Brexit Days. In the polling booth, no one can hear you scream

I'm not going to wade in on the EU elections that are taking place today, as I really haven't got much to say

I'll be voting this time, for the Brexit Party

Apparently there's a little arrow that tells me where to put my mark. Or something

Happy voting day folks

If smoking had been invented only today

The anti-tobacco industry tell us that if smoking had been invented today, it would immediately be banned outright. With the health, safety, food and drug laws we have in place, coupled with what we now know about smoking, there is no way any Government would allow smoking, or the sale of tobacco to be legal

If smoking was unknown to us and someone invented it today, it would never be allowed

That's what they tell us, but I dispute it

Imagine a world where smoking had not been invented, where tobacco was simply a plant that nobody paid much attention to and nobody had thought of curing it and smoking it. What would such a world look like?

The world we currently live in is one big Nanny State. The West is firmly entrenched in Nanny Statism and the Third World is catching up just as fast as it can. Governments restrict out freedoms with gusto, largely cheered on and pushed by sock puppet charities who gain a great deal of power, influence and money by doing so

And it all began with tobacco control. What used to be a few prod-nosed people with a chip on their shoulder has now become a huge, multinational industry. Part of the reason for this massive expansion, was the rise of Socialism and the likes of Tony Blair dishing out huge sums of money to groups who were willing to pretend they spoke for a people who wanted more and more Government restrictions. After 1997 in the UK, Nanny State activism went from a part time hobby to a full time and very well paid job

Tobacco was unique in this respect. You don't eat it and you don't drink it, you roll it inside a bit of paper, set fire to it and inhale the smoke. It's not 'normal'. Anything similar has always been illegal. Due to the unique nature of tobacco, it was targeted by certain random crackpots who produced certain studies that we're all aware of, which demonstrated that tobacco was not just a unique substance, but a uniquely harmful substance

This gave the puritans who do not like tobacco, a first rung on the ladder to it's de-normalisation. If it had been any food or drink item, this would not have been possible. You can't stop people from eating and drinking and although some food and drink groups can be harmful in consistently large quantities, moderation is always the rational answer. Tobacco as they say, when used as intended, is harmful in any quantity and for any duration

So began tobacco control, pushed on us little by little over the years, with a huge surge in the last few decades. But once it was discovered that people are happy to accept excessive restriction into other peoples lives, as long as you tell them it's for their own good, 'control' began to extent beyond tobacco

The control industry has since branched out into salt, sugar, alcohol, and with the advent of Public Health England, all food groups. This was only possible because of the template laid out by Tobacco Control. Without tobacco, there would have been no traction in attacking booze or any of the food groups; people would not have stood for it, or even understood it. To convince people that children get fat from seeing pictures of food on the London Underground, takes years of conditioning and needs a basis in something they are initially willing to believe

So in our world where smoking had not been invented, there would of course be no Tobacco Control and without Tobacco Control, there would be no fake obesity epidemic, no 'junk food' moral panic, no salt scare, no sugar scare and no new wave alcohol prohibitionists

And most importantly of all, there would be no junk science. Without all of the above, there would be no need for junk science and quack scientists, because there would be no benefit from it. Apart from possibly Climate Change, which is it's own little niche area and nothing to do with health, we would live in a world where scientists had integrity, worked towards the truth and could be trusted, simply because there would be no reason not to, unless you worked in 'Climate Science' (And even then, a small and isolated group turning out junk may actually be ostracised by the scientific community rather than joined en masse)

So here we are, a world without large chunks of the Nanny State and without junk science and somebody decides it would be a good idea to roll some dried tobacco in a bit of paper, set fire to the end and inhale the smoke. Would it be banned outright? I see no reason for that to happen

New products on the market do have to pass certain standards before they can be sold and tobacco would be no different, but what would those standards be?

