Posts tagged ‘Australia’

Crawling out of the woodwork

Australia’s crusade to make their country more attractive to smugglers whilst trying to stop people using the product of the tobacco plant continues with the news that, as of now, people entering the country will only be allowed to bring in two packs of smokes under duty-free rules. Bring in anything more and you have a choice (ha!) between having your cigarettes stolen or your wallet looted.

Moving (physically although not spiritually) away from the convicts, it appears that the recent antics of the tobacco control fools in Tasmania has led to their real goal becoming more and more transparent – not that it was well disguised to the more realistic members of the proletariat.

Whilst it is perhaps no surprise that the government of Singapore* is considering a similar legislation to Tasmania, it seems that the Finns are also thinking about it as well. To someone who hasn’t kept as close eye as some on the tobacco control lobby this was more surprising but some googling reveals that Finland is something of an early adopter when it comes to controlling tobacco.

Lest however you think that this mania is just something Johnny Foreigner is getting himself worked up about, news emerges of something closer to home:

GUERNSEY is set to demonstrate ‘similarly bold measures’ to a potential ban on cigarette sales to anyone born after the year 2000, the Guernsey Adolescent Smokefree Project chairman has said.

GASP (how original!) is, I’m sure you’ll be shocked to hear, at least partly funded by the Guernsey taxpayer

This silliness though isn’t just confined to a group of islands too close to France for their own good.

Senior doctors and anti-smoking campaigners have told Sky News they are working towards making the UK a no smoking nation within the next 20 years.

Leading specialist Professor John Britton has called on the Government to back the goal, describing it as entirely realistic.

“Andrew Lansley could make himself a legacy greater than that of almost any other Health Secretary in history,” Professor Britton, who chairs the Royal College of Physicians Tobacco Advisory Group, said.

Yes folks, things have come so far in recent times that the ultimate goal of the tobacco control lobby is now openly admitted to after so many years of pretending otherwise whilst they incrementally shifted the goal posts just that little bit closer to their destination with the passing of each piece of dictatorial legislation.

I would say that alcohol will be next but that campaign, along with the one against the wrong types of food, has been underway for a while.

Forget the various bastardisations of the Pastor Niemoller quote, they have (unless you are a non-smoking, teetotaller who has never eaten anything unhealthy in your life) already come for you. Do you fight as they drag you off for re-education or do you meekly surrender and become the drone that they want you to be?

* Pretty much a dictatorship in all but name.

Prohibition in Australia

With the ink barely dry on the High Court ruling confirming that their national government can suppress any intellectual property that they disagree with, politicians in the Australian state of Tasmania have decided that they aren’t satisfied with this (quelle surprise!) and are now considering prohibition.

The daft draft proposal, which was passed unanimously by members of the Upper House of the Tasmanian legislature, doesn’t however apply to everyone mind – just those born in the 21st century:

The Tasmanian Government is considering ruling out banning tobacco sales to people born after 2000, in the wake of a vote in the state’s Upper House last night.

Legislative Council member Ivan Dean wants to make it illegal for people born after 2000 to buy tobacco once they turn 18 – meaning they would never legally be able to buy cigarettes.


“This would mean that we would have a generation of people not exposed to tobacco products,” Mr Dean said.

“It would be easier for retailers to enforce because when they ask for ID, all they would need to see if the person was born after the year 2000.

“Young people are more likely to give cigarettes to more young people.

“As the generation reaches 18 years, there will be fewer of them smoking and while some of those first turning 18 might smoke, as time goes on fewer and fewer will.”

Aside from wondering what the two Chambers of Commerce of which Dean is a member of will think of this extra imposition on their trade, I honestly don’t know where to begin in pointing out the absurdities of this pathetic – and frankly unenforceable – idea. Thankfully however Chris Snowdon has done it for me, concluding:

Nowhere in this article is there any suggestion that grown adults — now or in the future — might have the right to buy and smoke tobacco if they want to. It’s a sort of “think of the children even when they are no longer children” argument, which is fitting since Australian politicians clearly see the whole population as children and themselves as—what other word can there be?—nannies.

