That’s a challenge then

It’s really quite masterly in its way, this piece of projection. Still, we’re asked one particular thing, or rather told something which we can refute:

And we all know that almost no Brexiteer can name an EU regulation that they would actually want to repeal.

I think I count as a Brexiteer. Worked for Ukip, stood for them as an MEP candidate.

Just off the top of my head I’d get rid of the entirety of Reach. Plus all the bendy banana laws. And the European jam, jellies and marmalades laws. That’s just things I’ve actually written columns about over the years. Give me 15 minutes and I’l find a library full for you.

A weekend of reflection leaves me still bemused by Brexit. Or at least by Brexiteers. Let’s leave aside all the nastiness of some who claim to represent those interests. Let’s instead consider what Brexit is supposedly about. Except I cannot. Because I do not know.

It’s based upon entirely the wrong ideal – ideal – of governance for a free and liberal society. It’s using the Roman Law derived idea of a regulation for everything and nothing without a regulation. Whereas a liberal society says these limited things must be regulated because of third party damage and everyone’s free to get on with the rest as they wish.

The European Union’s simply on the wrong side of liberal.

60 comments on “That’s a challenge then

  1. I work for a notified body (well our office in the EU is anyway) and am involved in the CE marking process for certain PPE products. I think the whole thing is nonsense (it’s too easy to cheat) and should be replaced with a much more effective market based approach.

  2. Not sure if Ritchie is exceptionally dishonest or just thick:

    Let’s instead consider what Brexit is supposedly about. Except I cannot. Because I do not know.

    Didn’t we have a referendum campaign that lasted approximately 73 years (or felt like it), where the arguments for Brexit were debated to death?

    Hasn’t our membership of the EU been a much-discussed political issue since the early 70’s?

    Didn’t it, in fact, bring down Mrs Thatcher and dog the Major government? Then force David Cameron to promise a referendum?

    Ritchie wants us to believe there are no arguments for leaving the EU, but instead he’s just expressing incredible ignorance of the biggest political issue of our time. Imagine a would-be commentator saying:

    Let’s instead consider what the Poll Tax is supposedly about. Except I cannot. Because I do not know.

    The BBC wouldn’t return your calls, would they?

  3. I’d add CAP and the fisheries policies to your list. And we could start a long list of tariffs and quotas – why limit imports of wine or olive oil?

  4. And the rigid adherence to the precautionary principle that appears to be designed to keep us stuck in the 1990’s forever.

  5. GDPR (which is leading to US websites just doing a blanket block of EU visitors) and cookie banner laws, the regulations on wine bottle sizes, fishing throwback laws, the requirement that we must have a state broadcaster.

  6. I can – as a farmer I’ve got fences that I put up brand new only about 7 or 8 years ago using ‘treated’ timber, and they are all currently collapsing because the posts have all rotted off at ground level. This is because the EU banned the CCA wood treatment that had been in use for decades, and actually worked.

    I’ve just taken out a fence my father put in nearly 30 years ago, while a few stakes have rotted, most are still sound and capable of being reused. Thus I have been forced to use far more expensive fencing materials than I would otherwise – I’m currently using mostly plastic posts (anywhere from 50 to 100% more expensive) or creosoted posts (about 25-50% more expensive).

    So the EU has directly cost me many thousands of pounds, and its cost every home owner who has fences to maintain as well, because they’ll have exactly the same dilemma I do – buy ‘treated’ timber which won’t last a decade, or pay double for better alternatives. Every time I see a nice new fence going up around a house or garden all I think is ‘What a waste of money, it’ll need doing all over again in next to no time.’

  7. EU ‘State Aid’ rules stop the UK having the tax regime it wants. We have to ask the EU’s ‘permission’ for such things as R&D Tax Credits and the Enterprise Management Incentives scheme.

    You’d think a tax ‘expert’ would be aware of this.

