The Aberdeen Press and Journal does have a website but they don’t give much for free. A link would be futile.
There is something called the Movember Foundation which relies, for its existence, on ‘male isolation’ being a problem that they must pretend to solve. Like all the other do-nothing do-gooders, actually solving the ‘problem’ would put them all out of a cushy and lucrative job so they aren’t going to solve it. They are going to change it around a lot and in the process, make it worse. Just like all the other problem solvers out there.
Apparently this is a particular issue for men. Some of us can go for a month without speaking to anyone. It’s true. Sometimes we just don’t have anything to talk about. Sometimes we’re just wrapped up in a project and don’t notice the time. Things like, say, militarizing a cockroach army or putting the final touches to that machine that bores into the earth’s crust to create a volcano wherever you want one… things like that require concentration. And let’s be honest, they are not things you generally bring up in idle conversation.
But then, hardly anyone does those kind of things.
There is also the Campaign to End Loneliness who declare that being alone is as bad as smoking 15 cigarettes a day. What about those of us who live alone and also smoke more than 15 cigarettes a day? Oh we must be already dead so there’s no point worrying about us.
I should apparently have high blood pressure. I don’t. I should have depression. I don’t. I should have dementia… okay, we’ll come back to that one.
I should have lung cancer and emphysema and dandruff and leprosy and all the other things smoking causes. I don’t. I don’t cost the NHS money (that’s what all this really hinges on) and I definitely do not want neighbours poking in to say hello just to make sure I haven’t jumped out of the window or tried to gas myself in the electric oven or spontaneously combusted. I have no plans to do those things.
If I did, I’d hardly tell the neighbours. In fact, after three and a half months in this town, I know two people. I knew them before I, or even they, moved here. I have no idea who lives in the other flats in this block and no interest in finding out.
Linking being alone to smoking is interesting. They have, however, missed the real link entirely. The elephant in the ashtray.
It’s true that a lot of old men are now isolated and most of them don’t like it as much as I do. They would much rather have a social group to be with. Not too long ago they would have had no problem with that. This little town had three pubs. It now has none.
None. All the pubs are closed. Sure, it’s a short bus ride to a nearby town with pubs but the buses don’t run very late. If you are in a group and one person is driving, that driver can’t have one pint of beer or they can’t drive back. Few are willing to take that role.
So it’s taxis on the way back. On a State pension? It isn’t likely to happen often, if at all.
Pub closures have hit their limit in this little town. They are all gone. Yes, there is a link between smoking and isolation in older men and it’s because the older men were in a routine where they’d visit the pub a couple of times a week, have a beer or two, a chat with their mates… and a smoke. The Righteous put a stop to that.
Scotland’s winter weather is not pleasant to be out in, most of the time. This winter is quite mild so far but even so, it gets damn chilly out there. It’s much nastier the older you get. The old smokers can’t stand out there smoking so in winter they don’t bother with the pub. Their nonsmoking pals then have nobody to talk to, the pub isn’t interesting so they don’t go either.
It doesn’t take too many winters before the pub isn’t making enough money to stay open.
There is now nowhere for those old men to go. Their gathering places have been killed by the antismokers, the same type of people who now wail in simulated anguish at ‘the problem’ of old men who have nowhere to go. The ones who know best. The Righteous. They caused the problem they are now sapping taxpayer money to ‘solve’.
The pubs won’t reopen. You’d have to be insane to try running a pub in a small town now. The smokers won’t come. Out of town people won’t come because they can’t have one drink and drive home. The young have been indoctrinated into thinking that a sniff of alcohol will make their livers into Swiss cheese so they aren’t a reliable customer base either. The pubs are gone for good.
Even if the smoking ban is repealed, the ‘tax on account’ system for small business means that you will pay double tax on your first year’s income. That is enough to stop pretty much any startup business in its tracks. No, those pubs aren’t coming back.
The old men will have to stick to being alone… in their pub sheds with their mates. At smoky-drinky evenings.
Oh yes. That’s what the Righteous are really scared of. Socialising happening without State oversight. They don’t even know where it’s happening, much less who is talking to who, or about what.
When the Government or any of its agencies is ‘thinking of you’, what they are thinking about is how they can keep you under control.
They don’t think about anything else.