Nosemonkey's EUtopia

In search of a European identity

Best anti-EU comment ever?

More egg nonsense, I’m afraid, but this was too good not to share. From the comments to inexplicably popular UK political blogger Iain Dale’s “you couldn’t make it up” post about the made-up story about the EU banning the selling of eggs by number:

“At June 29, 2010 10:45 AM, Roger Thornhill said…

@Douglas “The weight needs to be displayed. That is all.”

Replace “weight” with “yellow star” and the penny might just drop for you.

Yes, that’s right – someone whose chosen online pseudonym is the name of Cary Grant’s falsely-persecuted everyman in Hitchcock’s conspiracy thriller classic North by Northwest is comparing a regulation asking for food packaging to include an indication of the product’s weight to the start of the Holocaust.

First they came for the egg boxes, and I did not complain, for I was not an egg box…

As I say, sometimes it can be very hard to take eurosceptics seriously… This is now my new favourite stupid anti-EU comment of all time, swiftly overtaking one-time sensible anti-EU blogger Tim Worstall’s bizarre allegation that I simply *must* be in on the grand EU conspiracy – how else to explain someone saying that europhobic bullshit is, erm… europhobic bullshit? (Though to be fair on Tim, he’s only the latest in a long line of ranting maniacs to flatter my ego with suggestions that people might find me worth bribing.)

I do love writing about the EU sometimes – it has a wonderful tendency to bring out the very maddest in people.


  1. Everyone knows that conspiracy money is the most satisfying money to be paid in, second only to monopoly money.

  2. Wow… I mean wow. What is it about the EU that sends people loopy? There’s a PhD in there for a sociology grad there somewhere.

  3. And you totally miss the point, rounded off by ad hominem.

    I am not comparing the egg box labelling to the start of the holocaust, nor I am I even comparing the labelling of egg boxes to the enforced labelling of people (which is a more proper misunderstanding, if that makes any sense – NM has made a second order error, an error squared, but hey, so what, all in the cause of trashing those who won’t agree)

    No, the point was to attack the trivialising, the disingenuous waiving away of enforcement presented as inconsequential detail.

    So in your rush to attack, you disengage brain and grab and scream.

    I am sure many will be taken in by your stance and howl.

    Your post says nothing about me, but more about you

  4. Roger, old boy, you explicitly compared the printing of weights on egg boxes to the yellow stars Jews were forced to sew to their clothes in Nazi Germany.

    If that’s not blowing something trivial out of all proportion – and if that’s not grounds for ridicule – I really don’t know what is.

    And what’s wrong with “enforcing” a level playing-field in food standards anyway? It’s one of the key planks of the Common Market, which is the one part of the current EU of which pretty much everyone in the UK is actively in favour – not to mention an essential part of any free market that wants to avoid anarchy.

    I had a horrible feeling that you might have been a parody, but the seemingly genuine indignation only confirms that my initial reaction was the correct one.

  5. Wow, Roger Thornhill really is real.

    “I am not comparing the egg box labelling to the start of the holocaust”

    No, Roger, you are. Look at what you said:

    “@Douglas “The weight needs to be displayed. That is all.”

    Replace “weight” with “yellow star” and the penny might just drop for you.”

    You might, regret it, but you definitely compared them.

    “No, the point was to attack the trivialising, the disingenuous waiving away of enforcement presented as inconsequential detail.”

    No, Roger, the point was to compare the EU to the Nazis. Which is in pretty bad taste /understatement.

    Wow. Again, just wow.

  6. That’s not an ad hominem, Roger, that’s just an ordinary insult. If Nosemonkey had said that the EU is a good thing *because* you’re an idiot, that would be ad hominem.

  7. Robin – to be fair, it was thanks to idiotic, hyperbolic eurosceptics like Roger that I first started exploring the positives of the EU, and thus stopped being a europhobe myself.

    As I say, they really do themselves and their cause no favours.

  8. Since tea parties seem to be a US specialty, why not start a party for addled and scrambled brains?

  9. @Left Outside

    Like Nosemonkey, you demand to decree what I was saying and thinking.

