Inhabiting Separate Realities

I spent a while yesterday listening to fragments of the increasingly chaotic Brexit debate going on in the UK. One little event stuck in mind: the exchange (provided by lip-readers) between Theresa May and Jean-Claude Juncker at 50 seconds into the video below.

“What did you call me?” May began. “You called me nebulous.”
“Yes, you did. Nebulous! Nebulous!”
“I didn’t,” said Juncker. “I didn’t!”

I can’t read lips too well, but I can read the expressions on people’s faces, and Theresa May certainly doesn’t look too happy about something.

Juncker later says that May misinterpreted something he said. He said he hadn’t been calling her nebulous, but someone else, or something else. They inhabited separate realities.

But it all seemed utterly childish to me. They all seemed like squabbling children, who were all starting to cry because someone said they were nebulous. What a terrible thing to be told! You’re nebulous.

And in fact more or less everyone I saw on YouTube yesterday seemed like so many squabbling children. And if there’s a debate in Parliament about it all, I suspect they’ll all look like children too.

None of which bodes too well for Brexit.

My guess, right now, is that Brexit won’t happen. I think it will get cancelled by the European Court on some technicality. Something like that. Something along those lines. And what will follow is the formation of a Brexit political party, and an antiBrexit political party, rather in the same way the SDP (remember them?) started up in 1981.

But increasingly I don’t think it really matters what happens in the UK about Brexit, because I think that what we are really witnessing is the slow motion disintegration of the EU, in which drama Brexit is just one small bit part player.

What seems rather more serious to me is what’s been happening in France over the past few weeks with the Gilets Jaunes. I think these events in France are as significant as the shock June 2016 Brexit vote, and the shock November 2016 Trump election. Those two events were votes, but the Gilets Jaunes wasn’t a vote: it was a sudden popular revolt against the French government. And one that nobody saw coming. I can’t think of any pundit who’s been saying: “Watch out for the French people. They’re coming to the boil.”

I think the Gilets Jaunes have shown the rest of Europe how to bring down a government. For they succeeded in bringing France to a halt, just by blocking roads. They didn’t actually bring down Macron, but if they’d gone on they would have done so. The riots in Paris were just a noisy sideshow. Governments all over Europe (and beyond) must now live in fear of Yellow Vests:

Egypt bans yellow vests in fear of copycat protests

For all over Europe (and perhaps all over the world), the governing political classes have become detached from their peoples. They inhabit separate universes.

Nothing illustrates this better than the tide of smoking bans which have swept over the world in the past decade or two. For governments and health experts these appear as a great step forward, almost as great the invention of sewerage systems, saving millions of lives. For the people who endure them, they bring no benefits whatsoever, and only division and alienation. The antismokers and the smokers inhabit separate universes.

It’s the same with global warming/climate change. The climate scientists inhabit a universe in which we are all going to be roasted if we keep putting CO2 into the atmosphere. But the protesters in the Gilets Jaunes inhabit a universe in which no such thing is even beginning to happen. Once again, there are two separate universes, two separate realities.

And there’s a deepening loss of faith by ordinary people in medicine, in science, in government, in everything. What happened with religion during the Reformation 500 years ago is repeating itself, but this time in the secular realm. Back then a lot of people stopped believing the bishops and the Popes of the Roman Catholic Church. Exactly the same thing is happening now, but in Climate Science rather than Christianity. But it’s essentially the same loss of faith, the same loss of trust. It’s a loss of faith in authority of almost every kind, because the authorities seem to have all gone rather mad.

The Gilets Jaunes mark the point where ordinary people had finally had enough of a “climate change” that seemed completely nonsensical to them, because they couldn’t see it happening in their own lives.

The Gilets Jaunes may have been the first to revolt, but they won’t be the last.

About Frank Davis

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16 Responses to Inhabiting Separate Realities

  1. Elizabeth says:

    Nice post Frank. Thank you!

  2. smokingscot says:


    Just a most interesting photo of an attractive young lady smoking a cigarette inside an artist’s studio. She’s ex Love Island (where participants are shunted off set to smoke individually in a smoking shelter).

