Tuesday 7 March 2023

Yet another toxic Brexit "freedom."

An earlier post describes how our government has used our Brexit-acquired “freedom” from EU regulations to postpone the EU requirement to stop polluting all (sic) our rivers and water resources by 2027, to the later date of 2063 (yes, forty years later, rather than four), and then only 75% of them rather than all. Now, announced last month, we are to use our "freedom" to suspend the EU’s ban on the use of neonicotinoids, an insecticide used in agriculture. These insecticides are apparently toxic to bees. Experts (of whom some members of the Tory party have “had enough”) tell us that bees play a vital function in preserving and maintaining the ecological system on which we all depend. Indeed, the worst-case scenario claims that without bees life as we know it would not exist. You can read about the importance of bees, and other threats to them caused by climate change and intensive farming, here. So, with casual indifference, our government has decided to ignore the dangers to future generations for short-term gains to the UKs sugar-beet growers, who find neonicotinoids useful in protecting their crops. It is worth noting that, until we joined the Common Market, sugar beet was not a traditional home-grown product. We obtained our sugar from the Caribbean. However, the much derided Common Agricultural Policy ( CAP) gave substantial subsidies to the continental sugar-beet growers, so the UK’s farmers , quite naturally, jumped on the bandwagon. I find it shaming that, while the EU, for the sake of the future of the planet, sticks bravely to the neonicotinoids ban, the UK breaks ranks. Similarly, in regard to immigration and asylum seeking, our government appears to flaunt with pride its policy of sailing as closely as possible to the limits of international law, and possibly beyond them. Although we were never perfect, throughout my lifetime the UK has had the reputation of being a leading advocate and practitioner of of decency, compassion, intelligent pragmatism and respect for the law. The present government is daily tearing this reputation to shreds. >


  1. These insecticides are apparently toxic to bees.

    As I understand it, there's no conclusive evidence that they actually are harmful to bees. The EU's regulation was based on the precautionary principle that if something could be dangerous then you must ban it until you can be sure that it isn't.

    Obviously this is the exact opposite of how things should work, as regulation should only be applied to things which have been conclusively shown (to a high degree of certainty) to be dangerous.

    Fundamentally this is indicative of a deeper incompatibility between Britain, which works on the 'everything is permitted unless it is expressly forbidden by law' principle, and the EU, which works on the 'whatever the law allows is permitted' principle.

    Which is why we had to leave; these are quite simply incompatible, mutually incomprehensible, views of how things should work, and trying to fit Britain's society into the EU's frameworks has always been like trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole.

    Which is why we had to leave, and thank goodness we did, as now we can junk such nonsense.

  2. "Obviously this is the exact opposite of how things should work, as regulation should only be applied to things which have been conclusively shown (to a high degree of certainty) to be dangerous. "

    The addition of fluoride to drinking water has not proven to be dangerous and numerous districts in the England have fluoride added to drinking water. According to your argument, you would be perfectly happy to have fluoride added to your drinking water if it is not already being added because it is permissible if not banned by law.

    In the EU states, only Ireland has compulsory fluoride addition and the only other of the 27 states is Spain with fluoride present for about 4 million of 47 million.

    No doubt you are equally happy with the coasts of England being polluted with raw sewage because that is not banned by law and so is permitted.