The 280th Day

I remain unconvinced that Theresa May actually is going to invoke Article 50 next Wednesday, 29 March 2017, and thereby start the process whereby Britain leaves the EU.

Her reason for not invoking it right now was recently given as: her wish not to spoil the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the signing of the Treaty of Rome, on 25 March 1957. How very thoughtful of her.

But on the 31th of March, new provisions come into effect across the EU, whereby member states will only be able to leave the EU with the permission of several other member states. All the member states of the EU are about to become locked into it. Nobody will be allowed to leave (I’ve haven’t yet  now managed to find Rose’s link again).

So my reading of it is that all Theresa May has to do, having delayed invoking Article 50 for 279 days since the Brexit vote of 23 June 2016, is to delay just one more day, and – bingo – the new provisions come into effect on Thursday 30 March, the 280th day, and Brexit will require the permission of other EU countries before it can come into effect.

And it shouldn’t be too difficult to arrange for a single day’s delay. Somebody could forget to bring their pen. An official car could have a blow-out. There’ll be snow on the ground, or else that old staple of British Rail, “leaves on the tracks.”

I have a lot of reasons for suspecting that this might happen. First and foremost among these is that, up until the Brexit vote, Theresa May had been a Remainer. But somehow or other, almost overnight after the vote, she changed her tune, and declared that “Brexit is Brexit.” But did she really change her mind? Why should she have?

For another reason for suspecting that something like this will happen is that the political class in the UK has been more or less wedded to Europe for the past 40 years. In fact, the political class across the whole of Europe has been, and remains, wedded to the idea of the EU for even longer. It’s the ordinary people of England, particularly those outside the cities, who never signed up to the EU “project”. And when have the ordinary people of England ever really mattered to the British government? When have the people ever had a say in affairs of state – particularly ones this important? When, for that matter, have any of the peoples of Europe ever had a say in matters of state policy?

It would of course be a huge betrayal of faith if Article 50 isn’t invoked next Wednesday. Theresa May would have double-crossed the British people. But it won’t be the first time that they’ve been double-crossed in recent years.

After all, the UK Labour government double-crossed the British people by introducing a complete and comprehensive public smoking ban on 1 July 2007, after promising in their manifesto that they would only impose a ban in pubs that sold food as well as alcohol. That manifesto promise went out the window after Labour were re-elected, and the 20% – 25% of the UK population that were smokers were thrown under the bus. They’ve been completely ignored ever since. And if the British government can ignore 25% of the British population, what’s to stop them ignoring an additional 25% or so? If you can ignore 25% of the population, why not 50%? Or, in the case of the EU referendum, 52%? In fact, why not simply ignore everybody? And we’d then be back with something like either an absolute monarchy, or – more likely – an oligarchy.

The EU “project” is one in search of political power and influence. A century ago, more or less the whole world was run by Europe. Many European states had overseas colonies or empires. Britain’s Royal Navy ruled the waves. That world was shattered first by WW1 and then again by WW2. And ever since Europe has never enjoyed the status it once had. It’s been instead just a buffer zone between the USA and the USSR, and a shadow of its former self. So the EU “project” is really one of recovering Europe’s lost status and power and influence. To achieve this, the lost overseas empires are being replaced by a single European empire, which will be able to bang its shoe on the table in the UN, and be heard once again.

The EU has been slowly and patiently pieced together for over 60 years. That’s why they’re having a big 60th anniversary celebration right now. The departure of the UK from the “project” is a catastrophe for it. It more or less torpedoes it completely. Are they going to allow that to happen? Are they going to roll over and accept the death of this dream? Of course not. Particularly when the European political class is fully on board with that dream. Referendums have been ignored before, many times. And this one must be ignored too. Silly ordinary people can’t be allowed to capsize a project of such global importance.

