The Wrinkler

Those lovely people in ASH have come up with an absolute whiz of an idea.

They are all giggly and slapping each other on the back and hugging each other and saying how excited they are and this is a cracker of an idea and it is sooooo funny.

They are going to launch their new campaign called "The Wrinkler" and they cannot wait until the big day.

They are going to advertise cigarettes and tell us all how those cigarettes will give us wrinkles!

Now I thought advertising cigarettes for any reason was banned, but if they can do it, then so can I –

OK, so this is more of an advertisement for Photoshop than cigarettes so maybe that's how they get around the law, but is there a grain of truth in their presentation?  Do cigarettes in fact cause wrinkles?

I decided to have a look.

Now it's not easy finding photographs of people who do or do not smoke as they tend not to advertise that aspect of themselves either way, but I persevered.

THE SMOKER

James Reilly

OMG!!  Would you just look at the poor wretch!  Look at those ghastly wrinkles and the blotchy skin.  Look at the nicotine stained hair!  The poor man.  He looks as if he's in his seventies but hard though it is to believe, he is only 59!  The ravages of his smoking addiction have certainly left their mark there,

THE NON-SMOKER

David Bowie

Good heavens, just look at the difference!  The smooth blemish free skin with just a few laughter wrinkles around the eyes.  The difference is incredible!  Now you will not believe this but this chap is 68!!  Yes – he is a full nine years older than our poor smoking wretch above, but just look at the difference between the complexion and hair!  He's maybe nine years older but he looks twenty years younger.  Who would think that those evil cigarettes could make such a difference?  He was very wise to stay off those disgusting cigarettes, wasn't he?

So maybe The Wrinkler works after all?

Whoda thunk it?

Some are more equal than others

So it looks like the same-sex marriage referendum has passed?

Some quotes from today as the results are being counted –

I've lived in Ireland for 25 years and don't think I've ever been so proud or as happy to do so as today

or

Great day for Ireland and for the future of all our children 

To listen to the commentary you'd swear that Ireland had finally combated poverty, debt and disease for all time.

Let's step back for a moment and look at the scale of allowing same sex marriage.

At a very rough estimate, around 5% of the population are homosexual.  Presumably around half those are of marriageable age?  An even smaller percentage are in a lasting relationship and a smaller number again wish to commit to a permanent relationship.  So we are talking very small number here, maybe in the hundreds?  The referendum result is indeed cause for celebration for that tiny minority [and fair play to them] but let's keep things in perspective.

Now it is a sad fact but people need someone to look down on.  It used to be Negroes, but that was banned.  Then it was Itinerants but that was banned too.  In fact any mention of race, colour, religion or sexual orientation is now banned so who can society look down on?  There is no mention of lifestyle on the list so let's go for that!

So while the 5% homosexual crowd are now rejoicing, I would ask about the new Niggers of Ireland?  They constitute well over a quarter of the population and are now classed as the underdogs, with open encouragement to sneer and vilify them.  Not only do they have no laws to protect them, but it is the law itself that has classed them as the underdog, to be refused welcome, to be ostracised and to be cast in the street at every opportunity.  Millions are spent each year with the specific aim of persecuting this underclass with the stated and specific aim of forcing them to change.

It may be a great day for the homosexual population of Ireland, but segregation and apartheid are still openly practiced here in Ireland with the encouragement of the powers that be.

I'm happy for those who are now free to marry and I wish them well.

But don't fucking talk to me about equality!

Disenchanted and disenfranchised

I received a rebuke in the comments on yesterday's post.

Noel says – Really disappointed in you Grandad with this post and your previous article re the marriage referendum.  Thought you were a fighter for minority rights.

Now he has a point so I thought maybe I should explain myself.

The fact is that I feel completely disillusioned with the Irish electoral system, and indeed the Irish political system. 

Starting back in the days of the smoking ban I realised that the Irish State didn't give a damn about me or my lifestyle.  They "knew better" what was good for me and despite a complete lack of demand for such a ban, it was imposed on me.  That may seem a trivial point to some, but it generated a minority of which I was part.  I feel marginalised and disenfranchised and more than a little resentful as a result of the ban.

