by Peter Thurgood
I recently read an article by William Zukerman which was written in Nazi Germany in 1936. The parallels between that article and the way the Jews were being treated at that time, is almost identical to the way in which the British public are being encouraged by our Government, to treat smokers today.
The article, which is entitled, "Where the German Ghetto leads" begins with introducing us to the Ghetto, which was established in Germany with much pomp on September 14 1936, with the promulgation of the Nürnberg laws and then went on to become an important fact in German life, one which both Jews and non-Jews had to learn to take into account in dealing with the German/Jewish situation.
Soon after the promulgation of the Nürnberg laws many well-informed observers of foreign affairs in Germany, including some of the best foreign correspondents, believed that the new laws, cruel and bitter as they were, would end the chapter of anti-Jewish persecution in Germany and would somehow effect an improvement in the position of Jews. Several facts were adduced to support this belief. The first was that a considerable part of German society was thoroughly nauseated by the eternal din of "Jew, Jew, Jew," which has not ceased in Germany since the Nazis came to power, and felt a very intelligible desire to have a rest from the: accursed question, which occupies more space in the Nazi press and in Nazi public pronouncements than almost any other problem facing the German people. It was thought that the Nürnberg laws would bring this respite, both to Germans and to Jews. Jewish life, it was recognised, would be tragically restricted within the confines of a virtual Ghetto, but the Jew would at least be free from anxiety and would have some assurance for his future. The lines of demarcation being rigidly drawn, the Jews would be left at peace within them.
Try taking out the word Jew, and substituting it with smoker, and we have an almost parallel situation today, at the hands of our Government. The Ghettos they are forcing the smoker into are the streets and the so called Smoker's Shelters, both of which offer absolutely no shelter whatsoever to this new persecuted section of our society. Restriction of movement, just as the Nazis restricted the Jews movements, is now being enforced upon smokers.
There is a vast number of people in this country who do not smoke, but they are not all anti smokers, just as there were a vast number of non Jews in Germany, who were not all anti Jewish. Like them, so many people in this country are fed up with the constant propaganda and eternal din, Smoker, Smoker, Smoker. So when the smoking shelters were introduced, and smokers were also told that they could stand outside to smoke, the general public accepted this, as the German public did in the 1930s, with the same relish, that maybe, the smokers might now be left in peace.
But being left in peace was far from our Government's intentions when dealing with the Smoking Problem. They were determined to intensify their campaign of hatred and propaganda aimed at the smoker, backed up with completely unfounded scare stories and sets of figures. Within the last week or so, we have even been lambasted with a TV advert claiming that "every year tobacco kills 19000 Europeans - who don't smoke."
These figures of course, are a complete fabrication, plucked out of the air. Time and time again, many different groups have asked the anti smoking campaigners, as well as the Government and their advisors, to show us any proof whatsoever to substantiate these figures, but, everyone is still waiting. No figures have ever been substantiated, and there is not one single instance of a death certificate being issued which stated the cause of death due to inhaling second hand tobacco smoke.
The similarities between the two regimes are shown clearly when we look at Nazi Germany, where it was hoped that the new legislation would do away with the legal anarchy prevailing in Germany with regard to the Jewish question, which made it possible for every petty Nazi official in the provinces to proclaim his own laws and issue his own decrees affecting the lives and fortunes of many Jews. Under this state of legal anarchy hundreds of cities, towns, and villages in Germany had prohibited Jews from entering their precincts and proudly announced the fact by means of illuminated signboards; hundreds of other cities had banned Jews from their public libraries, archives, museums, theatres, cinemas, and other public places; many famous cities forbid Jews to use their public baths, swimming pools, rivers and medicinal springs. A number of towns in Germany even now prohibit the sale of food to Jews, of mill: to Jewish children, and of medicines to Jewish sick. This state anarchy was also responsible for the terrible Jew-baiting campaign conducted by Julius Streicher, with its blood libels, its revolting particulars of "race pollution," its high-pressure blackmail methods in the boycott of the Jews, its hysteria and near-lynching of Jewish youths seen associating with German girls.
Now compare this with the smokers today being banned from all the same facilities in their towns and cities that the Jews were being banned from in theirs. Compare also, the Smoker Baiting which now takes place on our city streets, how smokers are accused of everything, from murdering children to polluting the atmosphere. We also hear of smokers being attacked in the streets, even some incidents of smokers actually being attacked and killed because of their habit.
Dr. Goebbels, and Julius Streicher himself proclaimed the end of individual anti-Jewish acts. Some the official Nazi newspapers gave expression to a feeling of relief in words which seemed to say: Now we shall be a to forget the Jews for a while, and we shall have a little peace.
