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.