Tobacco is not food and it's not drink. The closest thing it could be compared to is cannabis, as that is also rolled in paper and smoked. Tobacco is not a mind altering drug though and it's not a psychotropic, so even though the first reaction may well be to ban it because it resembles an illegal drug in it's delivery method, it would be unlikely to happen once it is discovered that nicotine is no more harmful to health or mind altering than caffeine

So if tobacco is not banned as a drug, the next step is to ensure it's safe for consumption. That would probably come under existing food standards. The smoke would have to be tested to ensure it does not contain anything harmful to the end user. How many chemicals are we told there are in tobacco smoke? 4000, or is it 6000 now? Image an impartial scientist with no agenda, testing the smoke and finding that out

"We've extensively tested cigarette smoke and found in the region of 6000 chemicals, none of which come close to levels that might cause harm and most of which, as you'd expect from burning a leaf, are naturally occurring and exist in many other food items readily available."

Can you image that being said by one of today's scientists? Even if a scientist with some integrity came out with a statement like that, he would be ignored in the media and accused of being a Tobacco Industry shill by the anti-smokers

The Tobacco control industry tell us that cigarette smoke contains formaldehyde, a chemical used in embalming dead bodies. A real scientist would tell us that there is more formaldehyde in a pear than a cigarette and that it is a naturally occurring organic compound

So our scientist in a tobacco free world would probably tell us that smoking a cigarette is likely harmless. How about we give him a little knowledge of 'what we know now'?

How would he react if asked him to test if smoking causes inner ear infections in children, or if it restricts the blood flow and causes impotence, or causes ageing of the skin? He'd think the idea was preposterous and wouldn't waste his time. The same with many of the things we are told are caused by smoking, which after many years of indoctrination, the modern populace is happy to believe, but in a world new to tobacco, which still has science with honesty and integrity, would be dismissed out of hand

But what about the big one? Lung cancer?

There was a time when I believed, as most people do, that smoking causes lung cancer. After the smoking ban of 2007, when I actually started looking into second hand smoke, I started to find my doubts with active smoking. My beliefs have changed a lot over those years and at most, I now believe smoking can be a risk factor to certain genetically pre-disposed people or very heavy smokers

The bulk of the 'evidence' that links smoking with lung cancer is statistical. To put it in very basic terms, incidents of lung cancer have risen along with the numbers of smokers. Recently however, lung cancer has continued to rise, but smoking rates have fallen heavily

That proves or dis-proves nothing, but it does open the door to the possibility that something other than smoking is responsible for the steady rise in lung cancer rates. What could it be? Well as I see it, there are two obvious possibilities. One thing that has risen along with lung cancer rates, is the use of diesel engines. At the moment, our Governments are telling us that diesel causes cancer. They change their mind quite often though, so who knows if this will continue to be the narrative? It might just be a good way to appease the Green Lobby and attack car ownership

There is one other thing that we can all agree does cause lung cancer without doubt. Gamma radiation. There have been over 2000 nuclear bomb tests in this century and they have thrown thousands of tonnes of radioactive dust into the atmosphere, much of which is still up there and slowly finding it's way back to Earth on the weather patterns. If the Governments that did these tests were to have to compensate every person that got lung cancer, they would be bankrupt and unviable. It's eminently possible that this is why smoking was initially blamed for lung cancer, so Governments could put the blame on the sufferers themselves, rather than taking responsibility

I don't know if either of these scenarios are correct, but I do think that in a world without tobacco, there are enough reasons to suspect that lung cancer rates would have still risen at their current trajectory

Science can show that radiation causes cancer, but it cannot show that tobacco causes cancer. It's all statistical and if you do get cancer, doctors cannot find out what actually caused, it, only that you have it

So I don't believe our scientists would be looking to see if smoking causes cancer. I don't believe that in a hundred years from now, our scientists would be correlating smoking with cancer. I think the cancer rate would have been consistent from the end of WW2 until the present date and would not change with the introduction of smoking in 2019

