10 Years On – What We Know

I’ve been dreading this day all year.

10 years on from the ban on smoking in public and private places, the media are (no doubt on Gov instructions) bigging up the number of lives allegedly saved by this undemocratic action.

I’ve long had a major gripe about this as can be seen by my letter of 30th April 2007 which was shortlisted for publication in the Sunday Times. It can be read here.

As the new buzz phrase from the BEEB would have it this is “What we know”:

  1. Thousands of pubs have closed down with the loss of tens of thousands of jobs and most in my hometown of Exeter have been converted into Luxury Student Accommodation, while scores of homeless litter the streets.
  2. The people who said that they would be going to the pub once they no longer had to put up with the filthy smokers are not going to the pub. They are going to the cafe bar which is JD Wetherspoon (or Witherspoons as my less articulate friends would have it).
  3. If Gov figures are to be believed, hundreds of thousands of lives have been saved by the ban, which might go some way to explaining why the NHS is crumbling around us; never mind the lack of funding and immigration. Hundreds of thousands of more people now dying a slower death from COPD induced smoking now need inhalers and other medication, costing the nation millions of pounds. Wouldn’t it have been preferable if these miscreants like myself had just died a natural death of their habit?
  4. Last but not least is the fact that the bastards under Blair who instigated this filthy ban under the orders of the EU did not ban it in The House Of Commons or their Private London Clubs. Is this what they call democracy?

This is what I know, and I can tell you I’m as pissed off today as I was 10 years ago……..

Over and OUT!!!!!!

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Fake News – Lazy Posters

Day after day now it seems that some people (mainly those who are too lazy to think for themselves) are posting sh*te on so-called "social" networks regarding either Muslims taking over "our" country or the admirable Jeremy Corbyn attending an IRA funeral or clandestine meeting.

Well, firstly it is not your country, my country or owt; the country is owned by the Chinese – check it out if you can be bothered. Alternatively, simply make up some scare stories about muslims planning to take over this green and pleasant land post them to your favourite anti-social network.

Over & Out.

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Keeping Up A Tradition In Crediton

WESTCOUNTRY smokers and their supporters turned out in their thousands across the region yesterday for the traditional Boxing Day Toke.

The Smoking Act 2007 banned smoking in public places, but the habit shows no sign of dying out and plenty of people took the opportunity to enjoy the crisp festive air in glorious sunshine; not that they were given a choice of course, as smoking indoors now is pretty much impossible.

In Crediton, near Exeter, hundreds of supporters of the Mid Devon Toke turned out in the crisp morning air to line the pavements to appease their craving. They brought the town to a standstill as they filled the streets with their roll-ups and tailor mades, the smokers enjoying the customary drink before they were forced outside by the landlords and landladies, who will surely soon regret not doing more to stop the ban as their businesses collapse beneath them. That'll teach them, don't you think?

There were no reports of clashes with anti-smoke protesters, aside from one small incident outside the Ship Inn which left an elderly woman from Black Dog Village with ash on her shoes, which was soon defused by whipper in/roadsweeper Tony Pike. However, there was universal condemnation of the ban, which has affected not just those taking part, but passive smokers as well. Those who could previously enjoy a smoke courtesy of their nearest miscreant now have to buy their own cigarettes, and quite rightly too, in my opinion.

Meanwhile in the Houses Of Parliament, those responsible for the ban continued to smoke as always, because it is of course one rule for them, and another completely for us. Don't you just love the democracy and freedoms we enjoy in this green and pleasant land?

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Fascist State

On taking on the job, hapless Prime Minister Gordon Brown stated "All decisions that we make will have to be built from an understanding of grassroots opinion. People will be more engaged in decision making" (Quoted from a BBC interview broadcast on Sunday 24th June 2007).

It seems to me that now more than at any other time the British people are simply told what to do, and put up with it. I just hope that the students present take heed of his wise words. From what I see of much of todays youth, they are far more interested in getting on Big Brother or The X Factor than worrying about how their freedoms are being gradually eroded through what is fast becoming a fascist regime.

