Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Bhutan Starts to Revolt Against Tobacco Control

By Blad Tolstoy

Ah yes, Bhutan, that landlocked little "paradise" located at the Eastern end of the Himalayas, where the concept of "Gross National Happiness" was conceived by its former king - Jigme Singye Wangchuck - in an attempt to define an indicator that measures quality of life or social progress in more holistic and psychological terms than gross domestic product (GDP). 

What a perfect little Shangri-la and what an inspiration for Shri Davidad Prat-head Cameroon - our glorious prime minister - who has introduced to us materialist British the same concept so that we too may enjoy spiritual blissfulness (pardon me while I throw up transcendentally).


Well, as many of you may remember, in about 2005, Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck - the current king of Bhutan - seduced by the goddess Tobacco Control, introduced a draconian smoking ban whilst continuing to smoke himself.  If I recall correctly he had his fags specially flown in, making a great sacrifice for himself, so that others could avoid smoking whilst benefiting from his wafting backdraft. (What a saint!)

Quite rapidly, Chinese contraband made its presence felt in Bhutan, where wayward teenagers found the allure of the old green-brown weed attractive. This state of affairs continued for a while until fairly recently, when his majesty's very happy government decided to tighten enforcement up.

A casualty of this clamp down is Sonam Tshering, a twenty-three year old monk, who now faces 3 - 5 years imprisonment for smuggling a rather teensy amount of tobacco. This link will take you to Tshering Tobay's blog:


and here you can read the comments that follow which will demonstrate that some of the Bhutanese are not happy about this turn of events.  You will also discover that the police and politicians in Bhutan continue to smoke. Moreover, the 3 - 5 year sentence is as much or more than a Bhutanese will receive for rape (see Guardian's post about halfway down the comments).  Geez, Bhutan sounds like heaven, and now we know why Andy Lansley wants to introduce even more draconian anti-tobacco measures here.  Yes, that's it, taking a leaf from the Bhutanese book, he's contributing to the Gross National Happiness!

Note too the parallel between the Holy Cameroon and King Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck. Some of you may recall that in a recent television interview, Holy Cow Cameroon said that he didn't think legislation could be enacted against people for smoking around children or in their cars.  That's a strange reservation, given the religious zeal of Lansley, but its probably the case that Dave is still doing these things himself so he's just covering his own arse.  

Yes, tobacco control is such a hypocritical beast (note Vivienne Nathanson's boozing habit covered so well by Shri Nam Puddlecote at: http://dickpuddlecote.blogspot.com/   "Do As We Say Not As We Do").  But one day, not that far off now, those lying guardians of pubic public health are going to get their comeuppance, and then, I'll be very happy!


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