It’s no different in the USA, where silly ordinary Americans had the temerity to vote for that silliest and most ordinary of Americans, Donald Trump, as their 45th President. Is the US “Deep State” – i.e. the entrenched US political establishment – going to allow this maverick to ride roughshod over all their plans? Of course not. They’re going to thwart him at every opportunity they get. They’ve already managed to stifle his attempts to stop Muslim terrorists entering the USA at will. They’ll probably also manage to stop him building his Wall as well. And just yesterday they managed to stifle his plans for replacing Obamacare. Donald Trump may well have become President, but it increasingly looks like he may not be able to preside over very much more than his own desk in the Oval Office of the White House.

For the political class of both the USA and Europe have no interest whatsoever in what silly ordinary people want. Nothing is clearer and sharper about this division than in the matter of immigration. Ordinary people want to preserve their own cultures and languages and national identities. But the political classes want to destroy those cultures and languages and identities. That’s why they want, like Angela Merkel, to import millions of Muslim migrants and terrorists into Europe. For an essential part of the “project” is the destruction of national identities and national cultures and national languages. What better way to do that than to flood Europe with millions of people from a completely different culture? Even the terrorists are welcome, as part of this process. Because the terrorists can be used to demoralise the people. And the rapists are welcome too. What better way for a people to be reduced to subjection than to have their women raped en masse? And for the rapists to then be protected by the state? And for prominent politicians to tell people to “get used to it”? If there’s rapine and murder all over Europe right now, it’s because those in authority want rapine and murder. Because they want to suppress national identity and national culture and national language, and create a docile society of obedient serfs. Rape and murder have always been political weapons: prior to her revolt in 60 AD against the Roman occupation of Britain, Boudicca was flogged, and her daughters raped.

Anyway I won’t be very surprised if there’s some hiccup, and Theresa May won’t actually invoke Article 50 next Wednesday. And the very next day, on the 280th day after the Brexit vote, it will become impossible for her to invoke Article 50. If this happens there’ll be something like an insurrection in England, much like there was after the Brexit vote, and the election of Donald Trump. The Remainers will be jubilant, of course. And the political divisions in England will deepen sharply. But they’ll also deepen everywhere else in Europe. Although I think they were going to deepen anyway. And they were going to deepen anyway because the aspirations of ordinary people are now more or less completely opposite to those of the ruling European political classes. They are, in fact, almost perfectly contradictory. For, Brexit or no Brexit, Europe is heading for a civil war that will pit all the peoples of Europe against their ruling classes, as the contradictions become intolerable. It’ll be a Spanish Civil War, but on a European scale.

Of course, Theresa May actually invoke Article 50 next Wednesday. I’ve just been setting out what seem to me to be a few good reasons why she may not.

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About Frank Davis

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32 Responses to The 280th Day

  1. garyk30 says:

    In the USA, we already have limited instances of rioting in the streets due to PC dogma and Trump’s election.

    I fear that these are only the beginning of very bad times.

  2. Rose says:

    Frank

    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.”
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/772880/Brexit-Article-50-EU-negotiation-Theresa-May-House-of-Lords

    Previously

    Sold out to Europe: Brown makes Queen sign away our sovereignty
    Jul 18, 2008

    “GORDON Brown was last night accused of betraying Britain with a “grubby”surrender to Brussels.
    Under a cloak of secrecy, the Government finally ratified the Lisbon Treaty earlier this week and committed the country to a new deluge of European meddling.
    In a sign of the Prime Minister’s personal embarrassment over the betrayal, the historic step was only made public yesterday – 24 hours after the covert ceremony had taken place.”
    http://www.express.co.uk/news/uk/52947/Sold-out-to-Europe-Brown-makes-Queen-sign-away-our-sovereignty

  3. But did she really change her mind? Why should she have?
    because, as I have said many times, she realised that by leaving the EU, further emasculating the HoL (if that’s even possible so weak is it since the Hereditories left) and the Supreme Court in the process, she would achieve a level of unrestrained power that would have had Oliver Cromwell thinking ‘steady on, girl’.
    Politics, like rape, is all about the power and Brexit hands more unrestrained power to our elected MPs than is good for anyone plucked at random off the green benches.
    Or does anyone really think TM awoke the morning after the plebis-cide and suddenly had a damascian ‘moment’ ? *Snork*

    • Rose says:

      Theresa May was a most reluctant remainer, but no one wants to be on what’s widely expected to be the losing side.

