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Anti-prohibition news from over the world

Collected live from our allies' blogs.
Note: All opinions expressed below are those of the authors only, not necessarily TICAP's.

Public Health England up to its old tricks

Published on 2020-04-07 08:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Anyone hoping for Public Health England to turn over a new leaf and be honest with people in the age of coronavirus is et to be disappointed. They put out this press release on Friday...

Smokers at greater risk of severe respiratory disease from COVID-19
Emerging evidence from China shows smokers with COVID-19 are 14 times more likely to develop severe respiratory disease.
This is a highly selective use of the evidence, as I explain in an article for Spectator USA...

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Praying For Boris

Published on 2020-04-07 06:11:01.
Website: Frank Davis

4 am, and I can’t sleep. Sat in bed with a roll-up and a glass of water, wondering what to do. Why not write a one-off, middle-of-the-night blog post? Our prime minister, Boris Johnson, is unconscious and in intensive care. … Continue reading →

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Oxygen Starvation

Published on 2020-04-06 10:24:10.
Website: Frank Davis

Infowars: BOMBSHELL PLEA FROM NYC ICU DOCTOR: COVID-19 A CONDITION OF OXYGEN DEPRIVATION, NOT PNEUMONIA VENTILATORS may be causing the lung damage, not the virus 1:42:”It appears to be some kind of virally-induced disease most resembling high altitude sickness. It … Continue reading →

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Rather Wonderful

Published on 2020-04-05 11:47:48.
Website: Frank Davis

I was listening yesterday to Peter Hitchens telling the world that Britain had become a police state, its citizens infantilised. He was talking about the current lockdown, everyone told to stay at home. And I didn’t agree with him. I … Continue reading →

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Extraterrestrial Ideas

Published on 2020-04-04 11:55:09.
Website: Frank Davis

I got my Orbit3D simulation model working yesterday, and used it to plot the orbit of huge, newly-discovered Comet C/2019 Y4 (Atlas): In a near-parabolic orbit it reaches perihelion on 31 May 2020 as it descends through the solar system. … Continue reading →

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Published on 2020-04-03 11:16:28.
Website: Frank Davis

Breitbart: Study: Smokers Appear Less Likely to Be Hospitalised with COVID-19 There’s a certain incredulity expressed: It makes intuitive sense that smoking ought to exacerbate a respiratory infection such as coronavirus. Indeed, earlier reports in the mainstream media reflected this view when … Continue reading →

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To mute is human, to block is divine

Published on 2020-04-01 13:45:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I hit an important benchmark today when I blocked my thousandth account on Twitter. A volley of deranged abuse after I tweeted an article by Toby Young helped me sprint over the line.

A thousand sounds like a lot, but it's a big world out there and most of us will only ever see a few pockets of it. Of the planet's seven billion people, there are bound to be many millions of bad faith actors, obsessives, bores, pile on merchants, psychopaths and borderline retards, but you don't realise quite how many morons there are until you get on social media.

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Geoff Norcott hates being told what to do (and so do I)

Published on 2020-04-01 09:29:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

In what seems like another era but was actually three weeks ago, Geoff Norcott recorded a comedy special about the nanny state, with me acting as the straight man. It was broadcast last night and features several themes that will be familiar to regular readers of this blog.

You can listen here.

I was there to provide facts and statistics. I wasn't able to provide references (that would have been far too boring), but here are the souyrces for some of the things I mentioned that some people might find surprising:

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'Public health' groups want you to die for their dogma

Published on 2020-03-31 10:28:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

It’s been encouraging to see the private sector using its money, ingenuity and supply chains to help tackle the coronavirus pandemic. Mercedes F1 has been producing breathing aids. Dyson is manufacturing 10,000 ventilators. Diageo and several e-cigarette companies have been turning their skills towards producing hand sanitiser.

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Let's Unleash More Public Sector Resources!

Published on 2020-03-30 21:33:00.
Website: Dick Puddlecote

We are living in extraordinary times, as bad as I can ever remember. I thought that Diana dying in 1997 would be the biggest news story in my lifetime but then it was eclipsed by 9/11. There are some stories that literally take over the entire news agenda so that everything else is rendered irrelevant.

The Corinavirus story, though, has hijacked news outlets in every country around the globe, there is literally no other game in town.

But I have been massively encouraged that so many are turning their talents to assisting the cause. My own transport company has been assisting vulnerable people and our staff are classified as "critical workers". We have been put on notice that our vehicles and staff could be redirected at any time to provide other services. We are well prepared for that and our employees are champing at the bit to do so, many have already volunteered as a result of the government's call for people to help the NHS in their spare time.

