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calendar   Sunday - November 09, 2008

Waves of EU law leave us foundering.

Waves of EU law leave us foundering

By Christopher Booker
Last Updated: 12:01am GMT 09/11/2008

One of the mysteries of our time is the perennial reluctance of so many politicians and journalists to explain how much of the mess we are making of the business of government in this country derives from the avalanche of new laws, policies and decisions pouring out of our hidden government in Brussels. Everywhere we look, businesses and other organisations are struggling in the miasma of confusion this creates, where it is no longer clear who is responsible for the laws they must obey, or what those laws are or are meant to say.

One recent example was the row which blew up over a ruling by Ofcom that one of Britain’s most admired charities, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution (RNLI), must increase its annual payment for using a dedicated radio wavelength, from £38,000 to £260,000. This meant that a quarter of a million pounds of the public donations that the RNLI relies on for its lifesaving work would be siphoned off as, in effect, a tax.

This was widely reported as an outrage in Scotland, though strangely ignored in England. But what somehow did not get mentioned was why Ofcom had imposed this staggering increase. It turns out that six years ago, with directive 2002/20, control of radio wavelengths was assumed by the EU. Under its interpretation of EU law, Ofcom decided that it would have to set up a complex new system to manage the wavebands allocated to public services such as the RNLI and mountain rescue teams, necessitating a huge rise in their fees.

The ensuing protest was so great that Ofcom has backtracked on its reading of EU law, deciding that, instead of raising its charges to the RNLI, it may now actually be able to reduce them to £20,000.

Not so lucky, however, is the Post Office which, it was announced last week, may have to close another 3,000 of its branches if, in 2010, as seems likely, it loses its contract to hand out pensions and other benefits which provide sub-postmasters with 12 per cent of their income.

Some of this won’t be of much interest to American viewers of this site so please let me explain as best I can, just a fraction of one of the problems caused by this Labour (read left)_ govt.
This thing about a contract to hand out pensions works thus.  Older folks who are retired and have a pension are issued a card, just like a credit card.  Each week money goes into an account and they can take that card to any post office either once a week, as we must do, or just once a month. They don’t even have to draw out all that’s in there but just what they need as they need it provided the funds are there.

Last year the govt. closed 2500 local and rural post offices including ours.  This village of 600 families has had a post office for well over 100 years.
Even before that but the last 100 have been continuous.  You can’t begin to imagine the honest hardship for many.  Not me personally, but many very much older folks.  Our post office was located in a place with parking for tons of cars because it’s located next to the village hall and playground.
I call it a playground because I can’t remember what the locals call it. Anyway, tons of parking.

Some older folks do not drive or can not drive btw, and the bus into the next village goes in once or 2wice a day.  For all practical purposes, we really don’t have a bus into the next village.

But the govt. now has us going into another village where parking is almost impossible and if I took a photo you’d understand.. Where our post office was self contained, this other PO is in a convenience store and the line between the store’s register and the line for mail etc. often merge. Of course the waits are longer as you may well imagine.  There was a meeting last year to “consult” with the ppl of the village before making a decision.
Well what a load of lying CRAP that was.  They already had the decision made long before the so called, “consultation,” which we all know is no more then tossing the dog a bone.  They are now set to close another 3,000 post offices around the country.

But the bastards have enough cash to fund muslims who “can’t be deported for humanitarian reasons” and they somehow found BILLIONS of pounds (dollars) for the 2012 Olympics.  I won’t even start on the lifeboat thing mentioned above. Least, not here right now. 

Again, what was not reported was the reason: the requirement, under EU procurement directives, that the contract, which cost the Post Office £1 billiion to set up, must be put out to tender. It is these directives which have already lost the Post Office its contracts to supply other public services, such as the provision of TV and driving licences which earned it £168 million a year, more than the £150 million which, by agreement with Brussels, it receives in state subsidy. By continually undermining its income in this way, the EU has played a key part in that closure programme which has already inconvenienced millions of customers and now seems set to get worse.

