One Size Fits All

H/T Chris Snowdon for the leaked EU Tobacco Product Directive, whose proposals include:

Total ban on all forms of smokeless tobacco across the EU (except Sweden)

Total ban on e-cigarettes

Ban on menthol and other flavourings

Standardised cigarette width, length and colour

Ban on shopkeepers displaying more than one variety of each brand

Graphic warnings on packs covering 75 per cent of the surface

It’s clear what the aim is: it’s to take complete control of the production and sale of cigarettes. Firstly all alternatives (except presumably pharma-produced nicotine patches and gums) are to be banned, and cigarettes themselves are going to all be made the same, with only a very few brands displayed, and covered with obscene pictures.

Once there’s complete control of cigarette design, the next step will be to make cigarettes smaller and smaller, and quite possibly more and more badly made (like Winston Smith’s cigarettes in 1984, whose tobacco fell out). They’ll be designed to be impossible to smoke. Or unpleasant to smoke. Or maybe even poisonous to smoke. It’s one size fits all. Or maybe one size fits nobody.

It’s just like taking a high performance Ferrari and slowly turning it into an East German Trabant.

And if this can be done with cigarettes, it can be done with anything. Bottles of beer will get ever smaller, and will also be covered in obscene pictures, and the beer inside them made weaker and weaker. So also boxes of chocolate. Perfume. Cars (the real Trabant will probably appear, only not as good as the East German original).

It’s the reverse of enterprise and competition and economic growth. It’s the creation, salami slice by salami slice, of a European Soviet Union, in which all the shops are empty, and all products are manufactured under state control, with one size fits all, and there are permanent shortages of everything. It’s the creation of decline.

It’s an object lesson in what’s wrong with the EU. Because it’s regulation like this which is strangling the European economy, and has brought a permanent and deepening economic recession/depression. It’s a bloodless revolution that is gradually ushering in Soviet Europe.

It’s the one-size-fits-all euro which is currently doing most of the damage. If they had their own currencies, countries like Greece and Spain could devalue their money, and boost sales of their produce. But stuck inside the euro, they face unrelenting austerity. And austerity that will only deepen as first cigarettes gradually disappear, and then alcohol, and then cars, and then everything else.

A couple of days back, over at the Slog, I read:

With Spanish house prices still falling, the implications for Iberian bank balance sheets are obvious. A million properties remain unsold. Spanish television is being pretty open about about the massive pressure on Madrid, but there is an undercurrent to all of it suggesting that Spain could break up as a nation. After all, if the banks’ finances are so shot to pieces, what help can the Government be to the regions?

Catalans in particular are being increasingly open about becoming an independent state, and only a fool would ignore the old Civil War enmities that still exist between Barcelona and Madrid. The fully justified fear is that Madrid’s power to resist a schism has been diluted by having to turn to Brussels for help. Some MSM titles are suggesting that, on the quiet, Galacia and Andulucia are also preparing to leave Madrid rule. Given that the latter has a 68% unemployment rate, there is a horrible reality to this possibility.

Tomorrow in Portugal,  a big protest in the capital is planned. For the first time since 1974, the military have made an official statement that they ‘will protect the people of Portugal’. The imputation is clear: the army is asking whether the Government still deserves to be the sovereign power in the land.

These are just two examples in Europe of how conscious EU/Troika policy has created the necessary conditions for nation States to break down.

I wondered to whom Catalonia might turn for assistance if and when it secedes from Spain. And the likely answer seemed to be: the EU, of course! As nation states fragmented, the fragments would become so much aggregate being added to the liquid concrete in the EU cement mixer. There’d be no more France and Germany and Spain and Italy, but a large number of fragmented states within the EU. National identity would dissolve into EU identity. Perhaps this was always the plan?

However, since all these aggregate statelets would be poor and getting poorer, they wouldn’t provide much in the way of tax revenues to run the EU government in Brussels. And so the EU bureaucracy would have to shrink. As it kills off its member states, the EU will also be killing itself off, much like a cancer that kills its host.

Also, the EU will be identified by almost everybody as the cause of economic contraction, deepening poverty, lack of choice. There will be no more europhiles in the EU than there were communists in the Soviet Union.

At the moment, when people protest, it’s against their own national governments (as is happening in Greece and Portugal and Spain). But as economic decline deepens, these increasingly violent protests will sooner or later be reproduced in the core EU countries – like France and Belgium -.

I found myself wondering today when there will be millions of demonstrators on the streets of Brussels, bringing the EU Parliament and Commission and bureaucracy to a standstill. Unlike its member states, the EU doesn’t have an army. So what will it use to clear the streets and secure the city?

