Advice for Owen Jones

Imagine there was a virus you’d never heard of which increased the likelihood of mortality by 26%, or a condition which had a death rate comparable to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. A national health crisis would be declared, and judging by the reaction to the coronavirus, panic would ensue. This public health crisis, which leaves its victims more than twice as likely to develop Alzheimer’s and other dementias, has a name: loneliness.

More than 2 million adults suffer from chronic loneliness; and although its most severe form is more prevalent among Britain’s oldest citizens, younger adults report loneliness more than any other age group.

A desire for social connection is fundamentally hardwired into our psychology, and so being deprived of it has devastating mental and physical consequences. Yet we live in a society which has become ever more fragmented and atomised.

OK.

The social spaces where we congregate and connect are dying. In the 1970s, there were more than 4,000 working men’s clubs; just 1,300 remain. A quarter of Britain’s pubs have closed since the beginning of the century. Nightlife is withering: in 2018 alone, the number of British nightclubs fell by a fifth.

OK, Not pubs, not working mens’ clubs, not night clubs, is like smoking 15 ciggies a day. Being in a smolky pub/club is like smoking many fewer than 15 a day. Thus the smoky pub/club is better than the absence of the pub/club.

So, we banned smoking in pubs/clubs, something which led to many of them closing down, for what sodding reason then?

42 comments on “Advice for Owen Jones

  1. Yet we live in a society which has become ever more fragmented and atomised.

    By the Left’s design. Talk about chutzpah, fucks sake.

  2. Rob, surely the left will soon exhort us all do our bit to defragment society. By socialising down at the local Mosque.

  3. “While more than three-quarters of us think it would be better if we knew our neighbours, 73% of us don’t even know their names.”

    When I first moved to my current home in the sticks my neighbour introduced himself with the advice that “If you get into trouble just shout, and the neighbours – who are a good bunch – will come running. Otherwise we keep ourselves to ourselves.” I read that as don’t bother us and we won’t bother you. It seems to work very well. Prior to rural isolation I lived in London for 27 years. London’s attraction was its anonymity…even when living on top of each other, people kept their distance – Chinese walls and all that. If you did feel the need for company there was a pub on every street corner. Most old folks I meet are curmudgeonly types that don’t exactly hanker after company.

  4. When working in an open-plan office I was obliged to stick a sign on the front of my desk which ran something like “I’m working – fuck off and bother someone else.”

  5. So, we banned smoking in pubs/clubs, something which led to many of them closing down, for what sodding reason then?

    The people who used them were of the type that complained about the government, social workers and the bloody wogs.

    Most old folks I meet are curmudgeonly types that don’t exactly hanker after company.

    I don’t even speak the same language as my neighbours.

  6. Most old folks I meet are curmudgeonly types that don’t exactly hanker after company.

    That’s why we had pubs and social clubs with cheap booze. We’re all miserable bastards until we’ve had a pint or five. If nothing else, alcohol gives deniability: “I didn’t mean it when I said your wife is the village tart, I was drunk.”

    Any good pub needs a dog and a weekly piano singalong too, for those who find conversation too challenging.

  7. The only thing Blair did that was righteous was the smoking ban.
    When I was a train driver one job we had in the morning was Southend Vic., all stations to Billericay then fast to London. The smoking coach was at one end of the unit, behind the driver.
    On arrival at Liverpool St all the customers / punters / passengers / self loading freight / wildebeest would get off and I would open the door from the cab to the coach to something approaching a pea souper.
    I thought ‘all these smokers have got up, had a shower, put on something to make them smell nice, clean clothes, then stood in this shit for 25 minutes’. But it was their choice and there were other coaches for those who chose not to smoke.

    I don’t have any problem with people smoking* but it is my right to be able to frequent pubs without having to breathe in someone else’s foul shit which leaves me with nausea, a headache and smelling like an old ashtray .

    Rant over.
    * i’m an ex -smoker and I know there’s no one as zealous etc.

  8. As for the notice, Bernie, I had one that read ‘Shut Happens’ which inflamed some administrator bitch. A large part of my job, lecturing in an ex-Poly, required me to be not in my office, but in a lecture theatre, in a laboratory, on field trips, and FFS, in meetings. The little scumbags still expected me to be in my office whenever they chose to call.

  9. The problem essentially was the filthy manners of smokers who, without a by your leave, would make your eyes smart and your clothes stink.

    Mind you, a more intelligent government would have banned cigarette and cigar smokers from pubs: yer pipe is an unobjectionable thing, on the whole, and would promote reflective and philosophical discussion.

  10. @Excavator Man: I used to tell them I’d see them on Saturday morning at 10:00. It worked well: those who turned up were usually worth the effort, those who cried off had been rumbled.

