Monday, 9 February 2015

Silversurfers 50

End Game scenario:  Swimming Pool-free by 2030!

 ‘Silversurfers 50’ appears to be a fairly innocuous website catering for the over 50‘s. It has both a dedicated facebook page and a web site where registered members can comment on articles. There is also provision on the web site, for those not registered, to post comments using facebook identity immediately after member comments. When I first looked at the site there were several entries in both comment sections following a request for views on;

 Photo copied from Silversurfers 50

”The smoking ban came into force in the UK in July 2007 and to most of us no smoking is the norm now in all public buildings. We all know Nigel Farage likes a good pint and now UKIP have said that if they got in power they would repeal the smoking ban in pubs and bars.”

 I don’t know whether silversurfers knowingly set out to promote anti-smoker and anti-UKIP propaganda in an attempt to influence public perception OR whether they themselves were brainwashed by anti-smoker propaganda and merely propagated it through naivety. Either way the subtle propaganda was indeed promoted. Thereafter, their excluding (censoring) of critical comments may give some indication as to silversurfers underlying beliefs and motives - culpable or just credulous? I make no comment either way as I simply don’t know. 

Firstly, as pointed out numerous times in the comments, it is factually inaccurate to claim that UKIP have said they would repeal the smoker ban! The UKIP manifesto states they will;
41. ‘Amend the smoking ban to promote choice for ventilated smoking rooms’

The difference between ‘repeal’ and ‘amend’, is not insignificant as some may think. One suggests all laws relating to smoking in pubs will be changed to disadvantage non smokers while the other merely proposes a minor change that ‘promotes choice’ - it considers both smokers AND non smokers. Contrary to what anti-smoker propagandists would have you believe, most of the public are not intolerant Nazis, they tend to consider reasonable restrictions on smoking that benefit all is the most desirable option - this has ALWAYS been the case! However if they are led to believe that the stark choice is ALL smoking or strictly NO smoking, they may understandably choose the latter. This trick has been used before to influence/manipulate statistics to manufacture the PERCEPTION (rather than the reality) of what is or is not popular with the public.

The Tobacco CONTROL movement is fully aware of the power of words and how to use/abuse them to manipulate the unsuspecting. They utilise them constantly to further their agenda, often without anyone suspecting any underhand tactics at all! Those who do not understand how manipulation of language linked with the control of information can influence behaviour should take the time to read Orwell’s dystopian book ‘‘1984’ for a basic insight (and try to relate it to current anti-smoker propaganda). While it may be a fictional work written a generation ago, it is a frighteningly accurate depiction of much of the real world today.

Take the statement;
“... to most of us no smoking is the norm now in all public buildings.”

While this appears to be a straight-forward factual statement, it is anything but! Other than possibly those who have recently arrived from tolerant countries where anti-smoker coercion is less advanced or non existent - EVERYONE, not ‘MOST’ should be aware that there is a smoke ban in all public buildings, so why say “to most of us”?

‘most of us... is the norm’ is a subtle derogatory swipe at non-conformists to anti-smoker dogma that contains a subliminal message, a variation on the anti-smoker ‘everyone knows’, used to reinforce previously learned propaganda. It actually means ‘most of us ‘intelligent’ or ‘normal’ people who know better’ -  smokers are abnormal - you don’t want to be like them, ‘we’ are better than them’. It is a psychological trigger that appeals to primitive human instinct - the need to be part of the group, and the human desire to be liked. Many will fall for it, many others will not. While relevant but only tangentially linked, watch this experiment on group psychology and how normal rational people can easily be swayed to conform. This human characteristic is well exploited by Tobacco CONTROL to psychologically control the unsuspecting. ASCH conformity study;

“The opposite of courage in our society is not cowardice, it is conformity.”  (Rollo May) 

Although only a small distinction, once again it is important to make it - there is NO suggestion by UKIP of any amendment to the smoking ban in ‘ all public buildings’.  Pubs, bars etc. are PRIVATE premises, deemed to be public, that permit public access at the discretion of the owner and should be subject to his/her conditions (beyond basic licensing laws). No one forces anyone to enter if they choose not to do so, whether it is a gay bar, a Country and Western bar, a strip club etc. or a smoking bar! I highlight this simple fact because it seems that so many anti-smokers are unable to understand/rationalise what choices they could make of their own volition, when the intolerant smoke ban is amended to allow those choices.

