Waiting For Donald

Caught last night:

EU President Says Institution Paralysed by Brexit and Nationalism

The president of the European Parliament had used his final interview in the position to concede the institution is “treading water”, has not moved on from Brexit, and has little idea of how to deal with rising nationalism across the continent.

Isn’t paralysis the normal condition of the EU? Isn’t it always “treading water”? I can’t think of a single crisis in the last 10 years that the EU hasn’t failed to address. Everything always just gets kicked further down the road, because nobody ever has any idea what to do about anything. The global slump. The euro. Mass immigration. Islamic terrorism. Populism. Brexit. You name it, they haven’t a clue what to do about it.

But the EU is an institution that exists for its own sake. The only solution ever proffered to any and every problem is “More Europe”. Because the EU “project” has always been about building a European superstate like the USA or (actually) the old USSR. Because post-WW2 only superstates like them had any clout in the world, and if Europe was going to have a “place at the table” it would have to become a superstate too.

So they’ve created a superstate, and provided it with the necessary glassy modern architecture, and the parliamentary debating chambers, and the very big round tables with translators and bottles of Perrier water. And they all sit round the big round tables. But nobody has anything to say. At the heart of the EU there’s just emptiness.

Well, not quite. In 2009, the EU parliament voted for a European smoking ban, and for show trials of prominent offenders. They haven’t a clue what to do about the big problems, but they can address tiny non-problems.

Which reminds me of another headline I caught yesterday:

Spanish Government Considers Making Islamic Feasts Public Holidays

Isn’t that wonderful? Spain has got as many big problems as any other European country, but its government is considering making Islamic feasts public holidays! But then the Spanish government is about as paralysed as the EU government. And when governments are paralysed, they can only do stupid little things like this. And all the governments of Europe are either paralysed or semi-paralysed.

It might all start changing in a couple of weeks time, though. Because the equally semi-paralysed US government is about to see a dynamic new President take office and start making things happen. In fact, he’s already started making things happen, even before he’s taken office, as US corporations have started scampering to repatriate jobs to America.

In a paralysed world, the real terror is that somebody somewhere might Do Something. That’s really why people are scared of Vladimir Putin: he’s very decisive, and he actually does things. And that’s also what really scares people about Donald Trump: he might actually, really, y’know,… do something – something other other than, well, banning smoking or creating Islamic public holidays, which is the sort of thing Hillary Clinton would have done if she’d got elected.

Imagine the fear:

Donald Trump Plans Revamp of Top U.S. Spy Agency

President-elect works on restructuring Office of the Director of National Intelligence, tweets again his doubts that Russia hacked Democrats

There must be absolute terror inside the FBI, CIA, NSA, EPA, NASA. and every single department in the US federal government, at what The Donald is going to do. There have probably been lots of people off sick with the chronic panic attacks they’ve been experiencing since 8 November. The demand for Safe Spaces full of cuddly toys is probably at an all-time high. There are people in the US government who’ve been in a Very Safe Space for the last half-century, and now they have no idea what’s going to happen to their world.

And if Trump manages to shake up America, he’s going to shake up the whole world. Because the seismic shock waves are going to ripple out of America all over the world. In fact, they already are. There are probably entire think tanks devoting themselves to figuring out what to do. For example:

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is to invest £9.3 million of proceeds from his lobbying business in a new institute that he is setting up to fight populism.

Mr Blair said last month he was creating the Tony Blair Institute (TBI) aimed at combatting populism and “making globalisation work”. On Wednesday, he confirmed he given £9.26 million net assets of his company Windrush Ventures limited to the new institute, The Times reports…

Mr Blair said last month the TBI would be a “platform” offering “thought leadership” on anti-populist, pro-globalisation policies.

He added it would “build a new policy agenda” for what he called the “centre ground” of politics, as well as allowing “a reasonable and evidence based discussion of the future which avoids the plague of social media-led exchanges of abuse.”

“Thought leadership”, eh? We all need thought leadership, don’t we? We can’t have people thinking for themselves, can we? No, sir. And Tony Blair is just exactly the kind of guy who can provide thought leadership, isn’t he? And we all know who is the anti-globalist populist with the hyperactive Twitter account, don’t we?

Only a couple of weeks to go now.

