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« It's good to talk: why UK ministers must ignore this foreign diktat | Main | That was the year that was »

Happy New Year!

Happy new year to all my regular readers. Fingers crossed, 2011 will start rather better than 2010 ended - with a blow-out on the M25 as we were returning from London yesterday. Luckily we were near South Mimms Service Station where a fellow motorist helped change the wheel (after showing me how to use the car jack!). Today we're heading back down the A1 to spend the day with friends in Watford so talk amongst yourselves. What do you wish for in 2011, or is that a silly question?

Reader Comments (16)

Happy New Year Simon.

January 1, 2011 at 1:15 | Unregistered CommenterEddie Douthwaite

Well.....may I wish you and yours a happy new year, Simon!

Car jacks are notoriously tricky, scientifically. One needs to weigh up the weight of the car as compared with the strength of the car jack, and the precise positioning of the jack, allowing for the variations of the strength of the chassis of the car. These scientific considerations are not things that the average man/woman can be expected to know. Therefore, risk assessments need to be made. Only experts can make these assessments, and, of course, these assessments by experts need to be paid for. And these experts have to trained and licenced, even though they may have spent all their working lives in the motor trade.

You were fortunate to have 'a fellow motorist' qualified to make the necessary assessments. If he was not so qualified, your insurance could have been invalidated.

It is New Year's Eve, and I should not be thinking these thoughts! But it is precisely this sort of idiotic thinking that I have outlined above which is making our lives less pleasurable and our cost of living greater.

In the New Year, it is earnestly to be hoped that the Government get to grips with the massive waste of resources,

We will see - and we will try to influence Gov thinking as best we can. It will be hard - the inefficiency of Tobacco Control has not yet been revealed.

January 1, 2011 at 1:44 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Happy New Year Simon. Let's hope for a less insane Govt in 2011.

I sympathise with your blow out. We had our own road mishap with a suicidal pheasant on a Fen road that decided to jump into the path of our car as we levelled with it which has broken the bumper.

I'm told that it would have been against the law to stop pick up the pheasant as we hit it --- but anyone travelling behind could have checked it out and whether it was worth taking back home for plucking and cooking.

Let's hope this new year also sees a return to common sense.

January 1, 2011 at 11:36 | Unregistered CommenterPat Nurse

"In the New Year, it is earnestly to be hoped that the Government get to grips with the massive waste of resources,."

Junican, the Government ITSELF is a Massive Waste of Resources - OUR resources. Why more people can't see that it simply isn't necessary to have this Giant Leech sucking the life-blood from the Nation to provide us with peace and prosperity is one of the more impenetrable mysteries of our age. I fervently pray that more eyes (and ears) will open in 2011, and that the Age of Credulity will slowly give way to the Age of Truth. More interesting than the Age of Aquarius, anyway.

Happy New Year to ALL Members of The Resistance!

January 1, 2011 at 11:44 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Regarding "from New Zealand: Shunning the pariah tag".

I can see where this article is coming from, but I do not agree with the main gist of it, which states that tobacco is highly addictive, even more so than hard drugs such as heroin, methadone, amphetamines and barbiturates, that smoking is the single most preventable cause of illness and early death. It goes onto say that we will all die of smoking related diseases, and that developing a cough through smoking is as natural as getting drunk after drinking 4 bottles of whiskey (or words to that effect).

These statements are rubbish! It is people who are addictive, not the product they use. Some people become alcoholics, and cannot ever touch alcohol again, but that doesn't mean that everyone who drinks alcohol will automatically become one. The vast majority of us, enjoy a drink without ever becoming addicted to it.

The same also applies to smoking tobacco. I have smoked on and off, all my life. I sometimes chose to quit for a year or two, although for what reason, I have never quite worked out, but when I do, I just put my smoking equipment away, knowing that I will probably start again at some time, and stop there and then.

I am in perfect health, I do not have a cough, I can run, and I exercise fairly regularly, I have never had an illness since I was a very young child, have never been to hospital, and do not even have a doctor, so where the guy who wrote this article got his "facts" from I don't know?

I agree with his statements regarding the demormalising of people who smoke, but the rest is rubbish!

January 1, 2011 at 11:52 | Unregistered CommenterPeter Thurgood

Addiction - an interesting subject, but one about which I know very little. I'm sure there ARE such things as Addictive Personalities, and believe I have one myself. But this is probably only part of the story.

One activity which seems to be HIGHLY addictive is Television-Watching (something the Government has always been VERY keen on our doing). Whilst doing a little piece of 'research' on the subject, I come across the following a few days ago, and thought I'd chuck it into the general mix:

"Of course, not all addictions are chemical. Any behavior that leads to a pleasurable experience will be repeated, especially if that behavior requires little work. Psychologists call this pattern "positive reinforcement". This is what we mean, technically speaking, by addiction. In this sense, TELEVISION certainly fits into the category of an addictive agent.

When you watch TV, brain activity switches from the left to the right hemisphere. In fact, experiments conducted by researcher Herbert Krugman showed that while viewers are watching television, the right hemisphere is twice as active as the left, a neurological anomaly. The cross-over from left to right releases a surge of the body's natural opiates: endorphins, which include beta-endorphins and enkephalins. Endorphins are structurally identical to opium and its derivatives (morphine, codeine, heroin, etc.).

Activities that release endorphins (also called opioid peptides) are usually habit-forming (we rarely call them addictive). These include cracking knuckles, strenuous exercise, and orgasm. External opiates act on the same receptor sites (opioid receptors) as endorphins, so there is little difference between the two."

