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Got wood?

Then they came for the wood burners

The Government earned plaudits from the green lobby yesterday for its new plan to crack down on the craze for wood-burning stoves

There's so much wrong with that sentence, it's almost impossible to know where to begin

Firstly, I had no idea the Government had announced a new plan to crack down on wood burners. I was either asleep, or they did it quietly
There's always something they want to crack down on; some extra detail of our lives where they think they are not yet interfering enough. And these people are supposed to be Conservatives. It's as though they care nothing about the general population they are supposed to serve, all they want is 'plaudits from the green lobby', or some such rubbish

So why wood burners? Ours save a fortune in fuel and weren't we told that wood burners are more environmentally friendly?

As the Mail reported on its front page, the stoves chuck out lethal pollution, particularly from wet wood, and contribute to thousands of early deaths from lung and heart disease

Yeah, well the Mail will report any old press release they are given, without bothering to check if it's complete bollocks. I wonder if these thousands of early deaths are the same type of early deaths caused by second hand smoke, bacon or sugar? IE, deaths that are calculated on a spreadsheet that throws out the numbers it is supposed to, rather than actual physical deaths of actual physical people caused by actual things.

There's so many thousands of early deaths these days, it's surprising we live in a time when life expectancy is higher than it's ever been. How's that possible?

But hang on! One reason Britain burns more wood than it has done for decades [...] is that only recently, the Government and the greens told us burning wood to heat our homes was the best thing we could do for the environment.
Wood is ‘sustainable’, we were told. It gives off less CO2 than any other heating. It will help us save the planet and meet CO2 reduction targets under the Climate Change Act.
As a result of these persuasive arguments, about 1.5 million British homes have wood-burning stoves and 200,000 more are sold every year.

Good Lord! So the Government tells us to heat our homes by burning wood and gets it's 'plaudits from the green lobby'. Shortly after, the green lobby change its mind and the Government cracks down on people heating their homes with wood, gaining them some more 'plaudits from the green lobby'

If we could heat our homes with fucking 'plaudits from the green lobby', energy would be almost free.

The Government must just love getting 'plaudits from the green lobby' and the sugar lobby and the tobacco lobby and the salt lobby and the fucking bacon and sausage lobby

It's not like they care about anything else, they just wait to be told what to do next by another lobby, and then bend over. We're ruled by a bunch of small children who care nothing about doing what's right, but just covet affection and approval from single issue groups who are mostly funded by the Government anyway

Not so long ago we were all told that diesel fuel is more environmentally friendly than petrol, so like dutiful little citizens, many people went out and bought diesel cars. Now the Government wants to penalise those people who bought diesel cars when they were told to, because as it turns out, the green lobby have changed their minds once again and diesels are now the Anti-Christ

They even reckon they can get away with banning all internal combustion engines by 2040, even though the technology is not yet in place to replace them, and with constant Government interference in the market, is never likely to be

All no doubt, for more 'plaudits from the green lobby'

I have a diesel pick up truck. Not because I was told to buy diesel, but because the truck kicks arse and just happens to have a diesel engine. When I do replace it, I won't pick a truck that runs on petrol, diesel, wood or bloody plaudits from the green lobby, just because the Government has a new bug up it's arse about something. I'll pick the vehicle I like and buy it. Because even if I wanted to be a dutiful little citizen and buy what I'm told to buy, how the hell would I know if the goal posts are going to change in a few months

If the Government doesn't know what it wants from one month to the next, how are we supposed to take it's advice on anything?

I also burn wood. I don't have proper all singing and dancing wood burners, just two open fires, one small and one large, that are great for heating. I get broken pallets from work as a completely free source of fuel and once the fire is going, they don't even give off any visible smoke

Which means I can ride this one out like the rest of them, continue to do what I'm already doing and have another WTAF! moment when the Government decides to tell us that wood burners are actually the future, but now we can't use washing up liquid, because it gets into the water supply and cleans all the fish in Asian rivers

You know I'm right

Kingdom in the News Again

Less than one month after this, Kingdom Environmental Services are back in the local papers with more negative publicity

