Sunday, July 01, 2007

No smoke without terror

Cranmer will not be deflected. He intended to post on the smoking ban today, and shall do so. The Mohammedan terrorists have managed to hijack the headlines of the British media, offering further opportunity for the propagation of Islamic conspiracy theories that the London car bombs and the attack on Glasgow airport were the work of M15, the CIA, or Israel. You see, the Jews are attempting to discredit Muslims in order that Palestinians may be slaughtered with impunity, and such discrediting also permits the British state to legislate against a troublesome Islam, which all conspires to permit America to purloin Islamic oil. Quite remarkable.

But one British Muslim isn’t having it. A former member of Al-Muhajiroun, who once raised funds for the extremists and called for the murder of British citizens, writes in The Observer:

By blaming the government for our actions, those who pushed the 'Blair's bombs' line did our propaganda work for us. More important, they also helped to draw away any critical examination from the real engine of our violence: Islamic theology.

The whole article is worth a read, because Hassan Butt blames Islam and the ideological pursuit of the Caliphate for instilling fear and pursuing violence and murder. He acknowledges that such acts of terrorism ‘have validity within the broad canon of Islam’, and insists that ‘Muslim scholars must go back to the books and come forward with a refashioned set of rules and a revised understanding of the rights and responsibilities of Muslims’. Quite so, quite so. Islam is the problem. The problem is Islam. We look in vain for the enlightened Islamic teachers and preachers, and those who adhere to the Qur’an’s medieval worldview are guilty of arrogantly propagating the most vicious sectarianism on earth.

But it would appear that ex-terrorists are as zealous with their objections to practising terrorists as ex-smokers are to their former peers.

Cranmer wrote a few weeks back on the objections in grade-one listed cathedrals to compulsory no-smoking signs. Now the deans of the English cathedrals have accepted with great reluctance and under protest the advice that they should conform with the smoke-free signage law. All signs must read: ‘No smoking. It is against the law to smoke in these premises’. They must be A5-sized, and display the no-smoking symbol at least 70 mm in diameter. Places of worship and church and parish halls will have to display the sign in a prominent position at every entrance.

The legal advice is that the Health Act 2006 has no exemption for churches, though a concession has been granted of a review in three years’ time, when churches could lobby that the signs are unnecessary. However, the Ecclesiastical Law Society has suggested that churches and cathedrals might safely ignore the new signage regulations on the grounds that it is reasonable not to put up a no-smoking sign in a sacred building in which no one would consider smoking.

The Smoke-free (Signs) Regulations 2007, made under the 2006 Act, require a no-smoking sign to be displayed in a prominent position at each entrance to smoke-free premises. The duty to ensure compliance with the signage regulations is imposed on ‘any person who occupies or is concerned in the management of smoke-free premises’: Health Act 2006, section 6(1). Under section 6(5), failure to comply with the duty is an offence punishable with a fine of up to £1000. But subsection 6 offers a defence for a person charged with this offence. He or she must show that he or she did not know, and could not reasonably have been expected to know, that the premises were smoke-free, or that compliant no-smoking signs were not being displayed, or ‘(c) that on other grounds it was reasonable for him not to comply with the duty’.

If, by accepted convention, no one would consider smoking in a church, it may reasonably be suggested that it is reasonable not to put up a no-smoking sign in a church or cathedral.

The Act goes on to provide, by section 6(7), that if evidence is adduced sufficient to raise an issue with respect to such a defence, ‘the court must assume that the defence is satisfied unless the prosecution proves beyond reasonable doubt that it is not’. Which local-authority environmental-health officer will have the temerity to prosecute a PCC, a priest, or a churchwarden in such circumstances?

Cranmer is a lover of liberty, and exhorts churches and cathedrals to ignore the new signage regulations. But although he is not instinctively in favour of blanket bans and pervasive prohibitions, this one evokes a degree of sympathy.

For as long as Cranmer can remember (…and that is quite some time…), smokers have consistently displayed bad manners toward non-smokers. The clothes of the innocent have been made to smell, their eyes to smart, and their throats to tickle. And the guilty party rarely, if ever, sought the permission of the victims. Even the question ‘Do you mind if I smoke?’ always presumed a negative response. In the 19th century, smoking was permitted only in certain specific places and in certain company. If it had stayed that way, the demand for a ban would always have been weak. But once people started to smoke anywhere and everywhere, resentment festered, and eventually boiled over to demands for this revenge. So if Britain’s 10 million smokers had not abused their position for decades, they would still be free… to join the 50,000 who die of cancer each year, or the 70,000 who die of heart disease and strokes caused by smoking. It is estimated that six million people have been killed in the past 50 years, and that is an undoubted moral issue. With the hardest smokers being the working class of the North-West of England, Labour has hit its heartlands. And with the Treasury taking in tax about £4.10 of the £5.50 each packet of cigarettes costs, it is potentially depriving itself of more than £8bn a year. The costs to the NHS of treating smoking-related diseases are estimated to be £1.5bn a year, so the Government will need to find £6.5bn to plug the shortfall.

