James Delingpole: We Won Brexit But the Same Dreary Losers Are Still In Charge
In the immediate aftermath of the extraordinary palace coup in July last year, where the losing faction of the Conservative party who’d voted Remain somehow managed to slime their way into all the key positions of government – Remainer Theresa May as Prime Minister, Remainer Philip Hammond as Chancellor, Remainer Amber Rudd as Home Secretary – I dashed off a despairing piece called “Brexit won the battle: But now we’ve lost the war.”
…after yesterday’s budget, I’m disappointed to learn that I was right all along. Britain remains under the thumb of the same old liberal elite that gave us the Tony Blair government and the Gordon Brown government and the David Cameron Coalition government and the David Cameron “Conservative” government. All governments run by the kind of people who were perfectly happy to remain within the European Union because they basically shared its communitarian socialist values and believed that the job of elites is to tax, spend, and regulate while the little people accepted with humble gratitude whatever bread and circuses were tossed their way.
As another new example of regulation:
Under new tobacco laws, smaller bags (under 30g) of roll-your-own tobacco and ten-packs of cigarettes will be banned from May 21.
The government started phasing out the fags last May when packaging was standardised but shops have had a year to get rid of old stock.
The ban includes some flavoured cigarettes and roll-you-own tobacco, including fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy or vanilla.
A complete ban on menthol-flavoured cigarettes is set for May 20, 2020.
Menthol cigarettes are flavoured with compound menthol, a substance which triggers cold-sensitive nerves in the skin without actually providing a drop in temperature.
Nothing has changed. Taxes on tobacco were ratcheted up another notch in the budget. More tobacco varieties are being banned. Choice is becoming more and more restricted. The same sort of restrictions are being called for with other products.
My local tobacconist has stopped selling a local brand of Black Cherry tobacco which I only discovered a year or so ago. Now you can buy the same tobacco, minus the flavouring. But the flavouring is now also on sale in the shop, in the form of a spray.
Perhaps in the future you won’t be able to buy iced cakes. You’ll be able to buy plain, unflavoured cakes. But you’ll still be able to buy a separate icing dispenser to put the icing back on the cake.
By the time the UK was ready to invoke Article 50 and start the clock on the exit negotiations, one would have hoped that the strategy had been largely settled, leaving us reasonably certain as to what was involved.
Nearly nine months down the line, though, in what has been one of the most frustrating and unrewarding periods in contemporary political history, we still lack clarity on our Government’s intentions.
Worse still, there are growing fears that the absence of clarity from Mrs May and her ministers do not reflect a desire to protect the UK’s negotiating position. Rather, it is indicative of the confusion and ignorance at the heart of Government over what they are seeking and what is possible to achieve.
And if Theresa May remains a Remainer, along with all the rest of them, are they really going to trigger Article 50 to leave the EU? It’s supposed to happen next week, 15 March, by all accounts. But will it? Rose recently pointed out (I forget where) that new treaty regulations were coming into effect at the end of March, by which EU member states would only be able to leave with the agreement of 7 or 8 other states. They’ll be locked in. What if there’s a delay, or somebody forgets to do something, and we reach the end of March without Article 50 being invoked, the new treaty rules kick in, and, sorreee Britain… but you can’t leave the EU now.
Maybe Jean-Claude Juncker knows something we don’t:
BRUSSELS (AFP) – European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday voiced hope that Britain will one day return to the EU fold despite voting to leave.
“I do not like Brexit because I would like to be in the same boat as the British. The day will come when the British will re-enter the boat, I hope,” Juncker said after a meeting of the remaining 27 EU leaders on the bloc’s post-Brexit future.
Perhaps he knows that, in a week or two, nobody will be allowed to escape the prison ship.