40 comments on “And the award for today’s ignorant tosser goes to….

  1. Whoever is paying you isn’t getting good value for money, Arnald – unless it’s the Cunts Marketing Board, of course.

  2. Unprofitable pubs closing is just the free market operating within the rule of law though, innit. If we as a society vote for illiberal tossers who want to increase the regulation of what consenting adults do on private property then that is what we get.

    There are obviously a lot of people out there who draw the lines in places we wouldn’t, but the effect of the smoking ban on pubs is ultimately the same as that of the murder ban on consensual murder clubs. There are fewer such establishments than there would be if we allowed people to consent to be killed.

  3. Serious question Arnald.
    How much would you pay someone to voice opinions, to an audience which largely agrees with those opinions? What would be the point?

  4. bloke
    If ASI are disseminating big business lies on the grounds of “libertarianism” then the concept of Worstall’s libertarianism is flawed.

    On 18 December 2010, Tim Worstall wrote a blog on the ASI website, citing Christopher Snowdon’s blog Velvet Glove Iron Fist. He claimed that people claim that smoking bans reduce heart attacks are “lying to us”, and that the “various controls and bans on smoking in Ireland have actually increased smoking”.

    Ignorant tosser

  5. Arnold, you’re even funnier. You think that because Tim writes articles for an organisation that gets some of it’s money from a tobacco firm that Tim is morally and contractually obligated to write pro-tobacco pieces. Joined up thinking – not!

  6. Old codger in pub: “I miss the old spittoon.”
    Other codger: “Aye, you always did.”

    Bring back spitting in pubs!

  7. Arnald,

    He probably wrote that because, in fact, smoking bans haven’t actually reduced heart attacks.

  8. Right, so Arnald’s contention is that there is no connection between the smoking ban and pubs going out of business?

    I’m not waving a placard either way, I just want to know that this is what he is averring: smoking ban, pubs going to the wall, no correlation, right?

  9. ah well

    http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/14651858.CD005992.pub2/abstract;jsessionid=0C48CCAF4CCC0F8FD2D50FAFE145EDF7.d03t03

    Introduction of a legislative smoking ban does lead to a reduction in exposure to passive smoking. Hospitality workers experienced a greater reduction in exposure to SHS after implementing the ban compared to the general population. There is limited evidence about the impact on active smoking but the trend is downwards. There is some evidence of an improvement in health outcomes. The strongest evidence is the reduction seen in admissions for acute coronary syndrome. There is an increase in support for and compliance with smoking bans after the legislation.

  10. The biggest stupidity is really believing that people plan their social lives around smoking cigarettes.

  11. Interesting paper thanks Arnald… Concludes that removing smoke from the workplace reduces exposure to SHS is the workplace – bleedin’ obvious and nothing to do with heart-attack “reductions”. I assume that their next paper will conclude that ursine defecation in sylvan settings is proven to a CI of 95%.

    Chris Snowden has published graphs taken directly from NHS admission figures that show no reductions since the smoking ban – the figure was already steadily declininbg and there’s no invrease in the rate of the decline post ban.

  12. I reckon that it’s more likely that some people in their social lives choose to avoid places where they’re not allowed to smoke.

    Anecdotal evidence tends to suggest that the number thus avoiding pubs is considerably greater than the number of those who previously claimed that they avoided pubs because of the smoke. Hence a drop in custom, therefore an increase in pub closures. QED.

  13. pogo, that paper is a meta analysis concluding

    “There was consistent evidence of a reduction in hospital admissions for cardiac events as well as an improvement in some health indicators after the ban”

    Snowden?, Sirrsly?

    So what about the pub and booze business in general? Who owns most of the pubs? What are the conditions for the landlords? What are they tied into? What are the changes that were occurring before and during the ban period?

    Who cares about economic reality when people not being able to pollute other people’s air with impunity is more important.

  14. Arnald – thanks. Though given that your side have no sense of humour, that’s a qualified thanks.

    (What happened to the business you were in with your dad? Did he sack you because you were shit? Is that why you hate capitalists? is it really all about your old man?)

    I don’t smoke, and actually prefer pubs now there’s no smoking because I fucking hated the way it made my clothes and hair smell.

    That said, I spent what must have amounted to years in the pub when smoking was allowed, and I resent the ban more than I resented the smell – I actually briefly took up the habit as a pathetic, one-man fuck you to the bastards. Unfortunately, I couldn’t give up not smoking.

    Do people not go to the pub because of it? Of course they do. I know people who won’t go to the pub because when they’ve had a drink they like a fag.

    It’s a reason, not the reason – drink-drive laws (another piece of fascist bollocks), the price of pub beer vs supermarket etc, and (for me) the rise of shitty music played at full volume are other reasons for the decline of the English pub.