I blame this primarily on the fact that many (but not all) of todays youth have nevered wanted for much. Having left full-time education in 1978, a year before the dreaded Thatcher took office, I soon learned to take more than a passing interest in politics. I can remember the days when myself and many others of the same age (and younger) were taking direct action against the dreaded Poll Tax by standing up for (and singing about) what we believed in. Of course, there were always those who sought fame amongst us, but thankfully the songs myself and others were singing in the pubs and clubs up and down the country was highly unlikely to impress the likes of Pete Waterman and Simon Cowell.

To this end, I propose that what Britain needs today is a musical revolution, as in the words of a not so famous punk icon, "governments alone can't cause such distress without the people who let them get away with it". At risk of upsetting many of your younger readers, no I'm not suggesting that watered down junk such as Coldplay suddenly start wearing bondage trousers, but rather that the youth of today get off their lazy backsides and start writing lyrics that actually mean something.

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Smokers Illegally Targetted On Railway Property.

Dear Sir,

I am writing with some concern, having recently witnessed a member of the public being fined for dropping a cigarette end on the pavement directly outside Exeter St Davids railway station. I was under the impression that this area was privately owned, and my subsequent investigation confirmed that this was indeed the case.

It would appear that the "smoking police" employed by Exeter City Council are being somewhat overzealous in their quest to boost the council coffers. To this end, I think it only fair that members of the public are made aware that any fine imposed on railway property should be safely ignored. Furthermore, those who have unwittingly paid such fines need to be aware that the council are acting unlawfully, and I would urge them to press for a full refund and apology.

It is my opinion that the council should be held responsible, in the same way in which the television broadcasters were recently brought to book, for wrongly charging viewers on premium rate telephone numbers.

Clarification of this matter from council chiefs would I'm sure be welcomed by smokers, and I urge them to respond through your columns at the earliest convenience.

Note: This letter was not published in the Express & Echo, no doubt down to the official denotice on any pro-smoking malarkey by HM Gov.

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Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics


I am writing an open letter today in an attempt to seek clarification from someone on the effects of the July 1st smoking ban on pub profits.

On September 7th, the UK's largest pub chain, JD Wetherspoon, who's flagship pub, The Imperial is a local landmark in Exeter, issued a statement which read "JD Wetherspoon has delivered record results as the UK smoking ban failed to dent profits" (Source: CatererSearch).

Just 2 months later, on November 7th, it issued a statement which stated that "it remained cautious over trading after the introduction of the smoking ban in England dented sales" (Source: Reading Evening Post).

I am naturally a little bemused by this, and would like some kind of explanation from Wetherspoon supremo, and local resident, Tim Martin as to what all this means exactly.

Would it be cynical of me to say that the first statement was written for the shareholders, while the second one is a matter of public record?

On another note, now that the winter weather is finally with us, and the social lepers who choose to smoke are herded on to the street, or designated "dying area", I wonder how local publicans are faring. To request their comments through the E&E would be a trifle unfair, as few publicans will admit to having an empty pub, but perhaps there are those who will give us an honest answer?

I await the replies from them and Mr Martin with interest.

Note: This letter was not published in the Express & Echo, no doubt down to the official denotice on any pro-smoking malarkey by HM Gov.

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Bouncing the Pigs

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to your story "CONCERN AT SMOKING BAN AFFECT DOOR STAFF" (Echo 20th August 2007). Regular readers will be aware that this is not the first time I have sought to voice my opinion on this undemocratic and ridiculously unworkable law, and to this end I will continue to fight to oppose the ban.

This latest installment from Marcel Choules will come as no surprise to most smokers. Indeed, the main consensus among smokers wherever I go, is that smoking will simply be outlawed full stop before long. Anyone who frequents a public house will be well aware that a fair percentage of what is being smoked was not originally bought in this country. Therefore the government are naturally not earning as much tax on it, as it has alread been paid in the country of origin and distributed by the arrestingly named "tobacco barons". But I digress…

Mr Choules (sorry, Councillor Choules) states "One or two smokers get very aggressive and stroppy when I ask them to move away from the doorway or when they are asked not to take drinks outside with them at pubs".

