The European Project Is Dead

Something I noticed a day or so back:

Jean-Claude Juncker has vowed that no matter how bad terrorism or the migrant crisis gets, the European Union (EU) will never give up on open borders. The European Commission president said terrorism could be countered with better intelligence-sharing between member states.

On France 2’s Four Truths programme this morning, Mr. Juncker said “a lot of initiatives” will be required to strengthen security in the EU. After a bloody month for Europe in which the continent has seen multiple Islamic terror attacks — four in the last week in Germany alone — the EU president insisted better communication between member states would solve the problem.

I don’t know about anyone else, but it seems to me that, with a series of atrocities in both France and Germany over the past week or so, the EU has entered by far its deepest crisis yet. But the EU leadership seems oblivious of it.

Juncker is really saying that maintaining open borders – a key feature of the EU project – is more important than any amount of terrorism, which can be countered with “better intelligence-sharing”.

But open borders are what’s been causing much of the terrorism.

And does he really think that “better intelligence-sharing” would have prevented somebody from driving a truck through a crowd in Nice, killing 84 people? Or prevented a priest in Rouen being murdered yesterday? There probably wasn’t any intelligence available about either event (“Hello. Mohamed here. I’m just phoning to confirm that the big event will be happening tonight in Nice, using the truck I hired, if Allah is willing.”). Add that there is an almost comical reluctance to accurately describe these events.

The reason for the attack seems perfectly clear – an attack on Christians at mass by Muslim jihadists hardly needs parsing, does it? – as indeed the French prime minister, Manuel Valls, observed when he said on Twitter that the ‘barbaric’ attack was a blow to Catholics and the whole of France. ‘We will stand together,’ he said. How, exactly? Yet most of the reports at this point, led by the French interior minister, Pierre-Henry Brandet, say the motivation for the hostage taking was ‘unclear’… but it’s all too clear, surely?

Bombing Syria, President Hollande’s usual preference, won’t help either.

Last November, Angela Merkel was telling gunless Germany to fight suicide bombers with their values.

What kind of insane rhetoric is Angela Merkel speaking? Has she lost her mind? At the onset of the terrorist attack on France, Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel delivers the most bizarre statement to her people:

“We believe in the right of everyone to seek his fortune and live, to the respect for the other and tolerance. We know that our free life is stronger than any terrorist. Let’s give the terrorists the answer by living our values confidently. And as we affirm these values throughout Europe. Now more than ever.”

At the same time, attempts are being made to minimise the problem, firstly by not reporting mass rapes and sexual assaults, then by not using the words “Islamic terrorism”, and suppressing Islamic names like Mohamed and Ali. It has also emerged that:

French government ‘suppressed gruesome torture’ of Bataclan victims as official inquiry is told some were castrated and had their eyes gouged out by the ISIS killers.

It really rather looks as if the EU leadership has suffered a collective nervous breakdown, and is in a dangerous state of denial of the scale of the crisis it faces:

Western democracies are now frequently experiencing political events that were previously considered unthinkable, at least by their political elites.

What’s happening was indeed unthinkable, and it would appear that it continues to be unthinkable. Most likely, in a Brussels where political life largely consists of a long series of meetings, punctuated by lavish dinners, none of them – Merkel, Hollande, Juncker, Valls, and all the rest of them – has the faintest clue what to do, and are trying to pretend that it’s not happening. They’re paralysed. And in the process they are demonstrating to everyone their incompetence and lack of leadership.

I can only conclude that the whole lot of them are set to be swept away in the next few months, if not the next few weeks. And if they’re not removed by political uprisings of one kind or other, I would expect a military coup to oust them, and promote realistic, hard-nosed generals in their place.

We are watching the demise of the EU unfolding before our eyes. The dream is over. The European ‘project’ is dead. Events have caught up with it on a variety of fronts, and radical new thinking and radical new policies (of an order of magnitude which the current European political class are manifestly incapable) are urgently needed right now.

