Wonderful what you can demonstrate with a few statistics, and how many people are eager to be fooled by them, isn't it?
The smoking ban has been declared a success. Health chiefs say that in its first full year in England, over a thousand lives were saved. That's pretty clever of them, considering that there has never been anywhere in the world a properly authenticated case of someone dying from passive smoking – the whole thing is based on a vague “well, breathing other people's smoke, it has to be bad for you doesn't it?” kind of basis. There is only one proper scientific way to test the hypothesis: that's to have one test group of people who don't smoke, and don't hang about in public places where others are smoking; and one control group who do smoke and do go into public places where others are smoking. Then you see how many of each group die.
Trouble is, how do you find public places where others are smoking? You can't – it's banned. So let's just fall back on good old “it's obvious”.
Or perhaps they're suggesting that it's the smokers themselves who aren't dying in such numbers? In that case, it's a bit early to be drawing conclusions, isn't it? Some people have to stop smoking in the pub and a year later 1,000 of them haven't died – what kind of scientific reasoning is that? All kinds of things have happened in the last year apart from the smoking ban – David Beckham isn't playing for England, there's been a massive recession, we now no longer have a Labour government, BP have spilled a load of oil into the Gulf of Mexico; why not claim that the drop in the death rate is down to one of those?
Still, so cock-a-hoop are the left-wing knowalls who think they have the right to dictate to the rest of us how we should live our lives, that already they're wondering how next the law of the land could be used to force us to behave in the way they think we ought. There was a discussion about this on Radio 4 the other day. Some thoughtless tosser said that he would like parliament to pass legislation that would make it illegal for anyone to smoke in the presence of anyone younger than themselves (which discriminates against old blokes like the GOS). And that being the first in any group to light up would also call down the full weight of the law.
We have an alternative solution, tosser. We think it should be made illegal for you to open your fat mouth in the presence of anyone older than you. Or younger. Or the same age.
Then there was the lady from Brake. Have you noticed how there's ALWAYs a lady from Brake? And have you noticed what short-sighted, irrelevant bollocks they talk? This one wanted a blanket 20mph speed limit in all built up areas. She said it would save the lives of children, the elderly and cyclists (er ... why would we want to save the lives of cyclists, exactly?).
Perhaps she's right, and a few children's lives might be spared. But we'd like to suggest a few alternative strategies that would work far better ...
Let's make it a criminal offence, punishable by a £1,000 fine or six months in prison, to let your child out of the house. That really WOULD save some kids' lives, and if it saves just one child's life, isn't it worth it?
Let's ban cycling. Then all these poor cyclists who are being mown down indiscriminately by us vicious hoodlum motorists would have the full protection of the law. They'd also have the protection of the four walls of their houses because of course if they can't cycle they just wouldn't ever leave home, as they have no lives at all. It would be a bit of a sacrifice for them, but if it saves just one cyclist's life ....
Alternatively, if we lack the political will to do the sensible thing and ban cyclists, let's make cyclists subject to the law in the same way motorists are. When a motorist drives down the street and comes to a parked car by the kerb, he has to check his mirror, signal that he's going to pull out, pause if the way is not clear, and then go past the parked vehicle and back onto his own side of the road. Cyclists, however, think they own a strip of road about 3 feet wide, and that they can do what they like in this strip without reference to other road users. Unfortunately, the strip swings out to pass any parked cars, so cyclists don't have to look behind them or signal their intentions – they just pull blithely out. But it's OK – if they pull out in front of a car and get knocked off, it's the car driver's fault.
Let's have a law banning the wearing of black. Whether you're on the road, on the pavement, walking in the country, swimming in the sea, whatever you're doing, you want to be seen. So, no black clothes, OK? There'll have to be some exemptions, of course; Roman Catholic priests, nuns, funeral directors, SAS men, Muslim women and others whose livelihoods depend on being inconspicuous, but it should put a stop to Ozzy Osbourne's career as a fashion icon and lifestyle guru.
Come to think of it, why (that's “why oh why oh why” if you're a Daily Mail reader) do we still allow people to swim in the sea? Or even go near it? Everyone knows it's dangerous. Ban it. The sea's for fishes. And crude oil.
And sailing. And climbing. And paragliding. And motorsport. And football. And rugby, especially rugby. Remember, it's all for your own good, and it reduces the chances of you drowning or falling or crashing or breaking your neck or inconveniencing the emergency services in any way, or having any fun at all. Knitting's out, too – those needles could do a lot of damage in the wrong hands. In fact, we can't think why the police aren't arresting little old ladies on buses for carrying offensive weapons.
And why stop there? People are just blithely crossing the road on the way to the bookies', so let's ban bookies. People trip up on uneven or icy paving stones and have to go to casualty and cost the NHS a lot of money, so let's rip up all the paving stones, or simply impose a nationwide curfew every time the temperature drops below two degrees. We could have police marksmen or local authority rodent control operatives patrolling the streets, shooting anyone they find out of doors, like they do if you leave your dustbin lid open.
People choke on peanuts; why not ban peanuts? Almost every foodstuff known to man is bad for us; why not pass a law compelling every supermarket to sell nothing but lettuce? Obesity outlawed at a stroke: that has to be a good thing, doesn't it? If it saves the life of one lard-arse ...
But let's just go back to the poor motorist for a moment. Have you noticed how the “road safety professionals” (that's anyone who has a nice cushy job with a public service pension, either with the local council or the local speed camera partnership) always refer to speeding drivers as “idiots”? In fact, many members of the general public - especially cyclists and Daily Mail readers – habitually refer to motorists in these terms. “Don't these idiots realise they're at the controls of a lethal weapon?” and blah blah blah ...
We'd just like to draw the attention of anyone who has ever been tempted to speak of motorists in this way to consider the following fact. Roughly 3,000 people are killed on British roads every year. Actually it's a little less than that, and falling.
Wow, I hear you say, that's dreadful! Let's execute anyone who drives a car faster than 20mph! Let's imprison everyone who has an accident! Let's hunt down and exterminate all white van drivers, and eat their children! These are 3,000 innocent people who leave behind grieving mothers, wives and children. They cost the NHS squillions of pounds. It costs over £1million to clear up after every fatal accident. We must work to reduce this terrible figure. Even if we only save the life of one child ....
Firstly, I'd like to know who this one child is that keeps getting its life saved. It's either enormously lucky, or a stupid little toe-rag. Probably the latter – it does keep getting into these scrapes that it has to be rescued from. If someone can let me know the little bastard's name and address, I'll undertake to go round and put it permanently out of our misery.
And secondly, that figure of 3,000 deaths isn't dreadful at all.
It's bloody marvellous!
Think about it. How many million car journeys do we make each day? There are 33 million cars on Britain's roads. Say each of us drives our car once a day, five days a week; it's probably more, but how would we know? That's eight thousand, five hundred and eighty thousand million car journeys each year. Which means that one person is killed for every two million, eight hundred and sixty thousand car journeys.
Just think what that says for the skill, restraint and self-discipline of those 33 million drivers, that they can deftly weave their way round our overcrowded road system, keeping their temper, maintaining their vigilance, avoiding cyclists and children, more-or-less obeying even the daftest speed limits, concentrating on the road ahead, anticipating problems, and generally staying so safe that we have this almost unbelievably low death rate on our roads.
These people aren't idiots, they're bloody saints.
Oh, by the way, Mrs.Brake, if you could let me have your address, I'd like to come round and tattoo “arsehole” on your bottom. Because you're an idiot. Yes, I know we've never met and I have no way of knowing how intelligent you are, but ... well, you disagree with me, so you MUST be an idiot. Stands to reason. That's science, that is.
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