Below this question was a poll asking; “Should smoking be brought back into pubs?” : (YES or NO).
At my first viewing the figures were roughly (from memory); Yes: 40% - No: 60%. (currently it is actually Yes: 46% - No: 56%). Having read the comments it was discovered that this poll had originally been 75% ‘yes’ versus 25% ‘no’. Even genuine, well designed, tamper-free polls have limited value and are notoriously inaccurate (too many problems to list). In isolation, they should never drive any policy where the result would be gain for some and loss to others. Democracy used as ‘Tyranny of the majority’ comes to mind. Nevertheless, polls can and do influence opinion and should be challenged/voided at any sign of impropriety. Silversurfers chose not to do that even though, according to their comment, they believed  (rightly or wrongly) that some impropriety had indeed occurred.

I wrote my own comments, on the dedicated silversurfers facebook page, the first one being tongue-in-cheek to elicit a response;

“Just a test to ascertain whether silversurfers is just another front group for the tobacco CONTROL industry.”
Reply from ‘silversurfers’ (using little yellow smiley faces like quotation marks);
“Silversurfers is a lifestyle website aimed at the over 50s, packed with interesting features, news, special offers and discounts.  Our facebook community page is designed to foster friendships, based on trust, honesty, integrity and loyalty and is underpinned by these values”
and a reply from Sonja Birch (also ending with a nice little smiley face too);  “The only front Silversurfers Promote here is a happy friendly and supportive one, Simply As. if you decide to hang around, then welcome.”

On looking at these replies, all I could hear in my head was the reassuring (insincere) monotone voice of  HAL (Hal 9000 from ‘2001: A space odyssey’) reading them out to me.  I made another comment in reply;

Hi. I was drawn to this site by the article about UKIPs smoking in pubs amendment. I noticed that you had ‘adjusted’ the poll, alleging underhand tactics (comments of which have now been removed). The ‘adjustment’ totally changed the result from an overwhelming ‘YES’ (ie. the smoke ban SHOULD be amended) to a not insubstantial ‘NO’.

The comments below the article/poll were dominated by one-liners mainly relating to ‘smell on clothes’ and how ‘smokers are selfish’ (because smokers/tolerant non-smokers think it is unfair that they are not allowed indoor space to congregate in places that could /should be set aside for their use).

These are repetitive appeals to emotion to reinforce anti-smoker dogma/propaganda that is coming under increasing stress/challenge. They are hallmarks of the influence of the tobacco CONTROL industry and the thousands of its employees who are tasked to maintain the false illusion that the smoking ban is universally accepted and to reinforce previously learned anti-smoker propaganda/ manufactured anti-smoker ‘superiority’.

The first post I added (via facebook), that highlighted similarities between current anti-smoker and historical propaganda, was immediately removed. I noticed too that a poll showing overwhelming voter support for UKIP had also been removed.(UKIP had 46% of the vote with all other parties sharing the remaining 54%). Had that one been tampered with too? It is possible that the polls may have been tampered with, as silversurfers claimed, but by whom? The anti-smoker industry has shown itself to be very devious.

Maybe your intentions are honourable, but has it not occurred to you that support for UKIP and a desire to return to tolerance in general, smoking in pubs in particular, does indeed have considerable support from the silent masses who have witnessed the cultural vandalism of our pubs together with other widespread damage/injury/havoc that the tobacco CONTROL industry has wrought on our once envied society, economy and ironically, public health? 

Will this comment also be removed because it challenges the anti-smoker ‘consensus message’?

I received no reply from this comment and it was indeed removed along with ALL the others. In the words of Cpl. Jones of ‘Dads Army’ fame; ‘They don’t like it up ‘em do they Mr Mannering!’