Brexit (and all the other Grexits and Spexits) no longer matters. Nor do the treaties of Rome, Maastricht, and Lisbon. They’re all past history. We have entered a violent new world.

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About Frank Davis

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38 Responses to The European Project Is Dead

  1. garyk30 says:

    Of course the elites are in denial, in their dream world,such acts of horror are not possible.

    These acts must be one time occurences and can not possibly be systemic.

    There is no possible way that their policies and actions could be why such violence could happen.

    In their visions of the way the world should be, these acts of violence are not possible.

  2. jaxthefirst says:

    It’s because they are idealists. And idealism is pretty much the exact opposite of realism. Now, idealism isn’t in and of itself a bad thing – it’s good to have high aspirations to aim for – but it becomes a bad thing when it is one’s only frame of reference and realism isn’t allowed to intrude on it in any way, regardless of the circumstances. The problem with idealists is, well, precisely because they are idealists, they never allow themselves to countenance anything which might possibly threaten that ideal. As a result, they never, ever, have a Plan B because, in an idealist’s mind, there’s only ever the need for Plan A, because, as idealists, they simply never allow themselves to entertain the idea that Plan A won’t work. To do that, one has to be a realist, and they’re not.

    We saw this mindset in action (or, rather, inaction) when the migrant crisis erupted earlier this year. The reaction of the EU leadership to the crisis was one of almost childlike bewilderment, and, having refused – wilfully refused, that is, not simply overlooked – the possibility that actually there might just be problems associated with hundreds of thousands of migrants pouring into Europe, they simply sat on their hands and did virtually nothing to actually try and resolve the problem. And, when they were finally forced to address the issue, their supposed “solutions” gave every impression of having been thrown together in a massive rush with very little sensible, thoughtful planning behind them (which, of course, they were). And, even under the circumstances of such enforced realism, their attempts to address such an alien (to them) concept was hamstrung by their pathetic attempts to cling desperately onto their cherished “ideals” by their very fingernails. This was a classic example of reality meeting idealism head-on and, as is always the case, realism inevitably won, as it always does because it’s – err – real. That’s why the migrant problem still exists and, as recent events have shown, is escalating in a very nasty way.

    In many ways, I think that idealism is a sort of collective mental illness that is spreading throughout the entire population. There are very few hard-noses realists amongst our politicians, and the few that there are are swimming against a huge tide of colleagues with their heads full of happy-clappy, perfect-world nonsense who resist every attempt to make them see what is actually happening all around them, or what might. And it’s catching. Whether it’s the far-left idealism of a lovely, caring, sharing Socialist utopia, the far-right belief that the market will always sort everything out so that everyone wins if it’s just left to its own devices, the tub-thumping promises of evangelical religionists that we’d all be contented, happy and peaceful if we would all just devote ourselves to their particular god, the dreams of a wonderful tobacco-free world with neither illness nor death, the similar dreams of an alcohol-free world with no crime, no violence and no car crashes, or simply the individual belief that one’s life, marriage and career will be absolutely hunky-dory if one could only produce a baby, there’s no doubt that many people have been infected with it.

    If I had my way, I’d ban idealists from ever being appointed to any position of power, ever. Because whatever attitudes are held at the top of the tree always filter down to the rest of the population eventually; it’s the way it always has been and the way it always will be. Leaders, for good or ill, and whether they want to or not, lead, and others follow. But bad, idealistic leaders simply lead people into bad, highly “idealised” situations, as we can now see that they have done. And then we end up with a world, as now, being run not on the basis of how it is and how we can best manage it, but on the basis of what people want it to be like and whereby, in essence, decision-making by those in positions of power consists largely of, metaphorically, “closing their eyes, and wishing really, really hard” – just like we used to when we were little kids wanting to see Santa’s sleigh on Christmas Eve. And that’s no way to run a world.