A COUNCIL has backed down after one of its litter police issued a fine to a cigarette butt dropper on private land despite the owner telling them to keep off

It seems the council have given Kingdom 'powers'  to issue fines on private property, unless the owners specifically tell them they cannot

That's an implied right to enter your private land and issue fines to people who are presumably your customers. No wonder some people are telling them to get stuffed

When I worked in the pubs, folk used to drop fag ends in the beer gardens all the time. It wasn't something we would have encouraged, but as they were customers, we wouldn't make an issue of it, just clean up after them

I could imagine the reaction from the customers if council enforcers came into the beer garden and started issuing fines. It would certainly be bad publicity for the business owners

Angela Collinson from Darwen was spotted dumping her fag end on the ground at the M65 Junction Four Blackburn services by an officer of Kingdom Environmental Enforcement Services .
He issued her a £75 Fixed Penalty Notice, angering her fiance Mick Riley who contacted site owners the Extra MSA Group.
It replied that the company had previously informed Blackburn with Darwen Council, who employed Kingdom to tackle littering in October, to keep off their property.

So Kingdom have already been told to stay off the property at the services, yet they were sitting there in a car waiting to fine smokers

Earlier this month it was revealed the overwhelming majority of littering fines (4,000) issued by Kingdom were for dropping cigarette ends. 

 Heh! I take credit for that

"My partner was smoking outside my car and stupidly dropped her cigarette end on the ground.
"When I was reversing, a red Vauxhall stopped behind me.
"A man got out and informed us that we were being fined for litter dropping

I'm not sure what to make of that. If an unmarked vehicle tried to stop me leaving a car park, it would not likely succeed.

"I emailed Extra and they said that it was their land and have previously told the council not to operate on their property and do not endorse it to issue fines on their property.
"When challenged, the council backed down and revoked the fine

 "When challenged"

How many people have been wrongfully fined for dropping litter in these premises?" 

Indeed. People should not be dropping litter in the first place, but what we have here is an unscrupulous company who only target smokers, hiding in cars on premises they have been told to keep off, in the hopes of issuing a fine and getting away with it

To me, that behaviour in a free society, is a lot more serious than dropping a fag butt

Blackburn with Darwen Council Environment boss Cllr Jim Smith said: "The officer made a mistake.I apologise to the couple but hope Miss Collinson will dispose of her cigarette butts properly in future." 

Cllr Smith does not have a bad word to say about Kingdom, as hiring them was his baby. He's not replied to any of my emails on the subject and he lied in the article about Kingdom targeting smokers, by saying most people were in favour of what they are doing, when they clearly aren't

So he made a half arsed apology to the woman who was fined, while at the same time speaking about her as though she were a naughty child, and then he had this to say about the company that chose to exercise their property rights and tell Kingdom to stay away:

Cllr Smith said:"Extra MSA cannot tip in and out of the council's services. If someone fly-tips a load on rubbish on their property in future, the company will have to clear it up as they have asked us to keep off their land."

That is just childish in the extreme. MSA have not told the council to keep off their land, they've told a heavy handed, bullying private contractor to stay off their land. I'm sure they still expect the council to carry out any activity for which they are paying
And I'm sure that MSA is very pleased to know, that sending the cigarette gestapo to fine your customers on your property, is a council 'service' they are offering

This childish response from Cllr Jim Smith says all we need to know about the man

And his beloved Kingdom Environmental Services

Tobacco Control Whack-A-Moles

Why do I call them Whack-A-Moles? Because every time you bash one down, another immediately pops up

Case in point:

New Jersey Beach Smoking Ban Bill Introduced Again

Tobacco control really is just a fraudulent racket. 'Again', means the bill has been defeated before, but up pops another Whack-A-Mole, and it's introduced again

Yet another bill—at least the second of this year—has been introduced that will try to ban smoking at all public beaches in New Jersey.
It's not even a second attempt, maybe with major alterations, that would require it's re-introduction, it's 'Yet another bill'

Last week, S.2534 was introduced and passed by the Senate Environment and Energy Committee. The bill will extend a current beach smoking ban bill to include all public beaches. In 2016, a beach smoking ban was passed, but it only covered state-owned public beaches. Then-governor Chris Christie vetoed language that would have banned smoking at public city and county beaches.