      EU referendum: Theresa May could lead ‘Out’ campaign after Nigel Farage says he’d be ‘delighted’ if she took the role
      1 November 2015

      “Theresa May left open the option of leading the drive for Britain to quit the European Union after the Ukip leader Nigel Farage said he would be “absolutely delighted” if she accepted the role.
      Following a survey suggesting she would be the public choice to take charge of the “Brexit” campaign, the Home Secretary insisted she was only focused on renegotiating Britain’s relationship with the EU.
      Her comments were in contrast to David Cameron’s warning last week of the dangers to Britain of leaving the EU and attempting to strike a Norwegian-style deal with the bloc.

      Ms May is regarded as more Eurosceptic than either the Prime Minister or Chancellor George Osborne, who flies to Berlin on 2 November to hold talks with German minister to discuss Britain’s demands.

      Mr Cameron is expected next week to make public his demands, which will be discussed at a summit of EU leaders next month.

      Ms May would be the most popular choice to head the Out campaign in the referendum promised by Mr Cameron, according to the Survation poll for the pressure group Leave.EU. She attracted the backing of 22.2 per cent of respondents ahead of Mr Farage with 18.6 per cent.”
      http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/eu-referendum-theresa-may-could-lead-out-campaign-after-nigel-farage-says-hed-be-delighted-if-she-a6717291.html

    • Frank Davis says:

      Brexit hands more unrestrained power to our elected MPs than is good for anyone

      As I see it, it merely hands back to them the powers that they used to have. If anything, it’s the EU which is the only “unrestrained power”. You seem to think that we only signed up to join the EU to escape from our own tyrannical parliament. But I don’t remember it as being tyrannical. Perhaps you do.

      • No it removes the voluntary restraints/controls on the powers they, the HoC and the PM have always had, for example TM exercised her power, that the Home Sec has always had, to remove that hook handed nutjob but the ECHR said she couldn’t. She could have done it anyway but she chose to obey the ruling of the ECHR as other sovereign states in the EU have done. She could have quite easily have said ‘fine us and be damned’. Did Cameron have to get Juncker’s approval for those recentish Extra-Judicial Killings?.
        Have any ‘democratically elected’ Politicians anywhere ever given up real power ? At least when not at literal gun point? I doubt it…although Erdogan seems to be about to manage it.
        Your point about the ‘layer of concrete’ seems quite valid to me, as did Junican’s ‘persecution has to get worse to get better’ (however abhorrent that thought is to me, he has a point) but not the whole ‘the EU took our sovereignty’ .
        As to the ‘tyranny’ thing, I’m with C.S.Lewis .
        But we’ve discussed all this before, I merely wanted to remind Vlad that I have cast my crystal ball here over the Post BREXIT landscape for smokers many times.

  4. beobrigitte says:

    It would of course be a huge betrayal of faith if Article 50 isn’t invoked next Wednesday. Theresa May would have double-crossed the British people. But it won’t be the first time that they’ve been double-crossed in recent years.
    After all, the UK Labour government double-crossed the British people by introducing a complete and comprehensive public smoking ban on 1 July 2007, after promising in their manifesto that they would only impose a ban in pubs that sold food as well as alcohol. That manifesto promise went out the window after Labour were re-elected, and the 20% – 25% of the UK population that were smokers were thrown under the bus.

    I’m afraid I lost faith on 1.7.2007. And what is the former Labour leader doing now?
    http://www.tonyblairoffice.org/
    Looks like he is financially rather healthy. The rest on his site is in my view populist blurb.

    In short, I believe what I can see not what I’m being told to see.

  5. Vlad says:

    Will UK smokers be better off after article 50 is triggered? It’s enough to look at Australia to seriously doubt this. I understand that Brexit was a vote expressing dissatisfaction with the status quo, but if one has stomachache, shooting oneself in the foot, how is this going to cure the stomachache? None of the issues talked about on this blog will be solved by Brexit, on the contrary, there’s a strong case to be made that they will get worse (Australia again).