  3. Richard says:

    “Has she lost her mind?”
    Yes.
    Merkel’s open border (plus arms sales to the Middle East) is possibly the greatest political disaster that the West has ever seen. It’s as Insane as if Churchill had allowed Germans, predominantly young male “refugees”, free access to Britain during WW2, at the same time selling rifles to the Wehrmacht.
    Here’s what needs to be done.
    1. Close the borders.
    2. Deport the migrants.
    3. Arm the populace.
    4. Get out of the Middle East except for peaceful trade.
    It’s either that or we must resign ourselves to more attacks, security gates at the ends of streets and at entrances to churches. no-go areas in captial cities, and huge taxation for the “war on terror” which will be as unsuccessful as the “war on drugs”. We’ll be living in countries where a revving engine will cause fear, where you need a permit to buy a kitchen knife, where women can’t go out at night, where a middle-eastern face on a plane will have all the passengers breathing a sigh of relief when it lands, all the while being told, by leaders(!) in gated communities who venture forth under armed escort, that one, ten or a hundred rapes and murders a week has nothing to do with the religion of peace.
    Something really bad will one day happen. This might result in every able-bodied male buying a pick-axe handle and dealing with these types in a terrible way, but in any case there are three scenarios; either the governments wake up to their duties, or the people attempt to sort it out through violence, or the West will become a big open prison containing foreign fellow-inmates who want us dead and about whom we can do nothing except try and stay out of their way.

  4. There’s something important to remember in all of this though: One of the major goals to radical Islamic terrorism is to create a backlash that will radicalize a much larger portion of the Muslim world. The trick is finding a solution to dealing with the terrorists that doesn’t create a much larger problem than we have now.

    Picture if, 30 years or so ago, the UK had gone after the IRA bombers by firebombing neighborhoods where they “lived and bred like cockroaches” in Ireland, or by staging public executions where they were nailed to crosses and burnt.

    The IRA problem would have gotten worse instead of better. We need to find ways of dealing with this problem that don’t create that kind of situation.

    – MJM, who wishes he had a solution…

    • Frank Davis says:

      I don’t think anyone is planning to stage public executions.

      The guy who murdered the priest had an electronic tag, but was allowed to go wherever he liked during the day. That’s something that didn’t need to happen.

      The mobility of known or suspect Islamists needs to be sharply curtailed. They should not be allowed to wander free.

      • prog says:

        Perhaps he should have spent more time seeking guidance in his local mosque….

      • Frank Davis says:

        I think there are 16 hours between 8.30am and 12.30am, not 4 hours.

        http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/07/27/president-hollande-is-on-his-way-out-his-failure-to-stop-jacques/

        All of their positions became untenable when details about the criminal antecedents of Adel Kermiche, one of the killers of Father Jacques, were made public.

        Not only was Kermiche a known radicalised teenager on a terror watch list – the so-called “S” files – but the 19-year-old had attempted not once but twice to run away to try and reach the Daesh caliphate in Syria.

        Each time he used a passport belonging to family members: the deceit apparently fooled French officials, but not those in the countries he travelled through.

        Back in France after two deportations, Kermiche had to wear an electronic tag at all times, and live with his parents in Saint-Etienne-du-Rouvray after being released as recently as last March from a prison sentence related to his support for Daesh.

        Astonishing as it now sounds, instead of being treated for what he was – a terror fixated sociopath likely to commit sadistic crimes at any time – Kermiche was effectively grounded with mum and dad.

        It was between 8.30am and 12.30am – the four hours a day when Kermiche was officially allowed out of his family home as part of his probation conditions – that he wandered over to his local Catholic church and ended Father Jacques’ distinguished life in the most horrific manner possible, while also maiming a parishioner.

        Treating a clear and present terrorist threat as if he was nothing more than a sullen adolescent is bad enough, but there is a disturbing pattern in such errors.

        The vast majority of the terrorists who have now slaughtered some 250 people in separate incidents across France over the past 18 months were just as well known to the authorities as Kermiche.

        Many were meant to be in prison, or – again like Kermiche – at least reporting to their local police stations under strict bail terms.