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About Frank Davis

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29 Responses to Waiting For Donald

  1. Roobeedoo2 says:

    Tiny Blur is setting up an anti-populist think tank? Er, 1997…

    ‘Labour ran a slick campaign, which emphasised the splits within the Conservative government, and argued that the country needed a more centrist administration. Labour ran a centrist campaign that was good at picking up dissatisfied Tory voters, particularly moderate and suburban ones. Tony Blair, highly popular, was very much the centrepiece of the campaign, and proved a highly effective campaigner. The Labour campaign was reminiscent of those of Bill Clinton for the US Presidency, focusing on centrist themes, as well as adopting policies more commonly associated with the right, such as cracking down on crime and fiscal responsibility.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Kingdom_general_election,_1997#Labour_campaign

      • prog says:

        Tosser.

        As for Populism, he and his ilk were quite happy to see populist pressure exerted on the Queen during the days following St Di’s death. The hand wringing and crocodile tears were beyond pathetic. I knew Bliar was a wrong’un as soon as he appeared on the scene. It was a huge factor re the massive decay of British values.

        And don’t get me started on Elton Fecking John, his display at her funeral re-defined the phase ‘cringeworthy’.

        Love him or loathe him, Paul Joseph Watson nails it..

  2. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Frank the va hospitals under obama have been stripped of doctors and nurses! All that’s really left is physician assistants/ glorified nurses acting as doctors.

    Even the local ERs are being forced to use these PA folks as Er docs!

    Obama stole 5 billion from va for his Syrian relocation program and upstart moneys he gives them.

    Meanwhile I offedered to pay cash at a dermatologists to get a shoulder sore taken care of
    And I get thrown out for being a veteran and get accused of insurance fraud for trying to pay in cash if veterans wouldn’t pay for the visit!

    Trump promised us medical cards it can’t come soon enuf!

    • Kin_Free says:

      Actually, I’m not sure that the comment is visible. Can anyone see it?

      “TB introduced me to the word ‘spin’ and ‘spin doctor’ – (i.e. Deception of the people to get whatever he wanted), and he used this sort of ‘con’ trick very effectively to push through a number of his policies. He destroyed the Labour Party when he betrayed the party’s core support and introduced the comprehensive SMOKING BAN, an EU objective that was about ‘control’ rather than ‘health’. This was his final and arguably his most effect spin-doctoring – surpassing even his WMD spin-doctoring. That EU inspired smoke ban has caused so much damage to British society, economy and public health as well as to his own party but it also ensured the demise of Gordon brown, David Cameron and Nick Clegg who all failed to correct that debacle. Many other politicians were stupid enough to follow TB on that – will they be just as stupid to follow anything he has to say about usurping the democratic vote to leave the EU?”

    • smokingscot says:

      Noted – yours is currently no. 2, however I need to log in to their system to give it a thumbs up. That I refuse to do, so consider yourself thumbed.

      See the poll says 90+% think he should butt out of EU negotiations. One of those was mine.

      And the idiot claims his foundation’s there to:

      “Blair said his newly-established not-for-profit institute is “not a think-tank” but “a platform for engagement to inform and support the practising politician.”

      Now ain’t that amusing. Lots of practising politicians of his era are sitting it out twiddling their thumbs on account of Labour crashing in Scotland and the rest of the UK. That being part payment for the smoking ban – certainly in Scotland it was.

      Maybe Ed Balls can get a job in his foundation, oh and Andy Kerr, he being the “health minister” in Scotland in 2006. Or they could tempt Jack McConnell to add his farthing worth. They were all so in touch with the electorate when in office.

      But there’s a left field chap who’s still dressed by his mummy and still wears diapers: Stewart Maxwell – he was SNP and he was the driving force to include all leisure facilities and insist on two sided shelters in our ban (which you guys got). He’s doing 4/5th of eff all – and likely to continue doing that for several years to come.

      Or how about your very own Stephen Williams. He who helped push through same sex marriage and was extraordinary supportive of every initiative by the D of H via their sock puppet ASH. I mean the guy got a medal for his brave stand to ban displays and to shove through plain packs. Yup he’ll be only too pleased to lend his wisdom to inform and support practising politicians.

      And the whole lot can be had for the same deal as all MPs £74,962 a year plus perks. Put into perspective, Blair’s 9 and a bit million’s sweet naff all if it’s staffed by heavy hitters in a state of the art office.

      Otherwise it’s simply bum fluff, a tax break and a vanity status project.

