Monday, March 27, 2006

How the Scottish Executive will rewrite history

Right, what the fuck is going on? With the first day of the smoking ban, comes the news that the Scottish Executive has substantial amounts of cash invested in cigarette manufacturers.
MINISTERS responsible for introducing Scotland’s smoking ban have been accused of hypocrisy after it emerged they are paying into a pension firm that has £126m invested in the world’s biggest cigarette company.

Jack McConnell, the first minister, and Andy Kerr, the health minister, can expect a lucrative payout from investment firm Baillie Gifford, which owns 3m shares in US-based Altria, makers of Marlboro cigarettes.

The value of Altria shares has risen by 230% in the past five years. Parliament officials believe the £10m pension fund the firm runs for all Scottish ministers and MSPs is directly invested in tobacco firms.

My god, McConnell is a hypocritical little cunt, bleating and moaning about the number of people who die from smoking every year and at the same time profiting from the companies which cause those deaths. Not only that, but the little shits have money invested in drinks companies whilst they campaign against Scotland's "binge-drinking culture". What a fucking surprise, eh?Politicians saying that we should do as they say, not do as they do, as per fucking usual.

What really fucking pisses me off, however, is that the ban includes an end to smoking on stage and on screen. From now on, Inspector Rebus will not be able to smoke, since all film sets count as places of work.
From today, actors north of the border will be banned from filming scenes with cigarettes, cigars or pipes. Even a request to permit herbal cigarettes has been rejected.

In this way, our wonderful Scottish leaders will rewrite history. The ban in Scotland, and the impending ban in England, will, for instance, eradicate smoking from period dramas. Any films made about Churchill will be unable to show him as he invariably was, i.e. smoking a cigar.
The ban has led one of Scotland’s leading dramatists, John Byrne, best known for Tutti Frutti, to think about emigrating. “I despair of our politicians,” said Byrne. “It’s the last straw and I’m seriously considering leaving Scotland.”

He is not the only one, I do despair but, more, I hate them with a passionate intensity which, at times, almost scares me.
Smoking in public places and the workplace is banned in California, but film and TV companies have obtained “industrial exemptions” to depict characters who smoke. In theatres on the west and east coasts, however, warnings must be put up in the foyer if an actor is to smoke on stage.

Even the fanatical Americans have allowed exemptions, as have the Irish.
Period pieces such as Life on Mars, the BBC hit set in the 1970s, bring home to viewers the change in culture that has taken place ahead of the ban. It is to be recommissioned, so may fall foul of a smoking ban in England next year.

Much like Orwell's omnipotent Big Brother, our governments can control and rewrite history. As ever more of our freedoms ebb away or are removed without the majority of the population noticing or even seeming to care, those of us who worry about such things find ourselves with less and less chance of being able to defend ourselves.

Melodramatic though it may sound, our once-great country is entering its twilight years, and our ancient rights and freedoms are abolished by a government who tells us that they are doing it for our own good, whilst exempting themselves from their own draconian rules. What could be a more obvious demonstration of this than that the bars in the Houses of Parliament will be exempted from the English smoking ban next year?

There they will sit, that rancorous thug Clarke, The Gobblin' King, Princess Toni, John "oh fuck, not Health" Reid, and the rest of the bastards, laughing at us; truly, they will be the pigs and we, the less-equal animals, will stand staring in at the window, watching the Party inside...

"He who controls the present, controls the past. He who controls the past, controls the future."—1984, George Orwell.

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