Why Rules Must Sing with Rhyme and Reason

By Huhne, Christopher | The Evening Standard (London, England), March 21, 2002 | Go to article overview

Why Rules Must Sing with Rhyme and Reason


Huhne, Christopher, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: CHRISTOPHER HUHNE

COULD business regulation be more rational? This is a key question for Brussels, since the European Union sets many of the rules that govern what may be sold by a business, how it sells it and what safeguards must be incorporated to protect consumers or investors. Yet there are still far too many examples of loopy regulation.

For a start, such rules are often based more on the perceived threat than reality. There are tough regulations in every member state on lifts and escalator manufacturers and on installations, yet far more people die falling down stairs every year.

Among EU regulations, some horror stories are home grown. In the late 1990s, our former Ministry of Agriculture insisted on applying the EU directive on regular veterinary inspections of abattoirs with officious force and the Treasury asked each abattoir to meet the full cost of visits.

The result was small abattoirs without the scale to justify continuous veterinary attendance just collapsed.

Yet no such phenomenon occurred in other member states, where a flat veterinary charge is often levied per head. Small abattoirs continue to thrive. Far from helping promote health, this UK gold-plating of an EU directive lengthened the times that animals are transported before they are killed, providing a new means for BSE to spread rapidly across the country.

In regulation, the law of unintended consequences is alive and well.

But Brussels is also quite capable of offending against common sense. Last week's vote in the European Parliament on the directive on vitamins was a classic case.

The pharmaceuticals industry successfully lobbied to have vitamin supplements (and other such health food products) undergo the same sort of testing regime as medicines. Never mind that the chances of problems arising from ginseng tablets are about as great as problems from eating broccoli.

"Safety first" is a powerful political argument, particularly when the costs are on someone else's budget.

In another case, the European Parliament required offshore oil rig operators to apply the same emission control equipment on their turbines as is applied to onshore power plants.

The cost of modifying 150 turbines on 100 North Sea oil platforms is estimated by the industry at e430 million ([pound]270 million). …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Why Rules Must Sing with Rhyme and Reason
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.