The Bitch: Once We Feared The USSR!
By: Guest Authors
By: Michael Knell
Following the NHS link to the failed car bomb attacks in London and Glasgow, we’re told Prime Minister Gordon Brown has ordered an urgent review into how NHS doctors are recruited from overseas – but will that be sufficient? What makes him think “sleeping cells” amongst the more highly educated are going to be restricted to our health service? They are likely to be anywhere – or everywhere! I doubt it would be any harder to become accepted as (say) a civil servant than to become accepted as a brain surgeon – and it is a brain surgeon who is believed to be the mastermind behind the London and Glasgow car bombs. With all that information at their finger-tips, what better place could be infiltrated than the establishment?
A failed asylum seeker, Omar Altimimi, convicted of six charges of possessing material for the purpose of terrorism and two of money laundering, has been sentenced to nine years. Er . . . He’s a FAILED asylum seeker? What the hell was he still doing here? And with access to a computer? No, don’t tell me, I don’t want to know that he was kept at the taxpayers’ expense in a manner to which he was not accustomed, and had every luxury supplied in case we should infringe any of his human rights – and now we have to pick up the tab for his bed and board for up to nine years! It makes me want to spit!
When we have rules and regulations that work to the detriment of the nation, then perhaps we ought to find out who EXACTLY was responsible for the origin of them and question their intentions. Much of what we suffer today, that which divides us and causes a lot of unrest, has come down through the “monkey see – monkey do” political correctness brigade – a pitiful group of self-important people – but from precisely where did it originate? Who sowed the seed? I think it needs investigating, for who knows their true motives?
As I write this, the smoking ban is nearly a week old in England. It came into force on Sunday, and on Monday, along with some good friends, I hit the town’s pubs and clubs to see how they were being affected. The venues able to provide smoking areas, apart from loitering threateningly outside in the street where one may not take their drink, seemed unaffected by numbers – although that may not have been the immediate impression. Entering the first one early that evening, the Mardi Gras in Blackpool, we were dismayed to see just two customers. This was not the venue we knew and loved. However having bought our drinks we soon discovered the thoughtfully provided smoking area, and found it to be full of life. At that early hour, with two people inside the club and a real party going on in the smoking area, I began to think that if health were the true reason for this law, providing open air shelters for the non-smokers, or making them stand outside where they could appreciate all the fresh air they could ever desire, would have been a far more sensible solution.
Venues that couldn’t, or didn’t, provide some shelter for smokers seemed shorter on customers, but worse than that the atmosphere had changed remarkably. Much of what one goes there for was missing, and many people were just sitting around in a fashion best described as somewhat subdued. Having experienced this first-hand, I’m guessing some people won’t be venturing out quite so often. Inviting a few friends to bring some tinnies round for a sociable evening will likely become much more of an attraction, although what adverse repercussions the added noise of this will have on neighbourhoods remains to be seen.
Regular readers will recall I once lived in an enormous and isolated farmhouse where we would throw a big party (all-nighters with up to 250 guests!) every few months, and in-between these have countless smaller sociable gatherings. It was in a time before the commercial scene came close to us, so we were on everybody’s list, and we were not alone – out in the sticks there were many places like us who would regularly put on “a bit of a do”. I suspect in rural areas, where such places can exist without incurring complaints, because of this smoking ban they could once more like a Phoenix rise from the ashes. (Pun intended.) It is well known – and if it isn’t by some it soon will be – that there is often far more “freedom” (if you get my gist!) at such private parties than any venue could ever hope to provide even in this enlightened age. Once resurrected, they could prove popular.
Whilst such a change in lifestyle might be slow to kick-off, and probably wouldn’t affect big scene places to any great extent, I suspect it would at least become noticeable. If there is a good one of these gatherings within striking distance, even a small one, who in their right mind is going to suffer all the hassle of the journey to the big scene, the cost of a hotel, the entry fee to a club, and the price of drinks in a place where they have to brave the weather every time they want a cigarette, when a couple of bottles or a number of tinnies will get them into a fun all-night (or longer) unrestricted party? The big scene may soon find it is relying more and more on local people, and less on the rural visitor.
Where the law has been in effect longer than in England (that’s Scotland, Ireland, and Wales), unconfirmed figures – surprisingly no official ones appear to be public, so these figures are from differing sources – suggest, averaged out, a licenced premises has closed down every week as a direct result of the smoking ban, and continues to do so. Having failed to cancel two mailing lists after deciding in 2003 against buying a pub or a hotel, I can confirm that more and more “opportunities” come on to the market every month, especially in these places, so I for one would not like to dispute the accuracy of those figures. There are now countless pubs, clubs, restaurants and small hotels to be snapped up for a song, and obviously fewer people wanting them. Some I viewed in 2003 are back on the market today, and on offer for a mere fraction of the original asking price. I think I decided wisely – times they may be a changing!
Non-smokers have not flooded into licenced premises to replace the smokers despite all the promises, I never expected them to, and something to make a complete mockery of the law is the fact that many non-smokers who once used to go to these places now themselves don’t go anymore simply because their smoking friends aren’t there.
QUESTION: If there are as many non-smokers as they claim, an overwhelming majority so they say, then why by natural market forces didn’t just as overwhelmingly a majority of non-smoking venues spring up to cater for them? As you cannot buck market forces, it is a question which suggests (some would say proves) we have been subjected to a lot of spin and lies.
Yes, smoking is without a doubt unhealthy, and in time it can make you ill and even lead to lung cancer – but people have to die of something. Many people happily risk dying for their pleasure – the mountaineer, the equestrian, the potholer, the yachtsman, and countless others – so why not the smoker? Remove lung cancer and something else will become the nation’s next favourite killer. What then? Take away another freedom? This time perhaps fast-foods? Crisps? Pies and pasties? Sweets? Sugar? Sugary drinks – like beers and lemonades? What? What will they want to ban next? Who will suffer next?
Sufferers of smoke-related illnesses will on average, through a lifetime of exorbitant taxes on tobacco, in real terms have paid for the cost of their treatment many, many times over. The same cannot be said for many other treatments people receive throughout a lifetime, some of them far more expensive. Providing facilities could exist which ensured those who objected to smoke didn’t have to suffer it, and they could quite easily, there is no credible reason for this ban.
Will “the authorities” ever stop banning things and allow us to live our own lives? They are our lives – not theirs! It is we who should be making the choices – not them! Who is really behind all this banning, and what are their true motives? I fear if we were to find out, we may not like the truth.
Once we lived in fear of a foreign State that controlled its people – the USSR. Today we live more in fear of our own State. This is progress?
“The Bitch!” 07/07/07.
“The Bitch!”, a weekly UK News Review column, is hosted by the author and columnist Michael Knell. These articles appear on the Blackpool Gay Directory website, but are not specifically gay in content. More information on the author: http://www.michaelknell.com and on the directory: http://www.astabgay.com.