  15. Arnald; with respect you are missing the point.
    I think the point Tim was making is that talking about pub closures without mentioning the smoking ban as a possible factor is misleading and dishonest. That’s still true whether or not you think that the ban was, on balance, a good thing.

  16. Arnald. What the authors quote as “consistent evidence” is, if you look at the studies quoted, for example, in Analysis 3.4 Comparison 3 Results: Health measures, Outcome 4 Hospital admission for acute coronary syndrome., based upon analyses that have, almost without exception, RRs that would not be considered significant by any decent statistician. In several cases described as showing “significant reductions” the CI brackets unity – which indicates a total lack of statistical significance. So, I can’t agree that their “consistent evidence” is anything of the sort.

    “Snowden”… Appears to me (a retired physicist) to be a competent and careful researcher with a good grasp of “the numbers”.

    Re pubcos… I agree with you in that some 50% of the trade is owned by rapacious conglomerates and that rents, beer-ties and the like are deeply iniquitous. However, it was like that before the smoking ban too. From experience (and I realise that the plural of “anecdote” isn’t “data”) pubs seem much quieter post ban and many smokers of my acquaintance (I’m a life-long non-smoker BTW) just simply don’t go to pubs any more and their desertion isn’t in any way compensated by the supposed massed-ranks of the previously discouraged.

  17. Whenever I read comments by Arnald and his ilk, I feel a little more convinced of my suspicion that authoritarianism of his type is caused by a genuine psychological problem of an inability to feel empathy; that is a mild or greater degree of sociopathy. He is clearly utterly unable to imagine himself in somebody else’s shoes (in this case, a smoker).

    I was thinking this the other day in a matter relating to feminists; they seem to be people who are incapable of imagining that any other woman has feelings different to their own or that men have feelings at all, as if they see everyone else as being like a video game character or something, with no inner life, just behaviours.

    It may be that people drawn into cultic thinking teach themselves to switch these feelings off, in order to avoid feeling doubt as to the decency of their actions, but I cannot help but wonder whether it’s a cause rather than an effect. Rabid progressives always seem to me to be not just differing in opinion from liberals, but there’s something more than that. Something wrong in the head. That maybe why they are drawn to understanding the world in terms of class interactions described algorithmically. Individuals and the inner life of those individuals is a mystery to them. So it seems to me.

  18. I don’t go to pubs these days for the fact that they no longer offer what I want from them, just like I would stop using fish restaurants if they said I could eat the fish inside but had to step outside to eat the chips. But then, I didn’t frequent places the good pub guide seems to think are pubs, what they call a good pub is what used to be described as – and still is – a restaurant with an alcohol licence.

  19. As a smoker, let me describe some of the ways the collective smoking bans have affected me, and others, in ways we didn’t expect:

    1. I used to like going out for a pub lunch of a Sunday, and then an afternoon driving around the local scenic spots, calling in at garden centres, leisure facilities, out of town shopping haunts, spending money, I don’t bother now. So I’m actually saving a fair bit of money there. Also now I’m self catering, my cooking skills have improved somewhat. I’ve become a keen gardener, so I can have fresh fruit and vegetables.

    2. I used to enjoy holidays, went cruising all around the world. The cruise lines brought in their own smoking bans, so I don’t go holidaying much anymore. That’s probably the biggest single cash outlay I’m saving. I’m doing more walking around the local coast and countryside,

    3. I realised that I don’t miss those things. Some people did, especially the older regulars who used to go to the local every night. They missed their pals. It hit the non-smokers as hard as the smokers at first. But that situation seems to have resolved itself too, because now groups of them have started meeting up every evening in someone’s conservatory or garden shed. They all kick in their beer money and benefit from supermarket prices. And they are free to order in a takeaway, or bring some chips. Recently, I asked one of these old stagers if he would go back to his local if the ban was repealed, and he said no. “We’ve got everything arranged just how we like it right here now, it’s all nice and convivial. ”

    So looking at what we have lost, that hasn’t self-compensated, is revenue primarily, and jobs. I am saving at least three thousand a year. But that is money that is no longer going into the licensed trade, hotels, the leisure sector, the retail sector. This town no longer has a hotel, and about a third of the public houses have closed. Property developers have started knocking them down to build houses.
    So while I’m personally not complaining, it bothers me that so many jobs and businesses have been lost.

  20. You can argue that any regulation that results in people doing less of something (like going to pubs) merely results in displacement activity, mitigating the negative effects of pubs closing and sacking their staff. In this case, rather ironically, it might result in more people staying at home drinking suds at a quarter of the price watching Miley Cyrus repeats, which is where the true negative externality of the ban lies.

