One of the persistent arguments for Brexit is that we are being dictated to by Brussels against our will. There is an endless stream of laws and regulations being showered upon the country – or so this particular argument goes. There are numerous estimates as to the percentage of laws dictated to by Brussels, ranging from as high as 70-80% (Farage) and as low as 7% according to some other analyses. Of course there are endless Euro-myths beloved of the right wing press ever since Boris Johnson was the Telegraph EU correspondent in the 1990s.
To me it makes perfect sense as part of the Single Market that regulation is EU wide and indeed Anthony Barnett argues that leaving the EU will make almost no difference as it is regulation not sovereignty that is at the heart of the matter.
Listeners to James O’Brien’s LBC show know that one of his standard ploys when faced by a Brexiter complaining about the endless stream of laws from Brussels is to ask them to name one law that they disagree with that was foisted upon the UK by Brussels. There has to date never been a single law that a Brexiter has been able to name in this category.
Within the past few days, however, Jim Grace has done an analysis and quoting the Commons Library has put the number at 4,514 out of 34,105. Of these only 72 were forced upon the UK (i.e. the majority of UK MEPs voted against) as shown in Fig. 1.
Jim has written a mega twitter thread looking at each of these laws and it seems in each and every case the laws are sensible. A link to the thread is given below
(1/72) 29/03/1996 https://t.co/2kkmWwtx9T
EU: Food labels should say if Aspartine is present.
UK: Nonsense. Bloody red tape!
(Linked to cancer, headaches and seizures, even Pepsi USA stopped using it by 2015)
— Jim Grace #FBPE (@mac_puck) January 21, 2019
Jim has tried to inject some humour. The thread has garnered wide praise from such luminaries as Fintan O’Toole. Indeed the myth that draconian laws are foisted upon us by the EU is a persistent theme in Fintan’s Writing.
A full unroll of the Twitter feed, is available here.
The irony is that there is also information elsewhere from a retired civil servant that sometimes Britain voted ‘no’ in order to make a bigger point and not in any great endeavour to vote down the law in question!
If the oppressive yoke of those 72 laws was the reason you voted out then you probably know what they are already.
If you didn’t and don’t they might surprise you!