    • Not only is there a ‘strong case’ they will be made worse, they WILL. No doubt. NO question. The ink on Brexit will not be dry before Oz levels of personal use import will be imposed. Within 2 years of Brexit it will be ILLEGAL to smoke anywhere outside where a child might wander within a mile’s radius, followed by a verbot in your own home if children are present or might be present. Within a decade there will be mandatory smoking licences which will require annual renewal for £££ and mandatory attendance at ‘Smoking Cessation’ counselling.
      But I have said all that here before too, and I don’t think even the most frothy mouthed of frothy mouthed Brexiteurs think I’m wrong. Even the ones who admit that none of the current AntiSmoker laws were imposed by the EU but rather by a sovereign independent UK Government. Smokers voting for Brexit is akin to turkeys voting for Xmas or Jews for National Socialism.
      The first Brexiteur who grizzles in my presence that they can no longer afford £45 for a 50g packet of tobacco (current NZ price I believe) will get a smack in the gob….or maybe 2 if The Violence comes upon me.

      • Frank Davis says:

        Within a decade there will be mandatory smoking licences which will require annual renewal for £££ and mandatory attendance at ‘Smoking Cessation’ counselling.

        Well, that might happen. But I don’t think it actually will. Because I think that the return of UK sovereignty to the UK parliament will come with a reminder that they are accountable to the people. And that’s something that the EU isn’t.

        For while I agree that it was the UK parliament that inflicted the 2007 smoking ban on Britain, it was a UK parliament which was rapidly becoming unaccountable because it was rapidly becoming irrelevant. For if you had political ambitions over the past 20 years or so, you wanted to go where all the action (and all the money, and all the power) was. So we’ve seen ex-PM Tony Blair angling to become EU president, and any number of Mandelsons and Kinnocks and Brittens and the like heading off to take up lucrative posts in the EU, where they are almost completely insulated from their electorate. It is in this manner that the EU has effectively been subverting every democracy in Europe. Brexit will mean no more highly-paid, unaccountable jobs in Brussels.

    • Vlad says:

      An example: an UK, pack a day smoker will spend about £3k/year on cigarettes, at UK prices. In countries like Romania, Bulgaria the same number of packets could be bought for £1k. Closer to home, in Belgium or Spain it’s still less than £2k I think. If after Brexit the free movement of goods will stop, who’s going to give back the UK smoker that £1k-£2k he currently can save, perfectly legal?

      • nisakiman says:

        If after Brexit the free movement of goods will stop, who’s going to give back the UK smoker that £1k-£2k he currently can save, perfectly legal?

        The black marketeers.

        Sales of black marked tobacco will march in step with the escalation of duties and taxes and the reduction of allowances. It’s too potentially lucrative a market to have escaped the attention of the many chancers who can see the opportunity of a fast buck. If I lived in the UK, I’d probably be looking at the possibilities myself.

        • Rose says:

          900,000 illicit cigarettes seized in Bradford raid
          22 March 2017
          http://www.itv.com/news/calendar/2017-03-22/900-000-illicit-cigarettes-seized-in-bradford-raid/

          Hour after hour, day after day, week after week it’s much the same, I’ve been watching them roll in for years now, and I can’t help but wonder how much gets in to the country without being caught.
          It’s getting very much like the days of Prohibition in the US , and we all know how that ended.
          As a law-abiding person who believes in quality control, I’ll just sit back and wait.

        • Frank Davis says:

          I wish I knew a few of these famed black marketeers. When I lived in Devon, I knew a few. Since coming to Herefordshire, I’ve seen nary a one. I put it down to the fact that, historically, Devon and Cornwall was smuggling country. And you’ll only encounter smuggled tobacco if you live near a sea port.

        • I can’t help but wonder how much gets in to the country without being caught.
          ask those nice people over at Rizla for their annual UK sales figures? I recall some stat after ‘Open Borders’ came in the 90s that in the first month sales of RYO tobacco halved and sales of rolling papers doubled. Strangely enough after that I never heard another similar comparison….