So in my opinion, If smoking was invented today, I don't think it would be banned, I think we would all be enjoying our first cigarette. And what of the future? If smoking has been introduced almost a century after mass industrialisation, I don't think anyone would even think of banning it. The health issues currently attributed to smoking would have already been blamed on something else and we would all be free to enjoy our cigarettes

What about public smoking bans in this hypothetical world? Sure, there would be some people who do not like the smell, but as actually happened in our real world, most people would like it. Smoking would be no different than drinking a cup of coffee, and the sale of coffee is very much encouraged in pubs and restaurants

When I worked for a pub chain, we were taught to ask customers after they had ordered a drink, if they wanted any crisps or nuts with that. I never did it, as I figured if they wanted crisps or nuts, they would have bloody well asked, but it's what we were taught to do

In our, new to smoking world, once we realised how good a cigarette goes with a beer, we would be asking punters if they want a smoke with that. Just like a pint of lager and a packet of crisps goes well together, so does a beer and a smoke

The idea of banning smoking in pubs would be totally barmy in that world

I think that when the Tobacco Control Industry tell us that smoking would be banned if it was invented today, they mean it would be banned on the basis of years of junk science, but in a world that had only just invented smoking, that junk would not exist and people as a whole would be of a much more rational mind, now and in the future

What a pity we will unlikely ever be a around to see a similar world become reality

This post is brought to you live from Croatia!

Well the weather picked up (see previous post). The past couple of days have been scorching and today is no different. We're going home tomorrow, so Mrs Bucko has decided to hermit today, but I've just spent the past couple of hours sat outside a bar in the baking sun, having a couple of pints

There's not a lot to do round here, so the theme has been 'chill until we can't chill no more', which as short holidays go, is not a bad thing

Some people asked me about the smoking rules in Croatia before we left, so here it is

They do have a smoking ban and it's not ignored like it is in Greece, they do take it seriously. Fortunately it is nowhere near as bad as in England (I'm not endorsing it, my position has always been that it's not the Governments' place to decide where people can smoke and the property owner should always be the one to choose)

Smoking is not allowed in restaurants or other places where food is served, unless it is outside. Smoking is allowed in bars and they all choose to be smoker friendly

'Outside' has a different meaning here to back home. If you're within the solid brick structure of the building, that's inside. If you're in the wood frame and glass covered extention, that's outside. There's also outside as we know it, the uncovered patio area

Because the ban is only in food places, there is a very noticeable segregation between food and smoking. We went in a cafe bar yesterday that served food and they would not allow us to eat outside. Because we weren't hungry anyway, we just got a couple of drinks and sat in the sun. When we were looking for somewhere to eat a light snack a couple of days previous, we went in a number of smaller cafe bars in the centre and none of them served food, presumably because they didn't have the space to segregate food and smoking

So the ban does still stifle your choices if you are eating

The bars are great though. When you're having a few pints, you don't want to be going outside for a smoke, like you do in England and none of the bars we have been in, made you do that. If it's a wet venue only, smoking is allowed throughout and so far, we have seen no exceptions

The old rule seems to apply, if you are allowed to have smoking in your venue, it remains the financially sound position to take

They also have a tobacco display ban, which just seems to apply to the 'super'makets and not the small kiosks. Again, unlike England, it's not quite as strict. If you ask if they have a brand of cigarettes and the language barrier kicks in, they open the doors and let you take a look for yourself

They also don't mind about you taking your time to get it right. Mrs Bucko smokes menthol, so that and the cheapest brand were what we've been looking for to take home. Nobody seems to sell cigarettes by the sleeve for some reason, so we've been in a few supermarkets and just bought every pack they had of Green Lucky Strike. We seriously held up a couple of queues by doing so too, and whereas we got some groans from the people behind us waiting to pay for their weird European loaves of bread, the staff really could not give a tiny rats arse and will treat you as their only customer until you have found and paid for exactly what you want

