ASH Put Their Pennyworth into The Brexit debate

Well, that didn’t take long. I read somewhere that ASH has called for the duty-free allowance to be reduced to 200 cigs. Do we take it that ASH has been in favour of Brexit all along? It sounds like it. The wonderful political system which gives them a power base in Europe can go hang, provided that they can gain some minor advantage.

It does not surprise me. Penalise and Punish is their modus operandi. Enact a law which penalises smokers and punish them if they dare to break that law. That’s how it is done.

When I voted ‘Leave’, I know very well that there was a possibility that duty-free allowances were at risk. Had I been selfish, I ought to have voted ‘Remain’.  But I looked at the bigger picture. At least laws enacted by our own parliament can be repealed. The chances of EU laws being repealed are almost negligible. I was reading something that explained why that is so. Fundamentally, it is the lack of democratic accountability. In the EU, a law is produced by this process (more or less).

The commission proposes. The council of Ministers discusses. The EU Parliament passes. Individual countries enact.

There is no reverse procedure. To repeal a law which has been enacted in the UK for example, our government would have to get all 28 countries to agree. But what is even worse is that it would not be possible for the UK Parliament to decide that an EU laws is very damaging to the UK and that it needs to be changed. That, more or less, is what happened to Greece and Cyprus. Those countries were trapped and could do nothing about their situation. At least in the UK, we still have control of the currency.

Strange things have happened in the past. There was a referendum in the 1970s asking The People if they wanted to withdraw from the European community. Here is a weird thing.

It seems that there has always been a sort of ‘qualified majority voting’ system. That voting system (number of votes required and such) has changed with time, but not to a high degree. What has changed a lot is the ‘competencies’ where ‘qualified majority voting’ is applied. That whole area of EU ‘constitution’ is so messy and complicated that you would need to be a ‘professor’ in a university with loads and loads of time, to get to grips with it.

It seems to me that the referendum in the 1970s, in which The People decided to remain in the EC, legitimised the transfer of power to the EC at that time. But the power in question was not out of UK control. That was because the majority voting system meant that it was not difficult for the UK to raise the required votes to block some proposal. For example:

Accession Treaty (1973–1979)[edit].
Article 148 of the EEC Treaty, specifying the qualified majority voting system of the Council, was amended by Article 8 of the Accession Treaty regulating the enlargement of the community by Denmark, Ireland, and the United Kingdom.[3] Acts of the Council now required for their adoption:
41 votes (if the act was proposed by the Commission), or
41 votes by at least 6 member states (if the act was not proposed by the Commission).
These values were now related to the EU-9. The treaty allocated the votes as follows:
10 votes: France, Germany, Italy, United Kingdom,
5 votes: Belgium, Netherlands,
3 votes: Denmark, Ireland,
2 votes: Luxembourg.

That’s from Wikipedia.

Note the total number of  votes – 58. The commission needed 41 votes in favour. The UK had 10 votes, as had Belgium plus Netherlands. If the UK plus Belgium and Netherlands voted against, then the 41 votes necessary would not have been achieved. (By the way, the number of votes allocated to countries is roughly equivalent to the population)

But the expansion of the EU has changed things enormously. Look at this table:

Comparison of voting weights.
Population in millions as of 1 January 2003 [8].
Member state Population – Nice [9].
Germany 82.54m 16.5% 29 8.4%
France 59.64m 12.9% 29 8.4%
UK 59.33m 12.4% 29 8.4%
Italy 57.32m 12.0% 29 8.4%
Spain 41.55m 9.0% 27 7.8%
Poland 38.22m 7.6% 27 7.8%
Romania 21.77m 4.3% 14 4.1%
Netherlands 16.19m 3.3% 13 3.8%
Greece 11.01m 2.2% 12 3.5%
Portugal 10.41m 2.1% 12 3.5%
Belgium 10.36m 2.1% 12 3.5%
Czech Rep. 10.20m 2.1% 12 3.5%
Hungary 10.14m 2.0% 12 3.5%
Sweden 8.94m 1.9% 10 2.9%
Austria 8.08m 1.7% 10 2.9%
Bulgaria 7.85m 1.5% 10 2.9%
Denmark 5.38m 1.1% 7 2.0%
Slovakia 5.38m 1.1% 7 2.0%
Finland 5.21m 1.1% 7 2.0%
Ireland 3.96m 0.9% 7 2.0%
Lithuania 3.46m 0.7% 7 2.0%
Latvia 2.33m 0.5% 4 1.2%
Slovenia 2.00m 0.4% 4 1.2%
Estonia 1.36m 0.3% 4 1.2%
Cyprus 0.72m 0.2% 4 1.2%
Luxembourg 0.45m 0.1% 4 1.2%
Malta 0.40m 0.1% 3 0.9% 
EU 484.20m 100% 345 100%

Don’t bother with the detail, but here is what that table means. Take line 1, Germany.

Germany had, in 2003, a population of 82 million, which is 16.5% of the whole EU population. For some reason that I have not got the hang of, and can’t be bothered finding out, Germany was given 29 votes, which is 8.4% of the total of 345 votes. If you then look at the last country, Malta, you see that the population is 400 thousand, which is 0.1% of the whole population, but that Malta was given 3 votes –  0.9% of the 345 votes. I do not know why those weightings were decided.