        • Frank Davis says:

          sales of RYO tobacco halved and sales of rolling papers doubled.

          Well, that might be because lots of tobacco was being smuggled in. But it occurs to me that it could have been a result of roll-ups being rolled thinner, with less tobacco in them. I remember in Devon once admiring the perfectly cylindrical roll-ups of an acquaintance. But I realised not long after that it was really only because he was rolling really thin roll-ups that he was managing to get them perfectly cylindrical. Mine are usually more heavily loaded with tobacco, and are consequently (perhaps) rather lumpier roll-ups.

          Anyway, I would expect the number of cigarette papers being bought to increase as less tobacco is used in rolling them.

        • Since coming to Herefordshire, I’ve seen nary a one.
          I would think the scarceness of smugglers is as much to do with increased HMRC controls on goods brought in from the EU. Back when Open Borders first came a veritable Cottage Industry of smuggling in baccy and booze sprang up. But the Sovereign UK government bringing in MILS and allowing Border Farce to circumvent EU law and nick even mobility vehicles without trial for supposed ‘smuggling’, meant the rise of the Chinese forger gangs…most of the blackmarket tobacco you can find anywhere now is fake. Some of it of better quality than anything you can buy in the shop, but a lot of it I wouldn’t let my worst enemy smoke (those horror stories about rat turds were true unfortunately). I posted about it here ages ago:
          http://nothing-2-declare.blogspot.co.uk/2011/04/god-bless-hooky-street-guest-post-by.html

      • smokingscot says:

        @ Vlad

        It depends on what our final agreement is with the EU.

        If we retain access to the internal market as well as the customs union then nothing will change and folks can bring in as much tobacco as they wish for their own consumption (or 800 fags if it’s not).

        Unfortunately it’s very unlikely we will get the market/union without agreeing to the free movement of people – and that’s a very sore issue for many people who want us out.

        If we cannot come to some sort of middle ground deal (accept the free movement of EU nationals with passports but no one with only travel documents – and do bear in mind we can – and most likely will – cut all welfare benefits to economic migrants) then it’s very likely the present rules that apply to anyone entering from outside the EU will apply to all of us. 200 cigarettes or 250 gr of tobacco.

    • Rose says:

      From my point of view the vote for Brexit was a vote to restore our sovereignty, not one of self interest. Who knows what will happen.
      All I know is that under Cameron , the Conservatives didn’t feel like Conservatives. Perhaps under Theresa May they will.

      • “vote to restore our sovereignty”
        We never lost it in the first place otherwise the sovereign independent UK Parliament couldn’t have imposed the Smoking Verbot in the first place. The HoC stole the sovereignty of this nation over a century ago and they have never given it up. Not voting for Brexit because one was a smoker isn’t ‘self interest’ it was a question of ‘survival for a few years longer’ .
        And yes you’re right, the last Tory leader was IMO Major. Since then they have become Blairites-lite….and May has already shown she hasn’t the balls of the Iron Lady needed to run this country.

    • Frank Davis says:

      Will UK smokers be better off after article 50 is triggered?

      No. Not immediately. In fact, if anything, as TBD has pointed out, they’ll be worse off.

      But as I saw it, the 2010 parliament’s vote for a European smoking ban, complete with show trials for prominent offenders (an event which turned me against the EU) , was like an extra layer of concrete over the mass grave of Europe’s smokers. Getting out of the EU lifted the extra layer of EU concrete over the mass grave of Britain’s smokers. We’d only be left with the single layer of concrete poured over us by the British parliament in February 2006, when they voted for the smoking ban. It’s more or less impossible for anyone to change EU law, but the UK parliament at least belongs to the British people, and it is possible to repeal its laws.

      So, Brexit will mean that British smokers will most likely be practically worse off. But strategically they’ll be better off, by being in a stronger position to change the law.

      And I do think the law will be changed. I always have.