I've also found that nobody sells small cigars. I brought a hundred with me and they ran out this morning. I have enough big ones left to see me through and my aeroplane e-gig if necessary, but the only country I've been to so far who do not sell small cigars was America. I thought they were quite popular on the continent

Anyway, so that's the state of play with smoking. Not bad as it goes, but still doesn't beat Greece

I would only recommend Zadar for a holiday if you're here to relax, which fortunately we were. There is very little to do here and if we had come for two weeks, we would not have found enough to amuse us for that long

We are staying in a tiny village with about four restaurants and two pubs, which is a fifteen minute bus ride from the main town. There a couple more, but they are not open yet and probably waiting for the season to kick in first. It's early doors yet

Even in the town though, we found very few eating places and no signs of any nightlife. There are a lot of small cafe bars if you want a pub crawl and are willing to put in some legwork, but honestly, it's probably better picking one good place and putting down roots if you want to drink in the town

Each pub we've been in so far closes at 11:00pm, but it may be that that also changes when the season gets going

Food places in the town seems to be none existent and shopping was incredibly poor. There is a big shopping centre in the town called the Galleria, but most of it was deserted; empty shops and no people

For an extra ten minute bus ride you can go to a much bigger shopping centre called Supernova, but large as it was, it was mainly fashion outlets and little else

There's also the Old Town, but we didn't bother, so I couldn't tell you what it's like

The place is definitely beautiful and now the rain has stopped, also very warm, however unless you intend to do nothing other than relax, there isn't much to see here

And so ends this latest edition of Travels With the Mooses. It's a relaxing day tomorrow, followed by an evening with Ryanair, then home. Normality begins shortly after

See ya!

Bloody weather!

It's holiday time again for the Moose family, so today's blog is brought to you from the town of Zadar in Croatia
It was never supposed to be a sunny beach holiday, but the weather is taking the piss a bit. It's been coming down in buckets since half five this morning. I knew I was not going to get a tan this week, but I didn't expect to go rusty

We arrived about 22:00 local time last night and took a walk to find a place where we could have a beer and fortunately, now we're in a more civilised country, a smoke too

Unpacking waited until this morning. When you've spent the better part of a day with Ryanair, your first priority is a pint and a fag. I keep saying I'll never fly with Ryanair again, but they keep coming up as the cheaper option. I've been prepared to pay an extra thirty of forty quid to fly with Easyjet in the past, but this time, the flights were cheaper by ninety quid each, so I bit the bullet and went with Ryanair. After we got here, we decided that no matter the cost, we're not doing Ryanair again ever. Let's see if we stick to that

We made it to the car park at terminal 3 without taking a single wrong turn, which is a personal best for us. We also turned up early enough to get our bags on the plane first, so they were off first too, which was a bonus

There's no smoking area at terminal 3 after security, but we explored a little more this time and found a small cafe that sold bottled beer, in the shopping area before security, so we managed to have a few scoops where we could just nip outside for a fag. We left it as long as possible before going through security, but still managed a couple of pints airside

A bought a small e-cig for that bit. There were 'no e-cigs' signs everywhere, but we used it anyway. I think they ban e-cigs in some public places because of people like my brother in law, who carries a portable smoke machine and blows annoying, fruit flavoured clouds everywhere he goes

A young(ish) couple got on the plane next to me, so Introduced myself, told the chap I was terrified of flying and apologised in advance for anything socially unacceptable that I might do on take off and landing. The last time I flew, I pulled the hair of the girl in front of me when the plane lifted off. Fortunately she took it with good grace...