    • richard says:

      The difference is that the IRA had a political goal and a Western mindset and as such eventually went to the ballot box.
      There is no doubt that Muslims have been enraged by the wars in the Middle East and understandably so. This was criminal stupidity by Blair et al but inviting the enraged bombed-out survivors into Europe is even more stupid. Even if 90% of immigrants are peaceful, that leaves 200,000 dangerous men, a figure impossible to control. There is no point fearing a potential backlash because it’s here already and the only course is to get them out and treat with them decently and fairly when they’re back in their own countries.
      I don’t think that this will happen and fear that things will get far worse before they get better – if they ever do.

  5. MikeR says:

    Frank’s piece is an illustration of my earlier point that the Eurocracy will destroy Europe if they are permitted to rather than abandon the utopian project. Jax shows how we are governed by those whose politics are based in wishful thinking. Quotes from Merkel etc prove that its precisely these sort of people who now control the western world. Their ideology, which teaches that all systems of belief are equally valuable and should be tolerated, means these people are totally unable to deal properly, or even actually clearly acknowledge, the existence of a massive threat to liberal democracy based in a pervasive belief system, especially if it is one identified with a “protected” “minority”.

    Those of us who warned for decades about the consequences of high third world immigration into the west, and were sneered at and attacked for daring to do so, take no pleasure in the sight of the chickens coming home to roost – what we value – liberalism, democracy, free speech, rights for women and sexual minorities, even the right to hold an opinion without being killed for it, are now all under immediate great. Ironically, it’s those who have sanctimoniously parade their tolerance” and “inclusiveness” who have created the threat.

    • MikeR says:

      There’s an error in my post – the second last line should read “immediate threat” not “immediate great”.

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Zerohedge

    officials in Germany are considering deploying the army inside the country in the wake of multiple attacks

    What’s the point of that? Deploying the army on the streets isn’t going to prevent terrorism.

    The only thing it will be able to do is suppress any popular insurrection (which will become ever more likely the longer terrorist attacks continue).

    The state is going to do nothing to prevent terrorism. And it is prepared to prevent the people doing anything about it either. They’re just going to have to get used to regular terror attacks.

  7. Frank Davis says:

    Express

    Thu, Jul 28, 2016

    Merkel admits EU is being RAVAGED BY TERROR but says Germany should STILL welcome migrants

    CHANCELLOR Angela Merkel has said Germany is facing a “major” threat from terrorism but that this should not stop refugees being welcomed to Europe.

  8. harleyrider1978 says:

    The impacts over time of smoke-free air ordinances in Texas

    Silda Nikaj, Joshua J. Miller, John Tauras
    28 July 2016

    Progress in adopting smoking bans across the US has been slow, despite a majority of Americans supporting a ban in public places. This column uses aggregate and establishment-level data from Texas to examine the economic effects of smoking bans on bars and restaurants. The results suggest that bars and restaurants are not adversely affected by the adoption of a ban.

    Many communities in the US are not smoke free. According to a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, as of December 2015, only half of the US population is protected by comprehensive smoking bans in workplaces, restaurants, and bars (Tynan et al. 2016).1 The same report highlights that most of the gains in protections were made in the period 2000-2010, where the share of the US population protected increases from 2.72% in 2000 to 47.8% in 2010. Nonetheless, little progress has been made in protecting the population since 2010. Indeed, by December of 2015 the share of the US population protected by comprehensive bans had increased to 49.6%, an increase of only 1.8% from the 2010 level. The report highlights important disparities in coverage. For example, no state in the southeast has comprehensive legislation, and in 8 of the 24 states that lack legislation, states pre-empt local municipalities from enacting smoking bans.

    What could explain the slowing progress in creating smoke-free environments in recent years? The lack of progress is not motivated by a lack of public support for smoking bans. Since 2011 a majority of Americans have supported bans of smoking in public places (Gallup 2015). As a response to changing public attitudes many businesses have responded by banning smoking on company premises.2 The vast majority of literature that estimates the impact of smoking bans on the profitability of bars and restaurants across the US finds no significant impact (Eriksen and Chaloupka 2007, IARC 2009, Scollo et al. 2003). However, several studies find that smoking bans may adversely affect bar employment, and alcohol sales among bars and restaurants (Adams and Cotti 2007, Clower and Weinstein 2004). A previously untested hypothesis in this literature posits that null results in early studies examining the economic impacts of smoking bans were driven by sample selection. Early adopters could better absorb the shock of bans, but among worse performing late adopters, bans would adversely impact bars and restaurants.

