The Independent has decided to put a list of crap on the front page. 'What's new?' I hear you cry?
Good point. But this front cover irritated me more than most.
50 reasons to love the European Union
As the EU celebrates its anniversary, The Independent looks at 50 benefits it has brought, and asks: "What has Europe done for us?"
Published: 21 March 2007
1 The end of war between European nations
Hey hey! Start off with a cracker, why don't you! I think you'll find that it's NATO and trade which has kept the peace, along with most countries in Europe being tired of war and not having a reason to go to war. Which reminds me. At that lecture the other night, some silly woman called Sylvie Gouland said that if it wasn't for the EU then France and Germany would have gone to war. I happen to have a little more faith in these countries that she does, clearly.
2 Democracy is now flourishing in 27 countries
But not in the EU, where the guardian of the treaties, the European Commission, are unelected and unaccountable. I would also point you towards Eliab and his comment on this.
3 Once-poor countries, such as Ireland, Greece and Portugal, are prospering
Well, actually Greece and Portugal aren't doing so well, but I might suggest that one of the reasons that the Irish economy boomed was the fact that they slashed corporation tax meaning that they had massive inward investment.
4 The creation of the world's largest internal trading market
With an external tariff and an organisation which stops global free trade which would increase global parity.
5 Unparalleled rights for European consumers
Why can't national parliaments do this? Or, why can't the market do this? Surely consumers can make the choice about where they buy from?
6 Co-operation on continent-wide immigration policy
Where? Do you mean the removal of embarkation controls which means we have no idea who is in this country? Or do you mean the plans for a Common Immigration Policy? As Milton Friedman pointed out, you can't have free movement of peoples with a Welfare State. Duh.
7 Co-operation on crime, through Europol
I'd rather not have Europol, thanks all the same. Something to do with police on our streets not being answerable to our state and the members and their families being immune from arrest. Nice.
8 Laws that make it easier for British people to buy property in Europe
Hasn't helped people in Valencia much, has it.
9 Cleaner beaches and rivers throughout Europe
As Eliab points out:
The blue flag scheme has been by and large a success. But it was a French national initiative that launched in 1985, years later it became something picked up by the EU and is now superseded by the UN Blue Flag Scheme. So an EU thing, nope sorry it doesn't stand up. You will be telling us that drinking wine is an EU success story, because it came from a European country, or television, or railways.
10 Four weeks statutory paid holiday a year for workers in Europe
I'm not that happy about the EU having control over employment law. Because when they do we end up with damaging laws such as the working time directive and these pointless discrimination laws which are harmful to the people they try to help, and which only benefit ambulance chasing lawyers.
11 No death penalty (it is incompatible with EU membership)
Surely that should be up to individual countries to decide?
12 Competition from privatised companies means cheaper phone calls
*smash* sorry, just fell over. Is the Independent saying that privatisation is a good thing? On the subject of roaming charges, the conferences I attended made it clear that if charges were limited by the EU, services would be reduced. Clever, clever...
13 Small EU bureaucracy (24,000 employees, fewer than the BBC)
I keep on hearing stupid phrases like this. Look. There are people in the British civil service who are carrying out the work of the EU through regulation. There are people who share an office with me who are paid by British tax payers to promote the EU in this country. There are Health and Safety officers, compliance officers, discrimination awareness sandal wearing officers....these are all because of the EU.
And that's on top of the 54,000 workers that are actually employed by the EU.
14 Making the French eat British beef again
If they don't want to, why should they? If we have control over our own trade policy, this kind of thing just wouldn't be an issue. And I raise the question: Why should we have the Strasbourg parliament, costing an additional £200m a year, because we wanted the French to lift their ban on British beef.
15 Minority languages, such as Irish, Welsh and Catalan recognised and protected
I recall being in the EP a few months ago and hearing the President of the Parliament cut the mike and order the interpreters to stop working after someone started speaking in Catalan. As for Irish and Welsh - why don't those countries protect them?
16 Europe is helping to save the planet with regulatory cuts in CO2
What fucking bollocks. No, I can't even bother with this one. Twats.
17 One currency from Bantry to Berlin (but not Britain)
No, and that's why we're doing better than the EU12. (or is it 13 now?) Ask Italy how much they like having the Euro. Or France, or Germany, or anyone who is feeling the pain of a single rate of interest for completely different economies. Keeping your own currency is a real no-brainer.
18 Europe-wide travel bans on tyrants such as Zimbabwe's Robert Mugabe
And I've just heard Cameron pleading to Blair to ask the EU if they can continue with sanctions on Zimbabwe. Why should the EU control our borders and international diplomacy?
