If anybody needed one more argument for Brexit, Motor1 has it:
Apparently, the light-up hood ornament creates light pollution.
It’s hard to feel too sorry for anyone wealthy enough to own a new Rolls-Royce, but there’s bad news for these folks in the European Union because the illuminated Spirit of Ecstasy badge is no longer available. Making matters worse, the light-up hood ornament needs to be removed from any Rolls that currently has it.
The cause of this weird decision is that the illuminated sculpture does not comply with the new EU light pollution regulations. After disconnecting it, Rolls will refund owners for the price of the option and replace the hood ornament with a silver-plated Spirit of Ecstasy. Note that this only applies to vehicles in the EU, and models elsewhere are still free to light up the lady.
Obviously, Eurocrats have way too much time on their hands.
The Irish VP of the European Parliament, Mairead McGuiness, spitefully shuts down Nigel Farage’s microphone as he delivers his triumphant Farewell-to-the-EU speech on the eve of Brexit. Typical bad sportsmanship of Globalist elite types. And Farage and the rest of the British delegation gleefully walk out.
“We were told to leave with our British flags and that’s exactly what we did.”
Pascal Bruckner, in a must-read essay in Quillette, describes how Europe is allowing its own virtue to destroy it.
Western Europeans dislike themselves. They are unable to overcome their self-disgust and feel the pride in their heritage and the self-respect that is so strikingly evident in the United States. Modern Europe is instead mired in shame shrouded in moralizing discourse. It has convinced itself that, since all the evils of the twentieth century arose from its feverish bellicosity, itâ€™s about time it redeemed itself and sought something like a reawakened sense of the sacred in its guilty conscience.
What better example of this proclivity exists than Angela Merkelâ€™s embrace of about a million refugees fleeing war-torn Syria in 2015? Even though this gesture that would help replenish a shrinking labor force was not strictly disinterested, for this pastorâ€™s daughter it was also a spectacular way to repudiate Nazism and escape its shadow. After the catastrophe of the Second World War, the Federal Republic would now offer itself as an ostentatious example to the world. Germany would practice open-heartedness in a single country, just as Stalin in the USSR had once practiced socialism in a single country. Already pre-eminent in Europe, Berlin would call the shots, whether exercising toughness or kindness. Merciless with the Greeks in July, when the Chancellery wanted to eject them from the eurozone, but beneficent with the Syrians in September, it could demonstrate severity or an ever so imperial charity. …
Many people are wondering why it is only Europe that feels guilty, not only for its own past crimes, but also for the faults of others? The answer is simple: we dominated the world for four centuries. The empires have collapsed but their memory remains, and this has given rise to an ever-expanding discipline: post-colonial studies. We have become the continent of the uneasy conscience and we wish to show the rest of the world the face of moral law in all its purity. Europe sees itself as a sacrificial offering, through which the entire world can expiate its sins. It offers to assume the shame for every misfortune that befalls the planet: famine in Africa, drowning in the Mediterranean, terrorism, natural disasters, they are all directly or indirectly our handiwork. And when we are attackedâ€”by terrorists, for exampleâ€”itâ€™s still our fault; we had it coming and are undeserving of compassion. Since we are overcome by such a torrent of sins, all we can do is bear up and attempt to correct and atone for them all, one by one. An unctuous discourse intended to edify is replacing what was once political and historical analysis; an ideal society must replace the existing one of ordinary men, and be cleansed of its impurities. Two areas in particular reveal this delusion of sanctityâ€”immigration and ecology.
Shooting is a popular sport in Switzerland, where families often can be seen heading for the range, carrying their rifles.
Polls predicted that the Swiss would surrender to EU demands for strict controls on semi-automatic firearms for fear of losing membership in the Schengen agreement bloc, which allows people from 26 European nations to enter any of the countries without passport control. The EU has demanded that the Swiss comply with Brusselsâ€™ new firearm restrictions if they want to remain in the borderless zone.
Under a Revised Firearms directive, a ban on weapons capable of rapidly firing multiple rounds
Automatic and semi-automatic weapons would either be banned or heavily restricted
Each owner of such a weapon, and the weapon itself, are known to police across Europe
All essential weapon components should be clearly labelled and registered electronically
Switzerland has an estimated 2.3 million guns, with a population of 8.5 million.
That figure could be much higher, as only guns acquired since 2008 (when Switzerland first joined Schengen) have to be registered.