    In a new paper, we utilise aggregate and establishment level data from the state of Texas for the period 2002 through 2011 to examine the economic effects of smoking bans on bars and restaurants (Nikaj et al. 2016). The state of Texas lacks a comprehensive state-wide policy, and only 80 out of 1,209 Texas municipal governments have adopted smoke free ordinances in bars and restaurant as of 2016 (ANRF 2016). We exploit the variation in timing of policy adoption at the local level (municipality) and utilise a difference-in-differences methodology to identify the causal impact of smoking bans on bar and restaurant sales and alcohol tax expenditures. We compare outcomes between early and late adopters, and track the adjustment trajectories that sales and establishments experience after policy implementation.

    There are several methodological concerns that can lead to spurious results in differences-in-differences estimates. While we detail these threats in our working paper, the overarching concern is that timing of ban implementation is chosen so as to minimise the impact of the policy. For example, municipal governments may choose to institute such policies when bar and restaurant revenues are robust. Fleck and Hanssen (2008) show that negative trends in restaurant sales prior to the implementation of the state-wide ban in California could account for a share of the negative impact that was erroneously attributed to the ban. Unfortunately, failure to control for trends in the outcome prior to policy adoption may lead to wrong inference of causality, where such inference may not be possible.

    In our analysis we utilise the variation in timing of policy adoption, but directly test the exogeneity of policy adoption by tracking trends in our outcome variables right before policy implementation. We find that municipalities that adopt smoking bans exhibit higher than average sales prior to policy adoption, suggesting that studies that do not account for policy selection likely produce biased estimates of the policy impact.

    Our aggregate results that track restaurant and bar sales suggest that bars and restaurants are unaffected by bans of smoking on premises. We conduct several robustness checks to make sure our results are not driven by sample selection. Furthermore, we check to see if alcohol sales in liquor store are affected by such bans. Theoretically, if smoking bans in bars and restaurants reduce clientele among smokers, but do not affect clientele among non-smokers, then we should observe that smokers are pushed to substitutes for drinking in bars or restaurants – such as purchasing alcohol from liquor stores. In our case, this would suggest that demand for alcohol in liquor stores increases after ban implementation. We find smoking bans in bars and restaurants do not affect sales of liquor stores.

    One concern with analyses utilising aggregate data is that often the estimates are imprecise. To address this concern, we turn our attention to alcohol tax expenditures at the establishment level, and conduct analyses among a sample of 28,000 establishments. Our establishment level analyses account for establishment-level unobservables and trends within them, thus reducing concerns over omitted variable bias. Moreover, the large sample of establishments generates very precise estimates of the impact of smoking bans. Even though alcohol tax expenditures are expected to be affected disproportionally from smoking bans (Adams and Cotti 2007, 2008),3 we find that reductions in tax expenditures from smoking bans are small. More particularly, when we account for threats to identification in difference-in-differences estimation we find the effects of smoking bans have no statistically significant effects on alcohol tax expenditures based on a two-tailed test at conventional significance levels of 5%. Our results are only significant at the 10% significance level, a finding that is surprising given the large sample size. Taken together, our aggregate and establishment level results imply smoking bans do not adversely affect restaurants and bars.

    Finally, when we compare outcomes and adjustment trajectories among early and late adopters of smoking bans, we find no evidence that late adopters do worse. On the contrary, we find that late adopters were able to adjust to changes in policy better, with no long-term impacts due to policy adoption. One implication of our over-time analysis is that the many municipalities that are currently considering joining the group of adopters will not experience negative impacts due to adoption. To our knowledge our analysis is the first to look at the long-term impacts of such policies on bar and restaurant sales, and it is only the second study that estimates results at the establishment level.