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Whatever happened to Public Health England?

Published on 2020-03-29 11:05:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Public Health England has been strangely quiet during the pandemic. Its CEO Duncan Selbie, who earns more than the prime minister, has been nowhere to be seen. The job of tackling coronavirus has been left to the NHS and the Chief Medical Officer while PHE has been reduced to retweeting the Department of Health.

Only a tiny fraction of the £4 billion spent on public health in England goes towards the prevention of infectious disease. Far more is spent hassling people about their lifestyles. I have long called for the WHO and other public health agencies to focus on genuine public health problems rather than lifestyle regulation. Nothing could have fully prepared us for coronavirus but you'd think £4 billion a year would at least get us a decent supply on face masks.

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Corona-vultures in the temperance movement

Published on 2020-03-27 12:51:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The International Order of Good Templars has changed its name to Movendi International, presumably in the hope that adopting a bland, corporate name will make people forget that it is one of the world's oldest gospel temperance groups.

The Anti-Saloon League and the UK Temperance Alliance did the same thing and are now trading as the American Council on Alcohol Problems and the Institute of Alcohol Studies, respectively. What is it about their origins that they are so ashamed of?

Like nearly every other single issue pressure group these days, the folks at 'Movendi' are trying to exploit the coronovirus pandemic for their own ends. They are very concerned about - you guessed it - the alcohol industry.

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The corona-vultures circle

Published on 2020-03-26 12:58:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Dr Farsalinos and colleagues have been updating their working paper on smoking, vaping and coronavirus. The evidence for either activity increasing COVID-19 risk remains virtually nonexistent.

Smoking and hospitalization for COVID-19. Update, 1 more study added to the analysis, results remain the same (and are even stronger). Remarkable consistency in all studies, very low prevalence of current smoking among hospitalized COVID-19 cases in China.https://t.co/rkBJSJC6Er— K. Farsalinos (@FarsalinosK) March 26, 2020  

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Vaping, smoking and coronavirus - the facts

Published on 2020-03-25 10:04:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Never letting a good crisis go to waste, a few prohibitionists have been exploiting people's fear of coronavirus to clamp down on vaping and smoking. The evidence that smoking increases the risk of dying from this disease is very weak - if anything, smokers seem to be have been under-represented in the coronavirus death toll in China (see here, here and here). The evidence against vaping is simply nonexistent; no studies have yet included data on vaping. Nevertheless...

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Avoid like the plague

Published on 2020-03-20 13:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The shelves are emptying around Britain as the nation prepares to self-isolate, but some products won't sell under any circumstances.

Via @oliviapienaar

Stay well and make sure your elderly friends and relatives stay home.

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Inhalieren statt infizieren

Published on 2020-03-16 18:09:39.
Website: Netzwerk Rauchen e.V.

In China stecken sich aktuellen Studien zufolge erstaunlich wenige Raucher mit Corona an. Trotzdem raten hier die üblichen Verdächtigen, wegen des Virus mit dem Rauchen aufzuhören.

Bei manchen Ereignissen ist davon die Rede, dass sie von interessierter Seite instrumentalisiert werden, um die eigene Agenda voranzutreiben. Das gilt für Terroranschläge von welcher Seite auch immer und wird jetzt sogar bei Corona virulent.

Raucher stecken sich mit höherer Wahrscheinlichkeit an diesem Virus an, meint Michael Pfeifer, Präsident der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Pneumologie. Weil sie allgemein eher Viruserkrankungen bekämen, aber: „bei dem aktuellen Coronavirus ist es aber noch nicht nachgewiesen“. Nichts Genaues weiß man nicht, aber Hauptsache, erstmal was gegen das Rauchen rausschreien. Und, so der Lungenarzt, man dürfe ein höheres „Risiko eines schweren Krankheitsverlaufs“ annehmen. Daher könne es helfen, mit dem Rauchen aufzuhören. Der Verbandsfunktionär – seine Organisation hat natürlich auch schon von Geldern einschlägiger Pharmakonzerne profitiert, die die Tabakbekämpfung seit Jahrzehnten sponsern und pushen – ist nicht der einzige übliche Verdächtige, der sich so äußert. So schlägt die Drogenbeauftragte der Bundesregierung, Daniela Ludwig (CSU), in die gleiche Kerbe: „Hören Sie jetzt auf zu rauchen – es ist höchste Zeit!“ Man hat also keinerlei Hemmungen, die Corona-Krise mit den ganzen Erkrankungen, Todesfällen sowie Schäden für das wirtschaftliche und soziale Leben für die eigenen Zwecke auszuschlachten. So kennen wir die Antiraucher.