Such hopes were doomed to disappointment. Within a brief fortnight from the proclamation of the Nürnberg decrees it became clear to all who cared to see that this legislation was not the end of a chapter but the beginning of a new period of persecution. The new anti-Jewish laws legalised the state of pogrom created by the Streicher drive, and this was done, not in order to call a halt to Jew-baiting but to make possible further advances.
If this sounds very familiar again, it is because it is supposed to. In fact it is more than familiar, it is almost identical with the way smokers are being treated today.
No sooner were the new laws proclaimed than a period of interpreting and implementing them began which promises be even more tragic than earlier stages. The anti-Jewish boycott is being waged with as much virulence as before the municipalities have been declared to be within their rights as autonomous governments in enacting their fanatical laws against the Jews; the orgy of Jew-baiting has not abated in the least. Moreover, the anarchic situation has not been resolved. There was as much agonising uncertainty about the meaning of the Nürnberg laws as there was about the status of the Jew before these laws existed. The hunt of the Jew had not been called off; the beast has only been declared fair game for all, and the hunt has been made a legal national sport. The effect of the legislation upon the average law-abiding German burgher, too, has been only to put his legal conscience at rest. It is no longer verboten to bait the Jew, to persecute and humiliate him; so, therefore, it cannot be wrong. On with the hunt!
Pick up a newspaper, watch TV ads, watch films, especially American made ones, and you cannot fail to see, hear and read, more and more ant smoker propaganda. American films in general, now seem to portray the smoker as a villain, the hero now, is the non smoker, even though he still drives his high powered car, which belches out more toxins per mile than half the cigarettes in the world would do in a month. Log onto one of the many forums in this country where smoking is supposed to be discussed. Not only will the anti smoker not discuss anything rationally with the smoker, he/she, now hurls insults at the smoker as well. The smoker stinks, the smoker's hair and clothes stink, their breath stinks, their fingers are yellow, their homes are dirty, the air around them is polluted and contaminated. I have even personally witnessed calls for all smokers to be attacked and thrown into the streets, with the hope that they either contract cancer or get run over. This then, is the new Britain, the all caring Britain, in Tony Blair's words, "The People's Britain".
Those who looked for security. legality, and certainty in the Nürnberg laws, misjudged the temper of the Nazi regime and misread the clear lessons of history, just as we are doing now, one of the most striking of which is to be found in the remarkable resemblance between the present position of the smokers in present day Britain, to the Jews in Germany and their position in Czarist Russia in the last decades of the nineteenth century. There is a fascinating analogy between the Nürnberg decrees and the infamous anti-Jewish laws of Alexander III proclaimed in 1882, and the anti smoking laws in Great Britain. The resemblance is so close, both in spirit and detail, that one cannot escape the conviction that our present Government under Gordon Brown's incompetent leadership, is consciously imitating the Nazi regime of the 1930s, which in turn imitated the legislation of fifty years prior to that, which made the regime of Alexander III notorious for its barbarism.
As the first result of the present anti-Smoker laws in Great Britain, Britain's smokers are being thrown into closer association with other suppressed groups, now working underground for the overthrow of the Labour State in Great Britain. The average smoker in Great Britain are mostly middle-class people with a typical every day psychology, which was, until the smoking ban law came into being, very much like that of our New Labour overlords themselves before they were brutalised by power. Now, however, our nanny state Government are forcing these people to organise themselves into resistance groups against what they see as a very unjust law.
Mr and Mrs average in Great Britain do not want a revolution, it has never been a part of the British way of life, but this Government and this law in particular is changing our ways of life. It is forcing us apart, it is setting Briton onto Briton, and unless a drastic change to this law is made very soon, I predict that a revolution is what we will see.
For if anything emerges clearly from the chaos in Great Britain under New Labour, it is that the outburst of anti-smokerism which seems to have swept the whole people is, in fact, confined to the British middle classes. Like Nazism, the orgy of smoker hatred is probably the last stand of an impotent and ineffectual government doomed to extinction, even as Communism was, a government which sees its end approaching and clutches madly at the last chance of power.
All competent observers of Great Britain are in agreement that neither the British aristocracy nor our labour force, is swayed by that anti-smoker mass-hysteria which animates the small British office worker and petty official. It is the British Government, not the British people, that has failed the smokers of this country. In strong working class quarters in Great Britain smokers not only find no hatred but often even sympathy and help. If it were not for this silent but powerful moral support from the mass of the British working people, the smokers in Great Britain could not have withstood this long the fierce fury of the New Labour and EU drives.