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A friend in need

Talksport presenter Jon Gaunt has been suspended - pending investigation - for calling a local councillor a "Nazi" and an "ignorant pig" on air. Gaunt was interviewing Conservative councillor Michael Stark, who was defending Redbridge Council's decision to ban smokers from becoming foster parents. (Full story HERE.)

I wasn't on the show - although I did take part in another Talksport programme on the same subject later in the day - but I can imagine that the debate got pretty heated. And rightly so. The decision by Redbridge council to ban adults who smoke from fostering children is disgraceful and the councillors who voted unanimously for the policy deserve to be criticised in the strongest possible terms.

I would draw a line, however, at describing them as "Nazis". Indeed, the decision to suspend Jon Gaunt demonstrates why Forest treads very carefully when it comes to this sort of emotive language. Even the words "health fascist" should be used sparingly, and I despair when I see - on YouTube and elsewhere - pro-choice activists dressed in Nazi-style uniforms.

Put it this way: the Nazis killed six million Jews. Whatever we think of smoking bans and other policies designed to stigmatise and discriminate against those who smoke, there is no comparison. (I don't care if Hitler was anti-smoking. Given his far more serious crimes against humanity, it barely merits a mention and in my view we don't help ourselves by making an issue of it.)

That said, I believe that Jon Gaunt was speaking from the heart and with the very best of intentions. The very nature of programmes such as his is that things will be said in the heat of the moment - and I read that Gaunt feels strongly about child welfare, having spent his early teens in a care home himself. Writing in The Sun last week, he commented:

"This is the same warped logic that condemns black children to a life in care rather than let them be fostered by white couples. The same master race philosophy that forbids fat couples from adopting.

"The SS – that is social services by the way – think the risk from passive smoking is more dangerous to a child than them being left to rot in a children's home.

"Today it's Redbridge but, unless we all make a noise now, tomorrow it will be a national policy and thousands more children will fall victim to the health and safety Nazis and be left in a home alone."

I couldn't agree more. This is something he is clearly passionate about - and he made his feelings known. There are very few broadcasters and journalists brave enough to take a stand against today's anti-smoking orthodoxy. I therefore urge you to contact Talksport and call for Jon Gaunt's reinstatement.

I have spoken to Talksport press officer Stephen Farmer and he has advised me that we should email him directly ( and he will forward our emails to Talksport management. Please do it now.

Note: a short, firmly-worded message of support is all that is required. You will do Jon no favours if you are long-winded or abusive. Do not write anonymously or under a pseudonym. Have the courage of your convictions and give your full name and address. I suggest that you also copy your emails to Jon himself (

Reader Comments (91)

I take your point, Simon, about the use of terms which are guaranteed only to infuriate.

I do think, though, that Redbridge Council's decision offers the clearest indication to date of a group of people who are to be judged, not on their positive contribution to society, not on traits of character that society admires, but on their use of a product: people are being defined as smokers and no other consideration is to be taken into account.

I don't think that it's either melodramatic or inappropriate to point out that, at one point in Nazi Germany, the State viewed Jewish people in a similar kind of way: their contribution was of no account, it was enough to be Jewish.

If it becomes acceptable for the State to discriminate on the grounds of one consideration alone then we might yet see smokers being denied dental and medical care, social housing, state benefits and public sector employment.

November 11, 2008 at 11:11 | Unregistered Commenterjoyce

I feel very strongly about this as I was adopted over sixty years ago by a couple who both smoked, so if draconian laws like these had been in force in those days I would have not had the loving upbringing that I received. The only criteria that prospective adoptees should have is the ability to love someone elses child as their own.

November 11, 2008 at 11:30 | Unregistered CommenterPauline Sharp

Here is my letter to Stephen Farmer, cc'd to Jon Gaunt:

Dear Mr Farmer

I was appalled to hear that Jon Gaunty had been suspended as a direct result of his passion, borne from his own experiences as a child in care, even though his terminology may not be to everyone's liking. What happened to Free Speech? Something this country is supposed to be proud of and, today of all days, when we remember those who gave their lives for such freedoms!

If the MP was upset by what Jon said, then perhaps it should come under the heading 'The Truth Hurts'.

I fully support Jon in his fight against this abhorent decision and would point out that children are at far more risk from unsuitable people who abuse and exploit them, than they are from parents/carers who smoke.

Jon should be reinstated forthwith.


I would also like to support Pauline Sharp and her message above, how true her statement is.

November 11, 2008 at 11:47 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Sorry, should have said Councillor, not MP and at the end of the day, if they can't stand the heat they should get out of the kitchen! They set themselves up as 'something special' and when the ordinary man in the street does not agree with them, they can't afford to be offended. If the skin is not thick enough, don't go into politics!

November 11, 2008 at 11:50 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

My reply to talksport is quite simple! Go to this link and see for yourselves:- Michaels Story
I know this has been sent to Cncllr Stark but he may have ignored it in his infinite 'wisdom'.

November 11, 2008 at 11:53 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Johnson

I absolutely agree that this seems ridiculous and certainly smokers should not be banned from fostering children. However, it is important to remember that these children have already lost one set of parents and when considering fostering or adoption, the authorities do try to place them with 'new' parents who will be with them for the rest of their lives. This is more applicable to the question of whether very overweight people should be allowed to do it. If they are over a certain bmi then the health risks are very high.
I feel that it would have been better for Redbridge council (although I dont know if they have tried anything else before putting the ban into place) to encourage parents to smoke outside or in a separate room from the kids or something.
I do hope that this is not going to become a blanket ban as being a smoker does not in any way stop you from being an excellent carer.