Silversurfers is not unique; censoring inconvenient (to the anti-smoker agenda) comments and suppressing information in the media that shows anti-smoker rhetoric for what it is, is becoming fairly common. Fostering the [false] perception that ‘everyone’ thinks the smoking ban is the best thing since sliced bread, is of primary importance to maintaining their ‘initiative’. What is more difficult to ascertain is whether this is as a result of them being victims of anti-smoker propaganda, or something more sinister. Anti-smoker propaganda and ‘healthism’ in general, constantly strives to give the impression that this is almost a religious ‘good versus evil’ battle (with them being the ‘good’ of course). Creating the perception that anyone who criticises their agenda must be a Tobacco company shill, has worked very well. The reality is that it is independent individuals or ‘the people’ who are the main enemy of tobacco CONTROL, ie. Those people who value freedom and tolerance etc. and are not easily influenced by mendacious propaganda.

Finally, on the silversurfers web site, I posted this satirical piece which I admit, is a piss take of those credulous individuals apparently suffering from anti-smoker propaganda and fear-mongering induced Idiopathic Environmental Intolerance (IEI);

Looking at the comments I see that there are many who point out a problem with the ‘disgusting stench’ that ends up on anti-smokers clothing and hair apparently, (yet it doesn’t seem to bother smokers and tolerant non-smokers for some reason). These nice intelligent people may want to join my campaign to ban swimming pools and selfish swimmers, given that the same principles apply (my joining fee is not too expensive). Health and safety regs. on swimming pools STILL allow people to use pools if they choose. These regs. are not adequate - they are not working - we need more legislation!!

Action on Swimming pool Health (ASH) the anti-swimmers rights group, tells us that their scientific research proves there are still tens of millions of Cheeeldren worldwide who drown in them, despite the H&S regs! Yeah, I know, a few dead kids is not the REAL problem (tho if it saves just ONE Kid it has to be worth banning said pools eh?) The real problem is actually the stench of chlorine and damage to anti-swimmers clothing, the cost of which runs into £Billions according to ASH’s research!!

The other day, I jumped into a swimming pool with my best bib and tucker on - and it was ruined. You won’t believe how much it costs me to replace dozens of dress suits every year because of selfish swimming pools. Not only that but I was covered in toxins that stuck to my clothing. Not only that but the stench of chlorine on my body was overpowering, and not only that but I nearly died of an allergic reaction to it and it made my asthma much worse! And not only that but I have to go for a shower to get rid of the stench after every time I jump in a swimming pool. Where are my rights - no one seems to care about my rights to be swimming pool-free. These swimmers are sooo selfish - all they can say is that I can choose NOT to jump in the deep end with my clothes on if I want, or even suggested I take my clothes off or just walk around the edge - cheeky barstewards!!

This is just not fair to me and the majority of the population who don’t want their clothing damaged by swimming pools. I made a vociferous complaint to the pool manager and told him that he should fill that horrible smelly pool in for my safety, I might just get the urge to jump in - I don’t want to be exposed to that. Think of the cheeeldren too!! I even pointed out that he could replace it with a running track, or some healthy gym apparatus, yoga area etc. That would attract a better class of tourist and he would be quids-in as everyone will rush to take advantage of this pool-free area!  He had the nerve to call me a delusional nutter - you just can’t reason with some people!

Don’t get me on about selfish seaside swimmers neither, they come out of the sea splashing water all over the place and the stench of salty seaweed from them is overpowering. Not only that but it encourages the cheeeldren to jump in too, They shouldn’t be allowed to see this - we have a duty to protect our cheeeldren!! - then you can guarantee they light up a ciggy. laugh at my scowling face, and blow smoke in my face! Its not funny,  I can smell a smoker/swimmers over 35 miles down the beach, upwind OR downwind. Ban sea swimmers too - only us good people should be allowed on the beach!!

ps. Don't get me wrong, I'm not against swimming pools and smelly, selfish, ignorant swimmers per se. If they choose to have a filthy, smelly pool in their own private area, shielded from the view of the public so that our easily corrupted cheeeldren cannot see this abhorrent behaviour, that's fine. I just don't want to be anywhere near them and their chlorine stink. It's not about ME stopping them enjoying life, its about MY health, MY life, MY choices. ie. ME ME ME!
(pps. Not only that, did I mention it is for protection of the cheeeldren too!)

Unsurprisingly, this comment, some two days after it was posted, is still marked ‘Awaiting approval’ in bright red letters! I may have been a bit over-confident of the World ‘End-game’ scenario of being swimming pool-free by 2030, eh?