And reading today the lunatic EU proposals for further regulation and control of tobacco, I couldn’t help but think that it was like the crew of the Titanic taking orders for the next day’s breakfast while the ice was still being swept from the decks. Coffee or tea? One slice of toast or two? Jam or marmalade?

It isn’t going to happen. The ship will be a few miles underwater by then.

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16 Responses to One Size Fits All

  1. Junican says:

    I’m thinking that, if, for example, Catalonia were to secede, then it would become a totally new state with no encumbrance from the past. That is, it would cancel ALL external debts and start its own housing market from a fresh start, with its own new currency and an internal market of its own. Properly organised, the only people who would lose out would be the very wealthy owners of debt. Would banks go under? Not necessarily, provided that they entered into the new arrangements whole-heartedly, and declared independence from their big, corporate owners! After all, is that not essentially what Ireland did when it became an independent country, free from England? The idea is a revolution without military action and deaths in large numbers. It would be a financial revolution.

    Will it happen? I doubt it. I doubt that politicians have the knowledge or the courage to make it happen. It would require not a military man to take charge but a financial man. Something like the take over of Italy by Eurocrats, but in reverse.

    • Frank Davis says:

      it would become a totally new state with no encumbrance from the past.

      Well, yes.

    • smokingscot says:

      Suspect it’ll be very similar to what’s being debated about Scotland. How much of the national debt will be dumped, how much of RBS, B of S and Dumfermline BS will revert to Scotland? Then there are expensive questions about Central Banks, Military, Diplomats and exactly where the borders will be (we sorely want it to follow the river Tweed to the coast).

      Irrespective, they’ll have to deal with things like a representative at the UN and comply with all the dictats from the World Bank, the WHO and so on.

      Main problem – as here – is the serious lack of political expertise, or good management as I prefer to describe it. Not a lot of that in the public sector. We’ve gradually allowed mediocrity to rule, indeed many seem to prefer this process of dumbing down. I suspect Catalonia has exactly the same problems.

      Add proportional representation, especially one with a very low threshold (so lots of little parties all with their own agenda) and they could be in a much worse place than they are at present. Even here, where we’ve had some form of parliament for just over 10 years, the open questions are: Why trade one master we can speak to with another where we’re just another mini state? And… what would have happened to Scotland had it been independent when RBS and B of S crashed?

      • Sal Reldre says:

        “Main problem – as here – is the serious lack of political expertise, or good management as I prefer to describe it. Not a lot of that in the public sector. We’ve gradually allowed mediocrity to rule, indeed many seem to prefer this process of dumbing down. I suspect Catalonia has exactly the same problems.”

        Struck by parallels in reading this – get down to the last paragraphs – and although the author is outward-focused – possible soviet influence in tobacco control seems to have bypassed most public intellectuals! – even as it becomes more obvious, considering the origins and results of its agendas; nevertheless the same dumbing down and fragility is evident with regard to geopolitics and free survival here:

        http://36th-parallel.com/2012/08/deconstructing-new-zealand-foreign-policy/

        (I’d just suggest that “Melian Dialogue” might have been better than “Melian Dilemma”, for searching on; – not that it made much difference for Melos… )

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Melian_dialogue

        So, even in Spain’s antipodes, let alone Scotland’s, foreign policy may be weak too.

        Another cautionary analyst I used to read, before it was archived, was:

        http://www.financialsensearchive.com/stormwatch/geo/pastanalysis/main.html

        [read at leisure... ]

        Of course, most of those in Tobacco Control, suffused with their own self-righteous inflated sense of “working for the public good”, couldn’t conceive of any perverse consequences of their programmes, or consider that they may be merely ‘useful idiots’ in a wider global totalitarian regime agenda, but undoubtedly those at the top are aware… despite the FCTC having been secretive about its staff, a few names have surfaced in publicity and other reports… and the propaganda is so sophisticated

        And of course, they’ll be reading this too… or reports of it

        So stimulus to a greater awareness, knowledge and discussion of foreign policy itself, & expertise knowledge wisdom and or lack of it within, has to be a good thing…

        If it really is about control rather than health… where does that come from?

        “By their fruits ye shall know them”

  2. harleyrider1978 says:

    The EU absolutely cant stand any longer. Internal strife within the individual peasant countries will force deunification! In Catalonia if I remember right had 60% unemployment……..eggadds thatd be an outright civilwar in south america by now. In america the economists are saying the point of no return on the printing of dollars to the point of devaluation has already been reached and bernake’s QE-3 is just going to be what it takes to start the hyper-inflation everyone has known was comming. Its the same thing the fed is doing now that caused the great depression in america,printed way to much money after the 29 crash and by 1932 they had to recall 2/3rds of that cash just to stabilize the valuation of the dollar! Hense there was no cash anywhere and a run on the banks resulted! So where are we now,Id think about 2 years out from a recall on the american dollar maybe even less.