November 11, 2008 at 12:01 | Unregistered CommenterFreya

Clearly these health facists don't like being called nazis. Stanton Glantz already demonstrated his dislike for the name when he wrote his rant for the BMJ.
Perhaps we should restrict ourselves to only calling them "Facist bigots". NAH! They are a bunch of health facist nazis, and the sooner people wake up to the true face of evil in our political institutions, the sooner we can clear out the rot, and restore freedom of choice for all.

November 11, 2008 at 12:04 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Williams

I have become dismayed at the acceleration of meanness now vigorously practiced by public sector bodies. My only consolation is the knowledge that history shows all prohibitionist movements to have eventually collapsed after pushing things just a little too far. I hope the actions of Redbridge Council might represent another tipping point and that before long we will return to being a tolerant and just society.

November 11, 2008 at 12:24 | Unregistered CommenterMartin

Well said Phil - but don't expect an invite to a public debate with anyone connected to our political institutions!

November 11, 2008 at 12:25 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Im sorry I just am sick fed up now of seeing all the reasonable attempts to convince these sort of people that what they are doing is fundamentally wrong.
They just do not listen or care to any logical or intellectual argument here goes..


November 11, 2008 at 12:46 | Unregistered CommenterMcgraw

I can't understand why he's been suspended. Or is it because it's to do with a smoking issue?

No-one uttered a word when Noel Edmunds called the establishment 'health & safety nazis' (which IMO is what they are). Here we have Jon doing exactly the same thing and he's suspended!

I also can't understand how some cannot see the connection between the anti-smoking lobbies and the Nazis. OK, so the anti-smoking lobbies aren't sending 6 million to their deaths like the Nazi's did, but they are using the exact same tactics as the Nazis did to tackle smoking - and they know it, which is why they are getting uptight when it's mentioned.

There's 2 laws in this land - one (unwritten) in relation to smoking and another for everything else.

November 11, 2008 at 12:47 | Unregistered CommenterMary

Put it this way: the Nazis killed six million Jews. Whatever we think of smoking bans and other policies designed to stigmatise and discriminate against those who smoke, there is no comparison.

With all respect, that's the wrong comparison. The true comparison is with what happened before the Holocaust/Shoah. Just because antismokers haven't killed 6 million smokers doesn't mean that they're not Nazis. They are!

* Modern antismoking 'science' began in Nazi Germany with researchers like Lickint, Muller, Schairer, et al.

* This research, using the same methodology, was continued after the war by Doll, Wynder, etc, all of whom knew about the German research and had links of one sort or other with Nazi Germany.

* The Nazis introduced a wide variety of smoking bans, although none as draconian as our present ban.

* The Nazis were obsessed with 'health', just like today, and in exactly the same way. Smoking, drinking, diet, exercise, etc. People had a duty to be healthy.

* Modern antismokers advance their cause using the Nazi method of the Big Lie. Or rather the blizzard of small lies, piled one on top of the other.

* The modern attempt to 'denormalise' smoking (and hence smokers) is essentially no different from the Nazi 'denormalisation' of racial/ethnic social groups like Jews, Gypsies, and so on. This includes producing public propaganda to show that that smokers 'stink', and that they're addicts, and that they have 'no rights'.

* Modern antismoking even perpetrates the blood libel against smokers that they are killing children.

* Modern antismoking progressively strips smokers of rights they have previously enjoyed. Smokers are increasingly being refused employment, health care, housing.

Modern antismoking is the new antisemitism. A new target social group has been selected for discrimination, and for the same process of defamation. Its rationale is based on exactly the same kind of ancient prejudice and pseudoscience as antisemitism. Its methods are the same methods of lies and propaganda and coercion.

To think of Nazism as simply the Holocaust is to deny and diminish everything that led up to that. It is to forget all the little discriminatory laws againsts Jews, the vile propaganda campaigns against them, the "Jews Not Welcome" signs, the physical attacks on them. Or else it is to more or less say that everything that the Nazis did to the Jews beforehand was perfectly acceptable, and that it was just gassing people that crossed a moral boundary. But that was simply the culmination of a long process, during which the German people were gradually conditioned to think of Jews as subhuman, and their murderers were gradually prepared for their coming task.

So three cheers for Jon Gaunt! He was telling it like it is. May many more people stand up and denounce these people for what they are: Nazis.

November 11, 2008 at 12:50 | Unregistered Commenteridlex

Brilliant Idlex - very well put! Lets hope a few more people understand the similarities now!

November 11, 2008 at 12:58 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

Stark's email to me:
I can confirm that the report to Cabinet 'Smoking Policy for Carers' was submitted on the 3 November 2008 and was approved as representing the best interests of children, young people and their carers and the protection of their health. It is believed that a smoking environment should be avoided in the best interests of children who are placed away from home.

In terms of the risk from passive smoking, I would respectfully refer you to the findings of the Government's Independent Scientific Committee on Tobacco and Health (SCOTH) report in 1998 which states that 'secondhand smoke is a cause of lung cancer and childhood respiratory disease'

NOTE SCOTH REPORT 1998, which has been discredited.
I replied by asking him to put children first and not put them into Social Servics care homes where children do as they like.

November 11, 2008 at 13:09 | Unregistered Commenterchas

Agreed - modern smoking is the new anti-semitism - precisely. Excellently expressed.

November 11, 2008 at 13:11 | Unregistered CommenterJenny of Yorkshire

Everyone who speaks the truth against the goverment's robotic society always seems to get
suspended or dismissed from there jobs. This is just another case of dictatorship.