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Are there any libertarians in a pandemic?

Published on 2020-03-13 09:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The kind of people who say ‘if you like freedom so much, why don’t you move to Somalia?’ think that libertarians have been “owned” by the coronavirus. If you oppose the nanny state but want to contain the epidemic, you are apparently some kind of hypocrite. How can libertarians ever support mandatory quarantine and nationwide lockdowns?

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Scientists at work

Published on 2020-03-12 12:22:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Research in progress
With the Coronavirus now officially a pandemic, it's all hands to the pumps for public health groups who are desperately trying to warn people about... salt.

The Royal Society for Public Health has been talking about little else - for it is salt awareness week. Action on Sugar/Salt did their usual thing of reporting the amount of salt that is 'hiding' in various products and declaring their findings to be 'shocking'.

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Brexiting the nanny state

Published on 2020-03-11 14:09:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The splendid Brian Monteith has set up a new website called Brexit Watch to keep you in the loop about the opportunities and risks of Britain leaving the EU.

I’ve written an article for it, looking at what the government can do in the area of smoking, vaping and tobacco harm reduction. Have a read.

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'Public health' conference puts public health at risk

Published on 2020-03-09 13:19:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

There is a big temperance conference masquerading as a public health conference happening this week. Perhaps it shouldn't be.

The Department of Health, and Minister Simon Harris, have so far failed to respond to questions put to them asking if they had put in place measures, recommended by the World Health Organisation [WHO], to minimise the risk of a COVID-19 outbreak at an international event the Department is co-hosting next week. They have also both failed to respond to questions about how they will minimise the harm to the general population of Ireland should an outbreak occur at that event.

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Anti-smoking loonies

Published on 2020-03-06 10:12:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

The anti-smoking movement jumped the shark years ago. All you can do now is stand and watch, open-mouthed, as this unaccountable, morally bankrupt racket abuses science, reason and common sense.

Here are two examples from this week.

1. Underage smoking is becoming so rare in the USA that the fanatics are having to move the goalposts dramatically to keep the panic going.

98% of smokers start before they’re 26. To prevent them from starting, we're going where many of them are: college campuses. See how our grants are helping reducing smoking — and vaping — at schools across the country. https://t.co/gGH8CxWURU— Truth Initiative (@truthinitiative) March 5, 2020

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Banning menthol cigarettes doesn't work

Published on 2020-03-05 14:15:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I was surprised to learn recently that 17.5 per cent of female smokers in England smoke menthol cigarettes. The rate for both sexes combined is 12.4 per cent, a much higher figure than seen in most countries.

They'd better get ready for May 20th when the EU bans them from sale, unless the British government is going to take back control by then, which seems unlikely.

The EU decided on this piece of 'market harmonisation' despite no member states having banned menthol cigarettes and no member state seriously discussing such a ban. There was never any serious science behind it. They got away with it because menthol smokers are a minority within a minority.

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BBC regurgitates a press release from the temperance lobby again

Published on 2020-03-04 11:21:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Here we go again. The minimum pricing campaign created a template in which temperance groups funded by the Scottish government promote SNP party policy while the Scottish media and the BBC regurgitate their press releases without reply from those who have a different point of view.

With minimum pricing in place, the SNP are pushing for bans on alcohol advertising. This is a pet policy of Alcohol Focus Scotland and SHAAP, both state-funded campaign groups. It is difficult to tell who is pulling whose strings at this point, but the pressure groups are effectively doing the PR for the SNP again.

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Another minimum pricing prophecy fails

Published on 2020-03-03 14:07:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

In yesterday's blog post I mentioned that the number of alcohol-related admissions to Scottish hospitals rose slightly in 2018/19. This was the first year of minimum pricing, with the policy being in force for eleven of the twelve months.

The number of hospital admissions rose from 38,199 to 38,370. The age-standardised rate rose from 668.8 per 100,000 to 668.9 per 100,000.

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Last Orders with Andrew Doyle

Published on 2020-03-03 08:30:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

In the new episode of Last Orders we welcomed back comedian and satirist Andrew Doyle. We discussed whiteness, the BBC, coal fires and Stanton Glantz.

Listen here or here or on whatever device you've subscribed with.