    Authors’ note: The views expressed herein are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Bureau of Economic Research, US Department of Housing and Urban Development, the University of Illinois at Chicago, or Texas Christian University.

    http://voxeu.org/article/impacts-over-time-smoke-free-air-ordinances-texas

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      All they count in are places that took the smokefree losses a decade or more ago! The losses became the new norm and that’s what they call no effect. They don’t count smoking venues by themselves they lump them into the whole to show the whole has little to no effect! Yet the smoking places either lose 40% or more or simply go out of business like bars bowling alleys mom and pop restaraunts coffe shops bingos etc etc

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        If tomorrow they repealed all the bans in these businesses profits should go up by 30% within weeks.

      • garyk30 says:

        By only interviewing the survivors, you could show that ‘Russian roulette’ is a harmless game.

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Like the Nazis Id cheat and put in a dummy round just not let anyone know the truth

  9. Timothy Goodacre says:

    Incidentally has anyone read the article by David Aaronovitch in The Times today on page 21. What a nasty little Nazi he is. Imagine how our lives would be if he were in charge. Smokers and fat people would be exterminated. His views need forceful rebuttal !

    • Frank Davis says:

      I can’t read the Times. Online, it’s subscription only. You’ll have to provide a synopsis.

      • Timothy Goodacre says:

        Basically Frank its a rant on how smokers were dealt with and how this should be extended to fast food etc. Its a very nasty extremist opinion on the curtailing of peoples right to enjoy what they choose to eat. It roused me to great anger.

        • prog says:

          ‘Holiday time and there’s a sound that I’d forgotten till I was thinking about this piece yesterday. It was to be heard in the first moments after the seatbelt signs went off as your resort-bound plane became airborne. It was the rasp and click of several dozen cigarette lighters.

          We smoked on the beaches, in the fields, in the streets, in the hills. We smoked in the trains, the planes, the taxis, the stations, the offices, the factories, the cinemas, the theatres, the stadiums and the open-air swimming pools. And now we smoke in none of these places. Had you told a Briton in 1966 that her sons and daughters would grow up in a land that prohibited smoking in practically every public place, she’d have thought you mad. Yet that’s what we’ve done, interfering with the ability of the individual to live and destroy his life freely. The result has been a huge, almost incalculable benefit to public health.

          Getting Britain to stop smoking involved four main drivers. The first was to increase taxes on the product to get people to buy fewer fags, pipes and cigars. The second was to make life difficult for the manufacturers by gradually stopping them from advertising. The third was to proselytise against smoking as a habit in schools, on cigarette packets themselves, and in public information campaigns of growing stridency. Smoking was bad for you and if you did it you were an idiot and you’d upset your kids.

          The fourth and indispensable driver was to harass smokers almost wherever they went. In the 1970s bans started, almost invariably justified by the risk that smoking posed to others but in fact aimed at making it as hard as possible for people to indulge a legal but self-destructive habit. Smokers were driven out of offices into smoking rooms, then out of smoking rooms on to pavements. I finally gave up a quarter of a century of smoking when my office became smoke-free and I faced the prospect of standing in a doorway wearing an invisible sign reading “Incontinent Loser”.

          Every ban was opposed at every stage and was delayed for a variety of conservative, libertarian and even quasi-socialist reasons (“the worker’s last wee pleasure” etc). But the four drivers together eventually prevailed. We gave up smoking and we began to reap the health benefits.

          Now we’re obese instead. Some of us (and here I look in the mirror) more than others. Cheap, available calories served up in ways that are delicious and pleasantly packaged, together with more sedentary lifestyles, have created a health crisis of a different kind. To take just one consequence of this combination of temptations, a reasonably robust recent academic study estimates that — on present trends — the cost of treating diabetes in the UK will increase from £9.8 billion to £16.9 billion by 2035. Those who saw the documentary Fixing Dad on BBC Two this week, in which two grown sons took it upon themselves to help their father with his diet-induced type 2 diabetes (he was looking at a foot amputation), will understand the cost to families of this condition and the effort required to reverse it.