November 11, 2008 at 13:18 | Unregistered Commentersmiley

I'm sorry Simon, but you're wrong on this one. It's just another example of the double standard of "anti-smoking". They get to demonize smokers any way they chose and when someone reacts badly then it's a drama.

Look at it this way, how long as the term "little Hitler" been around to describe some overzealous minor official?

Time heals all wounds and in the 60 years since the actual Nazi party were defeated the word Nazi has been stolen, abused and now commonly used to encompass any authoritarian body.

Also, I feel your qualifier is unjust. Were the fourth Reich to rise would it be unPC to refer to them as Nazis until AFTER they'd killed 6 million Jews?

I'm sorry Simon, I'm not getting at you, not really. I'm sure you're more than aware that this is an emotive issue and tempers are running high. Your colleague Neil Rafferty was correct in that this is tantamount to deciding that smokers are unfit to parent.

This is a blatant attack (and I don't use the word attack likely) by Redbridge Council on smokers everywhere, but inside and outside of the Fostering system.
This is them saying that kids are better off in a state institution than in the loving care of people who happen to smoke.
The sheer audacity of this is raising my blood pressure even as I type this.

Having Forest run by a non-smoker is, in most cases, a good thing in my opinion, but perhaps in this instance only a smoker can feel the personal nature of the attack by Redbridge Council. A line has been crossed, and smokers everywhere have just had their faces slapped by overzealous by the people whose wages they pay for.

I mean, if they'd wanted to ensure kids weren't exposed to ETS and put a clause in to the fostering contract that potential parents agreed not to smoke in the house then that's one thing, but to bypass that idea altogether is to say openly that smokers are unfit to foster children, that's something else. And that I'm afraid, justifiably earns them the title of Nazis.
Here endeth the rant :)

November 11, 2008 at 13:18 | Unregistered CommenterRTS

I think "health fascism" is a fairly accurate description of the actions of many people and organisations. Although fascism is used to describe many different movements and political systems, a common thread is that the state has control over many aspects of life we now consider personal. Until recently, the UK was becoming less "fascist". The state gave up trying to control homosexuality in the 1960s. Attempted suicide ceased to be a crime in 1961. Yet we are now being told how long we should live for and how we should die. One result of the lack of oppostion to the smoking ban is increased state interference in drinking, eating and alcohol consumption; and, as ever, what might be dismissed as well-meaning paternalism, quickly becomes more sinister. With regard to the Nazi comments: do we really think that Germans are genetically different to us and that the British could never succomb to fascism and turn a blind eye to or take part in mass murder? I don't. And it appears that about 50% of populations in totalitarian states become state informers. So, if I had to put bets on which of us would be the murderers or the collaborators, I would place "evidence based" bets.

November 11, 2008 at 13:37 | Unregistered Commenterjon

I am very sorry to hear about Jon Gaunt's suspension following his comments relating to the bans on smokers adopting/fostering.

Although I do not always agree with Jon Gaunt's opinions he never fails to provoke thought and healthy debate.

He has actually made an extremely important contribution to a debate (smokers adopting) and although his language and choice of words could be described as highly emotive - I think that anyone who actually listened to Jon's points on the subject will understand exactly the context in which they were intended and therefore realise that they were appropriate.

Allen Carr's Easyway To Stop Smoking organisation has clinics in more than 39 countries worldwide and has sold more than 10 million books. We exist to help smokers quit and unlike much of the medical/smoking cessation establishment we have sympathy, understanding, and compassion for smokers (as patronising as that might sound given my audience on this forum).

Obviously smokers should NOT be banned from adopting/fostering - they should be

a) educated so that they can make an informed decision about whether or not they should smoke in the family home (if indeed any of them would have done so). I am sorry to offend anyone here but it is completely wrong on every level for a child to be exposed to passive smoking in the home and I think it is impossible for someone to make an informed decision to the contrary. In the same way as it is completely wrong for parents to feed their kids Macdonalds "happy meals" 5 or 6 times a week..It is easy for potential adoptive parents to commit to not smoking in the home and having made that commitment who could possibly argue that they would be any less able to be great parents than anyone else.

b) provided with a choice of effective methods of quitting smoking (if that is what they would like to do).

c) able to adopt whether the continue to smoke or not.

Jon Gaunt has my full support and should be reinstated immediately. I hope The Sun send a journo to follow this councillor and see whether he lives his life according to the standards that he sees fit to impose on potential adoptive parents.

It is sickening that smokers continue to be viewed as sitting ducks for these fanatics.

FORREST are right about one thing....after smokers it will be fat people, thin people, short people, tall people, sick people, and old people. All set to be marginalised and filed as some sort of sub-class fit for persecution. I saw Michael Moore's SICKO at the's scary stuff.

I have no idea why UTV/Talksport have suspended Gaunty - he was only doing his job.

John Dicey
Worldwide Director
Allen Carr's Easyway To Stop Smoking

November 11, 2008 at 13:50 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Dicey

The Government have pledged to reduce smoking and have set themselves targets which are un likely to be met, that is the reason for the massive anti-smoking campaigns currently running. In June 2008 the UK National Smoking Cessation Conference was held ( Google UKNSCC 2008 ) and the extent of how far these people are prepared to go is obvious.Look at the programme and listen to the speeches.There were 750 delegates at the conference including Big Pharma,NHS,ASH,PCTs,Local Authorities etc , all targetting smokers.If this isn't discrimination on a massive scale then what is.

