European Update

Some time ago, in a posting called ‘Seismic Shift’ if memory serves, I had mentioned that the Germans, some of the most passionate smokers on the planet, were busily passing anti-smoking laws, and had wondered, or rather worried about, what that would mean for the future peace of Europe. Well, we can all relax. Now that push has come to shove, the various German states are busily punching holes in the legislation. The president of Lower Saxony, a certain Christian Wulff, for example, (a non-smoker, oddly enough) has been accused of ‘buyability’ (Käuflichkeit) for suggesting that the federal law goes too far, and proposing certain exceptions. (Yes, America, they have states’ rights in Germany, too.) Turns out that the tobacco industry has been buying the beer and sausage for various political rallies and so on for some time now, and there’s been some suggestion that that has influenced Herr Wulff’s thinking on the matter. Personally, I think he should be nominated for a peace prize.

He’s not alone, either. Although the Germans are a little too given to groupthink, cooler heads, among them owners of bars and restaurants, as well as political leaders and, in particular, ministers of public safety, have seen the folly of this latest crusade. By the time the smoke has cleared I suspect that not very much will have changed.

But a funny thing has happened on the way to the Autobahn too, recently. Some nut (a Trotskyite, most likely) has suggested that with global warming looming and all, it might be time to post speed limits on them. Fortunately, the backlash has been fierce. The conspirators, with this move, have tipped their hand. It will soon be revealed, possibly at a beer hall in Munich, that the same mastermind is behind both of these dangerous initiatives. Next thing you know, the lunatic will be suggesting that stores be allowed to open at times when it’s convenient for people to shop, and at that point, unless I’m very much mistaken, the German people will come to their senses and throw the bum in jail.

France, however, is showing early signs of becoming the next problem. The French have just elected Sarkozy, a pro-American, to the presidency. If this trend continues, and the French start to look for better ways to spend their time than disparaging us hamburger-munching Americans, next thing you know they’ll be storming the Bastille.

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