No Escape From The Prison Ship

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.


About Frank Davis

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27 Responses to No Escape From The Prison Ship

  1. Harleyrider1978 says:

    Prison ship!

    Love it

  2. Not sure ‘prison ship’ is the right analogy for the EU, perhaps one of state run soviet cruise liners would be more fitting with it’s menu of 57 sorts of cabbage and the crew led by the NKVD officer However going with the prison hulk idea then I have to say an ‘escape’ to the Bounty will not improve the lives of smokers any.
    As I have said before, the reason all those former Remainer politicians are now happy to Brexit is not because they feel any burning compulsion to enact the supposed ‘will of the people’, nor are they worried about losing their seats. It is because they realised that without oversight from Brussels (along with castrating the Supreme court and disembowelling the House Of Lords,both things plainly in the cards) there will be no adults left in the Kindergarten to tell them they can’t stab Fiona with those rounded plastic scissors nor finger paint with their own faeces.

    • Frank Davis says:

      without oversight from Brussels … there will be no adults left

      You think Brussels is the only place where there are any adults? I think of Brussels as being full of dreamy, idealistic teenagers pursuing the “project” like it was Marilyn Monroe.

    • Rose says:

      I’ve had no faith in the House of Lords since they go rid of the hereditaries and filled it with political appointees.

      Blair attacks hereditary peers

      “The defeat of the government’s plans to change European ballots by the Lords illustrates the “overwhelming case” for reform of the upper chamber, Downing Street has said.
      The government was left reeling after the Lords defeated it for the fifth time on the bill to change the electoral system for next year’s European elections.

      Earlier, Prime Minister Tony Blair told MPs the issue was no longer about voting rights but Tory hereditary peers defying elected MPs.
      After the Lords voted against the government, Baroness Jay announced the bill had been lost and that next year’s Euro-elections may have to be held under the old first-past-the-post system.”

      “Mr Hague said: “All independent opinion is against a voting system which denies the voter the right to vote for a candidate they prefer.”
      He said Mr Blair’s government was extending the powers of a “clique of cronies” and overriding every constitutional check and balance.

      The prime minister replied the proposed “closed list” system was already in use in many major European countries.”

      • I couldn’t disagree, Blair did more damage to this country by ‘pruning’ the HoL of hereditary peers than is commonly believed. I would almost go as far as to say it was a fatal blow to democracy here even. But on a historical note the rot didn’t start with Blair, with the 1911 Parliament Act the HoC stole sovereignty of this country and they have never given it up despite what the Brexiteurs might tell you, as Blair proved on many occasions-not least with the Smoking Verbot.

        • Rose says:

          Having had a landslide victory there wasn’t anything much Blair couldn’t do.

          Blair to axe last of the hereditaries

          “Tony Blair is to abolish the rights of 92 remaining hereditary peers to sit and vote in the House of Lords, prompting allegations that he has reneged on pledges over reform of the Upper House.”
          “In a secret deal struck with Lord Cranborne, the then Conservative leader in the Lords, 92 hereditary peers were allowed to stay until the second stage of reform of the Lords was completed.”

          “The Government axed more than 600 dukes, viscounts, earls and barons in November 1999 and at that time, peers with inherited titles did not put up serious resistance. Lord Cranborne was sacked by William Hague, the former Tory Party leader, for drawing up the secret plan with Mr Blair.

          The Government can expect fierce resistance to the move. Lord Strathclyde said last night: “There should be an elected House. What we don’t want to see is an appointed House with no safeguards against the abuse of prime ministerial patronage.

          “Half of the Labour Party don’t want the hereditary peers replaced by New Labour’s crony aristocracy, such as Lord Birt, Lord Bragg, and Lord Sainsbury, who is a donor to the Labour Party.”

          I very much doubt that there would have been a smoking ban if the real Lords had still been in place.
          Even so, they still tried.

          Smoking ban ‘is based on bad science’
          June 7 2006

          “The Government takes more notice of scare stories than of evidence, a Lords committee has said
          “THE ban on smoking in pubs was an over-reaction to the threat posed by passive smoking and symptomatic of MPs’ failure to understand the concept of risk, a House of Lords committee has said.