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Minimum pricing travels back in time (again)

Published on 2020-03-02 17:14:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

With minimum pricing introduced in Wales, someone in Scotland has taken another opportunity to make a silk purse from the SNP's pig's ear.

From STV:

The number of alcohol-related emergency hospital admissions has fallen by almost 6500 in the last 11 years, according to analysis.

Figures from the Scottish Parliament’s Information Centre show that such admissions have dropped by 16.2% from 39,857 in 2007/08 to 33,366 in 2018/19.
Great, but so what?

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Minimum pricing begins in Wales

Published on 2020-03-02 13:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

From today, it will be illegal to sell a unit of alcohol for less than 50p in Wales. Without the benefit of a computer model, I predict that there will be significant cross-border sales and that the Welsh government will blame the English when the policy fails to reduce alcohol-related deaths. They will join forces with the SNP in pressuring Westminster into 'following their lead'.

Wales Online has a half-decent article about minimum pricing which gives examples of all the popular drinks that suddenly became more expensive today. This is followed by the health minister Vaughan Gething claiming that:

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Wine glass junk science

Published on 2020-02-28 13:56:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

As regular readers know, Theresa Marteau has got a thing about the size of plates and glasses, and she is lucky enough to work in such Mickey Mouse field of academia ('public health') that people will give her money to feed her obsession. She and her teams have conducted four experiments in the last few years looking at whether the size of wine glasses has an impact on how much wine people consume.

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Trump promises to veto flavours ban

Published on 2020-02-28 12:27:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Banning flavours in vape cartridges was never going to satisfy America's anti-nicotine fanatics and so HR 2339 was drawn up to ban flavours in e-cigarette fluids altogether. That includes mentyhol and it includes all tobacco products too.

As Guy Bentley says, if this law is introduced it would be the most far-reaching prohibition since the Volstead Act 100 years ago.

Fortunately, however, the Donald has stepped up to the plate to put an end to it. Yesterday, he put out a Statement of Administration Policy saying...

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Drehwurm an der Steuerschraube

Published on 2020-02-25 23:00:00.
Website: Netzwerk Rauchen e.V.

Teile der Bundesregierung wollen eine neuerliche Kaskade an Tabaksteuererhöhungen. Die Tabakkonzerne übrigens auch.

Bundesfinanzminister Olaf Scholz (SPD) startete vergangenes Jahr einen Versuchsballon: Wie wäre es mit fünf Tabaksteuererhöhungen nacheinander, die innerhalb von ein paar Jahren vier Milliarden Euro mehr in die Staatskasse spülen? Offenbar reichen ihm die aktuellen Rekord-Steuereinnahmen des Staates nicht, sondern sie wecken die Gier nach mehr.

Da wäre er aber gerade bei der (turmhohen!) Tabaksteuer falsch beraten, denn – wie auch die Mainstreampresse weiß: „Die Erfahrung lehrt, dass Raucher ihre Zigaretten nach hohen Preisaufschlägen öfter entweder legal bei einer Auslandsreise kaufen oder zu illegaler Ware auf dem Schwarzmarkt greifen.“ Das zeigt auch die Entwicklung des Tabaksteueraufkommens der letzten 15 Jahre: Trotz einer ganzen Reihe von Erhöhungen kommt am Ende in etwa das gleiche im Staatssäckel an.

Anders gesagt: Die Tabaksteuer wird erhöht, um die Folgen der bisherigen Erhöhungen zu kompensieren. Ein Teufelskreis! Da sich die Raucher aber nicht offen zur Wehr setzen und man dem amtlichen Dogma der Tabakbekämpfung dadurch huldigen kann, dass man durch höhere Steuer Verbraucher angeblich zum Verzicht zwingt, setzt sich die Spirale fort.

Wir sind dagegen. Siehe unsere Trifelser Erklärung:

Netzwerk Rauchen spricht sich gegen die Tabaksteuer als »Sündensteuer« aus, vielmehr gehören Tabakwaren wie jedes andere Produkt behandelt. Es muss Schluss sein mit der finanziellen Bestrafung von Genießern sowie der eiskalten Verarmungspolitik gerade gegenüber wirtschaftlich Schwächeren.
Solange exzessive Besteuerung und Produktregulierung besteht, versteht Netzwerk Rauchen den alternativen Bezug und Schmuggel von Tabakwaren als Notwehrmaßnahmen.

