Wednesday 12 November 2008

A New Dawn for Abnormally Curved Bananas?

When weird yachtsman (but he had a good war) Grocer Heath suckered us into signing up to the European project 40-odd years ago, only the most sceptical among us would have guessed just how extensive the reach of 'Europe' would be. In fact few of us realise it now, as our politicians and their media mouthpieces prefer to pass off policies as their own bright ideas rather than what the EU is telling them to do. One small area of the vast ocean of EC regulations has tended to attract unwelcome attention though - the obsessively detailed specifications for fruits and vegetables. So every few years they announce that there's going to be a legislative bonfire and all those silly rules are going up in smoke. Not that they ever existed of course - the regulation on the curvature of bananas (for the benefit of readers from outside the EU, I am not making this up) for example is universally described as an absurd and damaging 'myth', although it's there in black and white, for those who can trawl their way through to regulation 2257/94. It states that bananas must be 'free of abnormal curvature' and at least 5.5in long. That's Europe for you - smoke and mirrors, waste and corruption, and downright lies. No wonder the auditors have refused to sign off the EU's accounts - for the 14th year running.


  1. I used to have customers in eastern Luxembourg and got to know and admire the people there. Their closeness to the Our river and therefore the German border meant that a large number of Germans worked in the area. Better wages (Luxembourg has the highest standard of living in Europe), cheaper petrol and fags. This generated a certain amount of amusement among the locals and one particular story they told with glee.
    A new Bureau was to be formed by the great brain dead in Brussels, a mega translation agency and the shortlist was down to two, Germany and Luxembourg. At the same time a very mundane agency was to be set up, almost nameless, no prestige attached, the Germans also wanted this one.
    A bloody good ding dong ensued, the Germans throwing Teutonic grade hissy fits. In the meantime the Luxembourgers had done their homework and discovered that the minor bureau would in fact generate four times more employment than the Ubersetzer one. They played the Germans along, eventually agreeing to allow the Germans to have the translation Bureau as long as they had the minor one.
    When the dust had settled the Germans suddenly realized the folly of their ways, a constant source of amusement all round.
    Long live the spirit of Mon General, you had the best idea..NON!

  2. I guess the EU is for the kind of person who likes it. Maybe it's better that they spend their days form-filling and taking kickbacks than in fomenting wars or sitting on tribunals which condemn people to be burnt at the stake - traditional occupations for fellows of this sort.

    If you live in London, Paris, Brussels or Berlin and are well connected, it's easy to think that you and your sort run the show. But the rest of us just get on with our lives, and probably a lot of people see these "rulers" as corrupt and delusional older folks whose writ doesn't really run much beyond their political village. This is the democratic disconnect of our times.

    If you see a straight banana on the road, eat it!

  3. Ah Mark I only wish their writ didn't run - we Brits seem so pathetically eager to enforce this nonsense.
    And, re Malty, the small countries always seem to be the smartest - and the richest - there must be a lesson there somewhere...