking ban. BTW Kerry on Forest the Tories sent a spokesman to the site saying, if elected, they will keep an open mind in the 2010 review. Sir Brian Iddon's is the most perceptive.

Here are some quotes and supporting URLs. Let me start off by quoting your colleague Sir Brian Iddon.

'Bolton South East MP Dr Brian Iddon said the Government's plans to increase road tax would further alienate voters who were already 'heavily bruised' from the smoking ban and rises in alcohol duty'.

Also if you go to the Labour Party's website and the secion 'Gordon is listening' here are some typical quotes.


I am an ex-party member, I stopped my subscription 2 years ago as all I heard on the radio was nannying and coercion

I'm also more than disappointed that some Labour supporters here can't recognise the terrible damage the smoking ban has had on our support. I am a committe member at a British Legion Club in Surrey and I can attest to the fact that is a huge factor in the minds of our members, there is barely a day goes by without someone mentioning it and linking it with the Labour Party.'....'Our membership dropped by 35% in January and we have lost 80% of our darts teams as we have no chance of offering a good place for smokers due to our location and restrictions from the local council. This is in a southern area where Labour don't have much representation, so I dread to think how the Labour vote is being decimated in strong Labour working areas in the north etc.'
'Liesa Message left at 08:45 pm, Sat 3rd May 2008

I was a 3rd generation labour voter. My Granddad was a labour councilor and next to be Lord Mayor before his death. My parents were active labour activists. Why did I not vote for your party?....On top of that we have your wonderful, decisive smoking ban. Great to let one of the countries highest revenue payers suddenly become society's outcasts. Have you been to a Labour WMC in the north recently? The pensioners that fought for freedom? Heard what they have to say about the party that they held dear? Whilst stood under your parties idea of a humane smoking solution... a 50% enclosed 'shelter'that the RSPCA would not house a sick dog in? Listen and learn Mr. Brown. Boris has and will question the way you are treating the citizens of this country. Your voters have spoken. It would be in the Labour Party's interest to listen.'

So if you want some feel good back in the UK, may I humbly suggest a partial relaxation of the smoking ban. Thanks again for your time.

DaveA said...

I do not want to hog all the posts on this thread but analogies with the Nazi's is exaggerated but elements of Hitler's health policies do ring true. Robert Proctor's The Nazi War On Cancer catalogues Hitler's obsession health and its associated "racial purity."

"...he became aware of its health hazards and, when in power (perhaps with the zeal of a convert), appeared to detest tobacco, which he called "the wrath of the Red Man against the White Man, vengeance for having been given hard liquor." But the antismoking campaign reflected "a national political climate stressing the virtues of racial hygiene and bodily purity" as well as the Fuhrer's personal prejudices. The same could be said of Nazi efforts to discourage drinking and encourage a better diet."

Dick Puddlecote said...

Oh Kerry, does your naivete know no limit? I'm a member of a darts forum with 2000 members and that is also only readable by registered members, it's quite a standard policy in many forums.

Besides, here is a very tiny selection of comments from unregulated sites in the past year ... you no doubt agree with them.

By the way, I can produce about 200 to 300 of these types of comment. You helped to start this disgusting treatment of smokers. You pander to the types of people that write such disgusting things. I hope you are pleased with the spiteful and nasty society you and your fellow de-normalisers are creating.

"I hope you morons all die of cancer and I look forward to you going under the anesthetic just before the surgeon makes that incision above your adams apple to remove the cancerous growth eating up your cells. Smokers are like blacks, they are poisoning our society, Hitler had great ideas, maybe it is time to bring back Auswitz" - Joe Bird


" All you smokers are idiots. Die."

"Question: (What would you do about the 50,000,000 smokers who the ban would drive onto the black market?) (Answer) Shoot every last one of them"

"If there was a big red button labelled "Kill all smokers", I would have no hesitation to push it, over and over, until the bloody thing worked. And I reckon all those millions, and millions of miracles would have me made a saint." - BrainsforHire (Guardian)

"I propose that one in every (insert large number here) cigarettes should contain a quantity of a fast acting,deadly poison such as arsenic." TallRoo










Dick Puddlecote said...

