By Jayne Adye – 4 minute read
WITH THE United Kingdom now outside the European Union, we have heard so much from many in government about the ability to divert away from the EU’s invasive rules and regulations and embrace the full opportunities of Brexit. Time and time again, however, when it comes to making decisions and implementing this separation from the EU, this country comes up short.
For example, in the last Parliament the UK decided to cut and paste all the EU’s regulations we had to adhere to while we were an EU Member State. We were led to understand this was supposedly with the intention of seriously amending those which did not comply with our ambitions for the future as an independent United Kingdom. Included in these were the EU’s car manufacturing regulations, which, having been copied across, have not been amended in the slightest.
Are we really saying to the world the EU got it spot on and there is no need to diverge from EU rules? If the past is anything to go by, we are certain there are far more efficient ways to be successful in business than the rules enforced by Brussels – to the EU’s advantage, and not necessarily ours.
Who can forget the EU’s ludicrous enforcement of CO2 emissions’ standards on Volkswagen and Audi? While the UK followed the rules to the letter, others in the EU paid no attention at all, with minimal consequences. Surely as we are now an independent country, we can design a better system which allows our own to thrive, rather than rules tailor-made for Germany.
To be clear, this does not mean lowering our standards. However, we should be examining how to change regulations to better serve our own expertise and requirements as soon as possible. We can even raise our own standards to lead the world – as the Government claims it wants to do – but this should very easily include a reduction in unnecessary red tape which we complained about so bitterly while we were inside the EU!
On top of this, the Government is now intent on copying new EU regulations on car manufacturing, even though we no longer have an obligation to do so – such as the mandatory inclusion of ‘speed limiters’ in all new cars. These would work using GPS technology to recognise the speed limit for the road you are travelling on and then mechanically limiting how fast you can go – unless this is overridden by pushing your foot down harder on the accelerator – hardly the safest idea! The President of the AA, Edmund King, has already confirmed he does not believe this is a good idea and will do nothing to reduce accidents.
So why are those responsible for creating legislation in this country simply happy to adhere to whatever new ideas Brussels comes up with – just as we were forced to do before? It’s clear some in Government do not want to understand what is meant by ‘Taking Back Control’ and simply don’t want to use their brains now we have left the EU. Perhaps they are still holding out hope for a return to the control of Brussels? It’s about time they decided where their futures lie – i.e. within the UK, or perhaps getting on a boat or a plane to live inside the EU, where their bureaucratic dreams of ‘Total Control’ can continue.
As of now, it seems all we are doing is endlessly taking decisions which are designed not to rock the boat or potentially offend the EU. We cannot continue this way as an independent country. Instead, we should be making our own unique legislation – especially in an area like vehicle manufacturing – where new innovation could produce substantial results for companies based in the UK, and those who are already dealing with an onslaught of other requirements in every aspect of their lives. Instead, we still seem to be continually tying ourselves to Brussels, and willing to turn down new opportunities if those in the EU disapprove.
Even in areas where the Government has announced their intention to diverge from Brussels, details and substance in announcements has been almost non-existent. For example, the announcement last week from Oliver Dowden MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, about the Government’s intention to establish our own legislation for data security. This will override the incredibly backwards EU-enforced GDPR rules. There was a big announcement over ‘cookie banners’ on websites, but nothing more about how the UK’s system will actually work.
The Government has been aware of the pressing need to change these rules for well over 5 years since the EU Referendum in 2016. Why is this legislation not ready to implement already, allowing the UK to hit the ground running? Covid-19 is no excuse here either – and it is not as if Ministers have been moved in and out of their departments – as unfortunately Boris has not instigated a Cabinet re-shuffle so far. There has been plenty of time to change the legislation, and frankly, there is no justification – other than a clear unwillingness by those in Whitehall to actually embrace Brexit with our own rules and regulations.
This same reluctance to embrace change and opportunity is contributing to such problems at our borders. Instead of streamlining the system to fit the modern age, we are still seeing lorry drivers required to carry as many as 700 pages of largely unnecessary paperwork when they are carrying goods for export and import. Much of this could be done digitally and in advance, but instead, this backwards mentality is continuing, undoubtedly copied from the EU, and this will do nothing to push forward our economy or provide a solution to the problems with the border between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.
We now have a huge opportunity reduce the mountains of red tape-approach of the EU and embrace a new future where we can create legislation tailored to our own needs and expertise. However, instead of trying to help ordinary people – and businesses – by thinking of innovative ways to approach everyday issues, heads are buried in the sand, unwilling to put in the work which will allow the United Kingdom to reach its full potential.
Jayne Adye is the Director of the leading grassroots, cross-Party, Eurosceptic campaign Get Britain Out.