Well, that's ONE addiciton I HAVE (more or less) cured myself of ! I can go for weeks without watching, and feel no withdrawal symptoms whatever. But while I can name many, many people who have given up smoking, I have yet to meet ONE who's 'quit' The Telly. And I've a sneaking feeling I know which is the more harmful to Society (which collectively seems to be losing ANY Left Brain function at all) - ESPECIALLY where ‘The Children’ are concerned !

January 1, 2011 at 14:11 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

"Some people become alcoholics, and cannot ever touch alcohol again, but that doesn't mean that everyone who drinks alcohol will automatically become one. The vast majority of us, enjoy a drink without ever becoming addicted to it."

Of course, anyone with a modicum of common sense recognises this to be true, but as we all know from experience, a few skewed studies and a few white-coated, self-proclaimed “experts” and some new "studies” on the matter may well soon change public perception on that.

Coming soon to a town near you: “Warning! The slippery slope starts here! [insert picture of a single pint]

January 1, 2011 at 15:38 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

What a curious article!

Essentially we see x saying that smokers do not like being badly treated, but, at the same time, we see x accepting that 'the scientific discussion has finished - tobacco is a killer'.

Erm..I do not think so. The scientific discussion goes on.

The reason is that it has not been proved that tobacco causes lung cancer, The latest Surgeon General Report contains no such proof. In fact, it reiterates the fact that no one knows what causes cancer. The 'proof' therefore is merely statistical. Nor does 'stink' and 'filthy' enter into the equation.

x's post SEEMS to support smokers,but the reality is that that it is a subliminal pro-ban message.

Now that the DIRECT attack on tobacco seems to be running out of steam, we see an INDIRECT attack. That is, only stupid people are against the ban,

There is nothing unscripted about x's article. Expect more of the same.

(I use the symbol 'x' to indicate that it does not matter who says what. They all say the same thing, and so they can all be described as x.

January 2, 2011 at 5:06 | Unregistered CommenterJunican

Happy New Year Simon. Hope you dont mind me pointing this out.
Today ( 2nd Jan ) The Independent has an article about Nick Clegg and the Freedom site proposals . Worthy of some comments I think.

January 2, 2011 at 13:02 | Unregistered Commentersheila

Yes, it is a curious article and, like Junican, I think that we’ll be seeing more of them over the coming months and years. It’s almost as if many sections of the media have begun to “hedge their bets” by trying to write stories which satisfy two deeply opposing camps at the same time, and the result is a rather bizarre mix of the anti-smoking and the pro-choice viewpoints which it is pretty much impossible to reconcile meaningfully in any article, given that the anti-smoking point of view simply does not allow for giving any ground, in any respect, under any circumstances, ever.

But the fact that these “mixed message” articles are even being allowed to see the light of day now must surely be a sign that the media themselves have finally recognised that there is still plenty of ill-feeling (amongst smokers and non-smokers alike) about the draconian nature of the ban and about its outward ripples into other areas of life and other activities, and must surely also be a nod towards the fact that they realise that the public now feel truly “anti-smokered out” and that the fire has, quite simply, gone out of the public’s belly for any further massive inroads into people’s lives in this direction.

January 2, 2011 at 16:24 | Unregistered CommenterMisty

Spain has done it now. This is amazing when you realise that they are chemtrailing are skies with god knows what.

January 2, 2011 at 20:07 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

Ingrid -

Chemtrails are THE Perfect Metaphor for these times: Something Strange (and - on all the evidence - rather nasty) is happening LITERALLY right over people's heads - and they still can't see it. Or refuse to see it - even when you point it out to them.

And I bet that Our Andy hasn't even bloody well heard of them! Toxins in the sky, in the water, in the soil, in the crops, and in the food-manufacturing process - and HE frets about the design of cigarette packets. Bless!

January 2, 2011 at 22:31 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Agreed Martin.

It would seem that smoking bans are about control rather than health. Did anyone notice the route taken by Charles and Camilla during the student protests? A guy who lives in London said there were a multitude of routes they could have taken. Oh but wait, I forgot we now have talk of water cannons and banning marches. I'll say no more.

January 3, 2011 at 18:52 | Unregistered CommenterIngrid

"talk of water cannons and banning marches"

I know, Ingrid: we're SO far behind the Americans in this regard. It's embarrassing - but I'm sure we'll catch up with them soon: WAR IS PEACE. FREEDOM IS SLAVERY. IGNORANCE IS STRENGTH.

January 3, 2011 at 22:29 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

Happy New Year Simon and everybody. In the meantime I have had an article published by Big Brother Watch I hope you enjoy it.

January 4, 2011 at 9:59 | Unregistered CommenterDave Atherton

Good article, Dave. I know it's been an over-used adjective in the past, but I really do think it's high time we restored to some sort of respectability the word 'Fascist'.

Naturally, you mention California in the context of Tobacco Control, but the latter is but a small part of a much larger - and deeply unpleasant process that's happening in the States. Whichever way you define it - the corporate take-over of Government, the militarisation of the police, the stifling of personal liberty (as a price for defeating some semi-mythical Enemy), the brutal disregard of the Law and the Constitution, legislation by Presidential fiat, the widespread construction of internment camps, the legalisation of torture, an all-pervasive system of surveillance, any valid criticism of government openly declared to be 'treason', all dissent regarded as potentially subversive, an openly-declared policy of Eugenics, and much, much else besides - America IS now a Fascist State in all but name.

This is no mere hyperbole. And anyone smugly ignorant enough of the facts to consider it as such should go and do a little research. What is more, anyone who thinks that it would never happen here should go and do a little history. These are dangerous times - and a stand MUST be made at EVERY opportunity: the removal of 'trivial' freedoms could be just a foretaste of Things To Come. The light is flashing amber !

January 4, 2011 at 12:14 | Unregistered CommenterMartin V

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