Unless, of course, smokers continue to exercise their God-given free will, and choose to smoke.


Anonymous Observer said...

On The Lord's Day Your Grace we call The Guardian The Observer in memory of a once-great newspaper of great vintage and repute

1 July 2007 at 11:19  
Blogger Cranmer said...

Quite so, Mr Observer, quite so.

Correction executed.

1 July 2007 at 11:27  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Forgive me Your Grace, but I am not sure I agree with your claim that normally you are not in favour of bans and prohibitions. For instance, you feel the public should be prohibited from setting off bombs.

Indeed we should all be prohibited from doing a great number of things. We cannot run about naked, or refuse to give up our seats to handicapped people in buses. And society is all the better for having such regulations. Absolute freedom is nonsensical when people live in communities.

And I, for one, thank God that I can now go into a bar and not have to put my life in danger, and more importantly be required to wash my hair several times to get rid of that dreadful smell...

1 July 2007 at 12:06  
Blogger Cranmer said...


1 July 2007 at 12:25  
Anonymous CCTV said...

And I, for one, thank God that I can now go into a bar and not have to put my life in danger, and more importantly be required to wash my hair several times to get rid of that dreadful smell...

So you've given up drinking and using beer shampoo ?

Most wise.

1 July 2007 at 13:02  
Blogger rosemary said...

If the truly naff brass or stone mosaic signage catches on I have a vision of archaeologists a thousand years hence gravely discussing the sudden rise of the "circle, bar and smoking stick people".

If you calculate the cost of the paper versions at 25 pence per sheet it must come to a fantastic amount to provide one for every entrance in the UK, backdoors, staff entrances etc.

1 July 2007 at 13:14  
Anonymous Observer said...

Speaking of terrorists in our midst this comment on the Sunday Telegraph editorial page looked interesting:

It appears to me, that once again that your leader writers are guilty of hypocrisy. Calling for 'the Government to do this or that' without stating what this or that is, or blaming 'British society' for creating the conditions that have allowed radical Islam to flourish in the UK without proposing a reasonable alternative is
'grandstanding' of the worst sort.

Of course we must fight these people and their
twisted ideology. We should do so using all of
the means at our disposal; political, military,
economic and social. The first three are obvious
the last is not. We should understand the glue
that binds muslim society together, the family,
and use that understanding to attack the

I live and work in the Gulf and I see how the Gulf Arabs deal with their radicals. They use the family of the individual to control errent
behaviour. If an individual is identified, his
family have increasingly harsh sanctions,
pressures and leverage applied to them. In that
way they are forced to control the individual
before his behaviour seriously affects them all.

Such a radical approach may seem too extreme
for the libertarians amongst us and may require
legislative changes. However, radical approaches
should be examined, although it's probably too
much to hope that this may occur in the press
whose self censorship on this issue is only too
Posted by Abu Zaki on July 1, 2007 8:57 AM

1 July 2007 at 13:29  
Blogger Little Black Sambo said...

"I can now go into a bar and not have to put my life in danger" - whatever your life was in danger from in a bar, it was not from smoking, so far as can be told from all the scientific research into the matter.

1 July 2007 at 13:30  
Blogger ENGLISHMAN said...

We have heard about the churches,so are we to assume that the moslems do not object to no smoking signs in the mosques,i do not think that we have heard an opinion from the brothers of the moon upon this subject,perhaps for once they have no axe to grind.

1 July 2007 at 13:31  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

" It is estimated that six million people have been killed in the past 50 years ... "

Your Grace:

They would have died anyway. Everyone does sooner or later.

You might find it interesting to read my comment on Dr Rant on this matter.

1 July 2007 at 14:08  
Anonymous The All-Seeing Eye said...

I see Dr Rant responded:

Dr Rant likes having Sir Henry around and would prefer, for his own sake, if he stopped smoking so as to avoid the long and painful death that he has seen so often in the past.

1 July 2007 at 14:43  
Anonymous oiznop said...

"They would have died anyway."

A superb justification for murder!

1 July 2007 at 14:51  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...

Not quite oiznop - only for self-inflicted early death.

Anyway, to move on to the more important Muslim thing.

Your Grace (and everyone else):

Read this:

Then note this particular comment from the thread that follows the posting of it on Dhimmiwatch:

" You see this pattern at various stages all over the world. Once Muslims get on top thay crush minorities. Kosovo, Nigeria and west bank. To get on top thay destablise the situation and get decent people to leave. Thialand and Lebenon.

Once you see English and French cops give up and leave the profession you will know the first phase is starting to work. Police in Sweeden (Memel) are at this stage now.
Posted by: Ruebacca "

Every culture that has ever been overrun by Islam in the past 1350 years has been crushed into non-existence. Or close to non-existence such as, for example, the Copts in Egypt, Hindus in Pakistan or Bangladesh (Christians there too), Assyrians in Iraq ... etc.

And for those reduced to the 'almost-non-existence' of Dhimmi status, the crush continues.

