The Next European Crisis

I was listening to US talk radio host Michael Savage yesterday, and he’d already gotten disenchanted with Donald Trump, seeing the kind of people who were now making their pilgrimage to Trump Tower. Reince Priebus. Mitt Romney. I guess that the way he sees it, the Trump White House will be full of the usual retread politicians, and it’ll all be business as usual. Nothing ever changes.

I’m not so sure myself. I think Trump needs to mend a few fences. I think he had to call in these people and talk to them. After all, he’s going to be working with them for the next four years. I’ll wait and see what Trump actually does before passing judgement. He hasn’t taken office yet, after all.

I’m not going to pass judgement on Theresa May either, for the exact same reason. I’ve thought for months that if Hillary Clinton became US president, the UK would be forced to stay in the EU, and it was really only with Trump that there’d be a strong impetus to leave. But then, if Michael Savage is right, and a Trump administration turns out to be just like any other administration in recent years, there may be no impetus at all.

Meanwhile, in Europe one of the next events looks set to be Italy’s constitutional referendum on 4 December, after which PM Renzi has said he’ll resign if he loses. And he’s expected to lose.

The euro tumbled against both the pound and the dollar today, as fears for the bloc’s future gathered pace.

Markets are gearing up for political and financial turmoil if Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi loses the vote, as expected, over constitutional reform.

The last poll ahead of the vote gave the ‘no’ campaign against reforms a five per cent lead.

It is thought an anti-euro party could replace the leader, sparking contagion in Spain and Portugal.

The other vote this coming Sunday is in Austria. I’m expecting anti-euro and anti-EU parties to start winning big everywhere in Europe over coming days and months.

JEAN-CLAUDE JUNCKER has begged EU leaders not to hold in-out referendums because he fears it will backfire and voters will choose to LEAVE.

The beleaguered European Commission president gave the desperate cry to members as the EU superstate dream slips from Brussels’ grasp following Britain’s momentous Brexit vote.

Terrified Mr Juncker admitted he knows European’s have a “lack of love” for the Brussels club.

His desperate plea come as Austria’s presidential favourite, Norbert Hofer, threatened to hold a referendum to cut ties with the crumbling bloc if he takes power this weekend.

Who’s Hofer?

Just as Donald Trump attracted voters in the American “rust belt”, anti-mass migration Freedom Party (FPÖ) presidential candidate Norbert Hofer is receiving huge support from Austria’s disaffected working class.

The American Midwest has the “rust belt” – a collection of states once booming with heavy industry from shipping to steel mills and factories. The Austrian equivalent is Obersteiermark – a region south of the capital of Vienna where many jobs have long gone, in part due to globalisation, which has led to working class people flocking to anti-establishment candidate for president Norbert Hofer, reports newspaper Der Standard.

For “disaffected working class”, I always read “smokers”. After all, it’s only the working class that smokes these days, isn’t it? The middle classes have long since cleaned up their act. Decades of antismoking brainwashing have seen to that.

It’s the “disaffected working class” (i.e. the 150 million smokers) of Europe who are going to oust the entrenched political class. Not that the political class will ever notice, as it carries on making mad imperialistic plans:

EU’s Brexit chief says bloc needs to become EMPIRE with an ARMY to take back control

THE European Union (EU) needs to become an “empire” with its own army and more control to take on Donald Trump, a leading liberal MEP said.

Guy Verhofstadt, the EU Parliament’s chief Brexit negotiator, said the Brussels’ club needs to become more efficient as it is “always acting too little too late”.

The former Belgian Prime Minister and current leader of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe warned the EU told IBTimes UK: “If Trump goes in the direction of more protectionism, we should speed up our trade negotiations with Mexico, Japan and all the other countries that we are negotiating with at the moment.

“The same with defence. Let’s create a European defence union, let’s take on our responsibilities.

“Let’s become an empire, an empire of the good and not of the bad.”

If the EU really does start to disintegrate, Brexit will become inevitable. For there’ll be nothing left to Remain inside. Maybe it’ll revert to being the EEC? I could live with that.

And the next European crisis is coming this Sunday.

About Frank Davis

smoker
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15 Responses to The Next European Crisis

  1. petesquiz says:

    I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there, I think the win-win scenario is to go back to the EEC (or Common Market) and abandon the political nonsense that surrounds it at the moment. I think that both Leavers and Remainers could be happy with that!

    There is one other thing that we’d need to revert back to, though. When it was the EEC we had free movement of workers, which changed to the free movement of people when the EU was formed. On the face of it, that seems like a minor change, but I believe it is a critical change.

    Free movement of WORKERS implies that if any EEC country wanted to employ people from other EEC countries they were free to do this and so people moved from country to country based on employment. The free movement of PEOPLE meant that anyone could move freely throughout the EU irrespective of whether they had work to go to or not.

    However Brexit ends up we will still need many migrant workers, but at least we will then have some control (hopefully) over who enters the UK.

  2. “It’s the “disaffected working class” (i.e. the 150 million smokers) of Europe who are going to oust the entrenched political class”

    Exactly. Trump/Brexit etc are not being decided on the basis of a single big hi-profile political issue as much as they’re being decided by voters who have simply, grain of sand by grain of sand, grown more and more unhappy with government telling them what to do and making their lives less pleasant and more difficult. A lot of those voters didn’t bother to vote in the past because they just comfortably floated along… and it was that “floating” which allowed the crazy subgroups like the Antismokers to move into positions of power and persecute them. Since it was all done step-by-step (with the exception of the Irish and UK smoking bans which employed the devilishly clever “hostage tactic” of putting smokers’ friends’ — the local pub owners’ — heads on the chopping block unless the smokers cooperated. That morally disgraceful tactic won the day for the banners, but it left a well of resentment that hasn’t been forgotten.