Since then, multiple bills have tried—and failed—to extend the beach smoking ban.
Multiple bills. These people are relentless. Every time they face defeat, they just pop back up and try again, until they wear down the opposition

And what happens when they finally win? How many bills will be introduced to repeal the smoking ban?

Not one

It always comes down to this

East Lancashire boroughs in top ten WORST in country for child tooth decay

Oh noes! The kids in East Lancashire all have rotten teeth.

Well, not necessarily. It sounds a scary headline and it's probably because whatever press release the Lancashire Telegraph is quoting, was designed to be scary

You see, if you are going to rank anything in order of best to worst, someone has got to be in the top ten worst. There's no escaping it

Data for 2017 shows Pendle has the highest percentage of children with decayed, missing or filled teeth in the country at 49.4 per cent.
While Burnley ‘s figure is 46.5 per cent, Hyndburn’s is 45.8 per cent and Blackburn with Darwen has a child tooth decay rate of 42.6 per cent.
It means that East Lancashire’s boroughs have rates of about double the national average of 23.3 per cent. 

Ok, so as percentages, those figures do sound pretty bad

The figures, branded a ‘tragedy’, were revealed in Public Health England’s latest Child Oral Health Survey.

Not that bad. There's always one, isn't there? A 'Tragedy', is an aeroplane falling out of the sky, not a few kids with bad teeth

But do we really believe those figures?

I don't. I don't have any figures to the contrary, that I can point to, but going off the way 'Public Health' figures are often recorded these days, I don't see any reason to believe these

Childhood obesity figures are hugely inflated due to the often debunked BMI measurements which they insist on using and also by lumping overweight people in with obese people
Smoking related illnesses are inflated by taking illnesses 'linked' to smoking and extrapolating them population wide
Alcohol harm is inflated by lowering the recommended number of units to what the average person might consume with Sunday tea

So why should we believe these? Anyway, I digress

But Blackburn with Darwen has seen a significant drop in the number of children with rotting teeth in the past decade. 
 Then that's a good thing yes? Nothing to see here?

Hyndburn’s health chief Cllr Munsif Dad said [...]
“I think it’s also about raising awareness to parents of the importance of keeping their child’s teeth healthy by eating less sugar food and drinks.
Indeed. So there really is nothing to see here. Tooth decay levels have been falling a long time and we can keep this up through education and parental responsibility
Yes?

Of course not. The Public Health Whack-A-Moles are popping up

Dominic Harrison, director of public health at Blackburn with Darwen Council, said sugar consumption can have a 'devastating effect' on dental health.
He said: "It is vital that we send a message about the damage that is being done to the health of our children and young people; let children be free to choose their food but stop promoting sugar products through advertising and sports sponsorship in a way that makes their choices anything but ‘free’."
Dominic Harrison is one of the biggest Public Health Whack-A-Moles in our borough, and he pops up whenever there's a chance to attack freedom of choice and free enterprise

I've consumed sugar all my life, as have most people, and we've managed to do it without a 'devastating affect' on our dental health. Why? Because we were brought up to brush our teeth properly

"Let children be free to choose their food!? What the hell is he on about. One of the basic principles of good parenting, is that parents make choices for their children, as by definition, children aren't old enough to make those choices themselves, particularly when it comes to food

How many of you as a child, said that when you grew up, you would eat nothing but cake? No, Dominic, that is the polar opposite of parental responsibility. Parents should be choosing their children's food. And making them brush their teeth properly

"Stop promoting sugar products through advertising and sponsorship". Why? Children have no money. Parents have money and parents make purchasing choices. It doesn't matter what food is advertised on the telly or at the football ground. Children cannot just go out and buy it, as the parents control all the cash. Parents should be buying the food. And choosing what the children eat. And making them brush their teeth properly

And advertising removes free choice does it? Maybe you are to dumb to make your own purchasing choices, but don't tar the rest of us with your own idiocy

And there's more pop-up pillocks to go, yet

Mick Armstrong, chairman of dentist trade union the British Dental Association, described it as a ‘tragedy’ that a child’s oral health is still determined by their postcode and their parents’ incomes. 