Well, I'm sorry Mr Choules sir, but without condoning unruly behaviour in any way, if someone treats me like a pig for exercising my right to smoke, then I'm quite likely to adopt the manners of said animal. I'm sure you'll argue that you are only doing your job, but the underlying message in this report was that you are simply another fervent anti-smoker, who will happily see others humiliated and scorned to further your own personal agenda.

Landlord Paul Andrew hits the nail on the head in pointing out that ostracising smokers further would be "over-riding Government legislation".

This is the point that the whingers of the anti-smoking brigade should wake up to; you've got your law, now give us all a break and keep your own counsel for a change. Because if you don't, I might just have to blow some more of my horrible smokey bacon views in your pious faces.

Yours angrily…

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A Letter To The Editor

Dear Editor,

As was to be expected, there has been much written in recent weeks concerning the recently imposed ban on smoking in public places, and I would like to take the opportunity through your excellent, unbiased and campaigning newspaper, to say how much my life, and the the lives of my friends and family have changed since it's overdue inception.

Firstly, I no longer need to worry about dying of cancer, and have naturally cancelled my monthly donation to Cancer Research, as it is quite plainly no longer required. Hooray! I will live to be 100 years old and will receive my birthday card from King Billy, or maybe even King Harold (ooh, doesn't he look like his father, bless him)! Who'd have even considered such a thing before this excellent act of parliament came into force?

Also, I no longer need to put up with secondhand smoke when I visit my local pub. Come to think of it, I no longer have to put up with anyone, as there is nobody left in the pub. Those with whom I would once hold a lively debate on politics, religion or royal paternity are now to be found out in the street, pulling on those awful cancer sticks and forming a bond with fellow addicts. What a relief!

As with all new laws however, there have of course been unforeseen drawbacks. My sister Lillian, who is sadly also addicted to the dreaded weed, now has to smoke at home, rather than in the pub or in her workplace, and this has resulted in her children developing rather nasty coughs. Her youngest, Tarquin is now the proud owner of a shiny new Ventolin inhaler for his newly acquired asthma condition, but the doctor says that he'll probably grow out of it when he's old enough to go to the pub.

I should also mention the small matter of my teenage neice, Beyonce, who left her drink on the bar on Saturday night to go outside to indulge her tobacco craving, only to return and find it tasting of the "date-rape drug", Rohypnol. But I supposed she was asking for it really – just another junkie loser who should have known better (sorry Lillian, but you know my views on this).

And then of course there is young Saskia, my Polish penfriend who came to Britain to seek a better life, but has now sadly returned to her homeland as there is no longer a job for her in the Nags Head. Apparently the management foresee them having to shed up to 35% of staff soon due to poor takings. Some have even suggested that the pub will close and become a hostel for workers from Eastern Europe, but if poor Saskia is anything to go by, they'd better be getting that University degree before setting sail for Blighty.

However, all in all I think that the ban has been a resounding success, and I'd like to congratulate the British Governmenton their efforts to encourage smokers to quit. After all, they must be losing a fortune in revenue. I can't remember the last time I was queueing in my local newsagent for my monthly "Naturist Trainspotting" magazine and found anyone buying cigarettes or tobacco. I have however seen several cigarette packets recently which apparently warn against the dangers of smoking, including one which I later found out meant that smoking might affect a man's ability to father children!

I can't tell you what fun I had "Googling" for that translation on the Internet. Anyone now requiring the translation for "sperm" in any language from Polish to Portuguese should contact me forthwith, as I'd be more than happy to assist. If I'm unavailable for any reason, just ask a Customs officer at any U.K port, as they'll probably know.

This just leaves me to raise a toast to a healthier, more prosperous England, and of course to Freedom & Democracy For All in this green and pleasant smoke-free land.

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