          The cost of treating diabetes is estimated at £16.9 billion by 2035

          Bad diet and poor exercise are more insidious problems than smoking because they are less discrete. One cigarette is a bad idea anywhere; one bag of crisps and an afternoon on the sofa isn’t. But theoretically the same rules of influencing people ought to apply. Folk are doing X which is incredibly bad for them, bad for their families and hugely expensive. How are we going to change it to Y?

          Forgive me here, David Hockney and others, if I ignore those of you who argue that we shouldn’t try. There are millions of people alive today who otherwise wouldn’t be because they wore crash helmets, buckled seat belts and gave up cigarettes. They’re evidence enough. So the only question is what drivers we use in the anti-obesity campaign and how effective they are.

          Here, what is interesting is that we have only deployed a few of the tools that we used in the smoking campaign. We’ve rather weedily targeted the food companies with labelling requirements, we’re bringing in a sugar tax in 2018 and we issue public health publications on weight loss and exercise. In these areas we could be much more aggressive.
          We could ban the advertising of foods that contain too great a proportion of sugars and calories, enforce warning labelling (“This food is UNHEALTHY”) and allow manufacturers producing good food to market them more aggressively. We could specify the display of nutritional information in all canteens and workplace restaurants.

          Then there’s nudging — the strategy in which you alter behaviour without people realising you’re doing it: segregated cycling and running lanes along our commuter routes and to schools; jolly signs on lifts urging people to use the stairs, and decorated stairwells and calorie measurements on the steps; an “escalator challenge”. And so on.
          But we’ve left out the central idea of compulsion and perhaps it’s time to bring it in. Often things don’t change unless the community says, in effect, what it collectively thinks of a particular act — usually in the form of law.

          Fast-food outlets must be removed from stations and airports

          Of course, we could try to attach the same opprobrium to being fat as to being a smoker. Some pundits (step forward Katie Hopkins) enjoy this idea and it has its attractions. I’m pretty convinced, though, that “shaming” people because of their weight would produce more harm in the shape of disorders, breakdowns and bullying than it would gain in altering behaviour.

          Here instead is a grab-bag of ideas that would convey the same message, some or all of which will one day be enacted. Ban fast-food outlets from stations and airports. Ban the sale of confectionery and sugary drinks to the under-16s. Ban the sale of over-sugared products in supermarkets (as measured by a ratio of sugar to other nutrients). Ban the bringing into schools of unhealthy foods. Ban the presence in offices (like our own here at The Times) of vending machines that seem to sell mainly crisps and chocolate. Specify a weight-to-height ratio limit on air passengers wishing to avoid a surcharge.

          This all seems outlandish and dictatorial at the moment. So too, back in the late 1980s, did the idea that you wouldn’t be allowed to smoke on planes. Now try doing it, even in the loos. The cops would be waiting for you at the next stopover with some sparkly handcuffs and a charge. In 2016 we wouldn’t have it any other way.’

          Apparently, his parents were rabid commies…

          (If you register you get two free articles/wk)

        • Frank Davis says:

          Thanks for that. And I didn’t know you could get 2 free articles per week. I never visit the Times website.

          And he does seem a bit of nazi.

          We gave up smoking and we began to reap the health benefits. Now we’re obese instead.

          Did we give up? I didn’t. And I remain thin. He gave up, and reaped no health benefits.

          Often things don’t change unless the community says, in effect, what it collectively thinks of a particular act — usually in the form of law.

          Laws are expressions of collective opinion? Is that really all there is to them?

          I watched something on YouTube or iplayer featuring him not long ago. Something historical. Perhaps about Rome. He was clearly overweight, and was puffing around some archaeological site as he walked. I was a bit worried about the poor chap.

          And given that he only stopped smoking when he was more or less forced to, I suspect that he wants someone else to force him to stop eating.