1 July 2007 at 15:48  
Anonymous Alfret of Wessex said...

Sir Henry Morgan 2:08 PM " "It is estimated that six million people have been killed in the past 50 years" ... They would have died anyway. "

So presumably would the six million foetuses aborted since the 1967 Abortion Act came into force. But at least they would have had the chance to choose whether to smoke or not.

1 July 2007 at 16:17  
Anonymous The All-Seeing Eye said...

But at least they would have had the chance to choose whether to smoke or not.

They could have been born addicted to whatever their mothers had inflicted on them

1 July 2007 at 17:31  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

Alfret of Wessex - No one is saying you cannot choose to smoke. You just can't choose to do so in certain places. As the All-seeing eye implies, 'choice' is far more complicated than it first appears.

And Little Black Sambo, I am certain that second hand smoke is bad for you. However the smoking ban will not have me hanging out in bars as I believe my life is still in danger from random car bombing extremists.

1 July 2007 at 19:08  
Anonymous CCTV said...

my life is still in danger from random car bombing extremists.

If it is that random you might even win the Lotto jackpot before the car-bombers should compute the odds....winning the jackpot is 10,350,000:1

1 July 2007 at 22:10  
Blogger Sir Henry Morgan said...


I have no problem with abortion. Indeed, I'm all in favour of it: the more the better as long as it's well distributed all over the world.

I am one of those strange - to some - people who believes that the foundation of all the major difficulties humanity faces in the world today is the number (and growing) 6,500,000,000.

We create our own problems by our inability to exercise control over our numbers. And we claim to be 'intelligent'?

My interpretation of what was meant by "Go forth and multiply" is probably different - and more direct - from yours.

1 July 2007 at 23:16  
Blogger Hettie said...

"You just can't choose to do so in certain places"

well, it's actually all enclosed public places (apologies for appearing so pedantic)

2 July 2007 at 03:33  
Blogger C4' said...

2 July 2007 at 12:53  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

cctv - I would have little use for the money, and as such, have never bought a ticket. Neither do I want to take part in this 'Stupid people's tax' as I understand one is more likely to get hit by lightning than win the lottery. I have tried shouting at the queues in newsagents that they would be better off giving their money to a charity of their choice but most ignore me as they presume me to be mad.

I wonder if the reaction would be similar if I claimed a car bomber was about the ram the newsagent?

And Sir Henry Morgan - Well said. I am a great believer in the Chinese old rule of only allowing one child. I often think we should try the same out here. I know it has its problems, but it has its virtues too.


2 July 2007 at 19:31  
Anonymous CCTV said...

I understand one is more likely to get hit by lightning than win the lottery.

No the odds are being struck by lightning are simply better than a woman >40 getting married

2 July 2007 at 19:36  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

cctv - Urban myth! 40 is the new 25. Career women, especially in America, get married in their late 30s these days. I'm sure there must be several who overstep the 40 mark. At least I hope there are...

2 July 2007 at 21:33  
Anonymous cctv said...

Career women, especially in America, get married in their late 30s these days.

Having worked with so many of them there I think you have read too many glossy magazines, you have never encountered the neurotic career women of Wall Street and the grim realisation that meets their overinflated expectations

3 July 2007 at 07:00  
Anonymous CCTV said...

Newsweek "The Marriage Crunch" 1986

“According to the research, a woman who remained single at 30 had only a 20 percent chance of ever marrying. By 35, the probability dropped to 5 percent. In the story's most infamous line, Newsweek reported that a 40-year-old single woman was "more likely to be killed by a terrorist" than to ever marry.”

So I guess the odds in London look terrible....

3 July 2007 at 07:04  
Blogger Snuffleupagus said...

cctv - Quote below from a Newsweek article which refers directly to the infamous lines you quote above:

'The good news is that older singles who desire a spouse appear to face far kinder odds nowadays. When the Census last crunched the numbers in 1996, a single woman at 40 had a 40.8 percent chance of eventually marrying. Today those odds are probably even higher—and may be only slightly worse than the probability of correctly choosing "heads" or "tails" in a coin toss.'

Your turn to flip the coin.

4 July 2007 at 22:21  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I notice that level headed comments tend to get ignored in blog comments but here goes.

I agree that the rules about signs are a nonsense. As a Churchwarden, though, I agreed with the PCC that £1,000 fines could not be ignored.

What I then found though, was that (i) all that was needed was an A5 sized notice on a notice board (ii) that you didn't have to use the words "these premise" - other forms such as "this church" were acceptable and (iii) that acolour version could be downloaded free from various places - reducing the cost to the marginal cost of printing one sheet. Also, as far as I could see, there was no objection to mounting the A5 sheet on a larger sheet pointing out that we thought the requirement to display the sign was silly and urging people to writer to their MPs to complain.

By the way, one shouldn't depend too much on the claim that no-one would think of smoking in a church. Of my generation, perhaps not, but with a couple of generations of un-churched britons I'm no longer surprised by what many people now think is acceptable in churches.

11 July 2007 at 13:03  

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