I forgot to say that I added the above to add balance to your one-sided view of smokers as being some sort of disgraceful underclass.

It would also be safe to say, as DaveA mentions, that the person who e-mailed you those comments had an agenda, had cherry-picked them, and that they were the very worst they could find. In those circumstances, I think it proves that Pro-Choicers are a darn site more civilised than those that you favour.

And I'd like to ask a question. Seeing as you like to imply that those that disagree with a blanket smoking ban are flat-earthers, what research into SHS did you actually read before casting your vote? And was it (if you read any) commissioned or funded by pharma or a single-issue "charity" ... funded by pharma? I ask because you patently wouldn't believe a study by BAT that says SHS is totally harmless, so why are you so naive to believe studies by those that have a financial interest in showing the results your bias wishes to see? (I suppose the last part answers my question) ;-)

And as for your statement:

"What is so bizarre is that they really believe they're winning the argument because the 'antis' aren't posting; no, it's not that at all - they just have far more productive things to do"

... like post vile comments as above in places where they ARE allowed.

helend498 said...


Well, I certainly wouldn't like to be a smoker in your constituency as you have made your feelings of smokers obviously clear in your recent blogs on this matter.

You will only listen to a one-sided arguement that has an extremely biased financial interest in the matter. Your eyes and ears are shut to anyone who states (even with evidence to back it up) anything to the contrary. Open your eyes Kerry, see what is going on around you. Little by little the antis push that bit too much, and another group of people realise that it's all a big con. I realised this a long while ago, and more and more are realising it every day.

If you listened to the smokers, all they're asking for is to be treated humanely, and many non-smokers are asking the same thing.

There is nothing wrong with choice; there is nothing wrong with modern air management systems. You know this and many of the public know this. Why don't you do something about it instead of ignoring the electorate further and sitting back watching more and more businesses fail?

Kerry said...

I'm against smoking, not smokers.
Some of my best friends (etc). I don't get why you insist on portraying yourself as a persecuted minority - you're allowed to smoke. OK, it's increasingly discouraged, but it's not prohibited. Requiring people to pop outside for a cigarette is at worst inconvenient - and that's what we're talking about (my initial post was about the ban on smoking in enclosed public spaces).

As for what evidence I looked at before the vote, we were inundated with reports, emails, letters. I read a lot of them. The majority of people in this country believe that smoking is a public health problem, and so is passive smoking. Are you seriously arguing that they are all deluded? That 'big pharma' as you put it, has led them up the garden path?

Couple more points - every poll I've seen shows overwhelming public support for the ban; why do you think that is?

And, Davea - you say - "of course you being a politician you can't be seen to be disagreeing with party policy" - that's ridiculous. It was a free vote. And, for the record, I am reading these comments - (it's 1.37am, and I've been reading them for the past hour). It's not that I'm ignoring you. I JUST DON'T AGREE WITH YOU.

Carlos said...


Wow you are really such a good friend to those smokers.

Inconvenient?? What about all those old age pensioners who have problems walking. What about those sectionned under the mental health act who are now banned from smoking altogether? Ive got more facts but Im not sure if links are allowed here.

In addition pubs, restaurants and the like arent public places they are privately owned. The owner pays taxes, runs the cost of business and pays his/her employees. Thus a business owner should have the right to offer amenities such as the luxury of smoking on their premises to better serve their customers. This is not as much about smoking or not, this is about government taking away the freedom and right of a business to serve a particular type of customer that is participating in a legal activity. Tobacco control always tries its best to go against private property rights as it knows it stands no chance. Now about the so called poor "innocent" hospitality workers-ok a lot of them smoke anyway and perhaps want to be in smoking environments. Then of course there are some nonsmokers most of which dont mind smoking. The antismokers in any sane person's view are thus unfit to hold such jobs. They should seek work in a voluntarily nonmsking environment and there were plenty before the ban including most restaurants and plenty of pubs. Why wasnt the property rights issue addressed in the 3 hours of the St Valentine's Day massacre(14th February 2006 vote),

Also can you name 10 proven deaths from Second Hand Smoke with ETS on the death certificate? Even for active smoking(smoking I admit isnt exactly healthy but then neither is drinking and a lot of other things but hey Id rather live with risks and live my life having fun then die of boredom by eventually topping myself by always thinking of prevention)it isnt the only cause of any death though it may contribute to it.

