Rules Rules Rules – Freedom from Ridiculous EU Rules

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Often micro, seemingly trivial, examples are excellent indicators of much deeper macro points. The rotten centre of something is usually evident – even at its outer limits. Small patches of damp on the walls and ceilings of homes can signal severe structural issues. A car which won’t immediately stall, when attempting to set off in fourth gear, usually has a clutch which is about to fail. The point of those esoteric examples is to illustrate things which initially appear innocuous, can often be indicators of something much more insidious.

This is true of the laws which emanate from the EU. Intrusive governments in general have a tendency to produce cumbersome and often bizarre legislation. The EU – being only a half democratic entity, subject to the whims of a vast array of interest groups – displays this tendency par excellence. Let’s look at some of the strangest examples.

Cucumbers and bananas must not be bendy. This is a famous example. The EU stated cucumbers and bananas must not have a bend gradient of more than 1/10. Thankfully the UK was able to opt out of this legislation in 2009.

It is illegal to eat your pet horse. The EU banned eating pet horses after it was discovered two million pet horses were consumed every year in EU countries.

Water does not prevent dehydration. In 2011 the EU passed a law which prevented bottled water manufactures from labelling their product with anything which would suggest the item prevented dehydration. They did this on the basis of 3 year’s research by 21 scientists, which supposedly concluded water is not especially good at reducing dehydration. From this they concluded no producer of bottled water should be able to claim – at all – drinking water reduces dehydration.

The Sunday roast may be late. In 2015 the EU introduced regulations to limit the power of ovens. This caused much controversy as many feared that ovens would take longer to heat up as a result.

The best vacuum cleaners have to go. In 2014 the EU banned vacuum cleaners with motors above 1600 watts in a bid to reduce energy consumption. It also introduced a flawed energy efficiency rating system, which James Dyson attempted to overturn. The European Court of Justice threw out his case. What was particularly barmy about this piece of legislation is that the fact that using a lower powered vacuum cleaner means you have to use it for longer to achieve the same result. Hardly an efficient means of reducing energy consumption.

In the run-up to the EU Referendum, and indeed still now, many cases for leaving the EU were made: immigration, democracy, the economy. The case against red tape was made on a general level. However, just hearing one of the examples cited above should tell everyone all they need to know about the European Union.

It can seem trivial, ideological and even glib when someone asks: “Why do you want to leave the European Union?” and one’s reply is: “Regulations on the bend gradient of a banana!” The response is usually laughter, followed by “Come on. You’re not serious. That’s not a reason.” If anything, however, it is a more profound argument than any more general point on democracy, the economy or immigration.

This is because these single bizarre pieces of legislation reveal all the general points people are concerned about – in miniature. They clearly showcase how the EU imposes growth-stunting red tape, but also showcase numerous other drawbacks. The ingrained skepticism of ‘free choice’ – which has always prevailed on the continent – was contained in the rulings of things like light bulbs, vacuum cleaners, ovens and coffee machines. The EU’s preference for bureaucratic technicalities over common sense, contained in the laws on cucumbers, bananas and water bottle labeling.

The completely nonsensical regulations which emanate from the EU show all its fundamental flaws. Once we Get Britain Out of the EU, we can finally repeal these laws and only pass laws which suit the Great British Public.

Jack Tagholm – Child is a Research Executive at Cross-Party Grassroots Campaign Get Britain Out

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Published by Get Britain Out


  • Conway

    I loathe the EU with a passion, but the edict about not eating your pet horse isn’t as stupid as it looks. Pet horses (ie horses not raised for human consumption) are often treated with medicines which aren’t good to get into the food chain – bute, for example.

  • Ian Harris

    I think we,ll be lucky to get rid of over regulation after Brexit. Our own bureaucrats are notorious for gold plating EU regulations. Keeps them in work!

  • Desiree Correia
  • Andrew Fozard

    I can’t believe you lot are STILL spreading these lies!
    You are either too stupid to know that they are lies, or are deliberately lying to your readers.
    These myths have been debunked repeatedly. They can only be believed by the uneducated, the naive, or total morons.

  • Jon

    Firstly, these are regulations we should be using anyway.
    Secondly, as someone else said, our governments regularly gold plate these regs and devise bureaucratic systems for enforcing them.
    Finally, many of them were British first, evolving from BSI.
    So your interpretation is falsely presenting the EU as a scapegoat for essentially British ideas that you just don’t like. You are a shameful bunch of nationalistic fanatics who have hoodwinked some of the British electorate into a self-destructive act for the benefit of a small group of wealthy people who don’t want the EU interfering in their tax evasion and huge profit margins. Remember that only 52% voted Leave and that 48% didn’t.

  • Frank

    There can be few greater source of myths than those around EU regulations – many originating with one Boris Johnson. Take bananas as an example. There is no ban on bananas. All that exists are some regulations on categorising different types of banana for wholesalers (they do not effect retailers). As with some many EU regulations they were introduced to tidy up a mess of existing regulations. I assume the 2009 regulation the writer is referring to is: Regulation 1221/2008. This applied to the whole of the EU and **reduced** some red tape around fruit sales. It made no explicit mention of bananas.

    The rules around the maximum wattage of vacuum cleaners and other electrical devices are part of the EU’s reasonably successful drive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Measures like this have a track record in encouraging manufacturers to be more energy efficient in the long run. The vacuum cleaner restriction was supported by vacuum cleaner manufacturers when introduced, and were actively supported by the UK government at the time – which could have vetoed them if it wished.

    • Magdalena Williams

      I will pinch your comments, if I may. Although facts don’t seem to make any difference to the leaver’ mantra as cult believers are indoctrinated and follow their leaders off the cliff blindly..

      • Frank

        Of course – you might correct the spelling errors at the same time. :-)

        • Magdalena Williams

          No. Spelling errors will just make them look more attractive to Brexiteers. Not that I have seen any. But then English is my third language. I’m a forriner.

  • Ian Young

    We’re staying in the WTO so will still be subject common technical commercial standards for cucumbers and bananas etc. I don’t know if the writer is trying to funny and is no Jimmy Carr or just thick as a whale sandwich.

  • AJ

    You might want to come to Germany and see some real regulation… 😉 We have it so.good in the UK – often too good as we get sloppy in the UK…

  • Reg Oakley

    You have reached a new depth in being completely facile when you once again wheel out this very flawed argument.
    Interestingly your page shows the EU chamber where the DEMOCRATICALLY elected MEPs discuss these things before they become accepted directives.

  • Magdalena Williams

    Frank and others in the comments section have already pointed out how idiotic these moans about EU trade regulations which the UK supported, often even proposed in the first place are. A letter to leave supporters which I can recommend you publish if you really believe in the truth. But then… I dare you!

  • Reg Oakley

    Project lie again and when you have taken a break from that lie again. This cause is ethically bankrupt.

  • louise40

    The ‘water does not cure dehydraton’ thing was because of the EU Health Claims legislation, where it is illegal to put a label on your product stating health benefits or a ‘health claim’. As you can imagine it has decimated the natural health industry, so for example you could not put on a bottle of garlic pills that garlic helps to prevent colds and flu (which it does very effectively and something that many people believed to be true). The EU Health Claims directive came in to help the pharmaceutical industry which was losing money to natural health products.

  • louise40

    It was hairdryers as well as vacuum cleaners.