Seit der Jahrtausendwende ist die Tabaksteuer in Deutschland zehn Mal (!) erhöht worden, zuletzt in fünf Stufen bis 2015. Hinzu kommt, dass auf die Tabaksteuer auch Mehrwertsteuer (Umsatzsteuer) erhoben wird, also eine Doppelbesteuerung stattfindet – bzw. eine Dreifachbesteuerung, wenn man seine Einkäufe vom bereits versteuerten Einkommen zahlt. Zu Ludwig Erhards Zeiten war diese Steuer sogar mal gesenkt worden, daran ist im heutigen Klima von Anti-Tabak und staatlicher Misswirtschaft leider nicht zu denken.

Rund 75 Prozent des Kaufpreises einer Zigarettenpackung sind heute Steueranteil – je nach Preislage sogar bis zu 90 Prozent. Da auch die Einzel- und Großhändler, Hersteller und ihre Mitarbeiter Steuer zahlen müssen, geht Netzwerk Rauchen grob von 80 Prozent aus, die der Staat an dem kassiert, was Tabakraucher blechen müssen.

Siehe hier die Preisentwicklung. Menschen mit geringen Geldmitteln trifft diese unsoziale Steuer am härtesten. Nicht nur für sie kostet der Genuss einer Schachtel Zigaretten pro Tag auf Dauer mehr an Steuern, als ein Nichtraucher Geldstrafe für den Besitz von Kinderpornos zahlen muss. Was sagt das über unsere Gesellschaft aus?

Jedenfalls hat sich der Bundesfinanzminister vorerst nicht durchsetzen können, es gibt offenbar Bedenken in der CDU/CSU gegen eine neuerliche Belastung der Bürger. Keine Bedenken kommen wiederum von den Tabakkonzernen. Im Gegenteil, Sie machen Lobby für diese schrittweisen Erhöhungen. Warum? Der Zigarettenindustrie „liegt daran, dass die Anhebung in Stufen erfolgt, damit sich die Konsumenten daran gewöhnen können. Eine Erhöhung halten die Zigarettenfirmen für unausweichlich. Ein einmaliger drastischer Aufschlag würde den Absatz einbrechen lassen“, heißt es dazu medial. Aus Angst davor, eine künftige Koalition (z.B. Grün-Rot-Rot) könnte mit dem Riesenhammer zuschlagen, möchte man lieber per Salamitaktik „die Konsumenten mit einem langsamen Preisanstieg daran gewöhnen“. Der Kunde ist für die Konzerne eine Melkkuh, soll aber nicht – wie es die Antiraucher möchten – gleich geschlachtet werden, sondern schön bei der Stange bleiben.

Hinzu kommt:  „Die Tabakkonzerne nutzen Steuererhöhungen in den allermeisten Fällen zugleich für eine eigene Preisanhebung. Dem Raucher fallen diese paar Cent kaum auf. Auf den Gewinn wirken sie sich jedoch direkt aus.“ Das können sie bei diversen aufeinanderfolgenden Erhöhungs-Schritten natürlich viel einfacher. Es zeigt sich jedenfalls wieder, dass einschlägige Großunternehmen der Tabakbranche schon lange nicht mehr – wenn sie es denn je ehrlich getan haben – gegen Raucherdiskriminierung einsetzen, sondern lieber mit dem Staat Geschäfte machen als die Belange ihrer Kunden zu achten.

Manche Preiserhöhungen sind allerdings dem Mehraufwand durch obrigkeitliche Regulierung geschuldet, und wirken sich auf den Endverbraucher wie Zusatzsteuern aus.

·         So hat die TPD2 der EU (Ekelbilderzwang, Aromaverbote,

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Philip Morris are right and the EU is wrong

Published on 2020-02-25 15:46:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

Philip Morris has been getting grief from the pompously named 'Bureau of Investigative Journalism' and Channel 4's Dispatches. I haven't watched the Dispatches episode yet, but judging from the press coverage it's very thin gruel.

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Small Men on the Wrong Side of History: a review

Published on 2020-02-25 13:24:00.
Website: Velvet Glove, Iron Fist

I have written a review of Ed West's excellent book Small Men on the Wrong Side of History for The Critic.

This is a serious book masquerading as a lighthearted polemic. On one level, it is a self-deprecating and often hilarious memoir of a born conservative watching the world go wrong. Sprinkled with gallows humour, like a political version of Nick Hornby’s Fever Pitch or a humorous version of John O’Farrell’s Things Can Only Get Better, it is also crammed with history, political philosophy and social science. At its heart is the story of a life lived through gritted teeth as left-liberalism became the default setting of universities, schools, churches, the BBC, Big Tech, quangos, the third sector, theatre, comedy, medicine and most blue chip companies.

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