Every poll?? Which ones? Perhaps ASH, CRUK etc which were only sent to their members? On several local papers many showed thumbs down to the ban. Is there a rule or something saying they cant be reported?? What do your friends at ASH say? Well I can say they havent censored the ones in the trade websites though such as the Morning Advertiser and the Publican. Same for the letters and emails. You probably ignored the hospitality trade anyway. The tobacco industry(a LEGAL one so should be treated in the same way as the others)I would be surprised if you read their emails though Im sure you ahd nom problem with the pharma company's ones.

Free vote?? Or was it given ASH threatened to expose those who voted against the ban should it have failed in the reading. So much for democracy when it is run by special interests and lobbyists who probably cant get a proper job except making it hell for the rest of society not caring about the consequences of their actions.

Carlos said...

Oh Kerry by the way I forgot to metnion that modern air filtration and ventilation can remove 99.99% of particles in ETS and indeed various bacteria. If they can be used in operating theatres they sure as hell can be used in pubs with smokers.

BrianB said...

"Requiring people to pop outside for a cigarette is at worst inconvenient"

Is it Kerry? How do you know this if you have never smoked? And if it just a minor inconvenience, as you suggest, why is it that the number of pubs that have closed in England since the ban is now approaching (if not exceeding) 2,000, and that that traditional bastion of Labour support, the working mens club, is rapidly approaching extinction - and all of this reportedly due to the smoking ban?

Clearly there are enough people who DISAGREE WITH YOU (sorry bad netiquette to use capitals - shouting!) to the extent that they have judged that their social lives have been taken away by high-handed legislation ("Just pop outside", indeed! Sure, under the threat of being criminalised for what was a perfectly legal and socially acceptable activity until 12 months ago!)

"The majority of people in this country believe that smoking is a public health problem, and so is passive smoking. Are you seriously arguing that they are all deluded?"
Smoking may be a health problem (although it is surely an 'individual', not a 'public', health issue), but "passive smoking" is definitely not. The scientific evidence is just not there - and I can assure you that I am qualified to make such a claim.

Are people deluded? Well many are, yes. But most are misinformed and/or ill-informed, and, given the increasing volume, shrillness and blatent dishonesty of the anti-smoking propaganda over the past couple of decades, this is hardly surprising. Unfortunately it is now too often (and I say this with a heavy heart) the politicians that really are deluded. So what hope is there for the "poor bloody infantry" when it comes to deciding where to place a cross come polling day?

Oh, and when the majority of the population were adjudged to be in support of the invasion of Iraq - were they deluded? Or, now that the majority is against - are they deluded now? What about the huge majority of the population who say that Gordon Brown should quit the PM position - are they deluded?

Do you always use the 'majority' view as a justfication for actions, or only when it suits you? But then is there ever the justification to use the perceived opinion of a majority as an excuse to demonise a minority? I thouht your party took some pride in working to reduce prejudice, not instigate it!

And where I would (respectfully) suggest that you may be deluded, is in your naive refusal to see the role played by 'big pharma' in the drive towards elimination of tobacco. Well, not quite, actually. What the Pharamceuticals want is to control nicotine, and to exploit its many proven therapeutic benefits. But they can't do that while 'Big Tobacco' controls the only serious source of nicotine, can they? But hey, don't take my word for it (you obviously won't anyway). Spend a bit of time doing some research yourself. I promise you that you will quickly see what's been going on. (Hint: Start by looking up the 'Robert Woods Johnson Foundation')

"Every poll I've seen shows overwhelming public support for the ban; why do you think that is?"

Well, quite probably because you have only seen the polls commissioned by the likes of ASH, BHF etc - and these are biased.

The only true test of public opinion on the issue of smoking in pubs was conducted every year up to 2006, by ONS, as part of the annual General Household Survey. Each year one question asked whether the respondent supported a complete ban on smoking, a partial ban (separate rooms etc) or no ban. Consistently the proportion supporting the type of (blanket) ban that your government introduced was less than one third. The biggest proportion (40% plus) preferred the same choice-based arrangement that Freedom2Choose have always advocated (you see the clue is in the 'Choose' part of the group's name!).