    I was talking about the attitude revealed in @Douglas’ echoing of the EU line in that thread, as the rest of my comment from which you lifted states clearly:

    “The “that is all” mentality, the salami slicing, creeping Fabian control-freakery, the condescending pat-on-the-head appeasing to shut people up. Not you, but the EU, the way they “allow” us to have labelling in dozens. Oh, THANK EU, your EXCELLENCY.

    There are so many things in this world that warrant Man’s concentrated brain power and what is the EU doing? Discussing the labelling of egg boxes. ”

    That makes it very clear what I was trying to say. I was not even attacking @Douglas, which I would have done if I fitted the stereotype you so wish to find.

    Maybe I was wrong, yes, wrong to think that the audience was rational and not irrational types on the prowl to take things out of context.

    And @Nosemonkey, you ask what is “wrong”, well, unless fraud is taking place, there is no need to enforce in this way. If the recommendations are of value, they will be adopted without force of law, without demanding a monopoly of thought.

    We have a labelling system that works. If another is better, fine. Plurality, choice and freedom to adapt and adopt does not seem as good to you as “enforce”. What you wish for is Totalitarian. That is something you need to admit to.

    p.s. @Robin, the sly attempt at ad hominem (in the generally accepted usage of the term, not the pure pedant) is there as the preamble, talking about the source of the words.

  10. So let me get this straight: Nosemonkey was wrong to suggest that you had sounded over-the-top & extreme by mentioning the Nazi regime, because the full context was that you actually also talked about salami-slicing away freedoms & totalitarian modes of thought. Thanks, that cleared things up.

    It seems to me that the regime they’re bringing in was largely in place here – perhaps it is the regimes of other member states that will be changed more? Why is uniform labelling good? Because it eases trade across the internal Market. Now, a counter argument is that labelling is unnecessary and bad for business, etc. But there are 2 sides with rational arguments – pro-business & pro-Market/consumer. Arguments sound more sensible when argued on relevant grounds. Nosemonkey’s point was that any valid points against are sadly lost because of the extreme language of the eurosceptic side – which is bad for the debate.

    I don’t know about you, but if there was a candidate for public office who continually framed his/her agruments against labelling/bank regulation, etc., in terms of fascism or the USSR, then I would ignore that person as some who can’t make relevant, joined-up and rational arguments (& why would I want anyone like that representing me in any parliament?).

  11. Roger – you say “we have a labelling system that works”. Indeed – and it is set at EU level.

    These proposals are designed to rationalise this existing labelling system, removing unnecessary information, and thus reducing administrative and manufacturing costs to the producer, while simultaneously making food packaging clearer for the consumer.

    Why does this need to be set at EU level? If doesn’t. It does, however, make a great deal of sense to have *one* set of packaging standards across the entire Common Market – not only does this allow a much fairer, more free-market system of trading across the EU (and EEA, as Norway, Switzerland, etc. are also – voluntarily – bound by such EU rules) as all producers can compete on a level playing field, and consumers in every country know that they are getting the same information on which to base their purchases as those in every other, it also significantly reduces costs for both governments and producers, as only one set of rules and regulations has to be adhered to and maintained, rather than 27+.

    There. That’s as clear and succinct as I can make it.

  12. P.S. You can dispute the *need* for such regulations if you so choose (and you probably do, as you appear to be one of those “libertarian” bloggers).

    However, the fact that 99% of all countries in the world *have* such regulations would tend to suggest that your utopian dream of market self-regulation is pretty far from being attainable. In the meantime, the EU’s rationalisation of the packaging regulations of 27+ countries is one of the most cost-effective and efficient ways of maintaining standards and ensuring the free-flow of capital within the market that anyone has ever come up with anywhere in the world.

  13. After Julien Frisch and Charlemagne …

    Appel du 4 juillet pour la fondation d’un blog collectif européen

  14. Nosemonkey, this comment is fairly late, but I just wanted to know that you said an untruth on that Tim Worstall thread linked above. You said about him:

    You used to be better than this. A lot better.

    This is not true. Tim Worstall has a history of crying “CONSPIRACY!”. See e.g:

    (old articles can be accessed via the Wayback Machine if they’ve disappeared).

  15. This was a quotation:

    “You used to be better than this. A lot better.”

    I put it in a blockquote, but I guess they don’t work here.