The comments by nearly all the anti-EU people on this video illustrate all that was wrong with the EU referendum, what failed during the referendum and what failed since. There are exceptions – there are some more informed and well argued comments but most are textbook of the worst lies, fakes, myths and anti-EU propaganda that has been rammed down the throats of people in Britain by the tabloid press, right wing and far left wing politicians / Trades Unions, and the billionaire backers of Brexit. That is what is so utterly shameful about the referendum.
This wonderful principled life affirming passionate plea by the World famous international conductor Daniel Barenboim, at the BBC Proms, has been followed on a You Tube post by a torrent of incorrect and untrue statements about the EU. Argument, much of it by myself, has come to dominate in the thread after the video the humanitarian points made by Mr. Barenboim. The comments and ‘likes’ by many do answer the stereotype of ‘the Proms’ being an English/British nationalist event when I found myself – through the family I married into – that the Proms is for lovers of classical music and culture. As I’ve taken up much time myself on the YouTube thread I’ve put answers to the main factually untrue statements here on my website.
The main anti-EU ‘myths’ or lies put forward in these threads.
1. Bendy or straight bananas. Nonsense.
2. Laws are made in Brussels. Greatly exaggerated.
3. Imperial martyrs or metric martyrs. As daft as the Duke of Essex.
4. Auditors have signed off the EU accounts for many years.
5. “Only the unelected commissioners can propose laws”. True. But Commissioners are civil servants proposed by the member countries and voted in by the democratically elected EU Parliament. Civil servants are not usually elected in any country. Improvement and reform are, as pro- and anti-EU critics agree, greatly needed.
4 untrue. 1 true. So 1 out of 5 to the anti-EU commentators.
For detail see:
Detail. For sources, see below.
1. Bendy bananas. Anyone can sell straight bananas. The EU regulations are a trade system of classifying bananas. Your supermarket can sell them if it wants to.
2. Our laws are made in the UK and most do not originate from European Union regulations.
“An estimated 13% of Acts and Statutory Instruments have an EU influence, whereas that rises to 62% when EU regulations are included in addition to Acts and Statutory Instruments.”
“13% is likely to be too low, in reality, but 62% is much too high”
In Criminal Law – what many people think of as the most serious law – my own field, EU influence is minimal (much of what there is due to environmental, consumer protection and UK agreed fight against terrorism and serious crime measures).
3. Goods can be sold in imperial measures but they have to have metric on. No one is stopping any trader quantifying goods in Imperial – there is no metric martyr just a publicity hungry metric phobe. The UK signed up to metric before joining the EU & it’s why we have systems of weights and measures – why feet and ounces etc. were introduced originally – to facilitate fair trade. No one is stopping me buying my pint of 556ml of beer.
4. Auditors have signed off the EU accounts for nearly ten years and before that highlighted discrepancies that were mostly down to lack of proper accounting for spending in members states – by the public authorities and those given grants in our own countries. “auditors have not signed off the accounts since 1994” This statement has been factually corrected numerous times.
5. “Only the unelected commissioners can propose laws”. True. But Commissioners are civil servants proposed by the member countries and voted in by the democratically elected EU Parliament. MEPs can make proposals to go to the Commission for consideration, just as in reality British MPs can only really make suggestions for policy as the Government decides what the policies are. For more on the Commission see the next article, by former MEP Chris Davies (Liberal Democrat, NW England) on the roles of the Commission and Parliament.
So MEPs can suggest new laws – in reality the same as UK MPs – and have equal power to make law in most areas. This is an intra-country system, not a country’s Parliament. However, I agree that the democratically elected Parliament should have more powers. The EU Commission is more open to scrutiny and transparent than the UK ministries & civil service but I still agree with many critics, and with President Macron, that the EU is too bureaucratic and expensive and needs reform. The failure of British Tory and Labour Prime Ministers and MPs to achieve this is one of the biggest failures of British political leadership over the last decades. I’ve argued this for many years – our representatives have failed to do so.
Sources (there are many more for each one)
1. http://www.europarl.europa.eu/unitedkingdom/en/media/euromyths/bendybananas.html Of course if you don’t trust the EU (who like any public body provide masses of factual information) you can check one of many other sources.
Banana lie shown false more than a decade ago.
4. “The ECA [European Court of Auditors] signed off on the 2014 accounts as reliable, as it has for every set of figures since 2007. But it did find that payments were materially affected by errors.” Sam Ashworth-Hayes, Last updated: 10 Nov 2015
5. Apart from the Chris Davies article I reproduce there are good pieces by other British Members of the European Parliament who use their position to explain what really happens in Brussels. Including: Labour Yorkshire & Humber Linda McAvan: http://www.lindamcavanmep.org.uk/how-the-eu-works.php and Green for the South West Molly Scott Cato: http://mollymep.org.uk/european-parliament/how-laws-are-made/
Labour MEP Richard Corbett’s refreshingly clear more political Mythbuster can be found here: http://www.richardcorbett.org.uk/category/mythbusters/
The comments by nearly all the anti-EU people on this video illustrate all that was wrong with the EU referendum, what failed during the referendum and what failed since. There are exceptions – there are some more informed and well argued comments (some from ‘Creme Creme’, although he or she repeats the ‘parity of lies’ nonsense; some from ‘caesarott’ and some from Julian Morgan). Nearly every comment by ‘chrish12345’ is an absolute textbook of the worst lies, fakes, myths and anti-EU propaganda that has been rammed down the throats of people in Britain by the tabloid press, right wing and far left wing politicians / Trades Unions, and the billionaire backers of Brexit. That is what is so utterly shameful about the referendum. The majority of our political leaders – Labour, Conservative and most Liberal Democrat for many years – failed to tell the truth about the EU to people, to explain what the EU does and the BBC gave lies and myths equal coverage to actual facts. During the referendum this continued unabated and in the year since it has been an end to truth. The people who don’t like truth just don’t believe it.
The EU has overseen the longest period of peace between European nations in modern history. The European Community was specifically founded to ensure peace between France and Germany & that other countries are not caught up in a wider European war as happened for centuries. You may not like a quote from the New European newspaper but it sums it up perfectly “The politician who created the European Union did so because they had witnessed war and they had felt its devastation personally. They never wanted it to happen again.” Ian Walker obituary of Helmut Kohl, 23 June.
Really want to see what happens in reality ‘in Brussels’? Go and visit the wonderful Belgium capital which happens to host the EU headquarters and go and see the EU Parliament and Commission for yourself. In reality not in internet and tabloid myth and lies.