  3. Marvin says:

    I think those who are trying to block/overturn the Brexit vote are playing a very dangerous game.

    Why? because the belief that, “we live in a democracy” is a very important ideological pillar for the masses and keeps them believing in the institutions of society, especially parliament. Blocking brexit by using parlimentary manouvers and high court rulings etc would have demonstrated that parliament is undemocratic and go towards the weakening of that ideological component.

    This is why, I believe, the recent high court ruling failed and the remain MPs have been brought into line, but it has not stopped the ruling class from wanting to remain within the EU, so they now must find some other way of keeping us in, enter their “saviour” Tony Blair and his “think tank”.

    However the ruling class are in a real pickle.

    I don’t believe there will be a second referendum, because all their propoganda and threats failed to work the first time round and they may well get a more resounding leave vote than before. Any undemocratic shenanigans with the result of keeping us in, will result in the weakening of, or even the complete removal of, the “democratic” ideology and when that happens en-mass, anything goes.

    I think TB has got his work cut out!!!

    • Vlad says:

      Even back in the 50s-60s UK’s duty on tobacco was among the highest in the world – remember how Doll&co tried to explain away the higher lung cancer rate in UK compared to US despite the fact that Americans smoked more: British smokers, because their cigarettes were more expensive, smoked them right down to the last bit. :))

      I agree with you, the problems smokers face won’t be solved by Brexit. At best there won’t be any difference, at worst, if free movement of goods is eliminated, then bye bye legally bringing 2-3 times cheaper tobacco from EU countries.

  4. Hate to burst anyone’s bubble but the vote for BREXIT may yet turn out to be the worst move ever for us smokers….at least in terms of getting the Smoking Verbot amended etc. If the referendum result had been the other way around then come the next election UKIP could have gone from it’s current 1? 2? MPs to being a force to be reckoned with…maybe even a junior partner in a coalition. Then you would have gotten not only a soft BREXIT by any other name but a loosening of the Smoking Ban to boot.

    As it is the more we BREXIT the tougher things will become for smokers. Already ASH are lobbying hard for the MIL/Duty Free to be reduced to 1 50g pouch like in Oz. Does anyone really think a government free of EU restraint is going to drastically drop the duty on smokes? Really?

    • Roberto says:

      I agree: battling a local”national” Nanny State could be as hard (or harder) than battling a transnational or multi-national Nanny State. Smoking in some EU countries (Netherlands, Denmark, Germany & Greece) is less restricted than in the Brexit-ing UK.

      Also, lots of folks here are placing too much hope on what the Donald may do, but he may end up simply reinforcing the current anti-smoking climate in the USA. Let’s say that Trump (who doesn’t smoke and does not allow smoking in his premises) is not a judgemental finger-wagging moralist on smoking (as Hillary Clinton). Let’s further assume that he may oppose intrusive smoking bans for being against Big Government intruding on people’s lifestyles. However, he has already opened a difficult political front against Climate Change, a controversial sacred cow. He may not wish to open another difficult political front against the excesses of anti-smoking (another sacred cow in the USA). It is likely that he will be too busy fighting climate changers calling him the “pollution president” to want to worry of public health lobbies calling him the “cancer president”. Yet, the Donald has already defined many predictions, so the best we can say is we don’t know what he’ll do.

      • lots of folks here are placing too much hope on what the Donald may do
        Indeed. The fASHites were grizzling about The Donald’s connections to Big Tobacco, they find them ‘worrying’. Well so do I, although not for the reasons the cASHites do.
        Big Tobacco are as much to blame, if not more so, than the Tobacco Control Industry for our, us smokers, present misery. They are not our friend. They had a duty towards their share holders, their employees and their customers- in that order. They had the power to kill the Tobacco Control Industry at birth but scared of a fight they kow-towed and , as Ol’ Granny Dwarf would have said, “don’t come crying to me”.
        The Anti-smokers like to portray themselves as David fighting Goliath but in truth Big Tobacco are no Goliath, more a Judas slinking away in the shadows clutching their 30 pieces of silver.
        Render unto Cesear and all that. Rather than pinning hopes on Brexit and DT, smokers should make sure they get themselves on the dole, on benefits, and pay the eye-bleedingly obscene levels of duty with their, Cesear’s, own coin! Bleed the beast.