  8. The mental confusion of Murph is astonishing. Try making sense of this paragraph, edited by me to remove bizarre and unnecessary parenthetical mindfarts :

    “Brexit is a giant con trick. It has been made possible by the fact that a powerful elite, who feel as though society does not understand them….. has control of a significant part of our media precisely because it is not as competitive or open as their preferred economic model would deem desirable, and use that control to peddle lies. “

    So a powerful elite is calling for Brexit. He does not define this élite but it must be a group outside parliament, the civil service, the media, the CBI, the IOD, the universities….

    This unidentified group controls the media because it is not competitive! OK I can agree that the media is uncompetitive but it is universally opposed to Brexit. Obviously it is not controlled by Brexiters. And what is that “because ” doing in there? If they control the media it cannot be because it is not as competitive as they desire.

    Maybe it’s a mistake to try to make sense of such verbal compost

  9. Germans are delighted that they will again be able to call marmelade Marmelade, once the brits are out. It was the brits insisted on that definition.

    Meanwhile you are entirely free to make and market your low-sugar pasteurised courgette preserve. You just can’t call it “jam”.

  10. ‘It’s using the Roman Law derived idea of a regulation for everything and nothing without a regulation.’

    So what’s wrong with Remainers? Do they not know this? They know it and want it?

    Murphy clearly wants it. He wants government involved in EVERYTHING.

  11. Is the UK really any different? Wasn’t Blair proud of his new 3000 criminal offences?

    Aside from the fact it isn’t actually the case – you are free to do what you want subject to regluations. The problem is they have grown and expanded beyond all sense, but the EU is very much not alone in this. Go read the Code of Laws of the United States of America*, if you believe the definitive “land of the free” is any better

    *: Bear in mind, you can go to jail, sometimes for a long time, for breaking any of those. Which isn’t generally the case with EU regulations.

  12. I think the Civil law/Common (and to a lesser extent Scots) Law division is the great fault line that makes the U.K. (and Ireland) bad fits to the EU.
    The other great fault line (Latin/Germanic) means there will always be major stresses in the project even without the U.K./RoI. Especially as the Germans are finally becoming less self-denying due to the dying off of the post war generation and the normalising of German politics

  13. All of the above plus:

    Their latest internet censorship law;
    VAT on domestic fuel;
    Having to get the permission of every fucking local council in Belgium before we can trade with another country;
    Any political union which has already occurred;
    Any further steps towards political union;
    The EU thinking it can have a “foreign policy”, and the fuckups that ensue;
    The future EU army

  14. Ah the EU, the only political organisation in the world that it’s vitally important to remain part of yet does not produce any legislation that can be problematic.

    Remainers constantly insist on having this point both ways.

  15. Rob,

    Looks to me like the UK is miles ahead of the EU on internet censorship. What’s today’s latest wheeze? Oh yes, have to prove your ID on every visit to every website to access the increasing number of things they want to save the children from.

    That’s what “taking back control” means.

  16. What I find quite entertaining about the Spud is he can’t even get this game right he is such a moron. The task set by the #FBPE morons on twitter is to find an example of a regulation which ‘personally affects you’ and needs repeal. Apparently the CFP and CAP ‘don’t personally affect’ anyone but there you are.

    I’m with you Tim – give me one day with Europa Lex and I will give you a list the likes of which the US would find too verbose – the man is an absolute cretin, a fool of the first water..

  17. My milkman used to supply green top milk (raw, unpasturised), and his parents supplied my family when I was a tot. EU regulations require a non-pasturised diary to have monthly hygene inspections, much more frequently and more in-depth than a pasturised-only diary. My milkman gave up doing green top as the cost of the inspections just made it too much cost and hassle to be worth it. That’s the one I’d immediately quash.

  18. I’d echo Jim on this. If he’d been in other than one of the parasite occupations like accountancy, the public sector etc he’d be all too fucking aware of EU regulation & dealing with its consequences. It’s why the people who do have to cope with them are so overwhelmingly Leave. And why the jobsworths who enforce them mostly voted remain

  19. @BiG

    I love those arguments ‘for’ the EU. If the UK gov is so bad and incompetent (and I wont argue against that) then how is that improved by an equally (at least) bad and incompetent government above it?