Tragedy
This one is blaming poverty. There's no poverty in this country that means parents can't afford a quid for a toothbrush and toothpaste and teach their kid how to use them

And children's oral health is not determined by their postcode, it's determined by their parents doing the right thing and making them brush their teeth or being lazy arses and not bothering
I've had a postcode all my life and like others, it hasn't affected my oral health

He said: “We should not accept that a child raised in Pendle will enter primary school with twenty times the levels of decay as one born in the Surrey home of the health secretary.” 
I can only assume that he means the Health Secretary visits every house in Surrey in the evenings and makes children brush their teeth? I can think of no other reason for mentioning that

Can you?

Kevin and the power of the Internet

Unfortunately Kevin, more commonly known as Nisakiman, passed away last night. Frank has done a blog about it

Frank emailed me earlier today with the news and I was quite surprised at how upsetting it was to read, considering I've only met the chap once. We live in an age though, where you don't actually have to meet a person in order to become firm friends

Just look at some of the comments appearing under Franks blog today, all (mostly) from people who never met him but still feel a loss at his passing

But that's the power of the Internet. It's not just for slagging people off on Facebook or calling people silly names on Twitter, it can also be used for the really good stuff (dirty minds, pipe down at the back)

I don't really post much on this blog anymore, as the fever no longer really grips me, but back in the day, up until somewhere in 2013, I used to post a hell of a lot of stuff and a lot of people used to drop by Moose Meadows to chew the cud

That's when I first 'met' Kevin. He was one of the regular commenters around here and like most of my visitors, we shared very similar views. Many blogs from that time seem to have disappeared and a lot of the conversation has gone over to Twitter, but back then you could hang around the blog and have a chat with people rather than just swapping a few comments

In recent years, Kevin has been telling me lots about Greece, because he lives there and myself and Mrs Bucko want to

And in the even more recent past, since Frank created the Smoky Drinky Bar, I actually got to see him in person

It was talking with him in the SDB, when I managed to arrange a face to face visit with him in Greece. We were talking about the possibility of getting a ferry from Corfu where we are going to stay, over to the mainland port where he was living. If didn't look like there was a ferry option between those two ports, so we decided on a road trip instead

This discussion took place at the beginning of this year and our holiday is planned for next week, but not so long after we planned it, Kevin was back in the UK with the serious lurgie

And now he's gone

I'm very glad I did get the chance to finally go and meet him face to face when Frank, Peter and myself went to visit him after we found out he was ill. I only wish it was under better circumstances, as I was hoping our first planned face to face meeting would be the start of a new friendship in the real world

So as a friend I mainly knew online and only met once, his passing is going to leave a hole, and I'm sure I speak for everyone else who also knew him through the blogs and social media

He was one of the good guys and is going to be missed

Like most others, I have a circle of friends in real life, and like I imagine it to be for most others, they are people very similar to myself in tastes, views etc.

When we went down to visit Kevin I remember thinking that I would never have been friends with people like Kevin, Frank and Peter in real life, as they are so much different to me and move in circles so far removed from my own

When we become friendly with people on the Internet, it's usually because we share one or two viewpoints about something and have ended up expressing those views on some social platform

In life it's usually people who cross your path at work or school and share your interests and you find you enjoy each others company

Kevin, Frank and Peter would never have crossed my path in any situation outside the Internet, but now I call them friends anyway and I'm bloody glad I'm able to. That's the power of the Internet in bringing together the most unlikeliest of kin folk

The trip to visit Kevin was far from good circumstances, but now we've done it, I hope there are many such meetings in the future, not just the three of us again, but hopefully with many more

I for one will now have an open house policy for any bloggers and such folk who fancy a trip to the sunny north for a few scoops and a chinwag and I'll look forward to the opportunity to have more road trips to do the same

So long Kevin. It's been great. I'll raise a glass or two to you this evening

Fake Lungs Lie

Frank Davis once told us that the commonly held belief that smokers lungs are black, is in fact, a lie. His post sparked a lot of discussion, including attempts in medical circles to verify the claim.