    The post smoking-ban heart attack data is really interesting, in an “if I ever find the time I want to look at it and see if there really is anything in it” kind of way. I’m unconvinced by the arguments that the data is bollocks, other than the argument from the first law of bad science (those who go looking for evidence with a prejudice will find the evidence that confirms their prejudice).

    Tobacco is seriously, horribly bad for you (and I sit here chain-smoking cheap and nasty cigarillos). The questions are whether restricting it adds to or detracts from the sum total of human happiness, and even if it adds to, shouldn’t we rather let people chart their own inevitable course to the grave?

    That gets complicated by the effects of tobacco on involuntary users. Again, on private property, do as thou wilt. Any health effects of SHS are more of an argument for banning smoking on the street than in private places of perfunctory pleasure.

  21. I stopped drinking anyway some time ago anyway, it triggers my migraines, but I worry about the loss of the pubs. They used to be a significant social space; for a young man (as I vaguely remember being once) they were a place to meet people. Not just people you already know. People from different walks of life, get chatting at the bar, maybe make an acquaintance or friend or whatever. It seems likely that many of those groups who now meet privately first met in their local pub, and that’s not going to happen so much now.

    I wrote a post over at the Telegraph on the thread, to the effect that IMV the matrons who run Anglo society have largely achieved a general goal in destroying pub culture, because they regarded it as working class, vulgar and masculine. It’s recognised (at least by some people) that their Victorian/Proggie Era forebears particularly in the USA were so fiercely anti-saloon because the bars were places where men socialised and congregated. Destroying the pub seriously interferes with male social networking. Hence the determination to replace them with social venues aligned with upper class female interests- child friendly restaurants that happen to also serve alchohol (just the one, Tarquin). Not the kind of place where the secondary gender can bond with his kind, or god forbid chat up a dolly bird.

    So, maybe existent social networks can huddle in a garden shed, but the future generations will never form those networks. It’s not a coincidence that Temperance- both alcohol and smoking- are feminist dominated movements.

  22. Gregster, you need to get out more. There are loads of beer pubs knocking around – in my neck of the woods (Gloucs Cotswolds) they’re in the majority. They do a bit of food, because stupid (and economically unviable these days) not to, but they’re at least as much about the beer.

  23. Ian, serious question, do you have much luck with the ladies? Only, it all seems to be a lot about women for you? My wife and sister and mum and all the women I know are quite happy for the men to go to the pub, get slaughtered, have a good time. Sometimes they even come with.

  24. My view on why the smoking ban killed pubs is that is not just simply that the smokers stopped going but that the social groups that smokers were part of disintegrated.

    Smokers are not just isolated individuals, they are part of groups of friends and acquaintances and regulars. It only needs one key person in that group to stop going for a group to disband. If that key person is a smoker, then it’s not just one less customer at the pub, it’s the whole group.

  25. Hmm. I think I misunderstood the original post. But here’s a non-smoker’s point of view. Pre smoking ban, I tolerated smoke. Now that I know what non/smoking pubs and restaurants are like (non-smelly), I would never go to a place where I got smoked on. Ever. Middle class cultural imperialism? Possibly. But you smoke, I ain’t going there.

  26. SBML, that is spot on. It was the entire tap room community that got atomised and dispersed, and actually they weren’t all male. Each public house had it’s own special interest, whether it was raising funds for the RNLI, or the Scouts, or the Brass Band, or the Allotment Society. The womenfolk tend to be at the core of that ethos. Angels with bingo wings.

  27. The current post in Velvet Glove Iron Fist (Bad Pubs) includes a graph show pub closures over the years. The effect of the smoking ban is quite noticable.

  28. What Luke said.

    If old grumpy giffers have stopped stinking the place out thanks to the ban, good.

    Sounds like a difference between the regions and London. Here pubs have improved by two orders of magnitude over the last few years. Rubbish ones with shite beer, rank bogs and manky carpets are being knocked down.

  29. Two things:

    Pubs used to smell of smoke. Now they smell of pubs, i.e. stale beer, sweat, farts, and BO.

    In places without pubs (or rather, pubs which aren’t hooker bars), people tend to do far more socialising at home, in gardens or in large houses. As has already been pointed out on here, somebody sets the venue, everyone brings cheap supermarket booze, and pizzas are ordered. Personally, I much prefer this over going to the pub for the reason that if you are a complete wanker, you’re not likely to get invited anywhere. Give me a decent private party over a night in a pub any day.

  30. Some scattered observations to round off the evening.

    We all meet on the internet these days, not in pubs.

    Are there any proposals out there for a smoking ban on the internet, in case you get seventh-hand smoke down the cable?

    A pub that gets knocked down because it’s bog is rank must be worth chuff all, surely you can put in a new bog for less than the demolition cost.