    Neither she nor the photographer had to do the one where her face is partially obscured, so why do it when it might incur the wrath of them thar controllers? With assets like hers and her bare faced cheek, I’d speculate neither give a flying fart what those whining parasites may think.

    Great role model for assertive females and fantastic footwear, cost a mint and designed by a guy in Japan.

  3. slugbop007 says:

    I was thinking about separate realities before I fell asleep last night. Coincidence? TC, the EU, the Health & Wellness enthusiasts and others would like us to follow only one reality: theirs. Twenty-five years ago I described the lamentable state of the streets and sidewalks of Montreal to my girlfriend. She reacted negatively, as though I was attacking her and her city. Her daily routine was driving to the local library in her car and returning home later in the day by car. I, on the other hand, did a lot of cycling, bus trips and walking all over the city. She spent her day with her co-workers and some library users and I spent my day seeing thousands of people.

  4. slugbop007 says:

    When I first clicked on your latest post there was an ad for Health & Wellness just above the top of your page. Maybe they’re stalking you? I use AOL Mail.

    I forgot to sign my name to the previous comment about my reality and my former girlfriend’s reality.


  5. slugbop007 says:

    The ad was from WW: Weight Watchers, Wellness that Works.

    Is this the beginning of a global ‘fight obesity’ campaign?


    • Rose says:

      It’s been going on for a while now, Slugbop.

      Tobacco Funds Shrink as Obesity Fight Intensifies
      JULY 27, 2010

      “When the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation decided in 1991 to take on Joe Camel, it became the nation’s largest private funding source for fighting smoking. The foundation spent $700 million to help knock the cartoon character out of advertisements, finance research and advocacy for higher cigarette taxes and smoke-free air laws and, ultimately, to aid in reducing the nation’s smoking rate almost by half.

      But a few years ago, the Johnson foundation, based in Princeton, N.J., added another target to its mission, pledging to spend $500 million in five years to battle childhood obesity. As the antiobesity financing rose to $58 million last year, a new compilation from the foundation shows, the organization’s antismoking grants fell to $4 million.

      The steep drop-off in private funds illustrates the competition under way for money as public health priorities shift. In the race for preventive health care dollars, from charities and from federal and state government sources, the tobacco warriors have become a big loser.”

      We seem to be funding the tobacco warriors instead.

      British taxpayers’ money given to the WHO used for lavish conference in Delhi
      Nov 9, 2016

      “THE Government is facing new demands to review the “grotesque misuse” of British taxpayers’ money after it emerged that £15 million has helped fund a “junket for the great and the good” in Delhi.

      Shipley Tory MP Philip Davies, who has campaigned against the UK wasting money on international aid, has hit out at a fund given to the World Health Organisation (WHO) to help it campaign against tobacco in “low and middle income countries” which would not normally receive British aid cash.

      The UK Government has committed to £3 million a year for five years until 2021 for the WHO’s Framework Convention on Tobacco Control (FCTC) and some of that money has been spent on a lavish conference in Delhi this week due to end Friday.”

      • beobrigitte says:

        Weight watchers existed back in the 80. I do remember one of my friends losing her 6kg gained during pregnancy that way. (For me at that point in time losing the 16+kg weight gained during pregnancy was not a problem. Each time 6 weeks after giving birth I was back at my old weight)

        I didn’t know this:
        Tobacco Funds Shrink as Obesity Fight Intensifies
        JULY 27, 2010

        Only a week ago I learned from my friends that there is a vicious war on overweight people. All 3 of my friends are overweight due to medical conditions (2 are hypothyroids, the other I can’t remember) and they get to feel the heat. I told them how we smokers get treated and they told me how the overweight people get treated. They are not far behind us smokers! We came to the alcohol-drenched conclusion that the miserable healthists’ world can only be survived by either/and smoking, drinking and comfort eating.
        Ironically, of the 4 of us girls I’m the only smoker, by far (10 years+ ) the oldest and the only one with no physical ailments.

