When I can smoke in the polling booth, then we’ll talk about your policies.

An interesting conversation with a friend yesterday evening, during a small smoky-drinky at his place. He reacted to the idea of a smoking ban in his home with outrage. “They’ll never get that!”

He lives in a council house. They’ll get him long before they get me.

His thought was that there would be far too much resistance for such a thing to ever be law.

My response? As much as I can remember of it follows:

“They did it in the pubs. And private clubs. They did it in cafes and restaurants and cinemas. They did it on all privately-owned work premises so even if you work in a cigarette factory, you cannot smoke in there. You can work in a sewage plant or an asbestos disposal facility or a radioactive waste storage plant but you can’t smoke in any of them. You can work in a steel foundry or an incineration facility but you can’t light a little tube of leaf in any of them. They did all that and got away with it.

“They did it on buses, trains, taxis and planes. You cannot smoke on a train station or a bus station or a taxi rank or an airport. This town is full of sheltered housing and old people’s homes. Haven’t you noticed those eighty-year-olds smoking outside in the snow? You visit hospitals often (he has a congenital debilitation) – remember how there used to be a smoking room inside, and now you have to leave the grounds? They did all that and got away with it and nobody seemed to mind.

“You live in a council house. They own this house the same way as they own the hospitals and the sheltered housing. You will have to stop smoking in your own house or you will be homeless.

“The government will tell you it’s a good thing and like all those other things, nobody will mind.”

He was a lifelong SNP voter until that conversation. That’s another one who won’t put his X in Oily Al’s box again and he is far from the first I have convinced. Tomorrow I’m going after another. Then another. I hope this will just keep spreading. And no, the other three Borg parties need not smile. You get mentioned too. I can only get to one or two at a time but they will get others. Oh, and that promise of independence? You didn’t mention the EU, Oily Al, and how it means that Scotland is still in the same union as England anyway, it’s just a much bigger union run by a different set of foreigners. Believe me, I mention it, and I have yet to find anyone happy to hear it.

Oily Al is a puffed-up cretin of the first water. He believes in all the crap about second hand smoke even though there has not been a single death in Scotland (nor indeed in the observable universe) caused by this imaginary ague. And that’s even with me actively trying to convince the buggers to death. In fact, I reckon I’ll have been responsible for the psychosomatic death of an antismoker before second hand smoke ever manages it.

The EU is even worse. Aside from now claiming that wine isn’t wine unless it’s EU plonk, they are intending to extend the ban on that harmless alternative tobacco habit (which doesn’t even produce smoke so the antis have no smell to whine about) to the only EU country that allows it. No, you cannot have the safer alternatives. You cannot have choice. You cannot make your own decisions. Every main party thinks you are stupid and must be controlled. If you vote for them, you are.

Well, there’s one bit of good news. Human ingenuity has found a way around the plain packaging nonsense. We’ll simply print our own covers and stick them over the packs. I fancy a skull motif myself. It will help in discussions with smokophobes. Actually, this idea makes me fairly look forward to those plain packs. In fact, even if the plain packs idea does fall foul of a sudden outbreak of thought among the political classes, personalised over-pack stickers is a good idea anyway. How about ‘biohazard’?

I already use a baccy tin, unbranded and therefore with no health warnings. It’s ready for when the revenue men start checking random smokers to see if they have the Portuguese warnings on their packs. There’s no pack at all. Just a tin with loose baccy inside, some finely shredded, some less finely because I can’t get mine cut that thin.

Soon the baccy inside won’t even be imported. It’ll all be homegrown or picked wild.

But I will need to work on the shredding. Or maybe go over to the pipe, because I can cut to pipe-suitable now.

I still have to try rolling a cigar. All I need is a suitable female thigh. I mean, you can’t buck tradition.

18 thoughts on “When I can smoke in the polling booth, then we’ll talk about your policies.

  1. Humans like shiny things. Humans like pretty things. Humans like being ‘unique’. Force them to buy something ugly and two things will happen. First thing they will do is make replacement packets/stickers/covers. and secondly, somewhat later, the ‘ugly’ will itself be declared ‘cool’. I predict a much needed boost to the cigarette case industry and plain white ‘i-Smoke’ replacement packets becoming as common as replacement phone covers and MORE desirable among ‘da Yoof’ than the present ‘more a warning label than a packet’ packs.

    You can’t buck Human Nature and the Law Of Unintended Consequences is a colder hearted Bitch even than Mz. Arnott.

    However the most important thing we could do to prevent the introduction of Plain Packets is to change ‘the name of the game’. We need to stop using THEIR language and talking about ‘plain packaging’ and start refering to them as ‘conformity’ or ‘einheit’ or ‘complusory’ or ‘ugly’ or some other word that will catch on and that expresses the truth of the situation.


  2. And today’s ‘Guardian’ editorial is the ‘obesity crisis’ and how the government simply must do all it can, up to and including curtailing the public’s right to eat ‘fattening’ junk food. For our own good, of course…


  3. Take a look at just how bad the packaging lies are down under:

    People have been taken to Court in Oz and banned from smoking in their own homes with the windows open, lest offending smoke wafts into their neighbour’s place – the smoker’s windows must be closed. Smoking on an outdoor balcony is verboten in a high-rise block of flats lest the errant smoke causes offense to others. Even smoking in your own backyard has landed people in Court where smoke may have strayed over the fence.


    • The tobacco companies need to take more drastic action. All those companies selling booze and other unapproved things should also be watching very closely becasue if they can do it to the tobacco companies, they can do it to anyone.


  4. “I already use a baccy tin,”
    So do I, it’s a Golden Virginia 50g one that had been sitting in a drawer and used for storing things. It’s in pristine condition but so old it never had a warning on it! I have one other slightly newer on where the text warning looks like a rubber stamp on the side.


  5. There is actually a way to really give the major parties a really good kick up the arse which they cannot escape from, and which they themselves (or rather the extremely forgettable Labour leader) have suggested: limit per-donor donations to political parties.

    UK political parties used to have huge memberships and usedto be funded by thousands of small donations. Slowly over time the Labour Party grew to be essentially an adjunct of the big public service unions, and the Tories an adjunct of big business; both haemorraged actual grassroots membership numbers and lost touch with their core support. The spending of political parties in elections is strictly limited (unlike in the USA) so that all parties big or small are more or less equal in their publicity buying-power (in the USA there are only two parties since the election campaigns are ruinously expensive to compete in).

    So, without a major sink for party money they can subsist on just a few major donors each. Allowing unlimited campaign spend would lock us into the current three or four parties forever, which isn’t a smart idea since it only takes one major party to go loony as the Republicans have in the USA and you end up with a one-party state. The only other way is to force parties to maintain big memberships and thus public relevency by limiting per-donor donations.


  6. Perhaps one of those Cuisinard kitchen thingys could shred your baccy for you, they seem to come with all sorts of settings


    • I’ve wondered about that but it could end up as a back-of-the-cupboard white elephant unless I can test one first, and nobody seems keen to let me. Perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned the risk of tobacco dust, but sometimes I can’t help myself.


      • T K Maxx do or did a generic type for about 20 quid. I make milkshakes in mine because the fresh fruit removes all the calories from the ice cream as we all know. Hell, if you dont feel like washing the bowl out, you could have a tobacco shake.


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