Come in, sit down, have a glass of wine. Mmmmm, yum – Chateau So Light 2009. You’ll be delighted to hear that it has a much reduced alcohol content, which will be highly beneficial to your general health, your social behaviour and to society at large.
No? You actually like the alcohol? Then you should be grateful to the European Union. The vineyards of the New World and some of those in France – So Light is from Languedoc, apparently – have succeeded in producing low-alcohol wines that use a process called “reverse osmosis” to lop off 3 per cent of the booze content.
They claim it’s still drinkable, but Brussels is having none of it – and thank goodness.
This is at the heart of what is so appalling about the EU system, why it\’s going to make the Europeans of the future so much poorer than they would otherwise be.
No, it\’s not being ruled by Johnny Foreigner that\’s the problem. It\’s being ruled by those who insist that there must be a rule for everything that is.
Think through what\’s happened here. There are indeed those who would like to be able to swig lower alcohol wines. Some bright spark has invented the technology to allow them to do so. The response of the authorities? No, you cannot do that because it is not in the rules.
At this point there are two possible paths. Embark on the backbreaking task of trying to change the rules. You\’ve got to convince the Commission that the rules do indeed need changing (they alone have the power to propose legislation). Then it must be drawn up, passed by the Council of Ministers and the Parliament. Then 27 national parliaments and various devolved assemblies. Only after you\’ve managed to drive this process through, the involvement of some 10,000 parliamentarians and their assitants, mistresses and catamites across a continent, can you actually start to market your innovation to see whether anyone would actually like to buy it.
Or accept that it\’s illegal and stop doing it.
And this goes right across all innovation. Currently we have a law which details the permissible compositions of compotes. To invent a new jam recipe (say, the startling innovation of adding oils of citrus to an apricot jam. Who knows whether it would be any good?) you would have to go through that same process.
That\’s what the problem is, that because there is a rule for everything you cannot do anything new without either breaking an old rule or getting a new rule written.
And that entirely fucks innovation which is, as we should all know, the engine of economic growth.
Which leads us to our conclusion. The European Union isn\’t a problem because it\’s got lots of foreigners in it, it\’s a problem because it\’s run by, is set up to please, the anal restrictives in the bureaucracy. Those who simply do not understand that we do not want a rule for everything, we do not need or want a list of things we may do: we need only a much shorter list of the things that we may not do.
In short, we don\’t want or need the Roman Law style of regulation of industry and the economy, we want the Common Law style. After all, we are supposed to be sharing things with our new partners, aren\’t we? So why shouldn\’t they adopt our vastly superior system of regulating commerce and innovation?