        • beobrigitte says:

          As public health priorities shift, anti-tobacco programs are losing out to the campaign against obesity.

          Isn’t it a lot of public money to waste when the number of homeless people is steadily increasing and even the baby-boomer generation “lives longer”, so their pension age was increased, too?
          That does remind me of another thing that grinds my wheel: My pension increase does not cover the 10p daily standing charge increase for my gas supply as from January 2019, let alone the, also for January 2019 announced, increase in the price of 1 kwh electricity. Thanks for that!!
          The next dentist trying to lecture me about the “dangers” of smoking gets a lecture of what life is like getting older. And I will tell him/her that it is 100% sure that he/she will get old unless dying of a car crash or anti-smoking disease!

          I spent a while yesterday listening to fragments of the increasingly chaotic Brexit debate going on in the UK.
          No offence intended, I have lost interest in this as whatever happens, no-one is going to cull the anti-smoking industry and gives people like us our social life and social standing back.
          Some parts of Germany are holding up against the anti-smoking industry just fine! My usual watering hole there has a wonderful sign in the window, telling anti-smokers to go to the other, smoker-free, pub up the road, It can be recognized easily by the lack of customers.

  6. garyk30 says:

    They actually have a language for the alt universe, it’s called PC talk.

  7. smokingscot says:

    More on treating smokers as children. Seems prisoners are having real difficulty coming to terms with the smoking ban, so the authorities offer them pop corn, candy floss an lots of chocolate goodies.

    That’s real clever, offer hyper people lots of calories in the form of fat and sugar. Grease balls will 100% never live to a ripe old age.

    • beobrigitte says:

      Serco, which runs the jail, said the sweets were the prisoners’ idea and paid for out of their own fund — not by taxpayers.
      I thought the prisoners are allowed to use e-cigs? Does the prison staff have to be protected from “passive-vape-damage”?

      That’s real clever, offer hyper people lots of calories in the form of fat and sugar.
      And then come down on them like a ton of bricks with lectures about obesity…..

  8. Mark Jarratt, Canberra, Australia says:

    Fascinating and thought provoking analysis, and very informative comments by Slugbop and Rose. Alt Universe thinking, the only PC reality of those who know best.

    Australian federal and state governments have introduced ‘health and safety’ regulations to the extent that my mate Geoffrey, a high rise buildings scaffolder in SYD (he can keep that: easier ways to earn a quid) tells me the impractical risk averse rules impede the team and slow them down. Union officials have legal rights of access to tell the scaffold team their job, regardless of training or background.

    It’s also very common to see politicians in news reports wearing hard hats and ‘gilets jaunes’, even if remote from hazards such as moving heavy machinery. Bourgeois w@nkers who have rarely dirtied their delicate digits with actual labour.

    The quantity of gilets jaunes in Australia must number in the millions. I have two myself. The chance of similar uprisings seems to be NIL though, as many of my complacent fellow citizens look to government to think for them, believing regulation and intervention is always the only answer. 😐

  9. waltc says:

    In all those places, too, the government, both literally and figuratively, has all the fire power, having confiscated the guns. . Good luck with Resistance.

    As to the main topic

    Indeed, we live in not just one, but a near endless series of alternative universes. The R’s universe v. the D’s. The blacks’ v the whites’. The middle class blacks’ v the ghettoized blacks’ (which makes talk of the black “community” as senseless as talk of a white “community” would be, ) The smokers’ v the nonsmokers’ . The religionists’ v the atheists’. The universe of “there are two sexes” v the universe of infinite possibilities.

    More important , though,the universes of the rulers v the ruled. The “leaders” of almost all western counties now live in the same universe as each other and are alienated from, and pretty much despise, the peasants they putatively lead. But then, too, the universe they live in is often itself, um, nebulous. Someone pointed out on the radio today that if Trump’s wall ever starts to get built, the environmental angels are prepared to slap it with lawsuits on the grounds that it will endanger a particular species of bird, butterfly and owl. Meanwhile, the same angels promote windmills and solar panels which daily guillotine and incinerate thousands of…birds, butterflies, and at least possibly, owls. IOW, unlike the peasants, they live in a universe where they’re able to blithely engage in doublethink–the ability to hold two conflicting ideas in their heads without suffering a nervous breakdown.

