A daily blog on the thrills, spills, and frequent absurdities of the world's one and only 'non-imperial empire' - as Barroso himself called it - the European Union.

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Wednesday, 30 March 2011

The EU bans cars

Yes, after years of opposing the EU, the thing that federalists said would happen has finally occured; despite the facts and figures, despite the cost to democracy and sovereignty, despite the immense amount of money that is handed over, when it comes to environmental policy I have finally found common ground with the Brussels beaurocrats. I don't have a clue what they're doing, either.

The headline of this article was somewhat exaggerated; the EU doesn't want to ban cars. It merely wants to ban petrol and diesel cars from cities by 2050. That may seem a long way off, and by that time electric cars will be a lot cheaper than they are now. But that doesn't take anything away from the fact that, as ideas go, this is one of the worst to come out of the EU for quite a while.

It was proposed by Siim Kallas, an Estonian member of the Commission, who, by the standards of the other EU Commissioners, is actually quite a capable administrator. He is well-educated and a skilled politician, used to the efficient management of vast beaurocratic institutions. He has worked at the Estonian Finance Ministry, Chairman of the Central Authority of Savings Banks, Chairman of the Central Union, and a member of the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. Yes, that's right, Siim Kallas was a high-ranking party member. Although he moved to the centre-right after the collapse of the Soviet Union, he is still well-versed in the ways of one of the most totalitarian states in history.

'Action will follow, legislation, real action to change behaviour,' he boasted, in a quote that would be suited to the dictatorial style of the old Soviet politiburo. The EU not only seeks to limit what we can drive, it also wants to use its legislative authority to change our behaviour. Anyone who thinks that the EU's powers are restricted urgently needs to think again - especially as a new EU-wide fuel tax is on the cards. This single unelected Commissioner has the power to ban cars he doesn't approve of from cities, to 'change behaviour' with legislation, and now wants to tax us? How can one man - who no-one has ever voted into his current position - have so much control over every single person in Europe?

And, furthermore, is it not obvious to everyone that these proposals will be economically disastrous? Can you imagine being forced to walk through a city like London, or Madrid, or Paris? They are among the largest cities in the world. What if you lived or did business in the centre of them? Can you imagine the world's richest bankers and billionaires walking tens of miles to their offices - while EU officials drive past in luxury, no doubt? It's insanity. Electric cars are one thing - inconvenient and expensive, in my opinion, but at least there is an alternative. But what about electric commercial vehicles, or public transport? How often would they need to be recharged? Cities such as London would become so inconvenient that they would simply cease to exist.

I don't usually call people mental, no matter how misguided their policies are; that even extends to neo-Nazis and, yes, the Supreme Council of the Soviet Union. But how bonkers must the people of the EU be to allow this to occur?

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