    Naturally I’d first have checked that they didn’t have a 10:00 lecture that day.

  11. By goom, I’ve seen it all now: this place is frequented by a reformed train driver.

    Come on, Tom. If you put your back into it you can get yourself a diversity outreach type or two.

  12. yer pipe is an unobjectionable thing

    Mainly because pipe smokers spend 3% of their time smoking and the rest of it cleaning, filling or fiddling with their pipe.

  13. @ Rob:

    ” By the Left’s design.”

    Not just the left; they wanted scab voters, capital wanted scab workers.

    Who could have foreseen that bringing in millions of hostile foreigners, outsourcing British jobs and demonising the indigenous population could have lead to this?

  14. A lot of these “chronic lonely” people just don’t make an effort. Help a charity, join a political party, do samba dancing classes, go to church.

    “It’s easy to feel lonely … in London everyone is doing their own thing. But older people are genuinely isolated: there’s no social structure around them, they often don’t have family and friends around them.”

    Old people should leave London. It’s a filthy, crime-ridden, unfriendly socialist shithole whose only redeeming virtues are employment and finding young people to bang. If you aren’t working there, might as well get out and move to a nice place. Move to places like Calne, Taunton, Sherborne. They’re full of old people, so the facilities, services and local government lean towards them.

  15. Having long since stopped smoking all three, the only thing I recall the pipe promoting was gum disease.

    I do miss the odd top drawer Panamanian cigar, but when you never smoke, a whole one does odd things to you.

  16. Blogs, notably niche ones such as this, promote a certain virtual community. You can see this by the way we all big up the enemy: eco-fascists, cultural Marxists, and so on. I doubt that community is threatened by immigrant hordes, there is comfort to be had in the sense of feeling like a minority under siege.

  17. I’m always sceptical about the numbers that are cited in articles like this. As mentioned above, many people are lonely because they want to be left alone. It will also be interesting to see how the internet will effect the way people stay connected in the future. Loneliness isn’t a new thing anyway, the Beatles sang about it years ago.

  18. “I do miss the odd top drawer Panamanian cigar, but when you never smoke, a whole one does odd things to you.”

    Mrs G. gave me one for my birthday, for old times sake. I threw up half way…

  19. @dearime, they didn’t come to lectures on weekdays, so there was zero chance they’d come on Saturday. What the ‘social call’ was (usually) was a request to repeat the lecture (or perhaps just the bit that might pop up in the exam) for them, personally, 1 to 1. On this basis, I could fill my working week several times over at their leisure on the basis of one hour of lecturing that they didn’t attend. Things appear to have got worse now that the fees have gone up, as it;s their Yuman Rites.

  20. Of the social groups I socialise in, none of them have opportunities for forming relationships. The computer club is all men or wives of men, the Friends Meeting are all 20 years older than me and/or married, the political party are all either 20 years younger than me, or 20 years older, or married, the history group are all 30 years older than me, and chimney smokers, I’m never in the same workplace long enough to form any friendships. I’m not the sort of person to deliberately join something I’m not interested in just to meet the people who attend. Bring back matchmakers!

    The greatest inter-personal socialising I ever did was at University, where there was a weekly charity lunch in one of the social rooms, that you could wander in at random. I met my first two girlfriends there.

  21. Old people should leave London. It’s a filthy, crime-ridden, unfriendly socialist shithole whose only redeeming virtues are employment and finding young people to bang.

    Read above this post.
    (Although to be honest, I haven’t found any shortage of delightful young peoplettes to bang here. More like a superfluosity So another thing not to regret. Employment? How would I find time for that?)

  22. Nevertheless, one is pleased to note Owen Jones’ concern with loneliness. May he long continue to research the phenomenon..

  23. ‘which increased the likelihood of mortality by 26%’

    From 100% to 126%?

    ‘More than 2 million adults suffer from chronic loneliness’

    ‘Suffer’ is Lefty talk. He has no way to know the emotional state of 2 million people. He might be able to determine that 2 million people live alone, with nobody else. That they ‘suffer’ is his invention, an appeal to emotion fallacy. He’s a liar. Guardian subs are okay with that.

  24. To elucidate “Allthegoodnamesaretaken” – Parkrun connects millions, ranging from children to nonagenarians, every week at nil charge.
    Owen Jones eulogises a small group that connects 15,000 because it was founded by a Labour Party Activist and is subsidised by a capitalist (the landlord gives everyone a free drink).
    Parkrun also improves the health of a few million.
    Which do I think is more valuable? Which does Owen Jones?
    Which do *you* think is more valuable?

  25. Owen Jones offers a nice test of whether you lean left or right. We’d like to live in a world with less loneliness where people have a few more QALY. So to help this come about
    a) lefties support government programmes, new financial incentives or bans to alleviate the problem
    b) righties see slashing extant government programmes, existing financial incentives or ending bans to alleviate the problem.

