Australia has won the race to be the most feeble and subservient country on the planet by agreeing to cover all tobacco products in plain packaging, as if the colour of the packet makes any difference at all to anyone buying it. All it means is that the packs are now far easier to forge.
The criminal gangs selling the fake packs are not at all interested in the age restrictions applied by almost all legitimate sellers. They’ll sell to anyone. Australia can expect an explosion of youth-smoking any time soon and their politicians and Righteous Banmeisters will not even accept it is happening.
Don’t laugh. The rest of us are not far behind, not far at all.
The Ban is everything. It does work, even when it patently doesn’t, and it has no effect on any business anywhere, even when it obviously does. We live in a world written on pages that Kafka threw out as being far too absurd to be even remotely credible. If there is a God then he must spend all day thinking ‘WTF are they doing now?’ and wondering if he should bother with the redemption business or just torch the whole damn place and start again with woodlice.
In Nova Scotia, a tobacco shop is fighting an order to cover up displays of tobacco.
Read that again. It’s a tobacco shop. It doesn’t sell anything else. All the displays are displays of tobacco. Nobody would go in there unless they planned to buy tobacco. It cannot possibly tempt a non-smoker into smoking because a non-smoker has no reason to go inside or even notice the shop at all.
What should the owner do? Black out the windows? That’s going to attract entirely the wrong kind of customer. Men in grubby coats and pebble-glasses will sidle up to the counter and say “I’d like some *cough* tobacco, know what I mean? The really hard stuff.” They won’t know they’re in the wrong shop. All the displays will be covered and everything is in plain packaging. Just like in their usual haunts.
Ten minutes later they’ll try to return their purchase of a pack of rough shag because it made a hell of a mess of their DVD player, but the shop does not accept sticky returns..
As for smokers, well, if you saw a shop with blacked out windows and a sign saying ‘special offer on rough shag’, would you think to buy your tobacco there?
Remember, all these bans have absolutely no effect on business whatsoever. Even when they do.
Monty Python once ran a sketch called ‘Cheese Shop’ about a shop that sold only cheese but didn’t actually have any. Now they could write ‘Tobacco Shop’ about a shop that sells only tobacco but isn’t allowed to tell you whether they have any. To the political mind, this is what reality looks like. It’s not a joke, this is actually how they see the world and they genuinely believe it makes sense.
I blame Thatcher. Didn’t she start the whole ‘care in the community’ thing? She should have left them all safely locked away. Now they run alleged charities funded by the released contents of the psycho ward, who rob the population to pay for it and who accept every fantasy story as if it came from their own personal head-voices.
Forget building more prisons. Rebuild Bedlam. Every capital city has a handy building that’s already filled with suitable patients. I’m willing to chip in for their daily electroshock therapy. At last, a cost to the taxpayer that we won’t object to.
I know there are antismokers out there who are thinking ‘Yes, you filthy smokers deserve all you get’ and I know they are the ones who would view that cheese shop sketch and think ‘Yes, cheese is fattening, make the shops hide that too’.
No? Oh, of course, they imagine that the persecution stops at smokers. That it can never reach them. They’ve absorbed the politician mindset, they might even have heard the Voices of Absurdity that always say “We just want this banned, Nothing else. Just this. We don’t want to go any further than this. No, no further. Just this.”
“And that. That too, but no further. Just this and that and no more.”
“And the other thing. That’s all we want banned. This, that and the other thing. No more.”
“And…” …so on.
The truth? It never ends. You can be happy to support a ban that doesn’t affect your life but by doing so, you open the door to the lunatics and once they’re in, you cannot get them out.
Suppose there was a ban on male circumcision. It wouldn’t affect me. I am intact in that region and I am not well enough endowed to be able to spare a bit off the end, so I would never consider it. A ban would not affect me in the slightest. I am also not a member of any religion that requires it. It’s true that circumcision provides some lowering of the risk of catching HIV (it’s a lowered risk, not an immunisation so don’t grab the scissors just yet) but my risk is depressingly low anyway and that has more to do with overall appearance and sociability than whether one-eye can wink or not.
I would have absolutely no reason to object to such a ban, but I would anyway. Male circumcision is nothing like female circumcision, which is brutal and nasty and evil. It’s as if God made Man in a mould and sent him out into the world with instructions to cut off a bit of moulding flash. It has no serious damaging effect on anyone, it just means you’re wielding a sword with no scabbard. If it’s done as a baby, those few I know who admit to being de-hoodified say they’ve never noticed it at all.
It’s a big part of several major religions including Judaism and, I think, Islam. Maybe not all variants, I don’t know (or care, really). Snipping the snake’s eyelid certainly has not damaged the reproductive ability of the members of those religions. So it is not a big issue, really.
Female circumcision is a very different matter and I would be happy to see the perpetrators wired up to five hundred volts’ worth of solar panels at midnight and then left facing the sunrise.
Actually, I can get much more imaginative than that. It involves solar-powered drills but I’m saving that one for a story. They start really slowly as the sky brightens… but I digress.
A ban on circumcision with no religious exemptions is clearly aimed at particular groups and it’s something you’d expect Goebbels to have thought up. Not California.
The smoking ban is aimed at a particular group too, and is in fact one of Hitler’s policies (at this point, if you’re about to say Godwin, please write it on a treble fishhook and insert it anally instead. It really was, and still is, Nazi policy. Just live with it, okay?).
Most seem to regard that as just fine and dandy. It is racist to attack anyone who is not white, it is Islamophobic to attack anyone Muslim whether you’re angry about their Muslimness or just because they’ve parked on your cat. It is xenophobic to say “This country isn’t going to the dogs, it went to the dogs years ago and the dogs sent it back” even if you don’t attach blame to any particular race, person or dog.
But you can kick a smoker and that’s okay.
Look behind you, smoker-kickers.
Because no matter how Righteous you think you are, there is another boot aimed squarely at your own arse.
And another behind him too.
Where does it stop? Unless it all stops, none of it does. The choice is simple, do you want reality or the fantasy land of fear and oppression dreamed up by those you must call ‘master’? You can have all of it or none. There is no middle way.
Your choice. Remember that at voting time. Your choice.