November 11, 2008 at 14:03 | Unregistered CommenterEddie

Very interesting comments John Dicey, but how do you reconcile your statement "I am sorry to offend anyone here but it is completely wrong on every level for a child to be exposed to passive smoking in the home and I think it is impossible for someone to make an informed decision to the contrary." - or smoking for that matter with the fact that the countries with the lowest cases of cancer are also those countries with the highest rates of smokers?

How is it that most of the oldest people in the world are or were smokers for most of their lives?

How is it that so many children, like myself and my brother, grew up in an environments in the 50's and 60's where both parents smoked and also both sets of grandparents, some of whom lived with us for some years and that I, a smoker since the age of 13, suffer depression that has become unmanageable without medical intervention since the smoking ban, but am otherwise fit and healthy and my brother, who along with his family are all anti smoking, yet he and his children are always suffering minor illnesses and allergies? My brother happens to also be one of those people who is anti anything the state says is bad for you!

There are reports available too that show that in fact SHS has a beneficial affect for people and actually works similar to a vaccine in children in that a small dose of the disease/poison, if you like, is what is the prevention of the ill!

How can it be justified that SHS is the cause of cancer amongst other things, in non smokers, when if non smokers were shut in a garage that was packed with smokers, all chain smoking, then several hours later they emerged, they would have suffered no real harm. They may have watering and stingy eyes and perhaps a dry throat, but there will be no lasting effects, whereas if the same people were shut in the same garage with a car engine running, several hours later they would most likely be dead!

Which, therefore, is the most dangerous and which has been increasing over the years that smoking has been decreasing, whilst cancer rates apparently still rise?

I am glad to see that you do, at least, support Jon Gaunt and that you do not have the same opinion as Redmond Council, it is just a pity that you have used this forum however to promote your product.

November 11, 2008 at 14:07 | Unregistered CommenterLyn

I think that Jon Gaunt, and anyone else for that matter, should be free to express their views about a third party, as long as they are not intimating that those views are fact.

There are many people today who use the term "Nazi" more as a derogatory term than anything else. They do not mean that the person they call it to is someone who works in a concentration camp and kills Jews.

But, there are also, other people, who use this term as a sort of reverse psychology. They know full well, the manner in which the word has usually been said, but then they try to turn it upon its head, and bring in all sorts of political implications, which were not intended in the first place.

There is no doubt the German Nazi Party committed some of the worst crimes in humanity, so these same people automatically like us to believe, that the Nazi they have been called, is one of the German variety, the very same ones that committed these evil crimes. What about the Spanish Nazi Party, or the Italian Nazi Party, neither of whom were anti-Semitic, or murdered Jews in concentration camps?

I have Jewish blood, on my mother's side, so I would hardly be likely to condone German Nazism, but I can understand when people liken the way the anti-smoking law has been used by our Government against the people of this country, to the way the Nazis used their propaganda machine in 1930s Germany to soften their citizens against what was to come.

Propaganda was, from the start, one of the most vital aspects of the power behind Nazi Germany. This propaganda developed by 1944 into a pure and outright control of all aspects of German life. In a movement which was to eventually sweep through Germany and widely distribute the ideals of the Nazi party, propaganda became a tool for the indoctrination and control of the German people.

This, is so similar, to what is happening here in our own country today, that it is impossible not to see. This is the Nazism which people are talking about, not the Nazism of murder and genocide.

Hitler believed in the power of propaganda, short and repetitive slogans, he said, were ideal for "enlightening" the masses in the ideals and support of Nazi rule. In fact, the masses were too stupid, he claimed, to understand anything else, let alone remember complicated ideas.

If Jon Gaunt thinks, like many people do today, that our ruling elite are acting in this way, in trying to control our lives, by underhand and subversive means, using the methods laid out in the 1930s by the German Nazi Party, then I believe he is right to say so.

Jon Gaunt's use of the term Nazi, has nothing to do with smoking, and everything to do with trying to gain control of the masses.

November 11, 2008 at 14:09 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Idlex is spot on.

Most people tend to think of Nazis in connection with their horrendous Final Solution. They always seem to gloss over the path they traveled to get there. And THAT is the parallel we should be looking at. I forget how many times I have seen anti-smokers write that we smokers should be exterminated. How many times do they wish a painful death on us? It is not good enough to simply die, it has to be painful. We are shunted out of buildings where we were warm and safe. We are not welcome. We can be denied health care. We can now be denied the right to foster children. We can be discriminated against when looking for employment. We are ghettoised. We are the "target de jour". We are scorned, vilified, attacked, raped, and even murdered.

The Jews also suffered these, and many more disgusting edicts.

The Final Solution was the end result of a multi-year campaign. It turned ordinary Germans into Jew-Haters.

Our Smoker Ban has similarities, make no mistake about that. Our citizens have now been taught to hate and fear smokers and that hatred and fear will build and build.

The disharmony it has so far caused in our society is unforgivable.

If they need to be called Nazis in order to wake them up, so be it.

If the cap fits.....

November 11, 2008 at 14:13 | Unregistered CommenterColin Grainger

If FOREST dont learn to stand up to the discrimiantion and tell things like they are, then why the surprise and the continual erosion and demonisation of smokers rights and social status?

All i see is apologies and capitulation.
Again reminiscent of what happened under the Nazis by some of the jewish community.

Ok, smokers are a long way from the gas chambers, but the comparisons with persection and the tactics used by Nazi's are obvious. The incitement of hatred, discrimination, banishment from public places, and junk science are prime examples.

Its nice to see elements of the new pro-choice movement stand up for themselves, and call a spade a spade.The alternative apologist stance has failed and left us where we are now. If you dont have what it takes to fight then dont drag those who do down with you.