The EU wants to ensure that automatic and semi-automatic weapons are either banned or heavily restricted, and that each owner of such a weapon, and the weapon itself, is known to police across Europe.
For non-EU member Switzerland, the idea of Brussels interfering in hallowed Swiss gun traditions is awkward.
The Swiss government wants voters to back the EU directive, but it has also lobbied Brussels hard for exemptions which might make it more palatable. Those semi-automatic army assault rifles, for example, will still be allowed at home if Swiss militia soldiers want them.
The government argues that gun lovers won’t notice the new regulations, while at the same time Switzerland will have preserved its membership of Schengen.
Business leaders say Switzerland’s Schengen open borders have been good for the economy. Police point to data-sharing on crime in the Schengen information system.
Immigration officials warn that if Switzerland votes No and drops out of Schengen, it will lead to a spike in asylum requests from people turned away by neighbouring countries.
That is because it would no longer be covered by the rules under which asylum seekers can only apply to one EU member state for protection.
Switzerland’s political establishment is united in support of the EU’s restrictions, and latest opinion polls show voters may go along with them.
The deciding factor in this vote is likely to be Swiss women, for decades the most vocal campaigners in favour of gun control.
And, despite the absence of any Swiss mass shooting problem, and despite Switzerland having a lower crime rate than any of its European neighbors, and despite their own traditions, the Swiss voted by a 63.7% margin to surrender.
Voters have endorsed a controversial reform of Swiss gun law to bring it in line with European Union rules.
Final results show the reform winning 63.7% of the ballot on Sunday. The result was much closer in rural regions and voters in canton Ticino rejected the legal amendment.
Ownership of semi-automatic weapons will require regular training on the use of firearms and a serial numbering of major parts of some guns to help track them. …A broad alliance of gun clubs, militia army officers, hunters and collectors, supported by the political right, tried to overturn a decision by parliament last year that limits notably the use of semi-automatic firearms.
The government and most major political parties warned that a rejection of the legal amendment would deny Swiss authorities access to a Europe-wide criminal database and lead to the exclusion of the country from a joint EU security system under the single border Schengen agreement.
Opponents collected the necessary signatures to challenge the decision by parliament, saying the reform was â€œdictated by the EUâ€ and would lead to â€œdisarmingâ€ Switzerland through â€œuseless, dangerous, un-Swissâ€ measures.
They said that tougher controls on semi-automatic guns and improved traceability of firearms go too far in a country with near-universal conscription, a high rate of gun ownership, but a low crime rate.
Supporters of the amendment argued that the government secured sufficient opt-out clauses in negotiations with the EU, and that Brussels has taken into account Switzerlandâ€™s tradition of self-defence and national identity that includes a well-armed citizenry.
â€œThe legal reform respects Switzerlandâ€™s time-proven gun tradition,â€ Justice Minister Karin Keller-Sutter assured in the run-up to Sunday’s vote.
A majority in parliament, backed by the cantons and the business community, said failure to adopt tougher controls could have serious consequences for police as they risk being cut off from a crucial European database on criminals and suspects.
Supporters were also concerned that exclusion from Europeâ€™s single-border area could complicate cross-border traffic and hamper tourism.
Every new car built after May 2022 will be fitted with anti-speeding devices to alert drivers when they break legal limits, as well as in-built breathalysers to cut out engines when drink drivers get behind the wheel.
New vehicles will need to have an Intelligent Speed Assistance (ISA) limiter as standard after the European Parliament agreed on new rules in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
The alert system will ensure drivers observe speed limits through GPS and road sign recognition cameras.
EU governments and MEPs agreed on 30 new safety standards for cars, vans and trucks. The bill is set to be rubber stamped in a forthcoming vote of the European Parliament.
Defaming the Prophet Muhammed â€œgoes beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate” and “could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peaceâ€ and thus exceeds the permissible limits of freedom of expression, ruled the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) on Thursday, upholding a lower court decision.
The decision by a seven-judge panel came after an Austrian national identified as Mrs. S. held two seminars in 2009, entitled â€œBasic Information on Islam,â€ in which she defamed the Prophet Muhammadâ€™s marriage.
According to a statement released by the court on Thursday, the Vienna Regional Criminal Court found that these statements implied that Muhammad had pedophilic tendencies, and in February 2011 convicted Mrs. S. for disparaging religious doctrines.