  20. “Germans are delighted that they will again be able to call marmelade Marmelade, once the brits are out. It was the brits insisted on that definition. ”
    WTF are you on about, BiG? Marmalada’s the Spanish for jam. You don’t have to use the english word for whatever’s that disgusting stuff the Krauts put on your plate in little plastic pots. You pronounce your final ‘e’ s, anyway, don’t you? Does german not have a word for it, or is it too long to fit on the label?
    And the spanish don’t seem to have any restriction on what they call marmalada.

  21. Lurker,

    The idea is that you get some consistency of incompetence across a bigger market, rather than having to deal with 28 variations on said incompetence.

    I’ve not yet found a political system that gives me the freedoms I want while regulating others the way I want them to be regulated. The hard brexiteers also seem to be, reluctantly, discovering that. My hunch is that no such system exists.

  22. “Go read the Code of Laws of the United States of America*, if you believe the definitive “land of the free” is any better”

    Yes, “land of the free” has become a cruel joke.

    The U.S. has gone full fascist. The Federal Registry, where rules/laws are posted, has 170,000 pages. State and local laws raise that by orders of magnitude. So you couldn’t really read it.

    But it remains that you can do what you want if there is no regulation, not that you need a regulation if you want to do it. No prior restraint on the unregulated.

  23. “…you can do what you want if there is no regulation, not that you need a regulation if you want to do it. ”

    This is also the case in Europe.

  24. @BiG

    “I’ve not yet found a political system that gives me the freedoms I want while regulating others the way I want them to be regulated.”

    There is no political system that can achieve that. Any political system regulating how you want will also have to cater for the wants of other people’s desires. Therefore taking away your freedoms to please everyone’s desire to regulate.

    How inflicting incompetence over a larger area is a good thing I dont know. As independent countries they have something to offer people who all have their wants and desires. To bring them all down to the lowest common denominator reduces what they have to offer beyond the same incompetence.

  25. I want my old coffee machine back, the one that brews the coffee in the morning and keeps the hotplate n till lunch, not this stupid thing that turns off before I finished my first cup.

    And a hoover that sucks and cleans@

  26. It’s not entirely fair to say that the EU insists on regulations for everything.

    The EU did cancel its Emissions targets the other day, though weren’t very noisy about it.

  27. I want my old coffee machine back, the one that brews the coffee in the morning and keeps the hotplate on till lunch, not this stupid thing that turns off before I finished my first cup.

    And a hoover that sucks and cleans@

  28. Biggie–it has been saifd all along that the war is bigger tghan step 1–smashing the EU.

    Globo elite scum are in every nation. But we can fight and destroy our own first. Brexit is now making people aware that they have to do that.

  29. Given the Jam thing is technically a directive (thanks BiG) not a regulation I’m sure the morons demanding we name a regulation would tell you that one doesn’t count.

    They’ll do things like that until you name a technical regulation that they can’t claim doesn’t directly affect you (such as the green top milk perhaps) and then say… “wow is that the only reason you have for leaving? How pathetic.”

    If you say scrap Reach they’ll reply that you want to poison babies with lead paint and before you can refute that they’ll end the conveesation because obviously only a Nazi would want to poison babies and you don’t debate with Nazis.

    The whole ‘name a directive’ thing is a trap.

  30. Germans are delighted that they will again be able to call marmelade Marmelade, once the brits are out. It was the brits insisted on that definition.

    The clauses in the directives and regulations that the Brits demanded aren’t just going to vanish once the UK leaves. They will have to be superceeded and to get that removed some prick on the committee will demand something in exchange. I have colleagues who sit on these, I’ve heard all the dumb petty shit that goes on.

