Wednesday, October 26, 2011


I am not a morning person and I am particularly not an early morning person so the prospect of getting up at 5.30am for a 7.30am radio interview did not get my day off to a great start.

The reason for this very early rise was because I thought I would be debating the Smokerphobic idea of a (ahem) "Doctor" to name and shame dead smokers by publishing their names daily in tabloid newspapers and a bit of research is always best to have at hand. I was promised that some one from the local smoke free quango would be in the opposite - "and possibly someone from ASH." Ooh, I thought, that would be great if it was to be Debs. I always fancied pinning her down to debate which is usually that someone who defends their right to smoke must be in the pay of the tobacco industry.

However, after the interview with Rod Whiting, the BBC Radio Lincolnshire Presenter, the voice on the other end said : "Thanks Pat. That was great."

"Oh, isn't there a debate?" I asked him but the researcher told me that it was just me. How odd, I thought, but pleased that finally, perhaps, the usual agenda driven drivel was being replaced by someone who actually did want to hear what life has been like for smokers since the spiteful ban introduced and legalised discrimination and marginalisation of a minority group.

Instead, once I was kicked off air, the presenter threw it over to the listener to ring or text in their views as to whether they agreed with me and what more could be done to stop people like me smoking.

I only heard one response because I couldn't be bothered to listen to the whole programme. A former smoker rang in to say how in 1999 she had a heart problem that scared her and after being diagnosed with angina, she quit, relatively easily (proving my point about "addiction", incidentally. Those who really do want to stop and are not forced, bullied or shoved into quitting, have no problems in doing so.)

It kind of felt that I was put up as the "bad" smoker and she was put up as the "good" smoker.

Sadly, the early morning call meant that when you listen to the broadcast you will hear my mind whirring and my words stutter as I try to find the right ones. Really, for me, the debate was the wrong one. We should have been debating why this alleged public health "Doctor" Paul Jepson is ignoring the Hippocatic Oath's clause on confidentiality, art as well as science and compassion, in his quest to further denormalise and stigmatise smokers and whether he should be struck off or brought to task by those that regulate his work.

Someone over at Taking LIberties has suggested Jepson far from being a medic is actually a vet. I'd really like to know if anyone has confirmed this.

The lady who rang in did agree with me on one point though. The warnings are not for smokers. We ignore them.

If you want to listen to the whole interview, it will be available HERE for the next seven days. It begins at 1:37:21.

I'm beginning to wonder if I should have stayed in bed.