Category Archives: The EU

EU does not plan to enforce 20mph speed limit

The Mail wesbite today printed the following headline: ‘EU plans to enforce 20mph speed limits in residential zones and replace Highway Code with European laws sparks outrage’. Then, in their article – which is full of the normal enraged quotes from the standard frothing Tory rent-a-gobs – they clearly state that:

today’s proposal is only an ‘own initiative’ report and unlikely to see the light of legislative day

There are only two comments so far, but both are very interesting:

There are no “plans to enforce a mandatory 20mph speed limit”. What this non-legislative resolution said was that “Parliament strongly recommends a 30 km/h (19 mph) speed limit in residential areas and on all single-lane roads without cycle tracks.” And clearly this would be set at 20mph and not 18.64mph. Since when has a strong recomendation constituted “dictatorship”? This recomendation copies what the DfT recommended in December 2009, so is hardly revolutionary stuff. Already local authorities in the UK with a combined population of 6.8m have adopted a policy of a 20mph limit for all residential streets with appropriate exceptions. A sensible rcommendation for a sensible way to share the public space between our houses that we call “streets”. Rod King – Campaign Director 20s’s Plenty for Us

And:

I wonder, if a single MP (as opposed to MEP) would suggest a silly law to limit speed to 20 mph, would your article’s title be “Britain plans to enforce 20 mph”? Silly laws get tabled in every parliament (including our own). Your anti-EU bias is making you do things which are beyond the realm of fair reporting.

This isn’t, I imagine, the response the Mail Online editor was hoping for.

Daily Mail polls readers on nonexistent EU car ban

Minority Thought has already covered the Daily Express story that claimed the EU was trying to ban all cars from cities – a story that turned out – unsurprisingly – to be absolute rubbish. As stated quite clearly by the European Commission in the UK:

Contrary to comments made by a government Minister today, the European Commission is not considering an EU level ban on cars in city centres by 2050. Cities are of course best placed to decide their own transport mix.

Today’s Transport White Paper acknowledges that many European cities are struggling with the challenges of congestion, noise pollution, traffic jams and so on. Something needs to be done and phasing out conventional combustion engines is a realistic objective. The role of the European level is to help the shift to alternative forms of transport take place, and make them more attractive to users.

No one city or even country can act alone to bring on stream the technologies needed to tackle the challenges of transport in Europe’s cities. That is where action at European level can help. But a blanket ban on conventional cars is not on the table.

Furthermore, Minority Thought discovered via Twitter that the Commission had actually sent a statement to a number of news desks to clarify that no such ban was being considered – without much hope that it would stop the predictable tabloid lies.

Naturally the Daily Mail has now waded in with their own story – the byline goes to the ‘Daily Mail Reporter’ as presumably the hack who wrote it was too embarrassed to claim it: ‘EU plans to ban all petrol and diesel cars from cities to force drivers to go “green” [istyosty.com link]’. The article starts:

The vast majority of British motorists will be outlaws in their own land under controversial new EU plans to ban petrol and diesel powered cars from cities.

The Daily Mail found no space to mention the truth, but did find time to get some quotes from the usual rent-a-quote loons:

Christopher Monckton, transport spokesman for the UK Independence Party’ said: “The proposals suggested by Commission take us into the realms of fantasy. They want to ban cars from cities, they want to force everybody onto rail and canals, it is if they have been taken over by the shade of the Victorian engineers.

‘They may as well call for an end to wars and large subsidised chocolate cakes for pre-school infants as to make these impossible self aggrandising statements”…

The eurosceptic think-tank Open Europe criticised the plan: ‘This goes to show the extent of the EU’s ambitions to interfere in the UK’s national affairs. Banning all petrol-fuelled cars in city centres is an absolutely crazy idea and one that could only have come from unaccountable bureaucrats in the European Commission.’

They also found time to poll their readers:

Mail invents a question for a poll

Just appalling journalism.

How the Daily Mail covers the EU

They invent something that the EU is supposedly about to enforce on us: ‘EU to ban selling eggs by the dozen: Shopkeepers are told all food must be weighed and sold by the kilo‘. Then, when the EU respond to such inane and invented slurs and make it perfectly clear the Daily Mail is talking rubbish, the Daily Mail then claims that it was a ‘backlash’ that has led the EU to back down: ‘Eggs by the dozen will NOT be banned, say Brussels after backlash by Britain‘.

So, something which was never going to happen, now will not happen because of a ‘backlash’, rather than the fact that the original story was an invention that you’d have to be utterly brain-dead to fall for (step forward Ian Dale).

Renaming the British Channel

The Daily Mail are covering the ‘news’ that the barmy EU are renaming and downgrading the ‘British Channel’ and GUESS WHO’S PAYING:

the mighty English Channel’s status could be reduced to that of a mere creek if Brussels has its way.

Officials want to rename it ‘the Anglo-French Pond’ as part of a plan to bolster the notion of an EU superstate.

More than £1million, much of it coming from the British taxpayer, is being spent drawing up a new map to be distributed to schools and bureaucrats.

It defies centuries of history by wiping out current national borders to foster ‘cultural identification’ between regions and encourage greater integration.

Of course, the whole story is absolute bullshit and pretty silly, even by Daily Mail standards. For starters it seems to assume that every country in Europe currently refers to the stretch of water as the ‘British Channel’, which they don’t. However, that aside, what is really pathetic is the Mail seriously suggesting that the story has any merit. This ‘map’ has existed in some form since 2006 and at that point the Telegraph published the following:

Andrew Duff, the Liberal Democrat MEP for the East of England, described the Conservative reaction to the directive and the creation of transnational regions as “childish baloney. This directive is trying to achieve a norm of statistics across Europe to develop social policy, transport infrastructure and so on,” he said. “It is just a tool for policy-making.”

Not surprisingly the article has already attracted over 528 comments from the utterly stupid people that take this kind of Euro-sceptic nonsense seriously. I wonder if the accompanying picture of a Spitfire flying past the White Cliffs is Polish again