  31. Pressure Equipment Directive.

    Causes me loads of hassle at work. Exactly no advantages. Even the potentially obvious one, that having common standard would allow inspections of pressure systems anywhere in the EU to be counted as done to the same standards doesn’t work – the French insurers won’t touch anything with UK paperwork (not even CE marked stuff signed off by a UK Notified Body), while the French pressure vessel inspectors are so incompetent I personally wouldn’t want to stand near an object under pressure they had signed off (although most UK insurers haven’t realized this yet).

  32. Another farming/food one – EU regulations destroyed all the small abattoirs in the UK, because they couldn’t afford to upgrade (one of which was the requirement to employ a vet on site constantly , who usually was Spanish, and had little clue about what was going on anyway). Thus meaning that animals had to travel far further to slaughter, resulting in greater animal stress and cruelty. Larger abattoirs are also far nastier environments than small ones, just an industrialised process whereas the small ones were just a few blokes operating in a small building and could treat the animals with some respect.

  33. There’s also one I discovered at the time of the horse meat in the food chain scandal – the UK system of monitoring food production facilities used to involve a system of inspectors who could descend on you and check stuff, and in big factories would be embedded in them permanently. The EU changed this to a paper trail system, whereby once something was certified as X you only needed the piece of paper to ‘prove’ thats what it was. Actual testing of ingredients became unnecessary. So it became an easy target for unscrupulous people on the make – if you can get cheap X certified as expensive Y at some point in the chain (probably in Romania or somewhere suitably bent) it can then be shipped anywhere throughout the EU without problem, because everyone just believes the accompanying paperwork. Thus resulting in horsemeat Findus Lasagne.

  34. I always reach for the Biofuels Directive which managed the triple whammy of increasing food prices, increasing fuel prices and, most damningly, leading to a net increase in the CO2 emissions it was meant to reduce.

  35. Another good one was identifying the great crested newt as ‘endangered’, which it probably is in southern Europe, but in damp old UK, not so much. Thus resulting in an increase in the cost of developing green field sites, and delays of the same, the costs being passed on to the house buyer of course.

  36. It’s using the Roman Law derived idea of a regulation for everything and nothing without a regulation.

    Blair loves it and did all he could to implement it in UK

  37. @Bloke in Germany April 15, 2019 at 2:12 pm

    Lidl UK sell Jam labelled as Marmelade; I have a jar of Apricot Marmelade

  38. @Jim

    Yes, probably every other pond in southern England has Great Crested Newts. But if there’s a development you want to stop, ‘importing’ a few of them can be quite effective.

  39. Some good examples from Jim on this thread.
    I’d add the regulations about the transport of CO2, which affected beer sales and meat packaging during last summer’s world cup. The main reason was the maintennce shutdown of much fertiliser production, but ancillary to that was the regulation that anyone supplying small scale quantities of non-flammable N2 and CO2 have to have the same paperwork as people delivering O2 and acetylene. Or so I read. So a drop off in smaller stockists and suppliers occurred when the regs came in.

  40. What was behind the shortages of soft drinks last summer? Was it really about the closing down of small fertiliser plants that produced CO2? The irony is that we are told there is too much CO2 and yet we didn’t have enough to make coca cola last August

  41. The “right to be forgotten” – much beloved by people we probably shouldn’t allow to hide their past.

    Paying child benefits to EU migrants even when their children – assuming they exist – live in Romania.

    The Climate Change Directive, and all other laws designed to impoverish average people.

    The entire legal basis behind the Euro and the ECB. Because even though it doesn’t directly harm us (thanks to Gordon Brown), it’s bad for actual Europeans – and most of us Brexiters like our European pals and want to see them free and prosperous.

  42. Some good examples but missing the main point.

    I don’t care if our MPs pass those same regulations in to UK law after due consideration and vote in Parliament, as long as I can hold them to account.

    I’m fed up with them hiding behind the EU whenever questioned about some of the idiotic rules. Make them take ownership – something they conspicuously don’t seem to like given their performance over Brexit. – and if these regulations are so vital they’ll be able to justify them.

