Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Vile habits

From The Sunday Times (Scotland):

Puritans are taking political correctness to another level — and they want us in their pious band, says Mary Braid

Beware the onward surge of the killjoys. Once we used to see them in little groups in the veggie cafe, muttering over their Fairtrade coffees about the iniquities of cheap diesel; or at the school gate tut-tutting as another child was dropped off from his parents’ SUV. But now, according to one Scottish researcher, they are so numerous they have become a new model army on the march. Meet the latest breed of puritans who have been dubbed the neo-Cromwellians.

The neo-Croms (the diminutive makes them seem only a little less threatening) are a group of sour-faced individuals who won’t let their children eat sweets, but will piously buy organic local produce. They eschew cheap flights and religiously travel by train. Most importantly of all, they want you to do the same.

According to the social forecaster Jim Murphy, in the neo-Crom world smoking and fizzy soft drinks are a distant memory...

Hey Skipper of the Daily Duck often observes that irony appears to be the driving force of the universe. Here’s another story to support his theory.

According to a survey for Bupa, more than a third of Britons think that smokers should pay for their own NHS treatment, while a hardline 8% think that they should actually be refused any kind of treatment at all.

The argument being, why should we non-smokers pay for the illness they’ve brought upon themselves? Smoking-related diseases cost the NHS some £1.7 billion per year.

Yet here’s the irony: smokers contribute approximately £8 billion per year to the Treasury, so that’s a profit of £6.3 billion on the face of it.

But what you also have to bear in mind is that even vegetarian, non-smoking, fairtrade, organic-eating, bicycle-riding tee-totallers eventually get old and die. What’s more, they take longer about it, so not only do we have to fund their NHS treatment when they finally succumb, we also have to pay for their state pension while they take an age getting around to it. Bloody freeloaders!


martpol said...

"Smokers shouldn't get NHS treatment" is the latest in a long line of 'obvious truths' propagated by people who can't actually think for themselves. (Because of that, I don't think it's fair to lay all the blame on people who drink Fairtrade coffee and buy organic carrots; anyone can be an idiot.)

I also think that these people are partly responsible for the ease with which governments in Ireland, England, Wales and Scotland are currently passing anti-smoking legislation. Ask them whether smoking should be banned in pubs, and (unless they smoke) they'll say something like, "Yes, it's horrible - I can't stand it when I go into a pub and people are smoking." Issues of individual liberty vs. state intervention, the vast sums of money made by taxing tobacco, and (most importantly) why we're not banning smoking entirely if we admit it's so destructive, have been ignored almost completely, including by the usually rigorous broadsheets and the BBC.

Duck said...

Could the neo-croms be persuaded to change their tune if the tobacco was organically grown by indigenous native Americans? Seems to me that there's a marketing scheme waiting for realization there.

Hey Skipper said...

No doubt there are those who desperately hope to eliminate others smoking, whilst anguishing over the future of Social Security.

All without a hint of irony.