Monday, 29 November 2010

Another Day, Another Opt In

From Open Europe, quoting the paywalled Sunday Times:

UK likely to opt in to EU cross-border traffic fines

The EU is to agree on a new directive on Thursday, which would enforce cross-border road traffic penalties in Europe, the Sunday Times reports. Under new rules, British motorists could face six-figure fines if they are captured exceeding the speed limit in other EU countries. Sources close to negotiations have said that the new proposal, for which the UK has an opt-out, is expected to be endorsed by UK officials.
Oh and Cameron's happiness index nonsense is somewhat similar to other proposals (my emphasis):
David Cameron has said “From April next year we will start measuring our progress as a country not just by how our economy is growing, but by how our lives are improving, not just by our standard of living, but by our quality of life. … We’ll continue to measure GDP as we’ve always done, but it is high time we admitted that, taken on its own, GDP is an incomplete way of measuring a country’s progress.” The PM asked the Office for National Statistics to develop subjective measures. It seems that potential indicators will include health, levels of education, inequalities in income and the environment. David Cameron’s ideas seem overwhelmingly similar to proposals by the European Commission on measuring GDP.

The Commission has pointed out that GDP and unemployment figures are published on a timely basis but not environmental and social data. They will therefore endeavour to produce environmental and social data more rapidly. The Commission wants to put in place a more accurate reporting on distribution and inequalities in order to allow a better definition of policies on social and economic cohesion.
Obviously in practice the EU 'happiness index' survey will go something like this:
  • EU: "Are you happy?"
  • Me: "No".
  • EU: "Wrong answer, try again".
Update: The Telegraph is spinning the opt-in as "Britain is set to block EU moves to allow speeding fines to be imposed across international borders."

But when you look at the money quote, it's a liiittle bit different. The Tory Government agrees in principle it just has concerns with some of the logistics:
"While I support greater cooperation between member states over the issue of road safety, we feel there is still more work to be done on these proposals to address a number of important issues," said Mike Penning, the road safety minister.
So that's a yes we'll be opting in then


  1. If Mr Cameron really wanted to make us happier as a nation he would : a, withdraw from the EU and b, deport the millions of immigrants who should not be here.
    But of course that's not what he or any of our treacherous leaders intends doing. So, I am puzzled why they are obsessing about happiness. It is probably another indicator that they don't have enough to do, now that the EU is finally in charge of everything.

  2. You know it's not true until they deny it :-)

  3. Hi BF


    I have a confession to make, I used a lot of the quotes from your sidebar, in a video. I didn't remember where I'd got them from 'til today...

    Apologies for that and thanks for the retrospective usage rights. Cough, cough, ahem...

    The vid's in a good cause though. It's on Captain Ranty's blog if you havn't seen it yet.

  4. @jic It is probably another indicator that they don't have enough to do, now that the EU is finally in charge of everything.

    That I think is absolutely spot on.

    You'd expect these kind of shallow, useless, proposals at the end of a dying Government who's been in power for years. The fact that it crops up so early on in a new government would suggest they are not only lacking in ideas but cannot implement any substantial ideas they do have because they have no power.

    @Mark Wadsworth You might very well think that...

    @Xen347 My invoice is in the post. I expect prompt payment ;-) No worries thanks, I generally take the view of Harry Truman:

    "It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit."

    Besides I nicked some of them from Richard North.