She was fined â‚¬480 (aprox. $547) and the costs of the proceedings.
â€œMrs. S. appealed but the Vienna Court of Appeal upheld the decision in December 2011, confirming, in essence, the lower courtâ€™s findings. A request for the renewal of the proceedings was dismissed by the Supreme Court on 11 December 2013,â€ it said.
â€œRelying on Article 10 (freedom of expression), Mrs. S. complained that the domestic courts failed to address the substance of the impugned statements in the light of her right to freedom of expression.â€
On todayâ€™s ruling, the ECHR said it â€œfound in particular that the domestic courts comprehensively assessed the wider context of the applicantâ€™s statements and carefully balanced her right to freedom of expression with the right of others to have their religious feelings protected, and served the legitimate aim of preserving religious peace in Austria.â€
The court held â€œthat by considering the impugned statements as going beyond the permissible limits of an objective debate and classifying them as an abusive attack on the Prophet of Islam, which could stir up prejudice and put at risk religious peace, the domestic courts put forward relevant and sufficient reasons.â€
The statement also added that there had been no violation of Article 10 of the European Convention of Human Rights, covering freedom of expression.
Flintlock rifle once owned by Louis XII, Carl Otto von Kienbusch Collection.
Guns.com reports that EU bureaucrats are proposing still further Draconian regulations, including requiring antique muzzleloaders in museum to be deactivated! Just weld up the barrel of that 17th-century wheel-lock with the royal provenance, please. Who cares if that destroys 6-figures of collectible value?
Besides further changes in magazine limits, requirements to join shooting clubs and restrictions on blank firing guns, some in the European Union want to lower the boom on replicas and black powder as well.
The Dutch Presidency, a 20 member assembly from the Netherlands that currently chair the EU ministerial councils, moved earlier this month to drastically change the allianceâ€™s Firearms Directive in response to terrorist incidents in Europe including attacks in Paris and Brussels.
Among the changes would be to deactivate historical guns held in museums across Europe, ban the production of replica firearms to include reproductions of antique weapons, remove the entire class of Category D guns which includes most muzzleloaders, move single-shot long breechloaders with smoothbore barrels to a higher level of control, and other efforts.
The European Federation of Associations for Hunting and Conservation (FACE), the EUs most outspoken gun rights group, called the move draconian.
â€œWho will believe that the removal of the Category D and the prohibition of reproductions of antique firearms will effectively contribute to the fight against organized crime and terrorism?â€ reads a statement from the group. â€œNo report highlighted that reproduction of antique firearms constitute a danger for security and society. Criminals using Kalashnikovs and arms dealers who supply terrorists on the black market will not be affected by these new constraints which exclusively hit honest citizens, legal owners of single-shot reproductions of antique firearms.â€
As noted by the Prague Daily Monitor, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka joined representatives from Slovakia, Poland, Austria and Switzerland in opposing the changes.
â€œThe Czech Republic is very likely to express its negative position at the meeting of the council [for justice and home affairs] on June 10,â€ Sobotka said.
Besides the Dutch, the changes are supported by Croatia, France, Italy, Portugal, Spain and Sweden.
Paul Rahe discusses the basic existential problems facing NATO and the European Union.
Politics are generational, and there is next to no one left who remembers World War II. The manner in which things spun out of control in the 1920s and 1930s is no longer even a memory. It is all ancient history now. The new generation hardly even remembers the Cold War and does not appreciate how dangerous it once was. The crises that gave rise to NATO have faded into the past. Barack Obama treated our longtime allies with a measure of contempt. Donald Trumpâ€™s off-the-cuff remarks suggest that he may think that he can do without them altogether.
The one thing that NATO could not survive is repudiation by its hegemon. We may live to regret our forgetfulness. …
There is [a] defect to the European Union that cannot be remedied. It is made up of democracies. That is a requirement for membership. But it is not itself democratically governed, and it is difficult to see how it could be. The European elite may be able to bridge linguistic and cultural differences. The peoples of Europe whom they govern cannot. The European Parliament will never be a properly representative body.
In consequence, the EU is governed by a commission appointed by the governments of its members and dominated by its most economically efficient member, Germany. In practice, there is no provision for a redress of grievances and little room for a correction of course. The ordinary citizens of the countries within the union have next to no say about the regulations under which they live and work. In effect, they are subjects within an oligarchy; and, thanks to the crisis to which the common currency gave rise and to the refugee crisis produced by the war in Iraq and Syria, there is now seething discontent. There is no way to vent that frustration by throwing the rascals out.
