Only 100 days to kill EU myths

by Rachel Franklin | 15.03.2016

There are just 100 days to go until the UK votes on whether it wants to remain in the EU or leave it – and 100 days to stamp out the myths being propagated by the Leave camp. Here are 19 (there are many more) ranging from the serious to the laughable.

  1. UK sends £55 million a day to Brussels
  2. EU needs us more than we need it
  3. Over half of UK laws come from EU
  4. Terrorist sleeper agents will come to UK because we’re in EU
  5. EU restricts our ability to deport people who are a threat to security
  6. We can trade freely with EU without accepting free movement
  7. Britain will be dragged “willy-nilly” into European superstate
  8. UK is dictated to by Brussels
  9. EU wants Turkey to become a member in five years
  10. EU produces 2,500 new regulations each year
  11. UK is represented in Brussels by “one twenty-eighth of a eurocrat
  12. Scrapping EU agricultural policy would “cut food bills by up to 17%”
  13. EU plans to tax e-cigarettes 57% on top of VAT
  14. EU is to ban custard creams
  15. EU won’t let you recycle a teabag
  16. EU won’t allow children under eight to blow up balloons
  17. EU is plotting to introduce taxes on emptying dustbins
  18. EU prevents us re-using empty egg boxes
  19. EU dictates distance houses must be from heaths to stop cats chasing birds

Edited by Hugo Dixon

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4 Responses to “Only 100 days to kill EU myths”

  • Prisoners’ voting rights

    It concerns me that The European Court of Human Rights ruled against Britain in respect of convicted prisoners’ right to vote. This issue forms part of the background against which people will make up their mind how to cast THEIR vote.
    The fact is that many people run together in their mind any and all of the European institutions. The ECHR, the EU and the ECJ are all manifestations of “Europe” and a vote to leave would be one in the eye for the whole lot of them.
    Merely telling such people that the ECHR is nothing to do with the EU won’t make much impression on them.
    If it is too late to resolve this matter to the mutual satisfaction of both the Court and the British government well before the referendum, could at least the rationale of granting or withholding the right to vote be got out into the open and in some way isolated and separated from the leave/remain issue?
    The ECHR would be satisfied if the UK replaced its total ban with one that applies other criteria than the mere fact of the prisoner being a prisoner,end of story.
    Being British, we should take a pragmatic approach. But first of all, we might assert that voting is not so much a right as a civic duty like doing jury service. Nobody claims the human right of paying taxes, for example. Just because politicians who want to be elected flatter the electorate into thinking that they are special and it is all for their benefit, we have all been lulled into a state of mind in which the vote has become our human right. However let us not press that point, and we accept the human right to vote.
    Voting can only take place in a free space. That is axiomatic. Voting is in its essence a free action. Therefore you cannot have a polling station or fill in a postal vote behind bars. So you grant leave to a prisoner to vote in an election using similar criteria that you might use to grant compassionate leave. Then it ceases to be a matter of human rights and becomes a practical issue of how you can or cannot get a prisoner to a free voting space, either a polling station or the prisoner’s home address, without him or her absconding. And you can balance the benefit of having a prisoner vote against the risk of harm to society if he/she does abscond.
    This may be totally impracticable. It might be impossible for any but a very few to get to exercise their right to vote. But if it were possible to resolve this issue with the ECHR, a source of hostility to “Europe” would be removed from the scene.

  • Hello. Your points about voting being something undertaken by free people really, I suppose, is a good one but I think voting and taking an interest in wider society should be part of a rehabilitation process for prisoners.

    In passing, convicted felons like Lord Archer can resume voting in the House of Lords after leaving prison and are beholden to no-one for their £300 daily attendance fees. I think this should be more of a concern.

  • It is interesting to note that you like to use the lesser figures of £250M per week and then use an annual return of £4.4B as a return. This is just a smoke screen for those not working it out, it would look like we get a bigger return when the fact is if you calculate the £250M over 52 weeks we still send them more than we get back (£13B total according to your own figures) That is not to mention how much we have to pay in fines etc, because we are doing better than expected or not flying the EU flag.