So it's day one, I've had a hot dog for breakfast, got soaked to the bone on the way back and am about to have a nap, before going out in search of a bar. A first glance, there appears to be very little to do around here, but we won't know for sure until this horrendous rain stops and we can get out and explore

See ya

Monkey Magic

Everything is 'Racist' these days
Danny Baker fired from BBC Radio 5 Live after ‘racist’ Royal Baby tweet
I'd forgotten who Danny Baker was and I can't remember a time when I've ever listened to Radio 5. I think they're both something to do with football, but today, they're both something to do with faux outrage
The 61-year-old broadcaster last night shared a picture of a couple leaving a hospital, holding hands with a chimpanzee, with the caption: ‘Royal baby leaves hospital.’
It's actually quite funny in it's own way:

But for some reason, the Twitter mob decided it was racist and in usual form, demanded Mr Baker be fired from his job. The BBC in usual form, capitulated to the mob and binned him
Controller Jonathan Wall told all 5 Live staff in an email: ‘Danny made a serious error of judgement on social media last night and it goes against the values we live and breathe on this radio station.’
Although Danny has seen fit to 'appologise' for the tweet, at least he's standing up for himself
‘The call to fire me from @bbc5live was a masterclass of pompous faux-gravity. Took a tone that said I actually meant that ridiculous tweet and the BBC must uphold blah blah blah. Literally threw me under the bus. Could hear the suits knees knocking. #F***em.’
How on Earth do people see a parody tweet of a posh chimp as something racist? We live in the most tolerant country and the most tolerant time in history. Racism really is a thing of the past in these parts, yet people continue to stir it up on a daily basis. It's as though some people just can't bear to live in a world without racism, so they have to invent their own. Why, is beyond me

Take this article, for example:
Ex-Blackburn with Darwen councillor suspended by Tories over 'racist' post
As soon as I read the title, I knew that the 'racist' post would be nothing of the sort. I was not wrong
Konrad Tapp, who stood for Darwen West in last week’s local elections, shared a clearly-marked English Defence League message attacking the Islamic veil on Facebook.
It said: ‘Respect for Britain: No niqab/burka’ and a picture allegedly of a Muslim on a beach with a poster saying: ‘Respect Ramadan - no bikinis’.
The underlying theme in the comments, my own included, is that being critical of Islam is not racist, because Islam is not a race. The paper points out that the shared image was 'clearly marked' as being from the English Defence League. The assumption being that anything they say or do is racist by definition

Take a look

Whatever your view of the EDL, this image is clearly not racist. It's a response to a Muslim being critical of western dress (which I assume is not deemed racist). The response in kind is critical of Muslim dress and by extension, a critique of Islam. And again, Islam is not a race

So the councillor gets fired for sharing (note, not creating) this image and another councillor steps up and adds this:
Cllr Taylor said: "This is really inexcusable.The post was racism of the worst kind.
Racism of the worst kind? Can we think of any worse examples of racism than this, ladies and gentlemen? Of course we can. If we think back, we can remember a time when people were lynched by mobs and hanged from trees because of racism. Apparently that has nothing on this image though. Pointing out that wearing a burka is not conductive to western society, particularly if you've already objected to westerners wearing bikinis, is a worse form of racism that hanging the burka wearer from a tree

Remember South Africa, when blacks and whites were not allowed to share the same beaches? That a worse form of racism, is it not? yet the picture with the bikinis caption is asking for a watered down but similar form of segregation

That's not racist though, apparently

Councillor Taylor and people like him, including those who called for Danny baker to be fired over #BabyChimpGate, are the problem here. They are the reason why people just can't get along, not us

I've met Councillor Taylor. He's a nanny statist to the core, so I'm not surprised he's ready to step up to the plate and shout racist. These people are all alike

See if you can spot my comment under the Telegraph article. My 'BuckoTheMoose' username was banned after I commented, "Import the Third World, get the Third World", under and article about Asian thugs having a kick off in college. Probably because it was 'racist'

Don't Fear the Snipper?

