Friday, 29 April 2011

There are "regulations" and there are "regulations"

An item of news that appeared to 'slip under the radar' was that the Department for Business has included in its list of possible regulations to be scrapped the practise of 'hallmarking' precious metals. This was covered by the Daily Telegraph but did not seem to have much impact, judging by the lack of comment I have seen on Twitter and the blogosphere.

for information. The 'consultation' will last from this month until April 2013, and every few weeks regulations will be published relating to a specific sector for consideration. People are invited to go to the site and comment, officials will examine the points made and have three months to decide whether to keep or consign to the bonfire. There are over 21,000 statutory rules and regulations

Mike Nattrass, UKIP, is one politician that has spoken out against this possible abolition and issued the following press statement:
"As one of the six MEPs for the West Midlands with offices very close to the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham, as a member of the Federation of Small Businesses, as someone with a personal interest in antiques and British silver and as one who stands up for my country, I am firmly opposed to the Government's plan to scrap our hallmarking system.

The quality of our silver is the envy of Europe, which is why every 5 years the EU attempt to scrap the British hallmarking system. Much of European silver is self regulated, is of a lower quality than our own and does not have the world’s confidence, nor is it collected in the way British silver is sought after and treasured.

Since 1371 we in this country have had a quality control system for precious metals which is universally understood, fit for purpose and with an intrinsic value. The scrapping of the hallmarking system would destroy the Halls themselves and the expertise they have built up over centuries. It would have a massive impact on businesses large and small in the jewellery, metalworking, bullion and antique trades which are struggling to keep their heads above water in these lean economic times. This is an economic ‘own goal’ and benefits our overseas competitors.

It would undermine the world wide collectors' market for precious metals in which the UK is a central player. At a stoke the Government would destroy not only a key aspect of our cultural heritage, but also a valuable income source for UK plc which it can ill afford to lose.

This system is not 'outmoded' just because it has existed for centuries. The reverse is true; because this system has existed for so long, it adds value to the articles to which it is applied and it supports a vibrant and economically valuable trade. It is economic nonsense as well as cultural thuggery to scrap the British hallmarking system.

It is time we stood up to pressure from the EU to degrade our industries and culture and here is a classic case, because our Hallmarking system beats the world."
If Nattrass is correct - and one has no reason to doubt he is not - then this is but another example where so much that is fine and steeped in history about this country is scrutinised and plotted against by the EU in its seeming determination to reduce us all to that 'equalised' level the Eurocrats deem acceptable and controllable. Knowing the past form of governments during the last few decades, the question also has to be asked whether this particular item of inclusion is an attempt to pre-empt something in the pipeline from Brussels? Being a tad 'picky' with Nattrass I know, but surely if hallmarking has been in existence since 1371, thus preceding the Act of Union 1707, should not the system be referred to as English rather than British - but I digress.....

Of course, from the Telegraph article it is also possible to be even more 'picky', as the Department for Business spokesman would seem to have put 'foot in mouth'. A Department for Business spokesman said that they were not picking on hallmarking, it was just one of the 21,895 statuary instruments and the Government was determined to trim some, adding:
"The Red tape challenge campaign is a powerful new tool for the public to have their say about the red tape that they deal with every day. We want the public to tell us what they think about the more than 21,000 regulations that are on the statute book. Some of these regulations will be vital to protect consumers or employees, but others will be badly enforced or just plain obsolete; putting an unnecessary burden on the businesses that should be focusing on growing their businesses."
What is being discussed here are Acts of Parliament and Statutory Instruments, however if the public are to have their say about the red tape they deal with every day, then how about a say on membership of the European Union, a membership that puts untold red tape in the way of daily life, both commerically and individually.

A lesson could be learnt by the politicians of the Lib/Lab/Con from adapting one paragraph of Nattrass' statement where the question of our constitution is concerned. Prior to 1972 when this country was sold out under Edward Heath - and further emasculated under Blair and Brown - our constitution was not 'outmoded' just because it has existed for centuries. The reverse is true; because it had existed for so long proved that it worked. It was nothing more than cultural thuggery to cede the most precious of all of any nation's ability, that of self-governance, likewise all the other 'reforms' that have been introduced.

Hopefully speaking for many, I can but hope to see the day when these bastard politicians - whose only interest is personal advancement and ultimately, power - will one day be held to account by those they are supposed to serve. May that day of judgement be both final - and bloody!


john in cheshire said...

WfW, I've left my views on the link you have kindly provided. Much good it will, of course.
On the subject of changes to our systems of government, I never thought there was a need to change the House of Lords. It seemed to work, didn't cost us much and was a definite opponent of bad government. I have concluded that these are precisely the reasons why the labour party decided to emasculate and corrupt it.

The Gray Monk said...

Many of the 21,000 regulations are not from Brussels, they are the result of gold plating and duplication of powers in Whitehall. Many actually conflict with other legislation and much of it is unnecessary as it is already on the Statute Book under different headings or in a different format. Probably 60% of it is there because some moron in Whitehall decided his or her department had to have it or 'lose' control of some activity to a rival department.

One of the many Acts passed by the last government which will have enormous impact on the country and runs the serious risk of destroying the economy completely is now being 'defended' by Greenpeace and other anti-commerce and industry anarchist organisations. The Climate Change Act must be scrapped. Not many people in the UK realise that the provisions in this Act, nothing to do with Brussels, will impose a surcharge on coalfired power stations from 2013 and already limits the number of hours per year they can operate. This will push the cost of power in the UK through the roof and as they will not be able to operate economically under this 'tax' regime, will probably be closed down by their EU based owners. There goes 30% of the UK's electric generating capacity.

And for the record, the UK's 3,000 wind turbines generated less than 1% of the energy needed during the winter just past...

The maths is simple, this one Act has to be scrapped immediately. The next candidate for instant scrapping has to be the Equalities Act which is going to deliver Inequality by the case load.

I've a better idea - abolish Whitehall in its entirety. The Local Government workers already duplicate everything it does except for Defence and Foreign Affairs. Public Debt crisis solved at a stroke.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

jic: Re changes: Agreed

TGM: Re first para: no argument from me.

Re last para: agree absolutely. Now that would be local democracy in action! I have been proposing this line for yonks!

IanPJ said...

This has nothing to do with trimming down red tape.

It has everything to do with the ongoing disposal of all things that are particular to these Islands, in favour of, or leaving the way clear for all things that are common to the EU.

The solely British elements will need to be removed for the EU Assay and the EU Patents bodies currently being set up to have legal force in the UK.

WitteringsfromWitney said...

IPJ: Good point and I should have made that in the post. Ta for raising it.