Most people must be aware by now that this weekend sees the tenth anniversary of the smoking ban here in Ireland.
The tenth anniversary of the Bully State, and the beginnings of a worldwide pogrom against smokers.
The Irish Times are devoting quite a few column inches to the subject which makes some quite interesting reading.
One of the first things that struck me was the very small number of people behind this move. This wasn't as a result of any demands by the public at large. This wasn't part of any government manifesto. This was the wet-dream of a tiny number of rabid anti-smokers, led of course by Luke Clancy [a professional anti-smoker].
Anther item is the open admission that the research the whole move was based on was flakey at best –
Clancy – "The tobacco industry came in and said second-hand smoke isn’t really harmful to nonsmokers, that this is do-gooders trying to make trouble. But [the group] rejected the tobacco-company insistence that passive smoking wasn’t bad for you."
So the research that showed no harm was dismissed because it came from the tobacco industry and for no other reason.
Sara Burke – "There was a fantastic official in the Department of Health, […] who just decided to make this happen – to get all the international evidence – to come up with a clever way of implementing it and get political support."
To put this another way – to make it happen the evidence was tailored to suit the cause.
Reading through the whole piece one realises that this was a tiny number of fanatics pandering to the egos of a small number of politicians.
Of course the media are pumping out all the usual rhetoric and propaganda – that 4,000 lives have been "saved" [if 4,000 would have died from passive smoking then active smokers must be dying at the rate of half a million a year?] and that smoking rates have declined since the ban [ignoring the fact that the rates were declining before the ban and that the annual rate of quitting has decreased in the last ten years].
What they don't tell us about is the decimation of the hospitality trade. They claim that's due to supermarkets undercutting drink prices [which they did long before the ban], the tougher drink-driving laws and the recession [which didn’t happen until four and a half years later].
They don't tell us about the loneliness and isolation amongst the elderly [in particular in rural areas] where the only means of social interaction was denied.
They don't tell us how this ban gave the green light to the righteous to chastise and pillory ordinary people who are going about their perfectly legal business.
They don't tell us that based on the "success" of this ban that the Health Nazis are not only threatening to direct the law into our private homes and cars, but are also turning their sights onto other areas of the population who are deemed to be "unfit" [non-Aryan?].
And the real benefit after ten years of the ban?
People say their clothes don't smell as much.