I was talking with some friends on Frank Davis' Smokey Drinkey Bar on Saturday night. One of the 'after many beers' conversations was about the time when I had the snip

Then yesterday I spotted this tripe in the Guardian (where else):
Vasectomies are suddenly unpopular, but in a heterosexual couple it’s a feminist action for a man to take
A feminist action?
My husband doesn’t want a vasectomy. [...] But the thing is, he and I have finished having babies and I feel like my turn should be over. A vasectomy would feel like a feminist action on his part, an acknowledgment of everything I have been through that has got us to this point in our lives.
Everything you've been through? Pain for pain? An eye for an eye? A penis for a... never mind, just kidding

Mrs Bucko and I do not have kids and have never wanted them. When I had the snip, I certainly wasn't thinking about any feminist issues, it just seemed like a good idea at the time. Mrs B was taking regular contraception and would have had to continue to do so for many years. Having the snip was a permanent solution and I like permanent solutions. The fact that she benefited the most from that choice was the main reason I made the choice, but feminism had nothing to do with it, it was just convenient
My husband doesn’t want a vasectomy. I don’t blame him: it might be a 15-minute procedure carried out under local anaesthetic, but it’s not exactly a spa treatment.
And there it is
My wife doesn't want a baby. It might be a couple hours of minor work to bring about the miracle of life, but it's no spa treatment
I'm sorry, but any woman who describes the snip in those terms, deserves to be told that shoving a seven pound pot roast through your vagina is just a walk in the park. Yeah I know, giving birth is far more painful than having the snip, but still, it's far from an easy prospect

If any man reading this is planning to have the snip done under a local anaesthetic, don't. Just don't!

If you've not had the snip yet, I'll be honest with you. It hurts. Sure, I've heard some blokes say it was nothing, that they were back at work again the day after, but to be honest, I reckon they just don't want to admit how much pain they were in while walking around like they had just got off a horse

When I decided to go for it, my doctor recommended some chap in a local surgery who does the op under a local. He said I would be in and out in an afternoon, so I decided to go for it
And as it turned out, I was in and out in an afternoon, but still unfortunately, with my bollocks intact. Have you ever had a needle in your bollocks? The first anaesthetic injection didn't work, so he had to give me a second, then a third. Apparently adrenaline counteracts the painkiller and I'll tell you this. Watching someone about to stick a needle in a testicle that is attached to you, is enough to give you a right good jolt of adrenaline. Feeling it will give you another

Every time he stuck me with the damn thing, my body fought back with it's own drugs. In the end, after my bollocks had enough holes in them, they were leaking on the trolley, the chap decided that having the snip done under a local was not for me

All that pain for nought

So I got myself booked in to have it done under a general. When the surgeon spoke to me on the day, he told me in no uncertain terms that the snip is not something that should be done under a local. I wish I'd found that out sooner

The general involved a full day in the hospital. I couldn't eat or drink anything for hours and had to wait all morning and a good portion of the afternoon sat in a waiting room wearing nothing but my dressing gown, which I only noticed on the day, was covered from head to toe in cat hairs. I must have looked a right sight
I was quite shocked when I woke up after the op though; it felt like I had been asleep for days. I can't remember ever feeling so rested. And the tuna sandwich they gave me was the best I've ever tasted. I wouldn't mind getting hold of some of the drugs they gave me, if that's what it does to you

Anyhoo, by the evening, the drugs had wore off and the pain began. They gave me a weeks sicknote and I used it all. I was still doing the 'just off a horse' walk for a couple of days after I went back to work. One side took a lot longer to heal than the other one. I think that walking to the Co-Op to buy a bottle of Jim Beam when I got home from the hospital, tore one or two of the stitches

My wife was fortunately off work that week, so while I healed, we spent most of the week sat on the couch drinking Jim Beam and watching Sons of Anarchy together

It might have been quite bloody stingy, but all in all, that wasn't a bad week

These days, when people ask me if I have, or am having kids and I tell then no, just to let them know how serious I am, I say I've had the snip. Twice

Lads, one more time, if you're getting it done, take the general anaesthetic and tuna sandwich option. Don't even consider a local