More tax-payer-funded propaganda


We were voting on Tuesday.  That was the day the parliament voted for “A European Day for Plastic Waste “.  And for import controls on olive oil, and “Community Tariff Quotas for wheat, brans, sharps and meslin”, whatever that is.  (I thought that “sharps” were used scalpels in hospitals, but never mind).

We also voted another item, and I quote from the voting list: “Stresses that the proposed total budget of the consumer programme 2014/2020, amounting to €197 million (at current prices) is modest“.  My emphasis.  I suspect that many tax-payers (who after all are funding this programme, and are supposed to benefit from it) may think that €197 million (£163 million) is quite a lot of money.  But hell, we’re in Europe, and it’s small beer.

Nonetheless, I thought I’d be interested to know how and why this money – our money – is being spent.   And it’s all here.   Q&A: Health and Consumer Programmes 2014-2020.

Let me give you a flavour.  It’ll support the EU’s “Rapid Alert System”, RAPEX (which I’d never previously heard of).   And something called the Consumer Protection Cooperation Network of national enforcement authorities (also a new one to me).  Operating the European Consumer Centres Network.  Supporting awareness-raising campaigns, and training national consumer organisations.

Two themes emerge here.  There’s a strong propaganda tendency.  And there’s an obsession with butting into activities which operated perfectly well at the member-state level.  In other words, creating a rôle for the EU (and jobs for the boys), and adding another, arguably redundant, level of bureaucracy.  And then telling the public what a great deal they’re getting from Brussels.

Thanks very much, guys, but we can do better without.  Needless to say, UKIP voted against.  But it went through anyway.

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13 Responses to More tax-payer-funded propaganda

  1. omanuel says:

    Joe Lalonde posted an excellent video on propaganda, alias public relations on Professor Curry’s Climate, Etc.

  2. Oh, I do wish that you would attend a meeting in Weston super Mare.

  3. thomas fox says:

    I am not a member but George has asked me to donate 10 which could assist him In his endeavour to reform the failing EU because it is a valuable trading partner ! No chance George.

    Sent from Molto for iPad

  4. David says:

    The Butt heads should butt out Roger, a most annoying, interfering bunch.

  5. David says:

    The (not so) New Soviet

  6. Mike Stallard says:

    Aren’t the Eurocrats clever? There is nothing quite so powerful as being entrusted with stuff you cannot understand, are totally bored by and really do not care a jot about. The EU seems really keen to do this – and that is why it has been so successful.

    It reminds me very much of cancer. Totally unobserved until too late. Totally painless. Totally boring and shrouded in mysterious words. Working underneath in secret. And you pretend that everything is all right until the very last minute.

  7. Ex-expat Colin says:

    For quite sometime now I have been getting flashes of sequences in Brazil (Terry Gilliam – 1985) which is kicked off by topics like this. I also get flashes of the early days of ISO 9000 being thrust upon us some years back. There are also truck loads of International Standards that I failed to read/implement – oh dear. Of late it all seems so familiar and incredibly repetitive. I feel its a re-shuffle of wording (and expansion) that, as always, is difficult in a most cases to understand. Trouble is most of it and its IT support (eStuff) won’t work as I certainly know from the last 30 years. Still if you’re an NGO (VI) – nice work if you can get it I suppose.

  8. thomas fox says:

    Dear Roger Not being a geologist but with a practical mind like hundreds of voters I find it difficult to find the truth about fracking . Is it possible for UKIP to encourage a working shale engineer to explain in understandable format his valuable work on social media. Media graphics to scale are impossible but drawings portraying wells like domestic water drains is totally misleading creating panic amongst our people. Regards. Tom Fox. Southport. ,

    Sent from Molto for iPad

  9. Linda Hudson says:

    that is how bureaucracy works, creating unnecessary jobs, and power for the boys, and girls!

  10. Hereward in Exile says:

    Roger, being a bit of a pub bore on product safety,I have to differ for once.

    Strip away the self-promotional fluff that’s regrettably embedded in everything funded by the Commission and there’s a lot to like about the Consumer Programme (it would be better called the Consumer Protection Programme, but I’m not one of the army of “lawyer-linguists” paid by you and me to advise on these things).

    We have a common market for products (the logical conclusion of what we thought we were signing up to in 1973), whereby a product legally place on the market in one country (let’s avoid the odious “Member State”) has free circulation to all other countries in the common market.

    Unfortunately, and illogically, there is no common approach among the the trading standards authorities in the different countries (or “market surveillance & enforcement authorities” in Eurospeak). No common definitions. No common priorities. No common levels of sanction to punish and deter. Very little in the way of co-ordination, except through the voluntary efforts of some countries for a handful of products. Under the last Labour lot, six priorities were set for our Trading Standards Officers but product safety wasn’t one of them. We’ve all heard about the weakest link in the chain? Well, the UK wasn’t even part of the chain! At least that’s one thing that’s changed for the good under the Coalition. The “Network”, to which you refer, is meant to allow these national authorities to work together more efficiently and effectively in policing the common market of products. As consumers; we should welcome that. Business certainly welcomes it as a measure to help achieve a more level playing field through the detection of illegal, potentially unsafe – but always cheaper – products dumped on to the market by cowboys.

    RAPEX has its faults but is a good thing on the whole. It’s the rapid alert system for a national authority to alert its peers to the detection of a dangerous product on its territory (so allowing a common action to be agreed by all countries). As I recall, something in the region of 2,000 such products were notified last year. All notifications are posted on the RAPEX website for even us, the great unwashed, to see (all part of that other ghastly bit of Eurospeak, “consumer empowerment”).

    Roger, as much as I support your crusade against the greater lunacies of our friends in Brussels, I have to disagree here. A common market was what we set out to join, so I support measures intended to ensure the products traded are legal and are as safe as possible.

    Replying to Colin, no problem with him not implementing (or even reading) ISO 9000, or any other standard, as long as he or his employer wasn’t claiming compliance with the standard! 😉

  11. Ex-expat Colin says:

    I asked a colleague of mine today in a UK company that produces heavy excavation equipment. (the only one I think) whether his level of cursing had elevated due to related EU directives. He said he had recently binned a requirements mapping process which is not an uncommon process for some of us (not the binning bit!). That would cover, electrical, mechanical, electronic and safety of course. Just imagine that kind of thing slapped on civil aircraft/shipping. Cars are just the beginning I suspect.

    Consumer Protection works in a way that we might recognize as mostly adequate, so multiple IT hubs/suits/tee-shirts and jeans won’t improve anything. I am not sure what the CE mark was supposed to do for example…and its still there. A sort of self certification that is meaningless largely.

    Lucky that beer is still ok…oh no!!

    • Hereward in Exile says:

      CE Marking is indeed a nonsense! Some of our friends in the Commission try to sell it as a “safety mark” for consumers but it is nothing of the sort. As you say, it’s usually no more than a supplier’s self-declaration. It’s meant to be a mark to tell the market surveillance people, “Of course guv, I’ve complied with all your directives” (in much the same way that a terrorist would not admit to having packed a gun in his suitcase when checking-in for a flight).

  12. Christopher B says:

    Well, the Rapid Alert System is protecting us from tainted food. If there is one EXCELLENT accomplishment of the EU, it is it. To see that a MEP has never heard of it shows that any ignorant idiot can be elected.

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