( Right.  When we get mail from the states, most often it is stamped, Deutsch Post. What does that say? And if any of you think that what happens here is not duplicated in the USA, think again.  Over a year ago a new way of weighting and charging for mail in the USA and including SIZE of whatever was being mailed, went into effect some months after being introduced here, and that was AFTER being introduced in Europe, as it was explained to me.)

It was also reported last week that vast quantities of packaging waste collected for recycling - paper, plastic and cans - may have to be stored in warehouses or piled up on old airfields, because of a collapse in demand for recycling waste from China and elsewhere. The hidden part of this shambles is the fact that how we collect and dispose of our rubbish is dictated by laws imposed on us by Brussels, which are supposedly intended to phase out the burying of waste in holes in the ground and encourage recycling.

A recurring theme of this column in recent years has been the colossal hypocrisy of the system thus devised to enable Britain to meet its EU “recycling” targets. The only way we have been able to pretend that we were meeting these targets was by cheaply shipping to Asia millions of tons of the waste we collect for recycling, using the same container ships that brought much of it to Britain in the first place. Much of this waste was not recycled at all, but simply consigned to unregulated dumps, But as I warned here in November 2006, “if countries such as China become less willing to take so much of our waste, we could find ourselves in serious trouble”.

With the collapse of the export trade that provided those container ships, that is precisely what has happened. Our monstrous bluff has been called. And in a year’s time, as waste piles up around Britain, we shall face fines of hundreds of millions of pounds a year from Brussels for failing to meet its targets.

Finally, a highly-enterprising British industry last week faced a crisis, thanks to a new tax introduced, so our Government insists, to comply with EU law. It turns out to be nothing of the kind.

OSS, based in Liverpool and employing 170 people, has in recent years invested heavily in the technology which enables it to collect 330,000 tons a year of used oil from 22,000 garages, factories and other workplaces round the country, and recycle it into Clean Fuel Oil, as pure as any virgin oil from a refinery.

When Brussels insisted, under its Energy Tax directive (2003/96), that recycled waste oil should be taxed, several EU countries, led by Britain, strongly objected. They protested that this would make recycled oil uncompetitive, thus losing a valuable resource and encouraging the illegal disposal of waste oil in ways that would be harnful to the environment. Brussels rejected their pleas, but allowed that the tax could be as little as 1p a litre.

Astonishingly, however, the UK Government then forgot all its earlier objections. Last week, claiming it had been forced to do so by Brussels, it imposed the same tax on recycled oil as it levies on other oil - 9.29p a litre. This raises the cost of recycled oil by 30 per cent, making it uncompetitive.

Other countries have imposed the tax at the minimum level Brussels allows. In France, recycled oil is taxed at only £12 a ton; here the tax is £105. As Andy McNair, the chief executive of OSS, puts it, this “would make it cheaper to transport our oil to France than to sell it here”. It is hardly surprising that, having been betrayed by our Government in this way over a business worth nearly £200 million a year, OSS executives were last week locked in crisis meetings wondering where to go next.

Similar crises are all too frequent these days, yet how rarely they are properly explained or reported by those whose responsibility it should be to do so. Oddly, the politicians and newspapers that fail to explain this kind of nonsense all claim to support Britain’s membership of the EU. If they are genuinely in favour of this curious form of government - and that, after all, is precisely what the EU is - should they not be rather happier to tell us how it works in practice, rather than so consistently hiding it away?

http://tinyurl.com/5mwues


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Posted by peiper   United Kingdom  on 11/09/2008 at 08:57 AM   
Filed Under: • Daily LifeUK •  
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Oh, and here's some kind of visitor flag counter thingy. Hey, all the cool blogs have one, so I should too. The Visitors Online thingy up at the top doesn't count anything, but it looks neat. It had better, since I paid actual money for it.
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