November 11, 2008 at 14:29 | Unregistered CommenterJohn Harris

Forces argues a connection between the smoking ban and similar moves, and Facism, That is to say the economics is similar to what occurred in the 1930s.

I don't know how far it is likely to go, but I do find it wrong that bodies like WHO, or national governments, should be subject to lobbying by big pharmaceutical companies. This is capital interests running amok and why the smoking ban to me has everything to do with big business capitalism and nothing to do with socialism or communism. ... and see link to separate page on facism.

Hence I don't know whether it is accurate to describe a councillor as a Nazi (I don't really know how to define nazis enough for this purpose) for wanting to stop smokers from fostering, but it could be right to call him a fascist!

I don't know if name calling is helpful or not ... possibly it is in the current environment, then we can all get our cards on the table.

Bring back Gaunt.

November 11, 2008 at 14:51 | Unregistered CommenterBelinda

It is quite possible to be, or have been, a Nazi and never have partaken, or even had knowledge of, the Holocaust. In fact, this would describe the majority of the German population in the 1930s and 1940s.

Joseph Stalin killed between 10 and 20 million of his own people in the USSR, through orchestrated famines and outright extermination. He used Second World War casualty figures in an attempt to massage this genocide.

Yet, if I were to dub somebody a Communist - rightly or wrongly - my statement would not be irrevocably tied to assigning the atrocities perpetrated by Stalin to that individual. Equally, this is the case if I called someone by the term of greater specificity, for example, a "bolshevik". Why is calling someone a Nazi to tar them with the brush of genocidal maniac while calling someone a Communist / Bolshevik is not?

November 11, 2008 at 15:02 | Unregistered CommenterTim Clarke

Unlike Redbridge council, Jon LOVES children. In a reply I received from him he added:
'Remember if you've got kids, give them a kiss, give them a hug and don"t forget to tell them that you LOVE them'.

November 11, 2008 at 15:08 | Unregistered Commenterchas

I have written to Stephen Farmer, copy to Jon Gaunt, giving my full name and e-mail, as follows:My mother, grandmother and grandfather smoked. We all lived together. My father was in the army. Our ventilation was limited by blackout curtains. I am 73. I was not harmed by smoke. I would have been greatly harmed by lack of love and care, however pure the air. I am still alive, as are millions of others who were children during the war. Jon Gaunt clearly has his priorities right this Armistice Day. Love is all that matters.

November 11, 2008 at 15:13 | Unregistered CommenterNorman

Jon Gaunt was using the right words in relation to that councillor in my opinion because he is nothing only an ignorant pig and I have written my protest to Talksport about it. Its amazing to hear that the said councillor is a conservative, is there no hope of a change when nu labour is kicked out. God help us all. Especially when it was Hitler himself that was the first to bring in a smoking ban which proves that it was all based on a mad man's nazism as there was no research in those days about smoking related illnesses because the nazis had not finished experimenting on humans at that point to come to such a conclusion and in those days they didnt need to appoint an ASH organisation because they had complete control.
The actual cause of cancer is unknown, it is a multifactorial condition that does not have one single cause but many. Other known or suspected causes include hereditary, viruses, diet, exposure to radiation, your envioronment and a host of other contributions such as stress. If smoking was the sole cause of cancer then it would be 100% correct to say that smoking causes cancer. Modern science still does not know exactly what causes a cancerous growth, which makes it very difficult
for those looking for a cure for cancer as opposed to a treament for it. So, as cancer is a multifactorial condition that does not have one single cause but many and the list also includes smoking as one of the possible causes but not in isolation. To add to that Japan and Hungary who have the highest incidence of smoking have the lowest incidence of lung cancer, some speculate that this is due to their high intake of fish oils, but who knows.
So Jon Gaunt had a very valid point in my opinion and therefore it was unlawful for him to be suspended and I hope he brings his case all the way back to base camp - the human rights brigade in the EU!!

November 11, 2008 at 16:09 | Unregistered Commenterann

If people can not see the correlation between the Nazi ideals of the 1930's and 40's, those same ideals that have never gone away but are now seeing a revival in Britain today then you may look no further than your TV screens tonight! A new set of 'fear factor' tactics are, once again, being employed by the 'health gestapo' while using our children as weapons to further dehumanise the smoker. The Nazis used 'Hitler youth' to turn children against their parents; and who can forget Saddam Hussein and his 'Human Shield' when he thought an attack was imminent?

No Simon, calling people names like this is just another indication of how some of us are not prepared to let others in authority use fascist ideals and tactics to disenfranchise the smoker, obese or drinkers from the rest of the population...We know what comes next, don't we?

John H Baker

November 11, 2008 at 16:09 | Unregistered CommenterJohn H Baker

I have also sent an e-mail to Talksport as below and gave my name address and occupation. It is a total disgrace and to think the support Brand and Ross got after being suspended for torturing an old man, this is unbelievable.

I am appalled that Mr Gaunt has been suspended for using the same words used about traffic wardens, clampers, HM Revenue and Customs staff et all.

What I am curious about is whether this suspension is a reaction to the Brand/Ross incident or is it indicative of journalism's fear of questioning the tactics employed daily against smokers. I am sure many have pointed out the discrimation suffered by us but few journalists will defend us because they seem afraid of the anti smoking lobby. Journalists are supposed to investigate and report, not sit back and accept every lie proferred by government. For example, the publicans were refused rate reductions as the valuation agency said the smoking ban would not affect their businesses. Hundreds of pub closures and thousands of job losses later they are having to amend the rules as the information they had was wrong.

