G’day and Kraft durch Freude.

No smoking sign at Dachau concentration camp

As Dick Puddlecote noted recently, there’s a depressing kind of bansturbatory oneupmanship going on between the respective healthists, nannys, Big Pharma tit leeches and governments of the UK and Australia. It’s like there’s some competition going on, perhaps with a little trophy at stake. The Fag Ashes, maybe.

Dick Puddlecote notes:

Anything else up your sleeve, Anne? [Anne Milton, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State (Public Health), Health; Guildford, Conservative]

Also, the Australian Government have announced their intention to introduce a legislative requirement for the plain packaging of tobacco to commence on 1 January 2012. The evidence supporting their action is summarised in the technical report “Australia: the healthiest country by 2020-Technical report 2 Tobacco Control in Australia”.

She’s not wrong, you know. The Aussies have most definitely done that. And their reason for doing so (page 2)?

If we act quickly, Australia can overtake the British Government and become the first country in the world to mandate that cigarettes be sold in plain packaging.

That’s right. It’s a global game of ‘keeping up with the Joneses‘.

Who cares if there isn’t any evidence? It’s all about bragging rights and dick-waggling, isn’t it. Oh yes it is.

Oh, yes indeed, my poor old dismembered chum, yes indeed. Never mind evidence based policy, and Christ knows that’s a fucking rare beast indeed these days. And never mind even policy based evidence. This is just doing something because someone else has said they going to do it, and the thought that they might have the bragging rights for being first is risking loss of bansturbatory erections.

And on a practical matter I’m confused by the Australian boner for plain packaging. I really am. Not only because the whole thing seems preposterous – who spends five minutes gazing at the packet while smoking a cigarette instead of enjoying the taste? – but because for the life of me I can’t see what the fuck is the point of plain packets when they’re already banned from display in most of the country (with strong hints that other states will soon fall into line). Oh yes, Victoria joined in with this lunacy on Jan 1st this year, though I have to point out that they are not quite as insane as the Australian Capital Territory which has gone as far as applying their law to tobacconists as well. Yes, folks, it’s true, despite it making as much sense as banning Ikea from displaying furniture. It’s a fucking tobacconist. If you don’t want to see then don’t go in the fucking shop.

WHERE the wall of cigarettes once stood behind chocolates and sweets is now a plain white cupboard, big and bland. Smoking here looks about as sexy as office furniture.

Again I feel I have to explain that smokers enjoy the taste of cigarettes and really don’t give a second hand shit what the displays or packets look like. Those who no longer enjoy the taste will quit no matter what the packets or displays look like. Understand? It’s about the smoking itself. Fuck’s sake, look at all those people in Britain and Ireland buying smuggled baccy and all those people smoking chop-chop here. No advertising, no displays, no point of sale material and possibly, actually definitely in the case of chop-chop, no branded packaging. And it seems as if that business is booming. If displays and packaging were important that illicit trade shouldn’t be going up, yes? But having chosen to believe that you can become addicted to nicotine by looking at the fucking packets and hidden the horror of branded tobacco packaging behind a combination of curtains, shutters and doors, what then did the Victorian government expect to gain from making the packets themselves plain?

Gone from sight are the bright packs coloured red, gold and alpine blue. Gone, too, are the matching photos of blackened lungs, fatty white arteries and gangrened toes.

But… but… but they were the hard hitting images that were supposed to make everyone quit. Could this be a tacit admission that they were as useful as an underwater cigarette lighter? If not why not put them up on the doors? It’s not like a it can be about hiding the cigarette kiosks because they’re instantly identifiable to everyone, smokers and non-smokers alike, and not just because we can all remember being able to see the packets there a couple of months ago.

Cigarettes were hidden by roller doors and drawers inside convenience stores, service stations and supermarkets. A city kiosk draped black shrouds over its stock, as if in mourning.

Don’t be so fucking silly. It’s probably just the cheapest way they found to comply with the legislation.

A South Yarra corner store kept its cigarettes inside a grey cupboard next to an open display of bongs – which the government plans to ban as well.

This is the new Coalition state government, led by a party which has the cojones to call itself The Liberals. Yes, I know. I will pause for a moment while you wipe whatever you were drinking off your monitor (and it better not be coffee because that’s coming up on the bansturbators’ list).

And in case you were wondering whether the Liberals In Name Only were merely too lazy to stop this ridiculous exercise in fagophobia the answer is no, the pricks supported it (my bold).