Following on from that we had the famous Lisbon Treaty debacle where despite the clear vote of the Irish, they demanded a second referendum so that we could give "the right answer".  Clearly they now not ony think they know what's good for me but they also want to tell me how I should think. 

When the recession hit it became abundantly clear that the Ruling Elite don't give a damn for the plain people of Ireland.  The banks, the bondholders and the foreign investors were well catered for while the ordinary Joe had to face massive and additional taxation.

The Ruling Elite don't give a damn about me so I don't give a damn about them.  I feel the entire system is corrupt to the core and I really don't see why I should play their little games where they pretend to listen to the electorate but intend to proceed on their own preconceived path.  They will lie, cheat and obfuscate to achieve their ends so I just close my ears to them and go my own way.

Being part of a minority, of course I fight for minority rights.  I don't however believe that by casting my vote that I would make one iota of difference.  If I for a second thought that my vote did somehow count then I would indeed vote, but as things stand I choose to use my right not to do so. 

Do they give a damn about me?

No.

Do I gave a flying fuck about them?

Draw your own conclusions.

Lies, damn lies and statistics

I found a wee video yesterday over at Frank's place.

I thought I would stick it up here for those of you who might have missed it.

I'm not going to pass any comment.

I'll leave it to you to decide if it's a pack of lies …

… or exposing the truth.

I'll let you judge if it's just propaganda …

… or demolishing propaganda.

Judge for yourselves.

The Stubbornness Effect

So the workplace ban didn't stop people smoking?

Now this is strange because I was always lead to believe the workplace ban was there for the sake of bar staff and other employees?  Are they finally admitting that its sole purpose was to marginalise, demonise and denormalise smokers?

That aside, there is nothing surprising in the report. 

Basically the workplace ban affected two groups of smokers.  The first group is the person who is employed in a workplace environment – office staff, bar workers, shopkeepers and so on.  The second group are those who only enter a workplace by choice – the self employed, workers in an outside environment [builders, farmers and the like] and the unemployed.

The first group are the ones who were hardest hit as they suddenly found themselves forced to completely abstain apart from smoking breaks.  This is the group one would expect to have the highest quit rate.

The second group were only really affected if they had to enter a place of employment such as shops, hotels and of course pubs.

Within the timeframe of the study there have been several massive price hikes levied on tobacco, so I would expect a decrease in overall rates.  One would expect though that the first group would be the greatest quitters as they have to suffer the price hike plus the workplace ban, whereas the second group only gave to bear the price hikes?  Yet the study shows the reverse is true?

My theory is quite simple – it's the Stubbornness Effect kicking in.

People don't like to be ordered around.  They don't like laws, rules and regulations.  The more you order them to do something [particularly something illogical] they more they will resist and refuse to comply.  Smokers see themselves as being ordered to quit so naturally they respond with the two fingers.  Our first group, while having to endure the workplace ban are financially better able to weather the price hikes and are therefore better able to continue to resist.  Our second group however are more likely to have suffered financially from the downturn and in many cases have joined the unemployed and have therefore been forced to quit.

From the turn of the Millennium Ireland has been subjected to a whole raft of Draconian legislations.  We have suffered from the workplace ban, massive price hikes, a ban on sales of 10 cigarettes [I still can’t find the logic in that], a ban on all advertising and sponsorship, a ban on vending machines and a ban on even the sight of cigarettes in shops, yet the smoking cessation rate remains at one of the lowest in the world.  With the possible exception of the price hikes not one measure has had the slightest effect on smoking rates in Ireland.   The more they demand, the more the smoker resists.

By the very nature of the bans, they have succeeded in creating a subculture whose membership consists of exiled smokers.  Walk up to any group outside an office or pub and if you have a cigarette [or pipe] in your hand you are instantly welcomed.  There are many anecdotal reports of non-smokers actually taking up the odd puff just to join in the camaraderie of the subculture, which proves that in some cases the laws have actually become counterproductive.

If they really wanted to cut the smoking rate here in Ireland they would stand a much better chance by simply reversing all that petty legislation.

OECD Smoking Rates