    – MJM

  3. slugbop007 says:

    The 150 million smokers in Europe need to get organized. Tobacco Control is not the majority, they just have more money.

    slugbop007

    • Smoking Lamp says:

      Agree, it’s time for push back in Europe, but we need to add the Americas (starting with US and Canada) and the rest of the world too…

      • We need to raise the awareness of smokers as an electoral force, an unrecognized minority group that has had its freedoms and its rights stripped away step by step in an organized movement toward what Tobacco Control calls its “Endgame” (About as shallow a euphemism for a “Final Solution” that I’ve ever encountered.)

        Trump and Brexit were two indicators of that force or smokers, a group of voters that no one bothered to analyze but which, because of its growing degree of quiet disaffection and dissatisfaction actually bothered to go out to the polls and VOTE… a vote against the establishment that’s been targeting them so heavily for the last ten years or more without much protest being evinced.

        We should focus on other races in other countries at this point: searching out the activist smokers and smoking groups, encouraging them to get active in the relevant political campaigns, and spreading the news that the 3% to 5% or more of active overall vote production and swinging represented by smokers cannot continue to be ignored without consequences.

        – MJM

        • waltc says:

          The trouble is, as Jay says below, that most smokers don’t identify as smokers but I’ll add that they do tend to identify as, say, Democrats or Republicans. And a smoking Democrat would never vote for a (demonized by the media) Republican, even if it meant that he could smoke in a bar and buy a pack for a buck. Then, too, there are other issues they find more important. And, too, too many have internalized the “shame” to even admit to themselves that they’re affected by the bans, the taxes, or the shaming itself.

  4. Jay says:

    In the nine years since the smoking ban came into force in England, smokers have not organized into a fighting force. There could be any number of reasons:
    – people who smoke don’t define themselves as ‘smokers’ – they just happen to be people who smoke
    – the salami-slicing technique lulls the unaware into a false sense of security – until the next initiative comes into force
    – smokers as a group don’t have any firebrand leadership around which to coalesce on the issue of tobacco control
    – most smokers might be a bit indignant, but they’re not raging as I and others who post here are

    I really don’t believe that smokers are responsible for the backlash against the establishment. I think “It’s the economy, stupid” (the other Clinton). The majority of smokers might well come from the ranks of the ‘left-behind’ or the ‘rust belt’ (both of which strike me as condescending descriptions) but, if asked “Would you prefer a ‘global government’ which allowed smoking as in the fifties” or “Would you prefer localised government which boosted jobs and facilitated entrepreneurship among the indigenous population” they’d choose the latter.

  5. smokingscot says:

    Seems it’ll be another tight one in Austria. Let’s hope the EU goes with the project fear tactic that worked so awfully well in the Brexit campaign.

    Article has a list of countries lining up to get out of the EU. Interesting.

    http://www.express.co.uk/news/politics/735682/Austrian-presidential-election-2016-who-win-Norbert-Hofer-latest-polls-odds-predictions

  6. Frank Davis says:

    I don’t think it really matters whether smokers get organised. The smoking bans themselves act to organise them anyway. The smoking bans “exile them to the outdoors”, and nobody likes that being done to them. And who’s doing it? The government (at the instigation of the medical profession and the WHO). And smokers more or less all know that. And to the extent that they’ve been injured by smoking bans (and some will have been more injured than others) they’re going vote against the government that did it to them. And vote against any party they see as complicit in doing it to them. And in the case of Europe, vote against an entire political class.

    I can well understand that for some smokers smoking bans won’t matter too much because they don’t smoke too much, or they never go to the places where smoking is banned, or because they’ve found a way round the bans (e.g. employers who turn a blind eye). But whether they’re much affected or not, they’re still all outcasts, and they know it. And that will influence their voting behaviour.

    So Europe’s 150 million smokers are all people who have become more likely to vote against the European political class that has been dropping smoking bans on them. Some will be powerfully impelled, and some only slightly impelled. But all will be impelled to some degree.

    Add to that my belief that the small slights that smokers routinely endure gradually add up to a considerable grievance, and those 150 million smokers will be slowly getting more and more angry. Particularly if that grievance is added to other grievances.

  7. Lepercolonist says:

    “I don’t think it really matters whether smokers get organised. The smoking bans themselves act to organise them anyway. The smoking bans “exile them to the outdoors”, and nobody likes that being done to them.”

    Well stated, Frank.

    Leaderless Resistance is much more than a simple fantasy of running amok in the countryside with little to no discipline.

  8. waltc says:

    The US federal ban on smoking in all public housing just got rushed into approval. Set to start at an unspecified date in early 2017 with individual projects given 18 months to fully implement. The question is will the Trump admin undo it? The bad news is that, even if tney do, local authorities still have the autonomy to do it anyway. I apologize for having forgotten how to shortcut a link

    http://www.nytimes.com/2016/11/30/nyregion/us-will-ban-smoking-in-public-housing-nationwide.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0

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