  10. Rose says:

    Frank, do you remember that article from the Jerusalem Post that I posted here in 2011 “Collagen from tobacco shows great promise” ?

    Well it’s borne some very unexpected fruit.

    Breathtaking! The artificial lungs for human transplants made of tobacco
    18 December 2018

    “The unlikely material is modified to produce a synthetic form of collagen, the fibrous substance that makes up the ‘scaffolding’ of many major organs.

    The researchers have found a way to genetically modify tobacco plants to produce large quantities of collagen almost identical to the body’s own.

    This is turned into a type of ‘ink’ and loaded into a 3D printer, which produces man-made lungs by building up layer after layer of the replica collagen. The lungs are then seeded with the patient’s own stem cells (extracted from skin samples), to develop them into healthy lung tissue suitable for transplant.

    he scientists hope the technique — which is still at a very early stage — could be used to mass-produce artificial lungs so patients needing transplants no longer have to wait the months, or even years, it can take to get a suitable donor organ.”
    Scientists at Israeli biotech firm CollPlant have perfected the method of growing collagen in tobacco plants in just eight weeks. They take seedlings and add five human genes vital for collagen production. When the plants mature, the leaves are harvested and processed to make ‘BioInk’, a purified collagen extract liquid.

    Now, a U.S. firm, United Therapeutics, is building a 3D-printer capable of using the ink to create the artificial lungs. Such printers have been used to make human skin and even retinas for the eye, but these are relatively small, thin tissues. Printing a more complex organ needs a bespoke machine that’s also able to cope with collagen’s large molecules.”

    Collagen from tobacco shows great promise

    “Natural human type I collagen is the most abundant protein in the human body, and the main protein in all connective tissue. Commercially produced collagen (pro-collagen) is used in surgical implants and many wound-healing devices in regenerative medicine. The current market for collagen-based medical devices in orthopedics and wound healing exceeds $30 billion annually worldwide”

    Now Prof. Oded Shoseyov of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem’s Robert H. Smith Institute of Plant Sciences and Genetics in Agriculture has produced a replica of human collagen from tobacco plants – an achievement with great commercial implications. Shoseyev has established the world’s only lab to report successful co-expression of all five essential genes in transgenic tobacco plants for the production of processed pro-collagen. Shoseyov’s invention has been patented, and the scientific findings behind it were published recently in the journal Biomacromolecules. He is one of the recipients of the Kaye Innovation Award for his work on synthetic collagen.”

    “Commercial collagen is currently produced from farm animals such as cows and pigs as well as from human cadavers. These materials are prone to harbor human pathogens such as viruses or prions (Creutzfeldt-Jakob or “mad-cow” disease). Human cadavers are scarce, and for certain indications possesses serious ethical issues”

  11. Smoking Lamp says:

    Well, it seems the World Economic Forum is living in the anti-tobacco extremist reality. This recently published essay (in a section called ‘formative content’ which seems to infer ‘propaganda’) entitled “Tobacco is harming far more than just our health” maintains that “Smoking isn’t just harmful to human health, it’s also damaging the planet.” It bases this claim on a WHO commissioned report (from the Secretariat of the FCTC: That report in turn is derived from a paper Zafeiridou, Hopkinson & Voulvoulis. Cigarette Smoking: An Assessment of Tobacco’s Global Environmental Footprint Across Its Entire Supply Chain. Environ. Sci. Technol., 2018, 52 (15), pp 8087–8094. DOI: 10.1021/acs.est.8b01533; . All of this with the acknowledged input and advice from none other than the UK’s own ASH (Action on Smoking and Health). A collection of sock puppet action groups (grifters) playing telephone to enrich their Ponzi scheme come to mind.

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