Health Minister David Davis said local and state health officers would help retailers comply with the new legislation, which won bipartisan support in 2009.

Now all this is bad enough but some local councils are going further, including one not far from here. Nearly a year ago I blogged on Frankston council’s banning smoking in an outdoor shopping precinct, and now Port Phillip Council are targeting outdoor café areas (and a couple of good comments there for DP’s dribbling psychos thread).

OUTLAWING smoking in outdoor dining areas could be on the menu for Port Phillip as pressure from anti-smoking campaigners mounts.

They’re eating areas you see, and there’s the possibility that someone might imagine that someone else near them has some cigarettes and feel slightly queasy at the thought (Nth hand smoke – becoming ill due to the knowledge that tobacco exists, known previously as worrying yourself sick).

Port Phillip mayor Rachel Powning said smoking had been banned on Port Phillip beaches since December and there may be support to ban it from alfresco dining areas when the issue is discussed at council this year.

Look, outside one of two things happen. The first is if it’s blowy, which means the smoke disperses very quickly and you need to be sitting right next to the smoker to get a face full. There are various solutions for the rabid fagophobe here. My preference is simply to move away and the problem is solved, but if that’s not an option find another café where the owner, not the government, has asked his customers not to smoke – if the demand is there from all the fagophobes wanting absolutely no smoking anywhere near them then there will certainly be some. Or, and this is going to be a little radical, you could find a non-smoking area in the café you’re in. Like maybe fucking everywhere indoors since you succeeded in getting all the smokers turfed outside, you selfish, joyless bastards. The second scenario is if it’s a still day and the smoke goes straight up in the air, in which case you need literally to be hovering over the poor sod and deserve everything you get.
YOU DO NOT NEED TO BAN ANYTHING ELSE, GOT IT?

Honestly, if smoking’s that bad just do what Bhutan did and fucking ban it. Not all these half hearted bans that add up to making life difficult, but actually say that from whatever date smoking or possession of tobacco will no longer be legal. Come on, what have you got to lose? A few billion dollars in tax revenue? Well you’re losing increasing amounts to illegal tobacco anyway, and besides isn’t this supposed to be about saving people? So, an outright ban then? Criminalisation, who’s for it?

Anyone?

Fuck me, it’s gone quiet all of a sudden. Apart from some Tasmaniacs this isn’t a high priority. The thing is, and I’ve said this many times, governments are far more addicted to the revenue than any smoker ever was to nicotine. And Quit, A$H and the various health departments, would they really like it banned? One or two of the less unreasonable ones might say that they wouldn’t go that far because they’re not about taking away people’s right to choose, but I suspect that deep down many of the most foam-mouthed of them wouldn’t either. Smoking is their raison d’être, a cause to stoke their self righteous little fires (smokeless, natch) and a whipping boy without which they have no power. Come on, they’d miss the pontificating on what everyone else must do. Instead they’ve whipped up such a storm of fagophobia that they’ve successfully inserted themselves and their tedious little authoritarian wank fantasies into ever increasing facets of everyone else’s private lives. They have set themselves to rule over private businesses, public transport, indoor areas and now outdoor areas. They’ve gone after people who smoke as well as the act of smoking, and have expressed a desire to ban it in private homes just like they’ve begun to in private cars. And do you know who’s lead they’re following? Can you guess the first group to advocate banning smoking in cars?

Yep, the fucking Nazis.*

They came first for the smokers, and I did not speak because I wasn’t a smoker
Then they came for the drinkers, and I remained silent because I did not drink
And then they came for the salad dodgers, and said nothing because I quite like a plate of greens

When they finally came for me there was no one left to speak up.

Can you hear the marching boots? Can you? I can hear them from where I am because Australia seems determined to win at least The Fag Ashes, especially as Britain is pulling ahead on points units on bashing drinkers. But if like me you don’t smoke or drink and can’t hear the boots yet, no worries. You’ll be probably be able to hear them soon enough, and that it’s not about killing us so much as controlling us really shouldn’t be any comfort at all.

* I know just about enough to work out that that poster isn’t actually about banning smoking in cars but I’m not sure what it does say. Seems to be something about how many millions of Reichmarks it was costing the Germans but if you can translate it properly please leave it in the comments and I’ll tack it on the end of the post. 

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Posted on January 20, 2011, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on G’day and Kraft durch Freude..

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