23 May, 2013


You may have heard about an extraordinary piece of nonsense, even by the standards of the European Union, concerning olive oil.

The practice of restaurants offering you little bowls or jugs of olive oil is to be banned, just in case it isn't very nice olive oil, even if the menu didn't say whether it was nice or nasty, Italian or Algerian. All olive oil will have to be in single disposable bottles which can't be tampered with so you know what you are getting. This is great news for the big producers but terrible for the small ones, where a restaurant might choose to put out its own or a small local artisanal product (I am just such a producer myself).

Here's what our Prime Minister David Cameron said: 'This is exactly the sort of area the European Union needs to get right out of, in my view'.

Fair enough, but it now transpires that many countries were going to oppose this and could have stopped it but that Britain, among others, abstained at the last minute, letting it through. Yes, Britain. Mr Hypocrite Cameron said 'Our argument was bound up with a whole set of  arguments we were having about rules of origin and the rest of it and I won't go into the tedious complexities.'

Thanks, Matey, but I should like you to go into the 'tedious complexities'. I should like to know why this happened that we approved something even though the Prime Minister was against it (it is being said that it was some junior civil servant who, I bet, hasn't been sacked). And I should like to know why the PM allowed himself to criticise it when he had nodded it through.

Is this how most of our laws are passed?

Good grief.

PS I now learn that the European Commission is withdrawing the measure on the grounds that it is unpopular. Suggestions that they are considering 1,429,532 other measures on similar grounds are probably wishful thinking.

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