But they are not important for our purpose. What we see is a vastly diluted pool. In territorial terms, Germany has physical contacts with many of the countries in the table, whereas the UK has none – literally, none. It is very much in the interests of countries bordering Germany, or almost so, to agree with Germany. France has direct contact with a few of the countries, but not many.

How much more difficult, then, is it for the UK to gain a sufficient number of votes to turn down some commission proposal?

The importance of the above summation is that ‘constitutional experts’ have been getting worried. The ‘competence’ to establish standards of manufacture of goods is a far different thing from ‘defence of the Realm’. The “PEOPLE’S CONSTITUTION” demands that Parliament does not hand over to others the powers of The People of the UK.

So I wonder if this latest referendum was intended to get approval from The People to hand over our powers to the EU. Does that make sense? It does to me. If we had voted ‘Remain’, then we would have voted to accept the implications of the Lisbon Treaty. Think about that. Gordon Brown signed it, probably without realising the implications. Now, we have been expected to ratify Brown’s decision in retrospect.

We have not done so.

It seems that there is only me who sees things in this way, and I do not understand why. I am not proposing some sort of conspiracy theory. I am proposing that constitutional mistakes have been made; that powers reserved to The People have been inadvertently handed over to the EU.

Thus, the main thing resulting from the referendum vote, is that the powers of THE PEOPLE must be repatriated. That would include the termination of ‘qualified majority voting’ on constitutional matters.

What I wonder about is how much our ‘leaders’ colluded with their counterparts elsewhere in Europe. I think that there is massive distrust of politicians because they blow hither and thither depending upon the wind.

But we have a serious problem. We do not really know what people standing for election really want. We only know what they say that they want. Once elected, they change their intentions.


Gosh! Am I drifting!

Back to basics.

We have voted to leave the European Union. What specifically have we voted to leave? What entity has been the focus of our displeasure? People that I have spoken to in the pub have said that they decided to vote ‘Leave’ because of Sovereignty. That idea itself is uncertain in its meaning, but it does indicate the displeasure of citizens with the ideals of the Elite.


As I see it, there are two (or more) important ideas. There is Frank Davis’s “Idle Time” idea. That idea provides time and space for ‘leisure’ pursuits, since the need to hunt and  gather has been automated by farming. That ‘idle time’ enabled people like Newton to see the movement of planets around the Sun and acquire the data to predict positions. Newtonian mathematics enabled the Moon landings. Einstein mathematics had nothing to do with the Moon landings, but could have enormous repercussions in the future.

The second idea has been PEOPLE AND NOT TERRITORIES. That is a very important idea. The implication is that people matter more than territories, which is OK. Except that a territory can only sustain X number of people. What ought to be happening with all the migrants is that they should be directed to Siberia. Siberia has lots of space and lots of land and lots of clean air. Siberia DEMANDS to be inhabited and developed. So why do migrants want to come the UK? They must be mad or stupid. For the most part, all that they can expect is benefits. Why is not Russia welcoming millions of migrants to inhabit Siberia?


So we put ASH’s demand in context. There are massive turmoils in the EU, but the likes of Arnott cannot see other than their own tiny aims.

And that is important. ASH’s aims are tiny. How on Earth that tiny group got taxation funding is incomprehensible. ASH’s aims are tiny because their efforts are directed at a tiny group of people. That group of people is those people who despise themselves for enjoying tobacco.

New Zealand has defunded ASH. It has decided to cut the anti-smoker budget in half and concentrate on the Mauri people. Good luck to NZ.

What we want to see in the UK is similar action. No wonder Cameron resigned. All the advice that he has relied upon has suddenly become a leaden weight. Is it not strange that his advisers will get away scot-free?

So who in their right minds would give a toss about ASH? Is there anything newsworthy about the tiny opinions of Arnott et al?

It is extremely unlikely that current arrangements will be scuppered. It is extremely unlikely that any current MP will rock the boat.


Brexit is intended to depose the likes of ASH, the FCTC, the IPCC and all the other leaches. We can cooperate, but not be dictated to.



4 Responses to “ASH Put Their Pennyworth into The Brexit debate”

  1. Tom Says:

    Fundamentally, it is the lack of democratic accountability. In the EU, a law is produced by this process (more or less).

    The commission proposes. The council of Ministers discusses. The EU Parliament passes. Individual countries enact.

    There is no reverse procedure.

    Yes, that hits the nail on the head.

    But by the same account, it could as much read,

    The commission dictates. The council of Ministers agrees. The EU Parliament rubber stamps. Individual countries obey.

    There is no reverse procedure.

    • junican Says:

      I like your alternative procedure, Tom. Look at the lower countries in my list. What influence do they have with only half a dozen votes? They obey, which must be advantageous to them. There must be rewards for the subservience.

  2. smokingscot Says:

    Checked up on Theresa May and her record of voting against smokers.

    She’s 100% clean.

    And I suspect that more than any other MP she’s well aware of what is really happening with the profits made by smuggling.

    Conversely Andrea Leadsom is the person ASH will most want to see in the hot seat. She’s 100% anti-smoker.

    • junican Says:

      Thanks for the links – interesting. The trouble with voting histories is that you do not know if the MP was voting as a matter of personal principle or as instructed by party whips.

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