        • and it’s “Caeser”…blame the hour, knew i should have checked.

        • Frank Davis says:

          Almost!

          Julius Caesar
          Former Roman consul
          Gaius Julius Caesar, known as Julius Caesar, was a Roman politician, general, and notable author of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the events that led to the demise of the Roman Republic and the rise of the Roman Empire. Wikipedia
          Born: July 100 BC, Rome, Italy
          Assassinated: March 15, 44 BC, Rome, Italy

      • Frank Davis says:

        lots of folks here are placing too much hope on what the Donald may do, but he may end up simply reinforcing the current anti-smoking climate in the USA.

        I don’t have too much hope in him doing anything much for smokers. After all, he’s never said he would, so far as I know. and so he may well end up simply reinforcing the current anti-smoking climate. But I’d still prefer somebody like him than somebody like Hillary Clinton.

        he has already opened a difficult political front against Climate Change, a controversial sacred cow. He may not wish to open another difficult political front against the excesses of anti-smoking (another sacred cow in the USA).

        Very true. But if anybody looks set to slaughter any number of sacred cows, it’s Donald Trump. All these sacred cows are the product of political correctness, and he’s said “America doesn’t need political correctness”.

    • smokingscot says:

      It’s interesting that the Department of Health, with Andrew Black pulling the strings, has ASH petitioning for a swinging reduction in the duty free personal allowance for cigarettes and tobacco.

      Of course Mr. Andrew Black will wish to emulate the techniques adopted by his mentor, fellow Australian and bosom buddy Chapman. It is also an admission that smuggled tobacco products are far more of an issue than they have ever cared to admit – and the EU rules on free movement of goods bought elsewhere can cross borders because duty and taxes have been paid in the country of origin.

      The idea behind that was indeed to try to get prices of all products to reach roughly the same level, though that’s never happened, certainly not in countries that have not adopted the Euro.

      It also shows with great clarity that the Department of Health, or at least the very substantial part that’s controlled by Andrew Black, wants the UK to exit the European Single Market!

      That’s why I find this quite fascinating; they really are so far up their own rectum they couldn’t care less that by so doing they’ll screw every major company that desperately needs access to the single market.

      Such a dowdy man, so well suited to stand next to Ms. Arnott.

      http://order-order.com/people/andrew-black/

      It also shows that people like Black feel it’s within their remit to play at politics, even if he appears to be at arms length from the registered charity known as Action on Heath.

  5. waltc says:

    Where does Tony Blair get 9 million pounds? Spare pounds, at that. Is that like Clinton cash? …

    • Frank Davis says:

      I think it’s exactly like Clinton cash. His lobbying business most likely sells influence. He’s a political insider, and he knows lots of people in high places. People will pay him to gain access to people with power and influence. Something along those lines.

      • Vlad says:

        They accuse Ponta of offering Sebastian Ghita, a local businessman, a seat in parliament in exchange for paying €220,000 (£184,000) to cover the costs of a visit by a political figure. Ghita told the Mediafax news agency that this figure was Blair.
        https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/sep/06/romanian-pm-corruption-visit-tony-blair-victor-ponta

        • Frank Davis says:

          That sounds exactly the sort of thing. If you’ve got enough money, you can buy yourself some influence. And there are plenty of people like Blair (and the Clintons) who will sell influence to you.

          But what happens when a politician ceases to be as influential as they once were? I somehow imagine that the asking price for a Hillary Clinton speech has dropped sharply over the last 2 months from the former $250,000 needed to “cover her costs”.

          Maybe politicians are not very different from rock stars. And Donald Trump might be compared to Bruce Springsteen or Lana Del Rey (who made it to the big time via YouTube). After all, he can fill stadiums. And they need to keep re-inventing themselves, like David Bowie.

          After all, lots of rock stars act like politicians. Madonna, Bruce Springsteen, and others were vigorous campaigners against Trump. Perhaps they saw him as a rival?

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Found on Facebook:

    (̅_̅_̅_̅(̅_̅_̅_̅_̅_̅_̅_̅_̅̅_̅()ڪے~

  7. Pingback: Cuestión de prioridades | Contra la ley "antitabaco"

  8. churchmouse says:

    Excellent post, Frank. You nailed it perfectly.

    Trumpmas is coming on January 20. I can hardly wait.

    Best wishes to you and your readers for a happy, healthy, smokin’ 2017.

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