  43. I see that God has just passed judgement on the French snookering of Brexit. Serves the buggers right.

  44. “The men of my own stock
    They may do ill or well,
    But they tell the lies I am wonted to,
    They are used to the lies I tell.
    And we do not need interpreters
    When we go to buy and sell.”

    Kipling.

  45. Re Marmalade: Surely The Portuguese don’t stick to this as the whole idea is Portuguese. Quince – marmela which is where the name comes from.
    BTW the British Marmalade should be described as Scottish as it was a Dundonian, Mrs Keillor, who thought of using Seville oranges to make a citrus jam.

  46. British covers it for now, Fred. When they hopefully get independence in the near future, then they can call what they make Scottish Marmalade and we can call what we make English Marmalade.

  47. And a hoover that sucks and cleans@

    I’m sure we all made our own jokes to that one, Jollygreenman.

  48. “And a hoover that sucks and cleans”

    You’ll have no chance, Hoovers are crap. I have a Mercedes, my grandmother never had anything other than an Electrolux. Years ago I briefly allowed a Hoover in my house for about three weeks, and took it back when it failed to accomplish the simple task of remaining intact while pushing it across the carpet.

  49. “Paying child benefits to EU migrants even when their children – assuming they exist – live in Romania.”

    THAT! THAT! THAT!
    It was hearing Cameron on the radio that finally convinced me to vote Leave. “We’ve been to the EU, and they’re allowing us to pay Child Benefit at the rate they would get at home”.
    NO NO NO you smug faced moron!!!!!
    Child Benefit goes to the Primary Carer. If the child is not in this country, BY DEFINITION!!!!! the Primary Carer is NOT IN THIS COUNTRY!!!!!!
    Babicia or Bunica should be applying to their own country’s system for the children they are looking after.

    (I had many times helped claimants with Child Benefit claims in the past, and Primary Carer Is The Claimant was cast in iron since Barbara Castle’s day. Particularly ones where – to the seeming horror of the authorities – the Primary Carer wasn’t female. How *DARE* you be a widowed father! How *DARE* you cause your wife to leave you with the kids!)

  50. The work-around for EU-approved wood preservatives and “creosote” is to cut the approved “creosote” 50-50 with good old sump oil, available from your local garagiste entirely FoC or, in Jim’s case, in your own tractor shed.

    Jim’s point about abattoirs is also a good one and why ARE all the vets Spanish? The industrial facilities with their tell-tale smell of (of all things) hot water are not conducive to animal welfare. There’s the transport issue but also the crowding of animals in the lairage once they arrive.

    That’s particularly true of pigs which get very stressed by being in proximity to other pigs not from their own social group. Stressed animals result in tough meat.

    Next time Capt. Potato bites into his next resilient pork chop and leaves a gnarled and yellow molar on his plate, I hope he thinks of the EU.

  51. “It’s using the Roman Law derived idea of a regulation for everything and nothing without a regulation.”

    I suspect this to be mere English superstition. Scotland runs on its variant of Roman Law and has never had “a regulation for everything and nothing without a regulation.” I wouldn’t be surprised if for much of its history it had fewer regulations than England since more legal issues are settled on principle and fewer on precedent. And what are precedents except a tangle of quasi-regulations?

  52. “And what are precedents except a tangle of quasi-regulations?”

    “Tradition extends the franchise to the most disenfranchised of all – the dead.” – Unknown

  53. Common external tariff

    Even dirty little mercantilists shouldn’t demand that oranges are made 16% more expensive than necessary given we don’t produce them in the UK.

  54. Even dirty little mercantilists shouldn’t demand that oranges are made 16% more expensive than necessary given we don’t produce them in the UK.

    Their argument is that we have more leverage negotiating FTAs as a big block rather than smaller states. I’d say the benefit we gain from any additional leverage is less than what we lose by having to have a trade policy that suits 27 other people. You’ll note that in debates (or BBC remainer circle jerks as they are technically called) Remainers talk only about this lost leverage and never the benefits of a trade policy thats actually tailored to our economy.

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