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Monday, 28 June 2010

Lies, Damn Lies, And EU Directives

One newspaper was missing from yesterday’s roll call of Europhobics queuing up to relay the “story” of how the EU was intending to “ban” selling eggs by the dozen. That was the Maily Telegraph, but by this morning, they too were faithfully telling how “Shoppers will be banned from buying bread rolls or eggs priced by the dozen”.

The wording of the Telegraph article is interesting: it doesn’t claim that the EU will stop anything being sold by the dozen, half dozen or whatever number. The key word here is priced. The headline, however, still wrongly states “EU to ban selling eggs by the dozen”, so the paper has some way to go before it can be certain which way it is facing.

The actual draft directive, while it specifies the requirement for packaging to show the weight of the contents in metric units, does not exclude (so no “ban”) saying “N eggs”, or even showing the weight in Imperial units, should the packager and retailer wish. So there was no need for all the scare stories ... or was there?

Ah well. There’s mileage for Europhobes in this sort of thing, as witness today’s Maily Telegraph blog by arch Europhobe Dan, Dan the Oratory Man. Hannan doesn’t help his credibility by telling of the “Proposed EU ban on selling eggs by the dozen”, when any fule kno that there is not, has not been, and will not be such a ban.

Dan continues by swaggering “We Old Brussels Hands know how these directives work”, which would be reassuring if he hadn’t just told a blatant porkie about them. But the Hannan logic is straightforward, if routinely perverse: he contends that the Fourth Estate finding out about proposed legislation and kicking up a fuss nips the EU’s worst excesses in the bud.

The inconvenient fact of the matter – that the fuss being kicked up is over wording that does not exist – is not allowed to enter Dan’s world. Here, the press only get to make their fuss very occasionally, because those dastardly EU types somehow manage to keep the Fourth Estate away from all that freely available information on proposed legislation.

And all that information is available, by default, in English. The idea that the Europhobic part of the press misses the quietest fart from the direction of the European Parliament is ridiculous. But for Daniel Hannan, the impression must be given of dragons being slain, and heroic deeds by folks like ... well, himself personally now.

Otherwise, what would he be there for?

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