But from last year, the question with multiple choices disappeared from the General Household Survey, (at the request, it appears, of DoH) so the question of 'choice' is never being asked since; why do you think that is, Kerry?

Maybe I can help you answer the question I just asked. This is a direct quotation:

"I am afraid it would be nice to say there is, but even I think ASH, who produced a survey produced by MORI, I think, earlier this year, found that only 49% of the public were in favour of a complete ban. The ONS survey of 2004 showed it standing at 31%. I would say the previous year it was, I think, 11 points behind that; so there is a movement in terms of public opinion, but I am afraid to say, on a complete ban, when you tell the people a complete ban in all settings, in social settings, pubs, there is not the majority. What you see is it goes extremely higher when we talk about restrictions, which is why 88% support restrictions in public places, 91% in restaurants, and I have to say, even though it is a majority, it goes down to 65% in pubs for restrictions. We are going further in that respect than public opinion, because we recognise public opinion is moving. "

In case you don't recognize them, they are the words of your colleague, Caroline Flint - then Public Health Minister - to a question asked in the Parliamentary Health Select Committee - before the ban legislation came before the House.

Oh, and who do you think asked the question? Why, none other than your great friend, colleague and source of your best 'scientific advice' (you said as such in another thread) Dr Doug Naysmith!!

(I should that I found that particular discussion most illuminating. It was transparently obvious that your friend 'Dr Doug' would easily fall into the category of 'hard-line antismoker', and I felt that his badgering of Ms Flint in his aggressive line of questioning was rather distasteful)

So do you now understand what I mean when I use terms like 'misinformed'? Or 'biased' (you know, like scientific advice from Doug Naysmith?)

Lastly, can I ask you please to explain why a 'free vote' is judged by so many MPs to be such a wonderful democratic instrument? All I see is that a free vote allows you all freely to exercise your own personal prejudices with a clear conscience? I see nothing free, nor democratic, in a system that passes legislation, on the personal whims and prejudices of about 400 net individuals, that criminalises a hitherto perfectly acceptable - and accepted - social activity, of hundreds of years standing and indulged in by over 10 million people in England alone. Where is the freedom for all of these people? Arbitrarily snatched away at the personal whim of the few!

Or do want us to believe that your personal views are more important than, say, mine by a factor of about 25,000 to one?

Sounds like a funny kind of 'free' vote to me.

Footnote: I can back up everything I have siad in this post with evidence. Can you say the same? I mean, it is easy to say "I JUST DISAGREE WITH YOU", but you would deserve much more respect if you could, yourself, produce evidence to demonstrate why you disagree. Without this you just have the opinion of one individual. You entitlement, of course, but no more important than mine, nor anyone else's.

Best wishes

helend498 said...

You state you are against smoking Kerry. Are you also against choice?

This is all that many of the private businesses, clubs and bingo halls are asking for, so that they don't follow in the footsteps of the thousands that have already closed as a direct result of this ban.

You mention polls Kerry; I've seen many as well. I tend to view the public ones in the newspapers as I find they reflect true opinion better (can't be biased as to who responds). These do not agree with the polls that are produced by the anti-smoking establishment.

As I said in my earlier post Kerry, I think it would be better to embrace the viewpoints of all, rather than heavily funded anti-smoking industries. Afterall, these industries are not the electorate, and it is the electorate who vote

Martin said...

Kerry Said: "every poll I've seen shows overwhelming public support for the ban; why do you think that is?"

Well; 30 years of junk science, victimisation and health scare headlines followed by multi million pound television adverts at every commercial break is going to have an effect isn't it?

An ad that tells you "smoke is a deadly cocktail of 4000 chemicals" for example is designed purely to scare people yet it's completely fallacious because everything in the universe is made of chemicals and every chemical in smoke is present in indoor air in greater quantities from other sources. Both the HSE and OSHA have printed exposure limits; all of the chemicals in passive smoke are at least several thousand times below these limits in even the smokiest environments which is why the HSE never banned smoking in pubs. (In fact even after the ban they were still saying they couldn't find any
scientific evidence to support it).