          The Lords Economic Affairs Committee accused the Government of kneejerk reactions to scare stories about health, saying it did not weigh the risks. Ministers placed insufficient weight on available scientific evidence and relied instead on “unsubstantiated reports” when formulating policy.”

          Do you think after we leave the EU we could ask the hereditaries to come back? After all, it hasn’t been that long that they might have forgotten how to stand up for the ordinary person.

  3. Rose says:

    EU could STOP Brexit as Lords ‘stalling would lead to new Lisbon Treaty rules kicking in’
    Feb 27, 2017

    “THE UK could be stuck in the EU with its democratic vote being wiped out over stalling on the triggering of Article 50 as rules previously agreed by Gordon Brown in 2007 become law on March 31.
    Theresa May has promised the public she will make Brexit happen but she has just four weeks before Lisbon Treaty rules come into effect which can make it MORE difficult for the country to leave the European Union.
    The Prime Minister is being forced to wait on the House of Lords who could send the Brexit bill back to the House of Commons.

    And sources have claimed a delay could take place so rules – which have already been ratified within the Lisbon Treaty which say 14 member states have to approve the exit – will kick-in from April 1.”

    We are not out of the woods yet.

    • All just scaremongering. Why do people think May chose the Ides Of March in the first place? She has made it perfectly clear that Art 50 will be triggered in time even if she has to personally shoot every Remainer Lord herself.
      I assume those type of Brexisterical articles are merely to ensure when May does finally get rid of any meaningful unelected chamber none of the sheeple will protest.

      • No my point was that our home grown adults (outside the HoC) will be no longer in a position to reign in the excesses of the HoC or ‘the Kindergarten’. May has never forgotten the slap(s) down she got from the ECHR, how her power was curtailed as HomesSec, nor will she forgot the slap down she got from the UK Supreme Court, the government lawyers said as much in their opening statements, nor will she forgive the Lords for not simply rubber stamping her bill…she made that very clear in a very Tebbitesque way.
        Somehow the image of Merkel pursuing “the project” like some love struck, damp knickered teeny beiberite fan-gurl does seem apt….

    • Frank Davis says:

      Thanks for the reminder, Rose.

  4. Vlad says:

    #The ban includes some flavoured cigarettes and roll-you-own tobacco, including fruit, spice, herbs, alcohol, candy or vanilla.#
    We know the pretext for a ban on flavours such as fruit or candy is that they appeal to children…I wonder what the pretext for banning alcohol flavor was…

  5. Rose says:

    Junican had been trying to find out who signed us up to the FCTC in Geneva, no wonder his FOI didn’t get him far,. It seem we didn’t sign up at all. It ws an Irishman and the Greeks.

    Brussels, 16 June 2003
    EU among first to sign Convention on Tobacco Control

    “Health and Consumer Protection Commissioner David Byrne and the Greek Council Presidency are among the first to sign in Geneva today the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) on behalf of the European Union

  6. Frank Davis says:

    Watch out, Rose. Now coffee is addictive. My added emphases

    A Deadly Passion for Coffee: How Did this Addictive Drink Fuel the History of the World?

    If you cannot imagine a day without a warm cup or mug of coffee, you are not alone. Many of the most famous stories of the world are related to people who loved coffee. Did you know that Benjamin Franklin was addicted to this drink? Have you heard that Mozart, Bach, Balzac, and Napoleon all couldn’t live without it either? Let me tell you the story about their addiction and love for the aromatic brown beans.

    • Rose says:

      Already got that covered, Frank, I started researching the many and varied health benefits of coffee in 2008.
      I also did a month on decaff just to make sure, I drank no more and no less.

