I asked my Doctor what was the difference between the flu and a viral cold, or just a bad cold, or maybe just flu-like symptoms. The occasion, of course, was when I presented at his surgery on Tuesday with a death wish.
I don't know about you, but I ‘resent’ being sick. I take it personally and feel hard-done by if I am not feeling physically normal. The Doc did not differentiate or name which ailment was responsible apart from establishing that my temperature was "fierce high." There is no doubt in my mind though - it's full blown Man Flu! Since last Saturday then, I have not been as vigilant as usual when it comes to keeping tabs on the vested interests ranged against we smokers.
I was invited to appear on last Monday night's Frontline and had to turn down the offer due to an essential appointment I had here in Cork first thing on Tuesday morning. That essential appointment gave way to essential steroids and antibiotics with an absolutely essential date with the bed. I have only crawled out in the last few hours, and still feel most peculiar.
I took the precaution last Sunday, though, of asking a supporter of ours to scan the media for stories that are either about us or of interest to us smokers. It appears that I have missed a whole week of news, so I will condense it into the following:
On Monday, we learned from the Examiner that, "Seizures of illegal tobacco fall by 56%," leading them to surmise that the numbers smoking are on the wane. The real story might be the very opposite, though. It may just be that the smugglers and gangsters are getting more devious in their methods. There is certainly no shortage of the cheap variety on the streets, where we know that the legal products are hidden by law and the illegal ones are visible to all. And indeed, the Government is playing their part by increasing tobacco prices and sending business straight to the bad-lads in the smuggling trade.
On Monday also my attention was drawn to an article in The Scotsman which stated that "The bald truth is that smoking rates have been coming down gradually for years – but all the efforts of the tobacco haters of this world have made no perceptible impact. They might well have not bothered." The author, Brian Monteith, points to what I have been saying on this site for two years now - the Tobacco Control Industry is a leech on society. Remember when reading his article that the bans in Ireland, England, Scotland & Wales are the most restrictive in the World.
On Tuesday the Independent reported the comments of our fit looking Health Minister as follows: "Minister James Reilly said there is a real job of work to be done in educating people in lower income groups about the risks of smoking." He might also have added that there is a real job of work to be done by him, in explaining to those same people why their children are not wanted in the better schools or jobs and are discriminated against and marginlised in almost every situation they find themselves in.
But the portly Stubbs was on a bit of a roll. "Commenting on fears expressed by the ICS chairman, Dr John Kennedy, that some poorer people could suffer delayed diagnosis because they could not afford to go to the GP, the minister said he did not believe proposals to take 40,000 medical cards from people this year would exacerbate this." Is that right Minister? Well then, given that your Department has such budget overspend problems, why do not just cancel all medical cards at a stroke? Using his logic, it should not make a difference at all. The poor would simply find wads of cash lying around on the streets, I suppose, and rush directly to their GP with it. The man is so out of touch with reality that it is laughable when he pronounces on the lower social orders.