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Friday, October 13, 2017

Busting the more absurd EU myths

Thankfully, tabloid newspapers have moved on from spinning untrue and absurd stories about the European Community. Instead they are promoting the even more absurd concept that we can leave the EU and emerge with our economy intact.

Nevertheless, in the interests perhaps of jolting our memory about how hysterical things could get, the Mirror has provided a useful list of some of the more bizarre claims. It highlights in particular how anti-Europeans and little-Englanders used lies and misinformation well before the EU referendum in an effort to turn the British public against the community in defiance of their own interests:

Here is their list:

1. The Queen’s corgis to be banned (2002) - Nope. This was demanded by a committee of animal protection experts that had nothing to do with the EU.

2. Standardised Christmas Trees (1992) - Bunkum. There have been no EC regulations concerning standardised Christmas Trees. Again, the claim appears to have been sparked by specifications drawn up by the “Christmas Tree Growers Association of Western Europe”, which is nothing to do with the EU or EC.

3. Bombay Mix to be renamed Mumbai Mix (2006) - As far as anyone can tell, this was made up.

4. Cod no longer to be called cod (2001) - Claims the EU planned to force retailers to replace English fish names and replace them with latin names were untrue.

5. Condom sizes to be standardised (2000) - Piffle. Again, this was a directive from a voluntary body, the European Standardisation Committee, which has nothing to do with the EU.

6. Prawn Cocktail crisps to be banned (1993) - Miraculously , they are still on sale.

7. All ‘.co.uk’ domains to be replaced by ‘.eu’ (2000) - Poppycock . There was no such suggestion.

8. EU plot to rename Trafalgar Square and Waterloo station because they upset the French (2003) - Bunkum. This was sparked by the rantings of Francis Carpenter, who was head of the European Investment Fund. There was neither a plot nor a plan to change UK place names, nor could the EU do so if it wanted to.

9. Milk jugs to be banned (2010) - Untrue. The European Commission “fully supports” the UK Food Standards Agency’s advice that “milk jugs that are clean and stored appropriately before and after filling are totally in line with EU legislation.”

10. Mushy peas to be outlawed (1995) - Not quite. It sprang out of a new directive governing artificial colourings in foodstuffs. Fresh and processed vegetables were banned from artificial colours - but following requests from member states, an exception was included for three colours in ‘processed mushy and garden peas’.

11. Barmaids to be banned from showing cleavage (2005) - Incredible. And untrue. This came out of an EU directive requiring employers to assess the risk of skin and retina damage for employees who work in the sun all day. Quite how many outdoor bars people thought there were in Britain in 2005 is anyone’s guess, but there was no proposed ban on low cut tops for barmaids or anyone else.

12. Paddling pools deeper than 12 inches need a full-time lifeguard (1993) - Again, no. The European Commission does not have the right to insist on the presence of a lifeguard for swimming pools, nor has it ever tried.

13. EU tells women to hand in worn-out sex toys (2004) - There was no demand for users of vibrators to trade in their old models before taking a new one for a spin. However, the Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment directive ensures retailers offer to recycle old goods at no cost.

14. Saucy postcards to be banned (1993) - To quote Jacques Delors’ chief spokesman Bruno DeThomas: “this story is absurd and contains no truth whatsoever.”

It is little wonder that many in the electorate were ready to believe anything the Brexiteers told them when the chance came to vote to leave.
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