  3. waltc says:

    Yes, the US is heading right down that pike and it’s interesting to speculate on which state with its own balanced budget (and we do have a few) might be the first to consider secession. Meanwhile, the administration sings lullabies to the public which obliges by sucking its communal thumb as it settles onto its cot.

    Q: Is there any individual government in the EU that would protest the new plans to sovietize cigarettes?

    Tangential to that, years ago when I was in advertising, we made a pitch to the founder of the Company that stood at the heart of an actual Company Town somewhere in the nowhere of Pennsylvania. The guy owned the town and everything (and seemingly everyone) in it. One of the more bizarre experiences of Americana. We were there for 3 days I think, and I slowly began to notice that everyone we met –man or woman– who wore glasses was wearing the exact same style of glasses.. We speculated as to whether that was all that was available at the town oculist or whether the urge to conformity could so easily be evoked.

    And good luck to the cretin who wants to certify products as carcinogen-free since almost all fruits, vegetables, nuts, and once-living edible critters are lousy with the stuff.

    • nisakiman says:

      “And good luck to the cretin who wants to certify products as carcinogen-free since almost all fruits, vegetables, nuts, and once-living edible critters are lousy with the stuff.”

      Ha! Yes, that was my immediate thought. Forget plain packaging – carcinogen free labels would really throw the cat among the pigeons!

      As for your question, the answer is NO. All politicians from all EU countries are on, or aspire to board the EU gravy train, so will do nothing to rock the boat of their EU masters.

  4. Radical Rodent says:

    One idea recently mooted in company was of a scheme to engender civil unrest within each country in the EU. The plan is to foment the unrest one country at a time, thereby allowing the EU to “save” that country with the imposition of other EU police/armed forces.

    Of course this will tend to collapse (as so many EU plans do) when one country rises, and others say: “Hey! What a good idea! Let’s join in.”

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      Rodent your making some sence, could new economic free trade compacts become the plan that breaks up the EU. Greece and Italy with spain and portugal an economic block of their own……..Smaller workable trade partners that have the same basic cultures and desires makes far greater sence than forcing germanic attitudes off on them. Leave them to their own devices and they will flourish……..

  5. Margo says:

    I fear you are right, Frank – and I’d forgotten about Winston Smith’s cigarette tobacco falling out until you reminded me. What a terrible future we face. By the way, is there a result yet on the UK plain packaging consultation?

  6. harleyrider1978 says:

    Lawmaker fined about $4,000 for insulting EU chief

    BRUSSELS (AP) – How much does it cost to tell the one of the EU’s top officials he has “the charisma of a damp rag?” About €3,000, or close to $4,000, as a European member of Parliament has discovered.

    In 2010, Nigel Farage, an anti-European Union member of the EU Parliament, rose following a speech by Herman Van Rompuy, the president of the European Council. As Van Rompuy listened, Farage, a Briton, added that the former Belgian prime minister came from “pretty much a non-country.”

    The Parliament docked Farage €2,980 — 10 days’ expenses. Farage appealed to the European Court of Justice. It ruled this month that he filed his appeal too late and would also have to pay Parliament’s legal expenses.

    The decision was posted on the court’s website on Monday

    Read more: http://www.myfoxny.com/story/19562608/lawmaker-fined-about-4000-for-insulting-eu-chief#ixzz26kZY6570

  7. Messalina says:

    Isn’t it strange that these leaked documents never seem to make it into the mainstream media until after the dirty deed is done. It’s as though these unelected officials hold secret meetings in smoke-filled rooms to make laws, without consulting the public that will affect everyone adversely. I hope there’s a hell for those bastards for their crimes against humanity.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    2013 Great Depression strikes:

    Former tobacco control smoking cessation specialist degreed in 6 weeks. I am currently seeking employment in my profession or as closely related as can be made. I have recieved notice from my current employer that my services are no longer required due to Government economic cuts.

    It is my understanding that your deptartment is in need of professional marketing strategies in pro-tobacco campaigns.

    As a former task manager of any plan that came to mind,my services should help in growing your companies business and customer base.

    Best regards, Martin Pion
    Former Director of Missouri GASP

    Psst Ive also got a buddy Gene Borio and he is also starving.

    • Messalina says:

      Wonderful! I wish! There’s always hope, isn’t there! Even if it does take another great depression to bring these people to their senses.

  9. Pingback: The Ugly World of Tobacco Control | Frank Davis

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