In the long run, such discontent is inevitable. The citizens in the various countries in Europe are unlikely to be satisfied with a situation in which they are not masters in their own homes. The more intrusive and pervasive the EU becomes, the more it will be resented. And sooner or later, when a crisis presents itself, there will be an explosion.
If the EU is to survive, the European elite will have to acknowledge that the ambition to turn the old customs union into a proper federation was folly, the currency union will have to be dismantled or reduced in extent, and the welter of regulations will have to be cut back. Charles de Gaulle envisioned a Europe des patries. It is only in such a Europe that the distinct peoples of Europe can be self-governing. Sometimes, less is more. …
Britain’s Guardian, the voice of Labour, has a very good, very long article by Sam Knight, paying tribute to Daniel Hannan as the key figure responsible for the recent referendum victory taking Britain out of the EU.
Hannan was part of a particular generation of young Conservatives deeply marked by these events. He was in his first term at Oxford, studying history at Oriel, when Thatcher resigned on 23 November 1990. Twenty-three days later, John Major approved an early draft of Maastricht. The sense of a mighty mistake being made has never left Hannan. By the end of term, he had founded the Campaign for an Independent Britain, or CIB, at the Queenâ€™s Lane cafe on Oxford High Street.
â€œI remember swearing what the old adventure stories would call a terrible oath to do something,â€ he told me. …
At Oxford, Hannanâ€™s screeds on Maastricht quoted Aristotle, Shakespeare and William Pitt the Younger. But he also had an eye for a stunt. Conservative ministers visiting the CIB were ambushed and photographed with anti-EU T-shirts, while Hannanâ€™s speeches â€“ as his writings are now â€“ were littered with arch, aphoristic observations. Lord Salisbury was able to run the British empire with 52 civil servants. Kingâ€™s College, Cambridge, has produced more Nobel prize winners than France. The worldâ€™s oldest parliaments all hail from small islands. Goldman Sachs wants you to vote remain. â€œA Hannan soundbite does stick with you,â€ said Littlewood. â€œHe does make you think.â€ …
[W]orking to another order of events, separated Hannan and the other Maastricht diehards â€“ even from fellow Tories who might otherwise agree with them. â€œThe view at the centre was these were the people who had kept the Conservative party out of power for years,â€ said Gove. â€œWhatever they are most passionately in favour of must perforce be at best eccentric, at worst electoral disaster.â€
One new MP in 2005 remembered being lobbied to support the move out of the EPP and asking an older colleague for advice. â€œHe said, â€˜You just cannot. It looks good. But you cannot give an inch to these guys because they will never, ever accept it. They will take and take and take until they have won.â€™â€ Several Conservative MPs I spoke to for this article compared Hannan and his set to â€œentryistsâ€ and â€œTrotsâ€ for their ideological purity, their quest to reassert what they regard as Britainâ€™s lost place in the world. â€œThey are grammar-school imperialists,â€ one MP told me. â€œA hundred years ago Hannan and his ilk would have been able to vent their rather bizarre beliefs bullying people in a nether-province of India.â€
Hannan says such insults have never bothered him. â€œIt passes by as the idle wind that I respect not,â€ he said. He simply regards himself as a different kind of a politician. â€œI think public life for me has a slightly didactic role, OK,â€ he said. â€œYou should be trying to shift the centre ground of public opinion.â€ …
In November 2009, though, the Conservatives abandoned their own manifesto promise to hold a referendum on the Lisbon treaty. Hannan called Cameronâ€™s office to resign from his duties in Brussels â€“ he was the partyâ€™s legal affairs spokesman in Europe. A senior aide picked up the phone. â€œI said â€¦ I just think youâ€™ve made the most terrible mistake,â€ Hannan recalled. But he promised to step down without publicity. The adviser thanked him, and asked Hannan what he planned to do next. â€œIâ€™m going to devote myself full time to securing and then winning a referendum on leaving the EU,â€ Hannan replied. The aide laughed down the line. â€œGood luck with that.â€
Hannan put the phone down. He was in his office in Brussels. The Macauley poem, Horatius at the Bridge, entered his mind: â€œWho will stand on either hand / And keep the bridge with me?