The smoking ban was introduced based on lies from Ireland but no journalists looked at the truth. Why not? If only there had been journalists around like Mr Gaunt to point out that the emperor had no clothes on, many thousands would not have lost their businesses, jobs and homes. I work in insolvency and have seen the devastation wrought by this pernicious piece of legislation and it was all avoidable if journalists had done their jobs.

Reinstate Mr Gaunt immediately or your radio station will have lost it's reputation for fair and impartial journalism.

Kind Regards,

Michael Peoples

November 11, 2008 at 16:41 | Unregistered CommenterMichael Peoples

An increasing number of MPs ( particularly in the North of England ) are against this policy and are advocating reform of the smoking ban.They are worried about losing their seats at the next election and recognise that the continuing demonisation of smokers is having a negative effect on their chances of doing so.

November 11, 2008 at 16:49 | Unregistered CommenterPolitical Insider

When I was still reeling from the shock of this criminalisation based on exageration, propaganda and 'overwhelming evidence' which turns out to be fabricated, I made several videos for youtube. One of these is from last January, it is called "Final Solution" -
Here is the script, no comparison? -

They had power. There was a sizeable minority whose lifestyle they did not like. They said that they were contaminating the rest of society. They began to persecute them, just a little bit at first. They got scientists to manipulate research. Gradually their propaganda made people believe what they were saying. The rest of society began to join in the persecution. It got worse, boycotting the sizeable minority more and more, isolating them, stopping them from being able to be part of the community. People didn’t want to be near them, they found them offensive. Then those with the power began to make special places for them to go. Eventually, they found what they believed to be the final solution.

Am I talking about the Nazis and their persecution of the Jews? Well I could be, but I am not. I am talking about Action on Smoking and Health, ASH. I wonder if they have come up with their final solution yet?

Don’t worry. The other final solution didn’t work, oh yes, there was a lot of suffering, but their were good people who overthrew that tyranny. There are many smokers and non smokers who are good people, and have not been taken in by gross exageration and ridiculous unfounded statements about passive smoking. People who don’t like to see fellow human beings being persecuted by a dictatorial power. Good people will eventually overcome the evil despots who say that they are being contaminated by smokers.

November 11, 2008 at 17:18 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

Political Insider, that is good news. I live in the North of England and see boarded up pubs in the villages and suburbs throughout the region as I drive around.

I think it's time I followed up my last letter to my MP (Labour, voted for the ban, explained to me that the ban was decided upon to ease the tax burden of future generations??!) with another - just to help her if she's swithering!!

My email:

Dear Mr Farmer,

I would like to offer my support to Jon Gaunt and to thank him for expressing
my own view.

The attitude and behaviour of government agencies in this country towards
smokers is now dictatorial and persecutory. Having spent some two years taking
an interest in the issue of passive smoking, I also believe it to be ill-
informed. I, therefore, think that Jon described the Councillor quite
accurately. His only crime was to do so with a refreshing lack of diplomacy.

Yours sincerely,

November 11, 2008 at 17:31 | Unregistered Commenterjoyce

If Redbridge Council used the effects of SHS (as they perceive them) as a baseline for risk then their decision would be understandable. Do they though?

Many scents contain carcinogens and so using the same standard they would need to ban people if they use perfumes until they stopped, after all that is an avoidable 'risk' that is easy to reduce. Indeed this would be more justifiable since some scents contain neurotoxins.

Will they use SHS risk as a baseline though? I doubt it. I asked Dr Siegel the same question and recieved a very loud silent reply. Of course they can not use it as a baseline as just about everything (even water in some areas) would be a an extreme health hazard, which is clearly absurd.

This is why the emotive words come in to protest their decision. It is evident that it is against a whole class of people - 'smokers' - who use a legal product. An easy target and not as they may claim a health issue.

Mr Gaunt is receiving the support he rightly deserves. Idlex correctly says it is not what happened it is how it happened. .

How much more denormalisation and dehumanisation?


November 11, 2008 at 18:12 | Unregistered Commenterwest2

Many laudable and reasonable comments.

Problem is, (like their mentors) they prefer to dictate, rather than listen.

November 11, 2008 at 18:17 | Unregistered Commenterdb

I am a long time observer of the different views held by the pro-choice organisations. In summary, I believe it would be fare to say that Simon, on behalf of Forest has always advocated discretion in language and presentation and that others have expressed concern that the anti's need less respect, indeed more contempt.

This is a classic example of how a display of contempt can only do our cause good. With respect to Simon, I fully appreciate his argument, Jon Gaunt has, as a result of his passionate expression of his beliefs achieved excellent press at some personal risk. I applaud him for this stand and fully endorse Simon's stand on his behalf.

Unfortunately, Gaunty was not so outspoken when it came to the smoking ban introduction. His Sun column was quite derisory towards the plight of smokers at this time. He did come across, on that occasion, as an anti-smoker. He did not appreciate how the power hungry anti-smoking movement would invade his own area of comfort. To this, I say "told you so Gaunty!" with some relish.

Could we please note, how important it is to join forces, and to stop pussy-footing around these NAZI zealots. We need passion like Gaunt to get noticed.

November 11, 2008 at 18:19 | Unregistered CommenterPhil Button

Chas: I got the same standard reply from Stark as well. Let me drop some bomb shells of the SCOTH committee. From it I quote:

"In most studies considered individually the observed odds ratios failed to reach statistical significance. They were nevertheless comfortably within the confidence limits of the pooled odds from the 1997 meta-analysis presented to SCOTH (1) of 1.24 (95% confidence interval (CI) 1.13-1.36). That is an excess risk of 24% in non-smokers exposed to SHS
compared to those not exposed."

