Willy, Willy…

Hutton again.

Nasty little ignorant people not understanding how the elite are really doing it all for you. No gravy trains, no power grabs at all, no siree.

The reality is that Ireland\’s \’no\’ voters have trashed an EU that is precious but weak. Most \’no\’ voters, grabbing on to the worst fear rather than reasoned fact, have unknowingly set in train a political dynamic that, unless carefully handled, could lead not just to Ireland but Britain leaving the EU.

Now that would be a good result, wouldn\’t it? We might end up like those two basket cases, Norway and Switzerland, only able to trade freely, move freely, work freely and invest freely, without having to carry the burden of umpty squillion pages of regulations.

For example, Gunther Verhuegen has pointed out that EU regulations cost the European economy € 600 billion a year: much of which is in place to organise the Single Market. That single market brings us benefits per year of €120 billion…..no, not €120 billion nett of those costs, but €120 billion before we account for those costs.

Obviously and clearly a loser that.

Everybody will be the poorer.

So, no, that won\’t be true.

Indeed, one who did look at the cost benefit analysis was Patrick Minford and his calculation is that if we left our economy would grow by some 3% as a result. Whatever that is it ain\’t poorer.

As to regulation, next week I\’ve got to do some work for a customer on the REACH legislation. They\’ve tried filling in the forms but there\’s no way in which they can actually enter "mercury" as an ingredient in their product. If they can\’t register it, then they can\’t in fact import their product: and that will mean that the entire fluorescent and compact fluorescent light bulb manufacturing industry inside the EU will have to close. I\’m really not sure that this is what anyone really wanted.

I\’ve also heard that, and want to try and find out more about (does anyone actually know?) that something absurdly stupid has happened with the REACH regulations. The original was bad enough of course….that every recipe, product, chemical and mixture of them must be tested at a cost of €100,000 and up before it can be produced, sold or imported. Vast costs for very little benefit.

But at least each mixture only needed to be tested once. If someone had done the work to test copper oxide, for example, then copper oxide could be produced, imported or sold by anyone. So the costs were only once, spread over the whole system (yes, that did then raise problems of who should bear that cost).

But now it seems (and as I say, I\’m looking for confirmation of this) that every producer of every different mixture must now register and prove the safety of their product. So if there are 5,000 producers of bleach then bleach must be tested 5,000 times at a cost of €100,000 each time.

That is madness: if true, only complete fuckwits could have tried to impose that on the economy of a Continent.

So, as I say, anyone know whether REACH is indeed being applied in that manner? Are we truly ruled by complete fuckwits?

6 thoughts on “Willy, Willy…”

  1. No idea. But when I was asked last year to teach some undergraduates about HSE legislation, all I could do about REACH was outline what was known at the time, and explain that there wasn’t yet detail or documented experience to tell them about. So to give them the spirit of what they could expect to wrestle with in their careers, I took them through the cucmber regulations instead.

  2. As far as I know, groups of producers can club together to do the work once to apply to them all. But the registration only works for those companies.
    If the major players club together but leave Joe Bloggs Ltd. on his tod, then he will have to stump up the 100k himself. Nice way of enforcing the status quo and stopping innovation/competition from outside Big Business. Who’d have guessed?

    Did Booker not do something on this about a month ago?
    Actually, I was thinking of this. Similar effect though.

  3. Tim,

    Hutton’s derogatory deployment of the loaded word ‘populist’ automatically signals him to be its obverse – an elitist.

    However, his elucidation of how Ireland will be excluded from the operation of the EU is illuminating – it’s always been a take it or leave it affair.

  4. Hutton: “The reality is that Ireland’s ‘no’ voters have trashed an EU that is precious but weak.”

    Weak? Cobblers.

    It’s like one of those big tropical cockroaches. You can hit it it full force with your shoe, or an Irish “No” vote, and it just shrugs a bit and keeps on scuttling.

    And it’s about as precious as a bull roach, too.

  5. But now it seems (and as I say, I’m looking for confirmation of this) that every producer of every different mixture must now register and prove the safety of their product. So if there are 5,000 producers of bleach then bleach must be tested 5,000 times at a cost of €100,000 each time.

    This sounds like a money-spinner to me. The Russians do the same thing. You have to do a whole load of expensive industrial training, but if you change company, or even job title, you have to do the whole lot all over again. Repeat this over several dozen government departments, and you have a nice revenue stream for the government.

  6. “Everybody will be the poorer”

    The analysis here ….


    “A Cost Too Far? An analysis of the net economic costs & benefits for the UK of EU membership”

    ..Concludes that the UK would be £40 Billion a year better off out of the EU. The analysis is four or five years old so we could be talking about more now.

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