  7. waltc says:

    Politically, we’ve got the same kind of thing going in the US, with what’s (a little too darkly) been called “the deep state” and the media, the academics and the bien-pensants refusing to accept the change in regimes. Except here their followers smash windows and burn cars, while women, complaining of being treated like sex objects, parade around the streets costumed as giant vulvas. IOW, we’re having a national nervous breakdown and it’s still up for grabs as to whether the enraged minority can win

    From yesterday and Rose’s link to an Aussie article on plain packaging and its overt intention of freaking smokers out, Nisakiman’s announcement that he left a comment encouraged me to do the same. Why don’t more of us go over there and take a stab at it

  8. Smoking Lamp says:

    Every day I see more and more indications that the lifestyle controllers seek prohibition for tobacco. Place where you could once smoke inside are off course all smoker, outdoor patios are becoming smoker, and even ash trays outdoors are being removed as blanket smoking bans are imposed. I think we are beyond the prison ship metaphor and well into the prison planet scenario.

  9. smokingscot says:

    Wholly agree with your thrust. As I recall there are only a handful of exiteers in her cabinet and the end of March is a date forced on Mrs. May.

    On the other hand it seems May is prepared to allow a second Scottish referendum – and the SNP want that in 2018, while May can only attempt to delay it until the end of Brexit.

    The next couple of years should prove very interesting indeed, though I have to point out that despite the robust economic data coming out of the UK, Sterling’s still on a downward curve, so the opposite of what should be happening. If Carney continues with his policy of low rates, he’s steering us into the most horrible morass of an inflationary spiral.

    And all these issues, along with the poorly considered NI for self employed and lowered dividend exemption (a home goal by Hammond) means Mrs. May may not call for an early election, leaving her with that albatross of 56 SNP members in Westminster.

    May needs to quit being the nice guy, get shot of the dead wood and get brutally medieval. And if she does get another term as PM, do something about the H of L.

  10. get brutally medieval. And if she does get another term as PM, do something about the H of L.

    I’m hoping you mean that in the sense of ‘reinstate the hereditary peers and scrap the Parliament Acts 1911 and 1940-something? But I fear, going by your comments, you meant it in the medieval sense of ‘who will rid me of these troublesome Lords?’. In which case do not come grizzling when May manages to get Licences for smokers through parliament and into law in less time than it takes to bludgeon an archbishop.

    • Rose says:

      I completely agree, what we need in the HoL is the equivalent of non political people dragged off the street to serve, which is what the hereditaries were.

  11. Rose says:

    Care home worker suspended after injuring Hoole resident in tobacco row
    March 10

    “A nurse who caused an injury to a “vulnerable” man at a care home in Chester after an argument over a tobacco allowance has been suspended.
    Janet Kirk was suspended by the Nursing and Midwifery Council after a disciplinary panel heard she repeatedly refused to give a resident their daily ration of tobacco at Crawfords Walk Care Home in Hoole.
    The panel heard he became “increasingly agitated” after being refused.

    When the resident tried to enter the lounge in his pyjamas – which is against the care home’s policy that residents must be dressed before entering – Ms Kirk tried to block the way by closing two sets of doors.In doing so the resident’s wrist became trapped and he was cut.”

    “A disciplinary panel heard that the incident at Crawfords Walk Care Home in Hoole – which looks after dementia and mental health patients – unfolded after Janet Kirk repeatedly refused to hand over a resident’s daily ration of tobacco, without which he became ‘increasingly agitated’ throughout the day back in May 2015.”

    “Another nurse who worked at the home said Ms Kirk was familiar with his daily regime and the impact that her withholding the tobacco would have had on him.”

    “Ms Kirk asserts that she is remorseful for her actions but, in the panel’s judgement, her focus is primarily on the impact which these incidents have had on her,” it said.”

    Since when has “misconduct” been a euphemism for torture?

    “The imposition of a striking-off order was given ‘serious consideration’ during the hearing, but the panel ultimately decided that would be disproportionate”.

  12. Frank, your projection for the end of March sounds all too likely. Is that end of March thing something that’s been in the works for years, or something that came up since Brexit? How much of the delay in implementing Art. 50 may have been deliberate with an eye upon this date? If it can be shown to have been a deliberate delay designed to overrule the voted will of the people I’d say that’s grounds for whatever the UK equivalent of impeachment or some form of legal revolt would be.

    – MJM

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