The Council House Smoking Ban

The Council House Smoking Ban
by Sean Gabb
(8th May 2017)

I used to do a lot of radio and television. In the past few years, I have largely given up. The BBC no longer pays for appearances, instead expecting its contributors to drive to London or to remote studios for the love of being broadcast. The quality of discussion has dropped through the floor. Until about five years ago, it was still possible to go on air and make one or two comprehensible points. The presenters nowadays tend to be authoritarian hags and girlie-men whose job is to switch off anyone who fails to agree with the ruling class. Internet radio discussions are far more civilised, and may soon get larger audiences.

For these reasons, the approach this morning, from BBC Three Counties Radio, earned a curt rejection. The issue I was called on to discuss is a growing call for smoking to be banned in council accommodation. According to The Independent:

Smoking should be banned in all new council houses to protect children from harmful second-hand smoke, a public health chief has said…. Anti-smoking campaigners consider smoke-free housing to be the next major frontier in reducing the harmful effects of passive smoking.

This is a step in the War on Smoking I have predicted for years. Smoking has been banned almost everywhere else. Why not redraft council tenancies to ban smoking? Indeed, why stop here? The next step will be to lean on insurance companies to make it hard for private landlords not to ban their tenants from smoking. After that, it will be more pressure on the insurance companies, and perhaps on mortgage lenders too, to cover owner-occupied properties.

No one expects these bans to be universally obeyed. They will not at first be universally enforced. The idea is to bring them in, and leave them for a while. First enforcement will probably be against the sort of council tenants who deserve to be evicted on other grounds. After that, the vice will gradually tighten. Before it is very tight, smoking will have been effectively made a criminal offence.

What is to be done? What are we, as libertarian activists, or merely outraged smokers, to do? The tobacco companies have obviously given up. The days when they employed Chris Tame to wear out the anti-smokers ended a quarter of a century ago. Go on the radio and mention personal freedom, and see how long your microphone stays switched on. Spend your own money on putting a case to the people – you might get more response going about a field and telling the sheep not to get into that lorry the farmer has backed in through the gate.

So, what is to be done? In the direct sense, nothing is to be done. Speaking for myself, perhaps nothing should be done. I gave up smoking many years ago, and am not affected by the restrictions. I see the inflated prices and the plain packets. I see miserable smokers huddled in doorways. I walk past them. There may be some truth in the mantra First they came for the smokers. There is certainly truth in the observation that the more hysterically they go after the smokers, the less time the usual suspects will have to spend on harrying me.

If there is one, the answer does not lie in Freedom to Smoke movements. The cause of all these campaigns against smoking, drinking, fatty foods, petrol, diesel, coal, fighting, flying and driving, various kinds of sex, and dissenting opinions of all kinds, falls under two headings. First, the directors of these campaigns are employed or funded by the State, and these apparatchiks measure success by how many lives they visibly control. Second, we live in a culture dominated by the people I mention in my first paragraph – the authoritarian hags and their girlie-men associates. Leave these two parts of the cause in place, and the only question is what gets regulated out of existence first.

The real answer lies, I think, in a recovery of manly virtue. We need more stiff upper lip and less hyperventilating – more self-respect, and less self-righteousness. We need to find leaders who want only to be obeyed, not loved. Tracts on the non-aggression principle are beside the point – so too Adam Smith Institute reports on how to privatise the paving stones. The first are so esoteric in the present state of opinion, they do not even need to be banned. The second give us more of the state we already pay for. The first and only step to recovery is to play the man. Do this, and the spell of our managerial state will be broken on the spot. We can purge it. We can shrink it. We can drive out its former agents and beneficiaries as the Puritans were driven out after 1660. The new state of affairs resulting may not be libertarian by design, but will, by its nature, be less inclined to meddle than the present ascendency of hags and girlie-men.

I could say more on this, but will not. Mind you, try saying any of it on the BBC….


  1. Shareable analysis.
    The war on tobacco is another way to keep the sheeple at stake by brainwashing, threatening & blackmailing anyone opposing the ‘Unique Thought” modernistic & demoKratic dictatorship. Incidentally, we can stress that the majors of tobacco have rapidly switched to different, more politically correct products. Their buck is out of question. The real matter here is instead focalized on personal right of choice, which is currently denied.
    We could list further examples of the pervasive instruments the system adopts to control thoughts, creativity & innate independance of the individuals, by compelling them through artificial, heinous, massified categories of politically fair behaviour.

  2. Anti smoking campaigners can ‘consider’ whatever they like.

    As long as the UK are contracted into the ECHR, banning someone from doing something perfectly legal in his own home is a violation of Article 8.

    The smoking ban in private clubs came close to violating Article 8, but they got round it because they are places of work and smoking injures the non smokers who work there.

    The ECtHR is very fierce in its defence of individual rights and in particular Article 8.

    The ECtHR has already delivered judgements which, for example, prevent bans on esmoking in confined public spaces, the reason being, that the substances do no harm to anyone other than the user.

    The ECtHR will not tolerate an arbitrary ban on the smoking in the home unless smoking itself is banned by law.

    If the authorities think that parents smoking damages children they will have to ban it completely in the presence of children wherever it occurs. Not attempt to ban it in homes occupied by an arbitrarily selected category of people.

  3. The mainstay of this campaign is some chap called Middleton, who is part of something called the Faculty of Public Health:

    Part of the problem is that the Enemy Class have assumed control of these voluntary bodies and think tanks and are able to present themselves as “experts” who can bend the ear of naive journalists and legislators, or as here, gullible local authorities.

    Professor Middleton is quoted in all the articles on second-hand smoke. He has clearly put this about as a publicity measures and his views have been taken up uncritically.

    The Enemy Class hate and despise the white working class, and this is just one more line of attack.

  4. There are numerous other problems to solve. It is thought that some council home tenants watch porn in their dwellings. Maybe that can be banned too?

    • If I’m not mistaken, one of the serious proposals in the McPherson Report (not taken up) was that hate speech uttered in private would be a criminal offence. Perhaps the long-term solution to all these ills would be the installation of a telescreen in each council/housing association dwelling so that the state can keep a constant, vigilant eye on the white working class.

  5. The no smoking ban has been in operation for at least five years in council blocks of flats in Stevenage and it is obeyed too.

    I think it is just the sort of thing that happened with state ownership and control thus the NHS says they may not treat the obese, etc. For once politics and the state take over we get rule rather than service so the customer is then replaced by the subject.

    This Romantic Ruling class idea looks as unrealistic as all the other sociological ideas of class. We can classify people as we like, as even Marx realised but getting it to match an economic interest group is not so easy. The idea is best dropped.

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