        • Heh… sounds like my AATTAACK effort twenty years ago! LOL! See:

          https://assortedtopics.quora.com/AATTAACK

          :)
          MJM

        • harleyrider1978 says:

          Had you told a Briton in 1966 that her sons and daughters would grow up in a land that prohibited smoking in practically every public place, she’d have thought you mad.

          Theyd have thought HITLER won the war invoking his same anti smoking laws.

          to bad you cant comment on the 2 per week deal

        • prog says:

          ‘Had you told a Briton in 1966 that her sons and daughters would grow up in a land that prohibited smoking in practically every public place, she’d have thought you mad.’

          Stanton may have said as much to his mom in 1966, and she’d have quite right to believe she’d spawned a nutter.

          I could almost believe that insanity has since become an infectious disease.

        • “Its a very nasty extremist opinion on the curtailing of peoples right to enjoy what they choose to eat.” ::sigh:: When I wrote that AATTAACK piece 20 years ago the main criticism I got was that it was just too “tinfoil hat” to even satirically suggest that antismoking methods could be extended even to such things as drinking or driving… much less applied to foods.

          – MJM

  10. harleyrider1978 says:

    GOING PLACES

  11. Frank Davis says:

    Ambrose Evans-Pritchard
    28 JULY 2016 • 8:38PM

    The International Monetary Fund’s top staff misled their own board, made a series of calamitous misjudgments in Greece, became euphoric cheerleaders for the euro project, ignored warning signs of impending crisis, and collectively failed to grasp an elemental concept of currency theory.

    This is the lacerating verdict of the IMF’s top watchdog on the Fund’s tangled political role in the eurozone debt crisis, the most damaging episode in the history of the Bretton Woods institutions.

  12. smokingscot says:

    I’ve been watching what all this means to the average citizen living elsewhere within the EU. We’ve already discussed the swing in Austria toward their right wing nationalist party. Indeed the Austrian Presidential election (where the sole opponent from the Green party seemed to have sneaked in to win by a fag paper) was found to be so corrupted that they’re going to have to re-run the whole shebang.

    And Ms. Le Pen has done much to improve the electoral chances of her party that could well result in her getting to the final run-off stage of the next Presidential election. That’ll be held May 2017.

    Spain is in disarray, seemingly unable to decide what their political landscape should be, however amongst their number there is an anti EU party.

    What tickles me is the way the Germans (who have been severely brainwashed about the whole EU project) are ever so gradually swinging to the right; it’s nowhere near as up-front as we see with the Dutch Freedom party, but it is a start.

    (By the by, good old Geert has winged it to the US and is sufficiently arrogant as to claim he’ll be the next Dutch PM!!)

    http://www.politico.eu/article/geert-wilders-tells-us-hes-set-to-become-next-dutch-prime-minister-pvv-republican/

    This article details their recent gains and sort of mulls what may happen at next year’s general election.

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/afd-germany-anti-refugee_us_56e6c77ae4b0b25c91826a82

    On the whole Frank I do agree with your analysis, though not perhaps with your timeframe.

    It took decades for the SNP to get to where it is, while UKIP has proven unsuccessful at working the FP the P system (that said they have done very well in Wales – albeit an election run under PR).

    It’ll take time for AfD to really gain traction, however it is very noteworthy insofar as it’s the first new party in Germany to even get recognition by the media – and they have two MEPs out of the 96 that Germany is allowed.

    However I get the distinct impression that the ordinary stiff in the streets of various EU nations is sick fed up with being hectored to be great buddies with people who don’t speak their language, don’t want to assimilate and who seem to be unable to keep tabs on their offspring. Certainly not those who decide to top innocents’ under the cover of pledging themselves to Daesh, by internet video.

    Maybe it’s universal.

    • harleyrider1978 says:

      everybodys fed up the world over and their sick of the UN and its financial system set up in 1944 called the world bank and IMF as they have blackmailed everyone for 7 decades to get to the point of world domination. Point here is the imf and WB are both bankrupt these days.

      • harleyrider1978 says:

        And don’t forget the IMF CHIEF obamas hand picked Nazi is up on fraud charges and theft of money in france now.

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