      • waltc says:

        FWIW I agree with that completely.as well as with Rose. You may, in fact, be damned if you do and damned if you don’t but Brexit is a better way to be damned. And, putting things in perspective, would you really “sell your birthright” for an only marginally cheaper mess of pottage?

        The question that’s haunted me as I’ve read about the timing of Article 50 is–okay, so that’s the absolute deadline, but…why is she crashing it? Surely, I’d imagine, she could have done it at any time before that deadline. Last month, last week, in December, so why not?

        As for the US health care fiasco. First, it seemed like a bad bill. Second, they managed its intro badly–almost like Pelosi’s notorious “you have to pass it to see what’s in it” when they signed Ocare–at least as far as the public was concerned–which allowed the hostile media to cherry pick factoids and color them dire. At least with Obamacare, Obama and his minions lied to the public about it for months in advance and, with the help of the complicit media, predisposed folks to like it. Finally, they allowed Obamacare to define the playing field instead of thinking outside its box. I could rant on this subject for pages but it’s way off topic. Just to add that it wasn,t the Dems who thwarted it since no matter how good it was (and it wasn’t) they were always going to vote against it as a bloc. But now, instead of just throwing up their hands and leaving it, the R’s ought to start again from square one and offer the public a sound and well-explained viable alternative.

      • Frank, I agree with your concrete-layer analysis. The UK may be as bad or worse than the EU in some ways regarding smoking, but you also have more chance of getting things changed than if you were having to fight the EU and its Big Brother, the UN.

        – MJM

  6. Rose says:

    A poll has revealed almost 60% of people want smoking rooms in Welsh pubs

    “Charity Ash dismissed the survey because health is ‘not a matter of public opinion’

    Deborah Arnott clings to “studies” long debunked and hopes no one will notice.

    “In England the Department of Health commissioned a report on the impact of the ban on smoking in public places,” she said.
    “It found bar workers’ health increased considerably after the laws came into force and their respiratory function improved.
    “In the first year there were 1,200 fewer admissions for heart attacks, purely because of the legislation.”
    http://www.walesonline.co.uk/news/wales-news/poll-revealed-60-people-want-12797617

    Analysis Reveals that Institute of Medicine Report Failed to Include Data that Found No Effect of Smoking Bans on Acute Coronary Events in 3 Countries

    England, Scotland, and Wales

    WALES

    “National data from Wales reveal that there was no reduction in hospital admissions for myocardial infarction (heart attacks) during the first 9 months after implementation of the smoking ban throughout Wales. Monthly data on heart attack admissions from all Welsh hospitals for the years 2006 and 2007 were examined. The smoking ban went into effect on April 2, 2007.

    There were 4,199 heart attack admissions in 2006 and 4,155 in 2007. Thus, there was essentially no change in heart attacks between these two years. In contrast, there was a 6.3% decline in heart attack admissions from 2005 to 2006 and a 10.3% decline in admissions from 2004 to 2005.

    When analyzing the data by month and comparing 2007 to 2006, there was an increase in heart attack admissions during the first five months after the smoking ban (April through August) and a decline in heart attack admissions during the next four months (September through December).

    It seems quite clear that the data show that the smoking ban in Wales was not associated with a decline in heart attack admissions during the first 9 months it was in effect (and if anything, the decline in heart attacks came to a halt).”
    http://tobaccoanalysis.blogspot.co.uk/2009/10/analysis-reveals-that-institute-of.html

    • In the six month Helena ban, the difference in heart attacks was only on the order of two or three per month for the most part, and when the ban period is broken down into three month increments instead of just being looked at as a six month unit, you clearly see that the claim of heart attacks being reduced and then bouncing back after the ban is false. Heart attacks went down in the first three months after the ban came in because the weather was decent enough in northern Montana that people just drove to the town next door to party (and had their heart attacks over there if they were going to have them!) In the SECOND three months of the ban, when the winter came roaring in, people stayed in Helena and the heart attacks bounced right back up…. they bounced up while the ban was STILL in effect: not AFTER it ended as the Antismokers claimed.

      – MJM

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