Get involved! Send photos, video, news & views. Text SWINDON NEWS to 80360 or email us
Funding your habit
TOMORROW is No Smoking Day and a main theme this year is the sheer cost of lighting up.
A common or garden pack-a-day habit apparently comes out at about £210 a month, but if my memories of many years as a smoker are anything to go by, that figure will turn out to be an underestimate.
It doesn’t factor in the extra smoking that tends to happen during a night out, for example. Nor does it take account of people who try to give up by buying those brands with so little tar, nicotine, cyanide, formaldehyde and other goodies that you might as well be smoking thin air and end up getting through twice as many.
Smokers must also take into account the friends who claim “not to smoke, really” but who actually mean: “I don’t pay for them, really, so I’ll just scrounge all of yours instead.”
Then there’s the extra smoking outside the workplace since the ban came into force. This is sometimes done to stockpile enough nicotine in the bloodstream to put off the next trip to a freezing cold shelter for as long as possible.
On other occasions, smoking up a storm outside the workplace is simply a really satisfying way to annoy smug ex-smokers and non-smokers who wave their hands and cough ostentatiously as they walk by. You know the ones I mean; they often have lunchboxes containing something trendy and tofu-ey invented by an eco-hippy with a trust fund, and probably manufactured on the cheap by little kids at the point of a cattle prod in a factory somewhere far away.
Obviously, I hope No Smoking Day succeeds because tobacco, as some wise person once pointed out, is the only consumer item that’ll kill you if you use it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Still, I can’t help wondering what the politicians will do to make up the lost tax revenue.
After all, when it comes to tax revenue, politicians are as addicted as an 80-a-day person scratting about in their ashtray for a smokable dog-end at three in the morning because the corner shop doesn’t open ‘til six.
If you don’t believe me, just look at road tax. When it shot up, we were told it would encourage us to buy fuel-efficient cars. Now, with many of us having switched to cars that’ll do 50 or more miles per gallon and road tax revenue dropping, we’re going to be charged fees to drive on a motorway network we’ve already bought and paid for many times over.
Oh well, I suppose subsidised vintage claret, first class train travel and everything else our masters claim on expenses doesn’t come cheap.
With fag and baccy revenues dropping, the politicians will probably find a way to come after people who are trying to give up.
Perhaps they’ll levy a charge of a fiver on anybody caught with a blue mouth from sucking a biro, and a tenner on anybody getting through more than eight bags of boiled sweets in a day or being impossible to live with for about a month.
Sweetening their porridge
BEFORE sentencing Chris Huhne and his ex-wife Vicky Pryce, the judge warned this pair of sleazy, dishonest little articles that they should have no illusions as to what would happen.
I’m sure they were completely devoid of any such illusions.
As fully paid-up members of the political and social elite, they no doubt expected a few months in a cushy open nick before being freed to resume their comfortable lifestyles.
And that’s precisely what they got.
- THE consultation into the future of street markets is ongoing, and the opinions of the public are sought. My own view? I think a really good idea for a street market would be to ensure it doesn’t end up being cancelled because various different officials don’t know what each other are doing.