    All pubs have disgusting carpets. In fact there’s an EU directive about it. The UK has an opt-out allowing carpets, everywhere else has to use 8mm lam tiles but the minimum disgustingness is regulated in Directive EC 84/29746 Environmental Regulations on Detergent Content in Floor Cleaning Products for Restaurants, On-Trade, Hostelries, Conference Centres and Registered Sites of Special Scientific Interest (amendments and mobility-challenged access provisions).

    And they smoke some really serious shit in Bhutan. Whereas Damascus is about to go up in even more smoke than it’s already doing.

    I’m too nicotined to work out (and too pissed to care) if Rjy is in The Centre Of The Known Universe or the regions. Both have shit pubs with rank bogs and disgusting carpets.

  31. Now that I know what non/smoking pubs and restaurants are like (non-smelly), I would never go to a place where I got smoked on. Ever. Middle class cultural imperialism? Possibly. But you smoke, I ain’t going there.

    Well, there’s another good reason to end the smoking ban, then.

    You see this is the point really. A venue rendered acceptable to the puritan bourgoisie is generally rendered unfit for everyone else. Which is why they’ve done it.

    Both Interested and Monty seem to have read my above comment as something like “women don’t like or go to pubs” which wasn’t the intention. It was quite clearly identifying a small class of matronly ruling class women, not “all women”, who are an important social formation as they have, since the Victorian Era, dominated the morals and ethics of the ruling class generally and thus had the power to decide what is to be imposed on everyone else, male and female, outside their class.

    There is a very strong psychological connection in our culture between cleanliness and godliness (i.e. puritan values), and between grot and permissiveness. The Matrons perceive the traditional pub as a permissive venue and, falsely, associate permissiveness with male gender interests; that is they believe that a permissive society benefits men at the expense of women, as classes. This is as I said, a particularly intense attitude in the American ruling class, and not surprisingly the USA was and is the most intensely “anti-saloon” culture. Particularly there, Feminism and Temperance were basically the same movement; the WCTU and all that. So, the hysterical determination to eradicate the saloon culture, which are perceived to be socially permissive and thus masculised. As I said above, the masculine angle has a certain truth to it, in that pubs and bars are places where males have traditionally formed social networks. Women too, of course; but again the ruling class of the woman who visits a pub regularly, or alone, is that she’s a trollop.

    So anyway, the point is that rendering pubs steadily more sterile and converting them into family restaurants- a place that the matron can feel comfortable- renders them less and less inviting to the old drinking crowd- male and female- who went to the pub because it was a permissive venue where you could evade some of the stringent rules of the matronly code of the ruling class. The pub was effectively a relatively classless place in which a banker would rub shoulders with a plumber, and everyone could have a relaxed good time, shedding the relentless social correctness which had been imposed on most other areas of life, which is itself the rules of the Matrons.

    Hence, the need to smash them, by rendering them hostile to the old clientele, which has been mostly achieved.

  32. Er, it’s a guide on which pubs to go to, not a summary of the history of British pubs. How is a moan about the smoking ban relevant? You can’t smoke in any of them, everyone knows that!

  33. The Good Pub Guide was always more of a guide for people looking for lunch when driving around the Cotswolds. CAMRA’s Good Beer Guide is a better guide to pubs (and iirc, the Good Pub Guide charges for entry).

    This sort of talk makes me really angry. There’s pubs around Swindon that were around before Brunel came along, pubs that won the local CAMRA best seasonal pub that have closed like the New Inn at Winterbourne Monkton. If anyone went into the Black Horse at Wanborough a decade ago on a Wednesday they’d have seen a busy pub. It was part of the darts and cribbage leagues. It’s closed now. Friend of mine runs a mixed pub near Marlborough that was very good, but he’s jacking it in.

    If a pub isn’t about pulling or food, it’s basically dead or will be son enough. And the closures won’t be over then because then we’ll have an oversaturation of food pubs.

  34. One of the benefits of the smoking ban, from an entirely selfish point of view, of course, is that I don’t come home from the pub smelling like an ash-tray. And I suspect quite a lot of people who used to avoid the pub, but who now go, feel the same way.

    But leaving aside the debate about the health harm caused by “passive smoking”, surely the issue that any pro-free market person should focus on is property rights and consent. No-one is forced to work in a pub, or go there as a customer. That’s it. In a market where a large number of non-smokers exist, pubs, restaurants could and do cater to such folk by having no-smoking zones, or banning it entirely. If you believe in the right of people to run their property as they see fit – as a landlord should – there are no moral, health or other grounds to dictate the issue.

    As to whether the ban has been a net harm to the pub trade, my guess is that at the margins, such as in rural areas, it has done so. In other areas, it may be a wash.

    I agree with Ian B that there is a clear proggy/puritanical agenda here, but I don’t see a lot of calls for this from women, at least not the ones I know. A lot of men seem to be just as fierce about it.

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