19 The EU gives twice as much aid to developing countries as the United States
Including to Hamas. Nice one. I don't agree with international aid. I believe in international trade. Why should my taxes go to prop up corrupt and murdering dictators and not to helping farmers trade their way out of poverty, and me getting cheaper things as well?
20 Strict safety standards for cars, buses and aircraft
hmm..okay. But would it have happened anyway? Do we need them?
21 Free medical help for tourists
Which I don't actually agree with. The NHS is in enough trouble as it is. When I ended up in a Belgian hospital (some nasty chap spiked my drink) I paid for it, and then claimed it back off my medical insurance. Why should the Belgian tax payer have to pay for me?
22 EU peace-keepers operate in trouble spots throughout the world
Most of which come from the British army. Where are the Germans in the Helmland?
23 Europe's single market has brought cheap flights to the masses, and new prosperity for forgotten cities
No, that was Freddie Laker. And don't the EU want to stop everyone traveling by air? And what about Ryanair?
24 Introduction of pet passports
As Eliab once again points out, this was initially a policy of the monster raving loony party, which was followed up by the British government.
25 It now takes only 2 hrs 35 mins from London to Paris by Eurostar
Or less, actually. But what does that have to do with anything?
26 Prospect of EU membership has forced modernisation on Turkey
Doesn't it rather say something that we have to bribe them to change? And I don't want Turkey to join the EU, and I'm quite happy for Turkey to remain independent and a secular state. It is globalisation which will change backward countries, not undemocratic organisations such as the EU.
27 Shopping without frontiers gives consumers more power to shape markets
28 Cheap travel and study programmes means greater mobility for Europe's youth
And British tax payers now have to pay for students from the EU to go to our universities.
29 Food labelling is much clearer
The British Food Standards Agency did that, and then the EU came up with another set of rules which are more complicated. And the FSA don't want. And also, can I mention Bowlands Dairies?
30 No tiresome border checks (apart from in the UK)
Tiresome? To have some idea about who is in the country? Hello? And soon I am sure we'll hear something about people trafficking, or smuggling, or illegal immigrants...
31 Compensation for passengers suffering air delays
Isn't that something of a consumer choice? But okay, I will give you that one.
32 Strict ban on animal testing for the cosmetic industry
Didn't we do it first ourselves? And I notice the author excludes REACH which will mean yet more unnecessary animal testing.
33 Greater protection for Europe's wildlife
Back to Eliab again: CITIES was an international convention.
34 Regional development fund has aided the deprived parts of Britain
It's OUR money in the first place! Just less of it, and the EU tell us how to spend it. And we have an extra layer of bureaucracy we have to pay for.
35 European driving licences recognised across the EU
Yes. Weren't they before?
36 Britons now feel a lot less insular
37 Europe's bananas remain bent, despite sceptics' fears
er....what? If you've run out of things to say, just stop! (and the regulation still exists)
38 Strong economic growth - greater than the United States last year
But it's not good enough. It could be so much better if we were free from the regulations of the EU which costs about EUR 600 billion a year.
39 Single market has brought the best continental footballers to Britain
And the EU are trying to stop that:
And the Ivo Belet report will stop us bringing in the best non Continental players (including Norwegians and Icelandics. Also it is the money in the British (particularly English) game that has brought them in, not the EU.
40 Human rights legislation has protected the rights of the individual
I dispute that. It is the HRA which has had such a detrimental effect on sentences and seen all sorts of claims from criminals about their human rights, completely ignoring the human rights of the victims. Prisoners getting compensation and drugs?
41 European Parliament provides democratic checks on all EU laws
Have you been to the EP before?
42 EU gives more, not less, sovereignty to nation states
Hold on. The British government now only has 8% of the vote over about 75% of the laws which affect our country. Is the author a retard?
43 Maturing EU is a proper counterweight to the power of US and China
No, the EU is a declining influence which is stopping Britain from taking a proper and full part in the global market, which will damage our economy massively.
44 European immigration has boosted the British economy
Can I have some proof for that?
45 Europeans are increasingly multilingual - except Britons, who are less so
That's because the English language is so successful.
46 Europe has set Britain an example how properly to fund a national health service
Private medical insurance? I agree. Is the Independent advocating this?
47 British restaurants now much more cosmopolitan
True. I love a curry. Oh, hold on. India isn't in the EU...
48 Total mobility for career professionals in Europe
Which they had before
49 Europe has revolutionised British attitudes to food and cooking
And that's because of a supranational government is it? Prick.
50 Lists like this drive the Eurosceptics mad
All lists which are full of inaccuracies and lies drive me mad.