The case of the curved cucumber: Bureaucrats are exposing EC folklore as plain silly, writes Leonard Doyle
Friday 22 October 1993
It is also untrue that the harmonisers in the EC are seeking to ban curved cucumbers and trying to prevent British oak being used in Euro- furniture because it is too knotty.
And as for the saloon-bar tale that donkeys on British beaches will have to wear nappies to prevent their droppings fouling the sand, it is 'a good story, but absurd', according to a 16-page Foreign Office booklet published yesterday.
The hair-nets on the high- seas story is completely untrue, but what is true is that the Community wants a high standard of cleanliness on board fishing vessels. Countries decide the standards and for Britain 'this will not include headgear or (condoms)', the Foreign Office says. But in a measure aimed at keeping hair out of fish fingers, dockside staff who cut fish will have to wear headgear.
Seeking to debunk what Douglas Hurd calls 'the rich and varied folklore about the European Community's influence on British lives', the Foreign Office's booklet exposes 40 'Euro-myths', 'Euro- scares' and 'Euro-lunacies'.
Under 'Euro-myths', it includes stories which have no basis in fact, such as the curved cucumber tale and the perennial tabloid worry that Jacques Delors' head will replace the Queen's on British banknotes.
It describes as 'Euro- scares', the regular misunderstandings about proposed EC legislation such as a feared EC ban on the British banger, mushy peas and prawn-flavoured potato crisps. There was a threat from Euro-purists to eliminate artificial dyes in everything from kippers to red cheddar cheeses, but under pressure from the food-processing industry the Government ensured that the new EC rules do not threaten traditional foods.
Another 'Euro-scare' being drummed up by British undertakers is a plan for all EC coffins to be waterproof and strong enough to withstand damage during transport. Britain, the booklet says, 'is not yet convinced' that this legislation is necessary, but it cautions that British undertakers are still not off the hook, as 'it may be helpful to the industry to have such guidelines'.
'Euro-lunacies' are the real and perceived sillinesses in EC policies which Britain would like to reverse. A priority is reforming the Common Agriculture Policy that independent economists say costs the average household pounds 1,000 per year.
The EC directive limiting the working week to a 48-hour maximum is another 'Euro- lunacy', the booklet says. It is 'a pointless and unwelcome measure' which Britain could not veto because it was brought forward as a health and safety measure, which allows qualified majority voting.
Another 'Euro-lunacy', the Foreign Office says, is the EC's plan to harmonise road speed limits. This proposal has been blocked by Britain and other member states, on the grounds that it would cost a lot to enforce and might not be suitable for safety reasons, as the speed limits would not reflect local conditions.
International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
Feminist quotes to inspire you on the International Women's Day
Belle Knox: How the porn star student from Duke University became bigger than Justin Bieber
International Women's Day 2014: Mothers and daughters describe their hopes and dreams in touching photographs
Liam Neeson on death of wife Natasha Richardson: ‘When I hear the door opening, I still think I’m going to hear her’
Apple's Tim Cook: Business isn’t just about making profit
Thousands of young people forced to go without food after benefits wrongly stopped under 'draconian' new sanctions regime
Ukraine crisis: New navy chief 'defects' and surrenders Crimean HQ as Putin claims ultranationalists forced intervention
Britain's top vet sparks controversy with call for ban on slashing animals' throats in 'ritual' slaughters for halal and kosher meat products
Ukraine crisis: Russia dismisses '3am ultimatum' as 'total nonsense'
If you're horrified by a flame-roasted dog, you should be shocked at a hog roast
- 1 International Women's Day 2014: The shocking statistics that show why it is still so important
- 2 Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
- 3 Orgasm machine to deliver climax at the push of a button
- 4 Too upsetting? Academy members voted for Oscar-winning 12 Years A Slave 'without watching it'
- 5 Liam Neeson turned down James Bond role because Natasha Richardson said she wouldn't marry him if he took it
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: A small but growing chain of boutique hot...
£12000 per annum: Inspiring Interns: The company works with Tier 1 FTSE 100 Ba...
£45 - 60k Per Annum: Charter Selection: Highly profitable leisure brand, marke...
£30000 - £50000 per annum + Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: Residenti...