Wednesday, 15 December 2010

The ban and the Beeb

A very busy day of smoking ban-related items at the BBC yesterday, evidently inspired by the Dutch rolling back its smoking ban. Belinda has the run-down and sound clips at F2C Scotland.

Nicky Campbell had a spirit-sapping phone-in on Radio 5 (all phone-ins are spirit-sapping). The usual suspects called up: people who gave up smoking and think everyone else should too, people who believe that bar-workers have no choice but to work in pubs, people asking why we don't ban drinking as well, etc. etc.

Points of interest included Rosemary Gillespie from the Roy Castle Lung Cancer Foundation twice refusing to answer the question of whether Roy Castle smoked. Since the whole organisation is built on the idea that he got lung cancer despite not smoking, this is hardly a intrusive line of enquiry and her silence does make me wonder.

And a call from a gentleman who is happy that he can now enjoy a smokefree pint of real ale (CAMRA member?) crystallised the inherent snobbery and contemptuousness of the whole public health movement:

"Can I just say, quite a lot of the pubs that have closed down, to be honest I'm quite grateful they have. I think they were the most awful places which were actually just big smoking dens and had the most dubious clientele in them and they were just asking to be closed down."

I also find it very hypocritical for Cecilia Farren to talk (on Radio 4) about the "vested interests of the tobacco industry" when she is the director of GASP (UK). Aside from the fact that the tobacco industry had no hand in the grass-roots Dutch campaign, GASP is not just any ordinary anti-smoking group. It's not a volunteers' group, of course—hardly any of them are—but it is more explicitly commercial than most. It is a limited company that sells no-smoking paraphernalia and is therefore dependent on smoking bans for much of its business. Aren't conflicts of interests like that worth mentioning?


Belinda said...

Thanks for the link Chris. I understand it's not possible to get a clip of Nick Hogan's interview along with Paul Hooper, unfortunately. It was worth a watch: Nick effectively countered the nonsense thrown at him.

I take it that now Cecilia Farren will now sue Paul Greer and the BBC for forcing her to imperil her very life by entering a smoke-filled bar. Complaining of a tickly throat really wasn't quite dramatic enough under the circumstances. (Maybe she'll get a reprimand for not dying on the spot!)

Anonymous said...

Everyone knows about Roy Castle's lung cancer and the smoke filled theatres he frequented; but nowhere on the RCLCF web site does it mention passive smoking, or claim that was the cause of his lung cancer. Strange eh?
I emailed Nicky Campbell and suggested he invites you onto his next smoking phone-in. They seem to be getting more and more frequent. As you note, this was a re-run of the last one. Suggested he read your book and blog. All the best. JB

Anonymous said...

Indeed. It's a tricky one, although Forest is, after all, fighting for the right to enjoy smoking tobacco rather than anything else. Sadly however, I know several people who would love to sign such a thing as they hate nannying authoritarianism. But they don't smoke so they would never visit FOREST. I shall forward the link to them, but such is the problem with real grassroots campaigns (as opposed to Tobacco Control's "Dozen paid people and several massive grants") - how do you reach those people who aren't online? How do you publicise yourself so people know to support you?

Still, Tobacco Control seems to be getting increasingly-desperate looking, like as a non_PC friend of mine would say, "Like a fat lass at the last song of the night." Despite their money, despite their drones, despite their pet scientists churning out lies, people seem to be getting increasingly dismissive of them. Even the mainstream media seems to be slowly waking up to what they are really like. I think (and I desperately hope I'm right) that they are past their peak of influence. After all, did I read soemwhere that ASH had to apply for Lottery Funding? They've never had to do that before.

Anonymous said...

"had the most dubious clientele in them and they were just asking to be closed down." - Ale bore.

But those were good pubs too IMO, horses for courses and all that. In any case why should dubious clientele not have places to be dubious in and do all their dubiousness?

Anonymous said...
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Wiel said...

Interview with our Dutch MP is now also available on BBC World Services:
Scroll to 17:20 for the report.

It's inspiring!