These were the same results as Enstrom/Kabat and merely is political conclusions.

Here is an extract of an email sent to me by one of the SCOTH Committee members, I think extraordinarily revealing.

"You raise the issue of Relative Risk, and I do not propose to get involved in an argument as to what is a significant Relative Risk in this context - any level of risk is a matter for judgement, and particularly in the case of a public health issue there is an important precautionary argument"

November 11, 2008 at 18:35 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

...and this is "overwhelming evidence" eh Dave? I have seen something about this 'precautionary argument' in an EU doc, may have been something to do with the WHO. Basically, if they don't like something, and they can gather together some 'evidence' which contains lots of maybes and possiblys and 'it is estimated that' then they can use that as overwhelming evidence to ban whatever it is they so not like.

November 11, 2008 at 19:28 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

I sent this to Andrew Pierce, Assistant Editor at the telegraph re his defence of this policy on the Sky newspaper review 10.11.08;

I was disappointed at your comments endorsing this proposal, which seems to run counter to the editorials in your newspaper (of which I am a regular reader) regarding the hype of passive smoking. The decision has been condemned by many experts in the child care system, who point out that the children concerned have already been subjected to greater horrors than parents who smoke, and fear the alternative may well be that these children remain in the state ‘care’ system, whereupon they will fare much worse consequences than possible proximity to a few puffs of smoke- (the effects of which are likely even more overstated than for ‘adult exposure’). Over 25% of the prison population have been in the care system as children at some point, and the rate of teenage pregnancy is also significantly higher in that group. I suspect they may also rank highly amongst the smoking, drinking and drug user stats too.

As for the shock-jock Nazi comment – this might not be P.C., but it is the case that the Nazi party was amongst the first to ban smoking (as did Franco) so the comment is correct in that regard. In Nazi Germany, posters and cinema 'shorts' were produced depicting smoking as 'the typically despicable habit of Jews, jazz musicians, Gypsies, Indians, homosexuals, blacks, communists, capitalists, cripples, and harlots'. As for any other comparisons, the methods and practices currently endorsed to ‘deal’ with smokers include withholding of health care,withholding segregation/expulsion from all indoor areas, refusal of accommodation, refusal of employment and my daughter’s teachers recently asked the class ‘if any of their Mummies or Daddies smoke’. No doubt her name will soon be flagged as ‘at risk’ on the forthcoming child database. I also have little doubt that the tactics employed to ‘persuade’ me not to smoke will become ever more extreme, and whilst not wishing to offend anyone’s sensibilities with exaggerated comparisons, it seems to me that these measures are entirely consistent with those employed by the Nazis, both towards the citizens they did not trust and minority groups they despised.'

Frankly I'm past caring if people wish to misconstrue the 'N' word - the fact is they were multi faceted fascists and moreover killed around 2 million other people from 'minority' and u'ndesirable' groups who never get much mention.
I digress.

With the state now witholding fertility treatement and fostering/adoption from smokers, how long do you think it will be until children of smokers are flagged as at risk from birth- I'll give it a year. The reason these people keep pushing is that no-one is pushing them back - hard.

And BTW in deliberate affrontery to everyone who has delicate sensibilities, is it just too awful of me to observe that that poor child on the news today whose little life was a misery of torture and cruelty would have cared precious little who he was with so long as he was loved, so please don't call on mme to see it from the social workers point of view - because that's what it is, not the children who just want a family to belong to.

Elizabeth Barber

November 11, 2008 at 19:30 | Unregistered Commenterdunhillbabe

Got a dictionary handy? If you look up the term "Nazi" or "nazi" You'll find three accepted meanings:

The upper case version refers the the long defunct National Socialist Party of Hitler's Germany, currently residing in the Magma Unit down in Hell.

The lower case version is an entirely proper term for a tobacco nazi and I'll continue to use it. The kind of insufferable prig who complains about it shoud be ignored

November 11, 2008 at 19:46 | Unregistered Commenterjoe Camel

Was Talk Sport presenter Jon Gaunt right to use the word Nazi during his interview with Conservative councillor Michael Stark, from Redbridge council.

I heard the whole of the interview, and Michael Stark came across as a self righteous prig who believed he was right to sacrifice the well being of children seeking a loving home, on the altar of political correctness. This strutting martinet was bereft of the wit or imagination to take the trouble of researching the issue of ‘passive smoking’ properly. Perhaps he was too lazy or gullible, or both. He like so many others simply go along with the tide of political correctness that poisons our society.

Jon Gaunt quite rightly juxtaposed the position that the Nazi’s took against many of its people, and the position that this council is taking against decent honourable potential parents who happen to smoke, because the state now decrees them to be undesirable members of society.

Michael Stark regurgitated many of the sound bites that are uttered by ASH, CRUK British Heart Foundation i.e., ‘passive smoking’ near children gives rise to many well-known diseases.

Fritz Lickint was the first person to coin the phrase ‘passive smoking’ (Passivrauchen) in Nazi Germany circa 1936, and in 1939 went on to write ‘Tobacco and the organism’. Beginning in 1938, laws were passed to ban smoking in public places including air raid shelters, post offices, government buildings and many other workplaces.

Hitler, who hated smokers, set up the Tobacco Hazards Research Institute, and put in charge a man called Karl Astel, who was an anti-Semite thug and eugenicist, he joined the SS in 1930, and was interested in euthanasia. Working at the University of Jena, he sacked Jews and smokers from academic posts, and during the war compiled lists of Jews to be sent to concentration camps.

