Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Why I'll Be Voting to Stay in in June (Part 2)

Or, more accurately, why I don't think these are good arguments to for Britain to leave the EU. This post: Brussels Regulation.

Argument 3: The EU imposes ridiculous regulations on the UK and its businesses

For as long as I can remember, stories of absurd Brussels regulations have been a recurring event in the British media. There was one about bananas having to have a certain degree of curvature, and another which is something to do with cucumbers. This article from the BBC gives details of a further selection of the best Euromyths, and proceeds to entirely debunk most of them, while this article draws attention to the floppy-haired source of many of the stories.

It's a sad fact that the British media seems to be entirely incapable of balanced, factual reporting on European issues. The temptation to sell more papers with a bit of Frog- or Kraut-bashing is just too strong. There are two problems with this. The first is that a large proportion of the British public actually believes everything they read in the papers. The second is that certain types of (usually right-wing) politicians then get away with sweeping statements about how EU regulation is killing British business, but they don't actually mean rules about selling bananas. They're referring to things like the working time directive, which means that doctors can no longer be expected to work 72 hour weeks (and who wants to be operated on by a surgeon who's already worked 71 hours in 7 days?), maternity rights and environmental regulations.

I actually don't disagree with the argument that the EU can be overly bureaucratic at times, and when you've witnessed the difference between public administration in France, Italy and in the UK, it's easy to see how, when you bring together countries with such disparate expectations of what is normal, some conflict will arise. But that's what compromise is all about, and I would be much prouder of a UK which attempted to improve the situation from the inside, rather than throwing the toys out of the pram and refusing to play anymore, especially when its objections are based on such a biased and factually incorrect view of the situation.


  1. I think all countries in the EU have their example of "terrible red tape in Brussels". It's just an easy target, an easy way to complain. But the thing is, most of these countries have complicated internal red tape processes as well...

  2. Hurrah for staying in!! I am with you.