    Of personal interest ‘cos I get horny occasionally, I encounter lonely hookers. So why not repeal the ban on them sharing premises for safety, economy and companionship. So I’m, right wing. If your first reaction would be the opposite you’re a lefty. Imv, of course

  26. Addolff said:
    “it is my right to be able to frequent pubs without having to breathe in someone else’s foul shit which leaves me with nausea, a headache and smelling like an old ashtray”

    Only if you or someone else goes to the effort of setting one up. You don’t have any moral right to insist that someone who wants to set up a smoky pub has to set up a non-smoky one instead.

  27. Standard leftie trick, highlight a problem then get funding for it and set up a load of committees and organise events that no one attends anyway, all the while making a nice earning and pretending you are contributing to the world etc.
    Local RWC centre started a gender-diverse youth group, youth workers outnumber attendees, but god forbid you ask if it’s a useful service and worth the money

  28. Richard T, no problem with people setting up whatever they want – the problem was there weren’t any non smoky pubs (no doubt demonstrating there wasn’t a need…….) and ‘no smoking areas’ inside don’t work (the Goose in Romford had a ‘no smoking’ area. it was surrounded on one side by the wall of the building and on the other three sides by the smoking area).

    Smokers are in the minority (including my local where there are only very few going outside to spark up) but what they do affects the majority, so I don’t think I’m the fascist here.

    if you want a fag, go outside.

  29. Not true. The Old Green Tree in Bath had a no smoking area back in 1983 when I was working there.

    And older pubs often used to have a room called “smoker” which at least implies less such elsewhere.

  30. Charmingly, the University of London senate House library used to have smoking room.

    I daresay now it’s a pilates room or chill-out zone.

  31. Richard T, no problem with people setting up whatever they want – the problem was there weren’t any non smoky pubs (no doubt demonstrating there wasn’t a need…….)

    Not true.

    Wetherspoons had already gone non-smoking. There was also an independent bar round here that was non-smoking: it was usually next to empty whenever I walked past (it had bouncers on the door, we guessed to keep any punters in rather than the riff-raff out.) I assume the smoking ban killed the remnants of their trade.

  32. Thank you for the locations that had no smoking areas. Unfortunately for me, none of the pubs I frequented from 1971 onwards appeared to have such a room as I noticed, but I was a smoker in those days so wasn’t looking.

    I would have been quite happy with pubs which served food being non smoking and those that didn’t doing what they like, as the Government first suggested, but Tim Martin and others weren’t: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/4201053.stm

  33. “Charmingly, the University of London senate House library used to have smoking room.”

    Hell, I can remember when you could smoke anywhere.

  34. @ Adolff
    *You* would have been quite happy but you aren’t ruler of the world and some of us would not. As a life-long non-smoker I saw no reason to make all pubs that served food (i.e. most of them) totally non-smoking. To educate you a little – when I was young the Lounge Bar was considered suitable for Ladies and non-Smokers, those who wished to smoke and drink at the same time used the public bar. Almost every locality had somewhere that catered to non-smokers because that’s what happened in a free market.

  35. John, sorry, I was trying to make both sides happy here but this seems to be a problem for you: quote “you arent’ the ruler of the world” & “I saw no reason”. Well, neither are you and other people did.
    There were from memory, 25 bars, clubs and pubs in my present town before the smoking ban. One had instigated a ban just before the legislation but that was a Wetherspoons and was in all likelihood a business ploy rather than an ethical position.
    None of the others were all non-smoking and please see my post about the Goose above regarding ‘no smoking areas’ within pubs, so no, no choice in my locality despite a free market (and only two of those 25 establishments have closed since the ban – so not much evidence here of the decimation of pubs either).
    And thank you for the presumption that I need educating but I am old enough to remember, the Lounge, the Snug, the Public Bar, the little door for ‘Off sales only’ in numerous pubs, and as I remember, none of them were non smoking. Also, very few pubs in the 60′ and early 70’s served meals.

    Some people here are like sad remainers who cannot get over not getting their way. Oh, dear, how sad, never mind.

  36. @ Adolff
    In the late 60s/early 70s I ate most of those lunches that I ate in the nearest pub to the office: usually a beef sandwich. In the mid-60s all the pubs I frequented sold food, be it a pie with your pint or sandwiches. Mid- to late-70s we were supplied with Luncheon Vouchers, so I am only guessing but several of the pubs I passed on my way to work advertised lunches, some even breakfast. .
    Very few pubs had a restaurant attached (apart from Berni Inns and a better-quality version that my parents liked whose name I have forgotten) but many more served food. Clearly one or the other us lived in an exceptional area (in my case three areas).

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