Tell me about Treadstone…

Pregnant women in South Yorkshire are to be paid to stop smoking. The 12-month scheme is being piloted in Rotherham and will reward pregnant women with £20 in shopping vouchers if they can kick their cigarette habit. The women must stop for three weeks and will be rewarded with an extra £20 if they can give up for a month. Ker-ching. Fuck me. What next? Seriously. Come on. What about an initiative where shoplifters are paid not to steal? How about we give alcoholics hard cash not to get absolutely and completely bladdered before noon? What sort of society are we living in? Why this public guilt over the life choices of some feckless fucker who can’t even put the interests of their own unborn child before their need to spark up a fag? But it’s for the child! I know it is. But is that the point? Is this a solution to shit parenting? What sort of precedent is this? It makes me feel uncomfortable. As uncomfortable as if I were to wear a white suit and sit in my own shit and piss on a National Coaches trip to London, via Aberdeen, listening to Black Lace on a loop at 120db while being repeatedly poked in the eye by Timmy Mallet who is sat next to me for the entire fucking endless bastard journey making me listen to every shite twatting joke he’s ever told, only to get within the sight of Buckingham Palace to think to myself, ‘Hmmm, did I lock the front door?’ It doesn’t feel right. What sort of green light are we giving with initiatives (a contradiction in terms if ever there was one) like this? Where is this leading to? And where, by the way, is the woman who doesn’t smoke’s twenty quid? Of course, she doesn’t need our help, does she? She can soldier on. The smug, clean-living fucker. It’s yellow-fingered, 60-a-day Janice that we need to take care of. Janice with her teeth like cribbage pegs made from rotten cheese. So what does the coughing, emphysema-bound, cancer-harbouring, smelly, spineless, flem-hawking individual involved actually gain from the exercise? Other than, obviously, a £20 voucher to blow on microwave ready meals and gallons of ice cream. Will they learn anything? Yeah, they will: that someone else will always be there to pick up your shit for you. To wipe your wobbly, scabby, flatulent, tobacco-reeking arse when you’re too idle to do it for yourself. Have a child because at the end of the day you’ll not be responsible for it. Crack on. And you’ll get paid! Bargain! And even be ENTITLED to a FREE HOUSE! Bingo! Will it make anyone stop and think about the consequences of their own actions? Well, when I was carrying you I thought about stopping smoking, Jay-lo, you know so you didn’t end up with deformities from any one of the four thousand poisons in cig smoke or brain damage from taking on board degraded oxygen, but I’ve got to have my little pleasures, haven’t I? That’s not too much to ask, is it? It wasn’t until I got a twenty quid voucher for Netto that I finally summoned up even the anorexic vestige of will power to knock it on the head for a week or two. Mmm-mmmm, I had a right crisp and Special Brew binge that week! Will it challenge anyone’s responsibilities to others? Others including their own children. Will it cause anyone to query the effects of nicotine and the smoking-related poisons on a foetus? Or like Pavlov’s dog is this another bell whose come and get it chime will have them slavering for more? Will we reach a point where we have some pasty-faced cider whore holding a huge knife to her offspring’s throat screaming: ‘Get me some Frosty Jack and a packet of twenty right now or I’ll cut his fucking head off and wear it like a glove! I swear down!’ OK, love, I’m sorry you’re running dry, I’ll run down to the Rhythm & Booze and get you four litres in. Do you want a bag of Haribo while I’m going? How about some Lemon and Scampi Nik-naks? I can grab you a kebab on my way back if you’d like. Doner all right? Chilli sauce? And then what? We’re fucked. What happened to people doing something because it was the right thing to do? Because you had a responsibility to do it. What happened, for crying out loud, to conscience? Ah, but, I forgot, personal choice. The freedom to fail. We must coddle the unthinking individual and let them have their own selfish, festering way. We must cherish their cheap proclivities to keep them on side. To control them. This is a scaled down version of American foreign policy in the 1970s and 80s. Pregnant mothers are the Contra rebels of the Pot Noodle generation. Jamie Oliver is the ranting, thick tongued Manuel Noriega of home cuisine, secretly backed by the insidious support and black budget of the Government Foods Standard Agency. The recipe for a Top Secret variant on Welsh Rarebit made with genetically modified Soya exchanged at the Woolley Edge service station. Fifteen minutes, Gas Mark 3, just let it simmer. Thankless teenagers on Incapacity Benefit because of acne (recruited by the government to fiddle the unemployment figures) are the DWP backed Mujahideen of 21st Century British society. We are nurturing our own nemesis. We are the architects of our own downfall. We are watering the Triffids. And you ain’t seen nothin’ yet.


One comment

  1. GSmudger · June 3, 2009

    Hard day at the office? I hope you didn’t melt your keyboard. Have you considered a career change? I rarely see so called real people these days and it’s marvellous. I’m actually considering installing myself in a gated community, working from home and only watching the Disney Channel. If you can’t change the awfulness of reality, make your own I say. Back to work; another lorry full of paperclips just arrived.


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