The idea that smokers lungs are black is part of established popular culture. We are all brought up to believe it by parents, schools and later on, the media. To stand up and says it's untrue is not just heresy to public health doctrine, it's downright batshit crazy to most normal people

Even I believed I had black lungs before I read Franks post

There was a video shown to us at school that I will never forget. A doctor opened up a lung and poured in a vial of black tar. The tar was supposed to represent the discharge that collects in the lungs of the average smoker

At thirteen years of age unfortunately, I wasn't smart enough to ask why they needed to pour the stuff into a healthy lung rather than just use 'the lungs of an average smoker', which presumably would already be filled with that black stuff when you cut them open

But that's what perpetuates the lie. The 'lungs of an average smoker' are just as pink as the lungs of an average non-smoker. Black lungs are caused by environmental factors, such as heavy pollution or working in a coal mine, or by diseases such as cancer or COPD, which non-smokers also get

Regardless of Franks efforts, the black lung lie is still the popular orthodoxy. But with a little knowledge and an open mind, it doesn't take long to see through the myth when it's presented to you. Take this recent article in Cosmo, for example

You've probably seen this crop up in many other publications this last week, I'm just a huge fan of Cosmo (just kidding)

This video of human lungs after twenty years of smoking will make you want to quit

It was the headline in this particular publication of the story that grabbed me, as it's extremely unlikely anything I could see in a newspaper or magazine is going to make me want to quit. Make that 100% unlikely

But when you read past the headline, even before you get to the editorial, you have the following warnings:

Do not watch if even remotely squeamish.
Warning: contains very graphic videos

Now I'll be honest. I have been known to be squeamish about certain things. There are the odd things that do turn my stomach

I didn't feel a need to be concerned on this occasion though. I figured it was more likely to make me laugh out load

At the risk of sounding like your mum, smoking isn't very good for you

This is what my mum sounds like:  "We're away in a few days, do you want us to bring any fags back?"

And one nurse from North Carolina in the United States has shocked people with her bold illustration of just how much damage cigarettes can do.

Isn't she a bit late to this particular shindig? All you have to do is Google, 'bold illustration of just how much damage cigarettes can do', and it's black lungs akimbo. There are so many 'bold illustrations' of fag damage out there, they may even be more prolific than pictures of cute kittens

Amanda Eller uploaded two videos to Facebook; one of air being blown into cancerous human lungs belonging to a person who smoked one pack of cigarettes every day for 20 years, and the other of air being blown into the lungs of a non-smoker.


I can't speak to her claim to know the lungs came from a person who smoked 20 fags a day, but that's not the issue here. These lungs are from a person who had lung cancer. It doesn't matter if they smoked or not, it was the cancer that turned the lungs black, not the smoking

And that's how it works. That's how it goes from lungs black because of cancer, to all smokers have black lungs

"Still wanna smoke?", the nurse captioned the videos 
Yes please

It's obvious to tell at first glance which lungs belonged to the smoker; one set is completely blackened in colour, while the other is a much healthier pink.
It's obvious to tell which lung you are supposed to think is the smokers, but in reality, they could have both belonged to smokers, one of which had lung cancer

We all know how bad smoking is for us. We've had it drummed into us from a young age that smoking a cigarette means you inhale over 5,000 chemicals 
That's gone up. Didn't it used to be 4000? When did they discover the pull the extra 1000 out of their arse
But sometimes it takes a visual representation of the damage, just like Amanda's videos, to make people believe just how real the dangers can be.
But it's not real. It's a visual representation of a lie
And you're not completely out of the woods if you're just a social smoker
Researchers from the University of Bristol estimated that over a lifetime each cigarette could take 11 minutes off your life
Wow! 11 minutes? So about six months for a 20 year social smoker. I'd take those odds, just to be a sociable person. I love how they come up with these incredible accurate measurements of how much life you loose as a smoker

"A long-term study found that people who smoked between 1-4 cigarettes a day have significantly higher risk of dying from all causes than non-smoker."
Now we're just getting into the realms of the Tobacco Control Twilight Zone.

All causes? Is that why as a smoker, bus drivers keep trying to run me over?