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Eurosceptic Bloggers

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The Record

I have just finished watching The Record, a programme on EU politics on BBC World. The main topic of conversation was the working time directive an the Opt out given to members most notably Britain. The tone of the BBC toward those who do not slavishly follow the agenda on Europe is always condescending. Take this:

The rest of the EU has implemented the law, why can't the UK?
Do we have to fight again for every opt out or concession that was granted earlier? If the other members are not happy, its their job to make the argument. In addition
The opt out makes a mockery of the idea of pan European legislation.
We expect the guests to make big claims, but this was the BBC's person in the middle, Shireen Wheeler. She did actually bring to our attention an important issue without of course meaning to. There is no point in pan European legislation, which this little spat shows only too well. As with all such discussions, the conversation veered into cloud cuckoo land as British Labour MEP Stephen Hughes claimed:
that the only difference between the UK and Continental members was the low pay problem. People were forced to work long hours because of low pay.
This legislation would somehow solve this? He also claimed the law was a health and safety measure. It was of course actually past as such because health and safety was a majority vote issue rather than a unanimous one. Annemie Neyts Belgian Liberal MEP, talked about the need for a balance between economic development and workers rights. This seems to be the main area of discussion. With the exception of a single throw away sentence from British Conservative MEP Philip Bushill-Matthews nobody mentioned the real crux of the matter. No government European or National should have the right to tell people how many hours they are allowed to work. They should choose for themselves. If the EU member states were not so terrible at creating jobs, workers would be more than able to stand up for themselves. When you create a surplus of workers through wrong headed regulations, they will of course be weak versus the employers. Cut the red tape and watch a shortage of labour drive up wages and improve working conditions. Oh I forgot, if the people could look after themselves you would all be out of a job.

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