I have increasingly come to believe that the worst thing about Australia is that it is not far enough away.

Given that the anti-smoking lobby simply will not stop, even if they manage to achieve their wet dream of total and complete prohibition on tobacco and have rendered the tobacco plant utterly extinct across the entire planet, no matter what the cost, I’m of the increasing opinion that Leg-Iron was right when he said:

What I would do in response to this insanity is this:

Withdraw from the Australian market entirely.

No imports. None. No business going through the docks or the airports. Close all factories and warehouses and distribution points in Australia. Cut all ties to any tobacco-selling business in the entire country. Drop the whole country off the business map.

It’s what the short-sighted fools in the anti-smoking lobby want but, as he points out, I’m not sure they will like the results: lower amounts of money raised in tax, increased unemployment as those directly and indirectly employed by the industry lose their jobs, and a massive black market.

With alcohol being but the next target on the prohibitionist campaigners list, it might even make them think twice about what they are doing, especially if the two major breweries in the country – Foster’s Group and Lion Nathan – threatened to follow suit.

I doubt it though.

Aiming in the wrong direction

The train aside, my main – and preferred – method of transport is the bicycle. Yes, I realise that this makes me a member of one of Julia’s least favourite groups but with three exceptions* I stick the to Highway Code and get as annoyed with other road users as they no doubt do with me.

Whilst I am nowhere near Tour de France standard, on a decent, flat piece of road in good conditions I can get up to beyond 20mph under my own steam and on downward stretch of some of the hills between myself and my parents I go through 30mph – and have hit 40mph on one of them before now – without trying (only one of those hills has a 30mph limit).

Basically I cycle (generally) within the rules, have notched up more than 1k miles a year for most of the last 23 years and I cycle at speeds which are sometimes comparable to the motor traffic around me. And yes, I have the tree trunk lookalike legs to prove it.

You can imagine my disbelief then when I read that a city councillor in Melbourne, Australia has called for the speed limit for cyclists of just 20km/h – or 12.5mph in real money.

12.5mph? I can go up some hills faster than that!

So, why does said jobs-worth want such a thing?

Cr Ong said he was almost struck by a cyclist moving at speed recently. “The other day when I walked out from town hall I nearly got run over from a cyclist who shot through a red light as I was crossing Little Collins Street right in front of town hall.”

So, a cyclist goes through a red light at what looks like (from Streetview) a fairly active pedestrian junction at ‘speed’** and rather than do complaining about the offence committed, he set his sights on something which had nothing to do offence, viz imposing a speed limit. Typically the prat hasn’t a clue about how to enforce it:

He did not know how the bike speed limit would be enforced. “The thing is not about enforcement, the thing is about education,” he said.

A speed limit is educational? Really? Methinks Councillor Ong has spent too much time sipping the double think juice.

If he wants the problem dealt with then he should ask the local police to enforce Highway Code (or Australian equivalent). I assume it is one of their jobs, much the same as it is back here in Blighty***…

h/t Angry Exile

* These are:

  1. I do, although very rarely, break red lights. Similar to some drivers, if a light I am familiar with changes to amber and I think I have the time, I will try and get through before it changes to red. I don’t always succeed and if I’m still within braking distance I’ll stop rather than jump.
  2. There is a one way stretch between myself and the London bound platform of my station which used to be (before one car driver too many lost control and ploughed the wall at the far side) bi-directional. Sometimes I get off and push, sometimes I will ride on the pavement (at a speed slower than walking) through here as it is a matter of meters compared to the 1/2 mile (according to Google Maps) to complete the trip legally.
  3. If I find myself coming home later than planned (i.e. after dark) and I didn’t pack my lights that morning I will still cycle home but I keep a careful watch out for cars and keep out of their way.

** People, especially stationary ones, are usually poor judges of speed.

*** Before they gave up and left it to speed cameras, obviously.

The Talented Mr Shorten

There’s following the party line – and then there’s following the party line.