Slowly but surely, the hateful seeds of intolerance had been successfully sown, until eventually a vile, and monstrous tyranny emerged and left it’s indelible mark across three continents, and it’s ugliness touched in some way the rest of the world. When a powerful elite develops an unfettered maniacal desire, and claims to know what is best for us, then this is the inevitable result.

I never thought that in this country that I love, that I would see a similar scenario in its infancy. This time however it is more insidious…it has a seemingly benign countenance…but it’s objective is just as pernicious. We have no true freedom of speech…we have no free access to the media if we have a different point of view, it is firmly controlled by an invisible intelligentsia who have free and easy access to government and relevant ministries. Anyone standing up against this new tyranny now in evidence in our land is vilified and hounded.

All I can say to you Simon is this. If you are too afraid to realise the similarities that are only too apparent…then you go to your local bar and raise a glass to Neville Chamberlain.

Just don’t expect decent honourable men and women of the type that so courageously gave their lives so that we could sleep easier in our beds…to do the same.

They will never give away the freedom so desperately fought for all those years ago in foreign lands…not in this lifetime or any other!

Yes…Jon Gaunt was right.

November 11, 2008 at 20:01 | Unregistered CommenterChris F J Cyrnik

Timbone: If you want to get in contact I can say more.

What I learnt from the email is that tobacco is politicised and conclusions are based on prejudgice rather than science.

November 11, 2008 at 20:05 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

You took the words right out of my mouth, Dunhillbabe. Time and again we hear of appalling cases of child abuse, usually when the child dies. These children seldom die because of an isolated instance of abuse, they've suffered weeks, months or years of abuse, yet even the most obvious cases fail to be picked up by social workers. Every time there's a child's death because of abuse we hear that it will never happen again because policy and procedures will be reviewed - and, of course, it does.

How many cases do they miss where the child doesn't die? Those children yearn for a kind, loving home. The legacy of their abuse will impact on their lives to a degree that exposure to tobacco smoke never could. Abusers can be found in every occupational group, income band, class, within every type of group in society, but I would bet that, in the mad, mad world of LAs, an official inspecting a home would detect a whiff of ETS yet miss blindingly obvious signs of real abuse.

November 11, 2008 at 20:12 | Unregistered Commenterjoyce

2 and a thesaurus but I'm past the niceties of correct grammar!

Finally, cos I'm just sick of this to my blackened back teeth, can ANYONE tell me why these people should care more abaout me, a white wealthy westerner/european, potentially killing myself in a manner of my own choosing, than they seem to care about the thousands of me, women and children who are not white and not westerners dying in their 10's of thousands for want of a stimple malaria shot or water that sn't filthy with disease. Why don't they put their obvious and considerable energies into people whi want and need saving and leave me/us the hell alone.

November 11, 2008 at 20:13 | Unregistered Commenterdunhillbabe

Sorry Simon, I agree with most of the other comments on here. Idlex, superb comment.
I can remember just after the ban came in and I was wearing a f2c badge, I walked into a posh shop and a lady came over to look at the badge, she was a non-smoker. I never even mentioned the ban, but she said to me "blond hair, blue eyed children". I just smiled, I knew exactly what she meant. The intolerance, the blantant propaganda,the exclusion, the social dividing ect. The word fits quite rightly into what is going on.
Pauline is also right, a loving home should be the priority.
With the "fear advert" for the kids, how many will have bigger shock if they lose a parent and they do not smoke! They will learn very early what propaganda is all about.

November 11, 2008 at 20:34 | Unregistered Commentermandyv

I'am in total agreement with Jon Gaunt

November 11, 2008 at 21:51 | Unregistered Commenterjimmy

This is OT but Paul Flynn has now blogged about receiving his copy of '1984'. Perhaps still traumatised from his cyber encounter with smokers a few months ago, he mistakenly attributed the gift to a pro-choice smoking group!

Rather embarrassingly, given his treatment of those speaking out against smoking bans on his blog a few months ago (he was very, very, offensive), the current comments feature many non-smokers who disagree with the ban.

It's the best entertainment I've had in an otherwise rather dismal day.

November 11, 2008 at 22:19 | Unregistered Commenterjoyce

Coming back to Simon's point about the irritating Nazi simile: well, even leaving aside the fact of genocide; isn't the main point that creeping totalitarianism should be fought against by all thinking people? That it does just that - creeps up in stages, until a minority is victimised and excluded from normal society. Once they reach they stage - well, why not go one small step further and get rid of them, and their basic rights, altogether? Easy.

While I see the reason for caution, that doesn't change the actual dangers of control and manipulation by local or national govt - in the name of 'what is good for us'.

The psychology behind the need to control is not a popular science either; but it is an accurate one. Hitler's profile is very easy to define from his childhood history, and with a little psychosis added in, virtually predictable. We understand hardly anything about the power of projection - and killing off through projection into the other, through self-hatred, fear and envy. Maybe it's about time we did. Our cause could benefit from it -along with the totalitarian and cruel, unthinking, regimes that disgrace our planet and humanity. As Carl Jung said - the Swiss psychologist and disciple of Freud (initially anyway): "We need more psychology."

November 11, 2008 at 22:54 | Unregistered CommenterBeverly Martin

Joyce, you had me all excited. I keep an eye on PFs blog though, and there is nothing there. I am a little confused.

November 11, 2008 at 22:57 | Unregistered Commentertimbone

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