2017-11-14 Tue

Clear Thinking

Does Queen Elizabeth smoke cigarettes? If so, it is not in public. I rather think that she may have done as a young adult, but there again perhaps I am thinking of The Princess Margaret. I am sure that of you asked most people nowadays “Does Queen Elizabeth smoke cigarettes?” they would be puzzled. Very few people would come straight out with an answer they’d bet ten dollars on.

It struck me in conversation yesterday that Queen Elizabeth, the world’s longest reining monarch since ... owes her long reign in part to consumption of cigarettes.

Another way of stating my conclusion is that Big Tobacco is responsible for her long reign.

My parents maintained that King George the Sixth died as a result of the stress of war, but I have read that he died of lung cancer too, and I have read reports that he smoked.

It is arguable that King George’s truncated reign was partially caused by smoking cigarettes, directly and, we can be sure, second-hand smoke from those who surrounded him. By that argument Elizabeth Windsor ascended to her throne prematurely, her father’s reign being cut short somewhat earlier than it might have been.

So Long Live The Queen! and down with cigarettes.

Clear Thinking

In another conversation yesterday the prospect of calamity came up – a event cataclysmic in its effect, and how would We Canadians cope with, let alone bring in, rationing such as was experienced by the bulk of the population of Great Britain during, and for up to ten years after World War Two?

To my mind Canadians would accept rationing with barely a murmur. Canadians are a polite lot, and accept that it is their lot in life to have toes trodden on by someone who is ahead of them in the queue.

A cataclysmic event that cut off, say, food-stuffs or power would be greeted by an initial round of supermarket raids, followed by letters to the editors demanding that a Commission of Inquiry be set up and millions of dollars allocated for that purpose. Then the nation would settle down to wait five years for recommendations After that the Parliamentary Studies followed by the Drafting of Regulations, Citizen Meetings, Enactment, a few test cases, and then the long slog up the slopes of Mount Supreme Court, Election Promises, Elections, Broken Election Promises, by which time we would all have learned to bake AND SLICE our own loaves of bread.

However, if we had an event cataclysmic in its effect, we wouldn’t need rationing, because rationing, in the sense of paper booklets and thin cardboard ration tickets, is effective only when you have something to ration. When no coffee is coming into the country (and take my word for it, no commercial coffee crops are raised in Canada), then there is no coffee to be rationed. Ditto chocolate, cane sugar, and so on.

Nonetheless it caused me to re-examine my preparedness for minor inconveniences such as losing our supply of fresh tap water (happens once a year each November here on Grenville Street as Toronto City Council does its annual dig-up of the water mains), our electrical power (happens rarely in Toronto, but often enough to warrant a small stack of candles and a Sterno Stove), and a small stash of ready-to-eat food, such as cans of animal protein (Tuna when it is on special).