I would also suggest that you look at the ONS surveys, they actually asked if people favoured a total ban and 67% don't support it. Moderate people favour restrictions, not total bans.

Kerry Said: "I don't get why you insist on portraying yourself as a persecuted minority"

Let's see...

Removed from every building in the land without even the dignity of a dry, warm shelter, refused employment, refused medical care even though we pay more than anyone else towards it, 'shop' a smoker hotlines, stealth taxes, public victimisation.

I don't get why you insist on supporting such behaviour in the 21st century.

Kerry Said: "you're allowed to smoke. OK, it's increasingly discouraged, but it's not prohibited."

I suggest you read the ASH endorsed RCP blueprint to prohibition and then research the history of the anti movement. First it was flights of less than 2 hours, then it was buses, then it was cinemas, then it was offices, then it was pubs, next it is cars, then it is public outdoor spaces, then it is homes and in 20 years time (according to the RCP) it is total prohibition when smokers will be forced onto pharma provided nicotine. (again according to the RCP)

Kerry said:"As for what evidence I looked at before the vote, we were inundated with reports, emails, letters. I read a lot of them."

Can I suggest that you actually read the science instead? There are just under 200 primary studies into passive smoke with almost all funding coming from tobacco control. 5 out of 6 of them show no risk at all from passive smoke and not one of them can show it to have as much risk as coffee, olive oil or mobile phones.

If, as an adult, you are allowed to enter a building, drink coffee and chat on your phone why are you telling me that I can have no building whatsoever to join like minded, consenting adults?

The protection of bar staff argument doesn't work either. Modern ventilation can easily make indoor air 'cleaner' than outdoor air and in any case if you follow the suggestions that there should be a zero risk policy then you need to start banning many other things before you ever get to smoking.

What justification do you have for not supporting ventilated smoking rooms where the air is 'better' than outside?

What justification do you have for not allowing a decent dry, warm shelter for smokers?

You seem very fond of claiming the 'majority'. Don't minorities have any choice in your Britain?

DaveA said...

Kerry it is very difficult to portray what it is like not to be able to smoke in a pub. The first analogy is probably over the top and the second analogy understates it.

Imagine the government of the day banned anyone eating high fat food in restaurants, except outside. So if you went to McDonalds or wanted the crackling on your pork, you have to take your bag or plate, interrupt your conversation and go and sit outside in all weathers. After all it is not too bad in the summer. The government wants to discourage obesity and eating the "wrong food", and the law is for your own good.

Or imagine Kerry you are having a glass on wine in your local and fancy a bag of crisps. They are not good for you and the government has decreed that if you want to eat crisps you have to go outside in all weathers. Its for your own good......

The analogy could easily be used for your favourite tipple. I am sure if this was applied to you, you would be hopping mad too if you had to deal with situations like this, infringement of liberties. A drink and a smoke go together like hand and glove.

Between the two analogies my outrage is between the two, erring more to the first. I hope you understand how frustrated and irritated we are by the ban.

Kerry said...

Since these posts started - i.e. over the past three weeks - I've asked every smoker I've encountered what their view is.
None of them thought it was a big deal. Nearly all of them said it was a good thing because it stopped them smoking as much (thus saving them money, etc). And this includes people who only smoke when drinking - i.e. they agree with you about a drink and a smoke going together. I say this just to stress that I'm not taking a blinkered view on this; I am concerned to hear what my constituents think, as I would be on any measure introduced by the government, but my feedback from them doesn't correlate with what you're saying.

Jay said...

Thanks, Kerry, for taking the trouble to do this.

Carlos said...


We would like to be interested about how you asked the question. More likely you asked "is it helping you cut down??" Now whatever they say the answer you got isnt implying they support the ban.

Now go again and try asking this question: "who do you think should decide the smoking of x establishment- the owner/manager if it is a chain or the government?" I reckon the answer would be different.

So what Im saying it doesnt correlates as depending on the question theyll give a different answer. Same would happen on the EU and the Lisbon Treaty. In fact as a matter of interest what % of them support it?